Bruce Joyner and the Plantations

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1982-84)

- David Greene -- lead guitar

- Jim Itkin -- drums, percussion

- Bruce Joyner --  vocals

- Bob Watts -- keyboards

- Tom Woods - bass


  line up 2 (1984-86)

- David Greene -- lead guitar

NEW - Glenn Herald -- drums, percussion (replaced Jim Itkin)

- Jim Itkin -- drums, percussion

- Bruce Joyner --  vocals

- Tim Woods -- bass



- Bruce Joyner (solo efforts)

- Bruce Joyner and the Tinglers

- Out of the Fire (Bruce Joyner)

- The Stroke Band (Bruce Joyner)

- The Unknowns







Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Way Down South

Company: Invasion

Catalog: INV 5

Country/State: Valdosta, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 906

Price: $20.00


After albums with The Stroke Band and The Unknowns, in 1982 singer Bruce Joyner formed the cleverly-titled Bruce Joyner and the Plantations.  Rounded out by guitarist David Greene, drummer Jim Itkin, keyboardist Bob Watts, and bassist Tom Woods, the band quickly signed a contract with Greg Shaw's Invasion Records.


left to right: Bob Watts - Dave Greene - Bruce Joyner - Jim Itkin - Tom Woods


Co--produced by Shaw and Joyner, 1983's "Way Down South"  was an interesting adjustment to Joyner's version of early '80s indie music.  Imagine a more commercial Fred Schneider, or a less pompous Michael Stipe and you'd have a feel for Joyner's quirky voice and the band's overall sound. Add to that I've always loved Joyner's unique Southern tales of growing up and his Southern-tinged worldview.  I've always loved his obvious affection for '60s garage rock - a world full of Farfisa organs and Mosrite guitars can't be all that bad.  Maybe it has something to do with we're roughly the same age and seem to have grown up in similar socio-economic surroundings.  Musically this wasn't all that different from Joyner's earlier efforts..  The major change seemed to be Joyner backing away from personal tales to a more activist agenda including songs that seemingly addressed environmental issues ('Wastelands') and societal concerns ('Restless Society').    With Joyner and guitarist Greene co-writing most of the 14 tracks, musically the album was actually pretty diverse including radio-ready pop ('On the Other Side of the Tracks''), '60s garage ('It Took Only One'), jittery new wave moves ('Dream Lovers'), even a stab at reggae ('I Believe').   Add in nods to the likes of Roxy Music ('Because It's cold At Home') and the Talking Heads ('Feel the Rhythm'') and you had a fun album. 


"Way Down South" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Winds of Change   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:44

So remember Joyner spent a couple of years working as a substitute teacher and those literate traits show up on the propulsive opener 'Winds of Change'.   Michael Stipe and company would have smiled at the activist lyrics coupled with a dance ready tune.   rating: *** stars

2.) I Believe   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 2:55

Hum, Joyner and company take a stab at reggae ...   One of the album's more disturbing and thought provoking lyrics.   rating: *** stars

3.) Wastelands   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 2:36

Hum, "B" movie sound track coupled with an environmentally friendly lyric ...     rating: *** stars.

4.) On the Other Side of the Tracks   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:23

Propelled by a cool little Watts organ riff, 'On the Other Side of the Tracks' was probably side one's most commercial number.  Boasting a nifty melody and some of Joyner's patented nostalgic lyrics - I thought we all grew up with the life he was describing ?   rating: **** stars

5.) Restless Society   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:20

Another bouncy, new wave-ish number that showcased how mainstream Joyner's voice could be when he made the effort.   rating: **** stars

6.) Liars   (Bruce Joyner) - 3:31

Pretty organ-powered ballad.   rating: *** stars

7.) Dream Lovers   (Bruce Joyner) - 3:35

Kicked along by Watt's keyboards, 'Dream Lovers' was the album's most new wave-ish number.   That wasn't necessarily bad, but with Joyner singing in an uncomfortable higher vocal range, it made for one of the album's more pedestrian and anonymous performances.   Yeah, this could have been a bad B-52s number.   rating: ** stars 


(side 2)
1.) Feel the Rhythm
   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:29

Exemplified by 'Feel the Rhythm'', tike The Talking Heads David Byrne, Joyner had the ability to slide into that strange, ominous stalking killer vocal mode.   rating: *** stars

2.) Out on a Limb   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 2:29

B-52s quirkiness.  Quite good in a derivative fashion.   rating: *** stars

3.) It's Cold at Home   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:26

Guess it has something to do with my old and beat eardrums, but for some reason 'It's Cold At Home' has always reminded me of a Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music tune ...   same clipped, icy delivery.   Again, quite good in a derivative fashion.   rating: *** stars

4.) Until You Cross the Line   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 2:00

Hum, bouncy, dance-ready melody coupled with a fairly depressing lyric.   Loved it.   rating: **** stars

5. Down In the Boondocks   (Joe South) - 2:54

For the album's lone cover, Joyner and company turned in a new wave-ish flavored arrangement of the classic 'Down In the Boondocks'.   Wasn't bas, but wasn't going to make you forget the original 1965 Billy Joe Royal version.   rating: *** stars

6.) It Took Only One   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 3:25

Mean women seems to bring out the best in new wave singers and that was certainly the case on this roaring garage-tinged number.    rating: **** stars

7.) It Takes a Woman   (Bruce Joyner - David Green) - 4:21

Geez, talk about ominous ..  Anyone thinking about having an affair ought to listen to 'It Takes a Woman' a couple of times.   Gives me the creeps every time I hear it.   rating: **** stars