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- Ronnie Cangro -- drums, percussion
- Mike Gingras -- vocals
- Lloyd Landesman -- keyboards, backing vocals
- Jim List -- bass, backing vocals
- Mike Redman -- vocals, lead guitar
- Haystacks Balboa (Lloyd Landesman)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Company: Good Sounds
Country/State: Miami, Florida
Grade (cover/record): NM / NM
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: SOLD 5909
Price: SOLD $35.00
Here's another mid-1970s obscurity that time seems to have largely forgotten. It's also a perfect example of what is today know as "Yacht Rock".
Apparently based in Miami, Florida Cheese featured the talents of drummer Ronnie Cangro, singer Mike Gingras, keyboardist Lloyd Landesman, bass player Jim List and lead guitarist Mike Redman. Cangro had enjoyed some recognition as a sessions player recording with the likes of Ben E. King and The Vibrations. Landesman's recording career had begun with the New York-based Haystacks Balboa.
1977 saw the band signed by the T.K. Records affiliated Good Sounds label. Given T,K. was best known for soul and disco acts, the pairing certainly seemed somewhat odd. Co-produced by John Blanche and Stephen Nicholas, "Cheese" didn't have a lot going for it in terms of originality, however most of the performances were energetic and enthusiastic, giving them an edge on some of their better known competitors. The sound was instantly recognizable mid-1970s AOR (check out ' Got Love'), but it was certainly quality AOR (particularly side one). As lead singer Gingras had a voice that was somewhat anonymous, but still quite versatile and commercial. The same description was apt for the rest of the band - talented and more than capable, but with the exception of the leadoff performance 'Dallas' none of the performances really jumped out at you. Guitarist Redman was responsible for the bulk of the album with keyboardist Lloyd Landesman kicking in three tracks. So what were the highlights? Again, 'Dallas' was a great country-rocker that could have been a hit with some promotion, while 'Man In Love' was the song Styx was always looking for.
Certainly not a 'must own' treasure by any stretch of the imagination, but if you still treasure those Pablo Cruise albums, this one might go down easy.
"Cheese" track listing:
1.) Dallas (Mike Redman) - 3:10 rating: **** stars
'Dallas' was a standard slice of mid-1970s AOR that could have been mistaken for a slew of better known California-based top-40 bands like Pablo Cruise. The song didn't have much going for it in terms of originality, but that said, I've got to admit to liking this one a great deal. The chorus was simply killer and it had one of those country-rock melodies that was thankfully more rock than country.
2.) So Long (Mike Redman) - 3:17 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some super cheesy synthesizers and sporting a typical 'disillusion young man' lyric, 'So Long' was probably the most straightforward commercial song on the album (probably explaining why it was tapped as a single). Imagine Styx at their most commercial with a modest country-rock edge and you'd get a feel for this one. It was actually far better than the description would have you believe. The tune was tapped as a single:
- 1977's 'So Long' b/w 'Lady Love' (Good Sounds catalog number 9504)
3.) I Got Love (Mike Redman) - 3:30 rating: *** stars
I guess 'I Got Love' was the band's bid for dance floor action. A breezy pop number with a nice, danceable melody, it wouldn't change your outlook on life, but was pleasant enough and I've always loved the chirpy female backing singers.
5.) Sweet Harmony (Mike Redman) - 3:29 rating: ** stars
'Sweet Harmony' was a pretty, but forgettable mid-tempo ballad that sounded like something REO Speedwagon might have kicked out. Simply nothing to remember it by ...
6.) Man In Love (Lloyd Landesman) - 3:58 rating: **** stars
The lone Landesman composition on side one, the synthesizer-propelled 'Man In Love' found the band taking a stab at a progressive sound. Mind you, this wasn't ELP-styled progressive, rather the extremely commercial brand that you'd hear on a Styx album. And that Styx comparison will let you make up your mind about the track. Don't let that comparison put you off since the song was quite enjoyable. Would have made a nice single.
'City Life' was one of those smooth top-40 songs that you either loved, or drove you to drag out your punk 45s and curse the music industry. Where are those Clash 45s? Yeah, this one was a little too polished for there own good, though I liked Redman's guitar solo.
2.) Lonely Man (Lloyd Landesman) - 3:59 rating: ** stars
'Lonely Man' was probably the lamest song on the album. Yeah, the self-realization lyric was nice, but the rest of this one was just lame.
3.) Lady Love (Lloyd Landesman) - 3:45 rating: ** stars
'Lady Love' wasn't a rock song at all, rather a clear stab at writing something that would appeal to pop radio. Easy to see why Landesman became very successful as a jingle writer.
4.) Time Is An Arrow (Mike Redman) - 3:58 rating: ** stars
Other than some nice double tracked lead guitar 'Time Is An Arrow' was pretty forgettable and actually found the band starting to approach lite-jazz. The synthesizer sound effects should make you giggle.
5.) Lady of the Night (Mike Redman) - 3:24 rating: ** stars
Thankfully they saved the worst song for the end of the album - 'Lady of the Night' was about as original as the title. Geez, it even had horns.
There may also be a non-LP single. I'm not even certain this is the same band. If so, I'm not sure where it fits in their discography - probably released prior to the Goods Sounds album.
- 'She Said' b/w 'Kids Don't Mind ' (b-b-baby catalog number 72349)
Landesman's remained actively involved in music. He spent the late-1970s touring with various national acts. In the 1980s he turned his attention to the business side of music, becoming a successful jingle writer and producer. He has a small website at: http://www.lloydlandesman.com/site/index.html
Got this in the mail a couple of days ago:
Hi! My dad was Michael Redman, and he played in the band Cheese. He was really surprised to see his album pop up, and I have to thank you for writing all of your song reviews. I don't believe that the other album that was shown was done by them, as they broke up very soon after the album came out. However, I don't really know. Just wanted to point out that Lyle Landerman isn't the only famous one! My father just came out with a book called 'The Best Jobs in Music' published by Howard and Leonard, or a music company that sounds something like that. Anyway, thank you for the wonderful review!
Grace Redman December 2012
So I tracked down a copy of the book (available via Amazon Hal Leonard Books ISBN-10: 1476817014
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