Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1977)
- Blondie Chaplin -- vocals, guitar, bass, percussion
supporting musicians: (1977)
- Rita Jean Bodine -- backing vocals
- Tom Bray -- trumpet
- Ricky Fataar -- drums, percussion
- Venetta Fields -- backing vocals
- Kenny Gradney -- bass
- Garth Hudson -- accordion
- Joe Hartmann -- keyboards
- Carol Holmes -- backing vocals
- Clydie King -- backing vocals
- Steve Lawrence -- sax
- David Mason -- keyboards
- Daniel Moore -- backing vocals
- matthew Moore -- backing vocals
- Carly Munoz -- organ
- Richard Tee -- keyboards
- Howard Tsukamoto -- bass
- Kenny Walter -- trombone
- The Beach Boys (Blondie Chaplin)
- The Flames (Blondie Chaplin)
- Skollie (Blondie Chaplin)
- Upsetters (Blondie Chaplin)
- The Wild Things (Blondie Chaplin)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Rock + Roll
Catalog: 7E 1095
Country/State: Durban, South Africa
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cut out notch lower edge
Catalog ID: 5215
Born and raised in South Africa, singer/songwriter Blondie Chaplin's been a professional musician since the mid-1960s. Internationally he's probably best known as a member of The Flames, or as a member of The Rolling Stones touring band. In the States he's probably known for his mid-1970s association with The Beach Boys. Following the 1970 collapse of The Flame (who'd been signed to The Beach Boys' Brother label), he and fellow flame Ricky Fataar were asked to join The Beach Boys. If that doesn't ring a bell then think 'Sail On Sailor' era Beach Boys.
Produced by Rob Fraboni, 1977's "Rock + Roll" made it clear why The Beach Boys had picked Chaplin for their touring and recording band. Showcasing eleven Chaplin penned originals, the album was crammed with first rate mid-1970s radio rock. Propelled by Chaplin's pleasant voice, nifty guitar (on tracks like 'Bye Bye Baby' his slide work was exceptional) and an enthusiastic set of backing musicians including ex-Flames and Beach Boy drummer Ricky Fataar, tracks like 'Bye Bye Babe', 'Loose Lady' and 'Woman Don't Cry' were every bit as good as the top-40 material being churned out by the likes of The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Even Chaplin's formulaic ballads like 'Crazy Love' and 'For Your Love' had a way of creeping up on you. Personal favorites included the insidiously catchy 'Can You Hear Me' and 'Riverboat Queen'. Of the eleven tracks, virtually every one of them would have made for a dandy single. Only complaint - too bad the female backing vocals were so prominent on a couple of the tracks. Given how good the album was, as you'd expect it was greeted with complete critical and commercial indifference. Shame since this was one of the year's best, if least known releases.
Roll" track listing:
1.) Bye Bye Babe (Blondie Chaplin) - 3:22 rating: **** stars
Opening with some striking George Harrison-styled slide guitar, 'Bye Bye Babe' was a nifty rocker that had a chorus which instantly snuck into your head and refused to leave. Should have been tapped as a single.
2.) Can You Hear Me (Blondie Chaplin) - 4:18 rating: **** stars
Chaplin had one of those voices that was just built for radio airplay and when coupled with a tight melody like the rollicking, soul infused 'Can You Hear Me' you were left to wonder why mid-'70s radio passed on him. Always loved the backwards guitar segment. Give Asylum's English marketing group a nod for at least floating the song as a UK 45:
- 1977's 'Can You Hear Me' b/w 'Bye Bye Baby' (Asylum catalog number K 13081)
3.) Crazy Love (Blondie Chaplin) - 3:23 rating: ** stars
The first disappointment, 'Crazy Love' was a big, corporate ballad clearly meant to attract AOR airplay. To my ears it sound bland and thoroughly predictable. Mid-'70s music at its worst.
4.) Woman Don't Cry (Blondie Chaplin) - 3:09 rating: **** stars
Nah, it wasn't a cover of the Bob Marley track - instead this 'Woman Don't Cry' was a catchy mid-tempo rocker. Loved the keyboards and horn arrangement on this one.
5.) Loose Lady (Blondie Chaplin) - 3:32 rating: **** stars
Imagine Paul Rodgers and Free deciding to drop the macho blues-rock posturing and simply have some fun in the studio ... the giddy 'Loose Lady' might have been one of the outcomes. Always loved Chaplin's jittery guitar solo. Shame the song wasn't longer.
6.) Be My Love (Blondie Chaplin) - 3:51 rating: *** stars
The rocker 'Be My Love' sounded like a mash-up of Chuck Berry and John Fogerty. This wasn't cutting edge rock and roll, but if you were going to show your influences, these were not bad sources of inspiration.
Yeah, judging by the bluesy 'Lonely Traveler' his up-tempo stuff was far superior to the ballads, though this one got better once it picked up some steam. It's actually always reminded me of something John Miles might have recorded in the mid-'70s. Surprising this one wasn't released as a single.
2.) Riverboat Queen (Blondie Chaplin) - 5:48 rating: *** stars
'Riverboat Queen' was mildly interesting in that it found Chaplin dipping his creative toes into Band-styled Americana. Pretty melody with The Band's Garth Hudson providing accordion.
3.) Say You Need Me (Blondie Chaplin) - 5:01 rating: **** stars
Another tune with a Band feel to it, 'Say You Need Me' started out sounding like a pedestrian blues-rocker and it was until the angelic title track chorus kicked in. Once again the secret sauce came in the form of Ricky Fataar's understated drums. In spite of not wanting to like it, this was one of those tracks that I kept coming back to.
4.) For Your Love (Blondie Chaplin) - 2:21 rating: *** stars
At least to my ears the bouncy rocker 'For Your Love' would have made a better single that the closer 'Gimme More Rock 'n' Roll'. Nah, the song wasn't anything fantastic, but it had quite a bit of bar band energy and there was a nice Steve Lawrence sax solo.
5.) Gimme More Rock 'n' Roll (Blondie Chaplin) - 4:15
I am probably one of the least musical people you've ever met. Can't read music; can't play an instrument. That said, I've always wondered about the process whereby labels pick singles. This was a perfect example of where the marketing decisions make no sense to me. As you'd guess from the pedestrian title, 'Gimme More Rock 'n' Roll' was a bland, by-the-numbers rocker. Yeah it was mindless up-tempo fun, but with the exception of the slide guitar solo, there really wasn't anything on here. Who knows why Asylum released it as the album's single in the States (should have followed Asylum England in going with 'Can You Hear Me':
- 1977's 'Gimme More Rock 'n' Roll' b/w 'Woman Don't Cry' (Asylum catalog number E-45500)
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