Cars, The

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1977-87)

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Ric Ocasek (aka Richard Otcasek) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Benjamin Orr (aka Benjamin Orzechowski) (RIP 2000) --  vocals,

- David Robinson -- drums, percussion, syndrums, backing vocals


  line up 2 (2006) as The New Cars

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Prairie Prince -- vocals

- Todd Rundgren -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Kasim Sulton -- keyboards

  line up 3 (2011)

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Ric Ocasek (aka Richard Otcasek) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- David Robinson -- drums, percussion, syndrums, backing vocals




- Creedence Clearwater Revisited (Elliott Easton)

- DMZ (David Robinson)

- Elliott Easton (solo efforts)

- Greg Hawkes (solo efforts)

- Milkwood (Ric Ocasek, Bejamin Orr, and Greg Hawkes)

- Ric Ocasek (solo efforts)

- Benjamin Orr (solo efforts)

- Pop! (David Robinson)

- Jonathan Richman's The Modern Lovers (David Robinson)

- The Spurs (David Robinson)

- The Tubes (Prairie Prince)

- Utopia (Kasim Sulton)






Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Cars 78

Company: Audlfon

Catalog: ACR 52

Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 229

Price: $45.00


I can remember being enthralled by The Cars - they looked so goofy and sounded so raw compared to most late-'70s bands.  


Before going any further, in the interest of full disclosure, musically the audio quality on "The Cars 78"  was pretty horrible, sounding like someone recorded this material with a home cassette deck.  The album suffered from a distant, echoy sound with occasional sound drops.  Released by the small Audifon label, this was a live album recorded at dates in New York's Bottom Line and Boston's Paradise Theatre.  Chronologically the album was seemingly recorded and released at roughly the same time the band's self-titled debut came out on Elektra.   In fact, the concert set and 1978's "The Cars" share eight tracks.  In spite of the crappy sound (the New York performances on side one were rough; the Boston material on side two was even worse), Rick Ocasek and the band sounded quite tight throughout the performances.  If you liked their studio versions of their catalog, then the live versions should strike a chord with you.  For Cars fanatics, the collection may be interesting for the two tracks that didn't appear on the Elektra debut -  'Since I Held You' (which subsequently appeared on their "Candy O" LP and 'The Nights Fast'.


- Subsequently released as one of three singles off the debut LP, 'The Good Times Roll' sounds remarkably true to the studio version.   rating: **** stars

- 'My Best Friends Girl' was another one that sounded pretty much like the studio version - maybe performed a tad faster than the studio version; the backing vocals were a bit ragged and Greg Hawkes synthesizers were more prominent, but otherwise very similar.  The crowd certainly liked it.   rating: **** stars

- One of the two 'new' songs, the jittery 'Since I Held You' was far less commercial than the earlier songs, but may have been more interesting.   Elliott Easton got to showcase some cool scratchy guitar.  rating: *** stars

- Other than Hawkes' synthesizier being a bit more prominent and Easton getting to cut lose for a bit longer, the live version of their debut single 'Just What I Needed' was another track that came off sounding remarkably like the studio version.  Gosh, this was a great song.    rating: **** stars

- One of my favorite songs on the debut LP, 'You're All I've Got Tonight' came off as tougher in a live setting.  Yeah, the vocals were rougher and Elliott finally got to cut lose, but that actually gave the song a likeable rockin' edge.  Kudos to David Robinson for the wicked drumming.   rating: **** stars

- Judging by the change in sound quality (it was even worse on side two), and the 'it's great to be home' comment, I'm guessing side two reflected material recorded in Boston.  'Bye Bye Love' had a slightly rockier feel than the studio version with Hawkes' synthesizers way up in the mix.   rating: *** stars

- Another non-LP track, the jittery 'The Nights Fast; caught the band at their least commercial and most new wave-ish orientation.  Can't say this one did a great deal for me    .rating: ** stars

- 'I'm In Touch with Your World' captured the band at their most spastic ...  Lots of folks love this one; me not so much, though Easton turned in a nice solo.  rating: *** stars

-  'Moving In Stereo' was notable as one of a handful of tunes co-written by Ocasek and Hawkes and was one of my favorite songs on the debut.   The live version sounded a bit more ominous than the studio take with Hawkes synthesizers again way up in the mix.   rating: **** stars

- The live version of 'All Mixed Up' would have been even better than the studio version except for the horrible sound quality - it literally sounded like the tape recorder had gone amuck.   rating: ** stars



"The Cars 78" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Good Times Roll   (Ric Ocasek)

2.) My Best Friends Girl   (Ric Ocasek)

3.) Since I Held You  (Ric Ocasek)

4.) Just What I Needed   (Ric Ocasek)

5.) You're All I've Got Tonight    (Ric Ocasek)


(side 2)
1.) Bye Bye Love   (Ric Ocasek)

2.) The Nights Fast   (Ric Ocasek)

3.) I'm In Touch with Your World   (Ric Ocasek)

4.) Moving In Stereo   (Ric Ocasek - Greg Hawkes)

5.) All Mixed Up   (Ric Ocasek)