Bruce Roberts

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1978)

- Bruce Roberts -- vocals, keyboards


  supporting musicians (1980)

- Larry Byrom -- lead guitar

- Paulinho da Costa -- percussion

- Joe Bean Esposito  -- backing vocals

- David Foster -- keyboards

- Ricie Furray -- backing vocals

- Ed Greene -- drums, percussion

- Ula Hedwig -- backing vocals

- Gary Hebig -- sax, reeds

- Eddie Hokkson -- backing vocals

- Russell Kunkle -- drums

- David Lasley -- backing vocals

- Randy McCormick -- keyboards

- Arnold McCuller -- backing vocals

- Larry Meredith -- violin

- Tom Rhode -- percussion

- Leland Sklar -- bass

- Mark Spangler -- synthesizers

- Stephanie Spruhill -- backing vocals

- James Stroud -- drums

- Neil Stubenhaus -- bass

- Bruce Sudano -- backing vocals

- Ian Underwood - synthesizers

- Luther Vandross -- backing vocals

- Tom Vig -- percussion

- Snuffy Walden -- guitar

- Julia Waters -- backing vocals

- Maxine Waters -- backing vocals










Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Cool Fool

Company: Elektra

Catalog:  6E 262

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo copy

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2097

Price: $9.00

I actually got this one as a freebie - someone had used it as a stiffener for an album I bought online.  Yeah - the album cover was enough to give anyone pause ...   I can remember looking at the cover an wondering "Hum, am I interested in listening to an album from a consultant working for one of the big seven accounting forms ?"    


Okay, okay, okay that's a totally unfair diss of songwriter/singer Bruce Roberts.  Stretching back to the mid-'70s Roberts collaborated and written material for a stunning cross section of the music industry.  Examples included Alice Cooper (''Only My Heart Talkin'),  the Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand duet ''No More Tears (Enough Is Enough))', Laura Branigan, Elton John, etc.


Produced by David Malloy,1980's "Cool Fool" was Roberts' second collection.  Responsible for -writing all of the material (much co-written with collaborator Andy Goldmark), the album underscored Roberts' interest in dance, funk, and adult-contemporary pop oriented material.   He may have looked like a business accountant, but the man had a chameleon like voice that at various times could have passed for Rick James ('S'Good Enuf'),a  disco act like Paul Jabara ('The Guys You Dance With'), or a top-40 pop act like Rupert Holmes ('Heart Be Steady').  I guess my biggest problem with this collection was the material all sounded extremely calculated - this was music as a commercial product, rather than any attempt at art.  Nothing wrong with that, but you got the feeling this stuff could just as easily have been written for a toothpaste commercial.


"Cool Fool" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Cool Fool   (Bruce Roberts - Allee WIllis) - 4:20

Showcasing Roberts' surprisingly slinky voice, the Luther Vandross arranged title track offered up a nifty slice of dance-pop with a hook that should have found a home on top-40 radio.   rating: **** stars.  

2.) S'Good Enuf  (Bruce Roberts - Andy Goldmark) - 4:29

For a pale white guy, 'S'Good Enuf' showed Roberts capable of finding a nice Sly Stone/Rick James/Earth, Wind and Fire-styled groove.  Yeah, the tune literally dripped '80s influences, but if you grew up with this sound ...  rating: *** stars

3.) With All of My Love, With All of My Heart  (Bruce Roberts - Allee WIllis) - 4:30

Big, hyper-sensitive ballad that was almost as cumbersome as the clunky title ...  With Roberts' having to reach for the high notes (pity the backing singers who had to go even higher), this one as perfect for some forgotten film soundtrack.  Yech.  rating: ** stars

4.) All Through the Night      (Bruce Roberts - Donna Summer) -3:58

Co -written by Roberts and the late disco queen Donna Summer, 'All Though the Night' was one of those songs with a pretty melody, but the kind of lyrics that would have gotten you an F if you'd submitted them for a high school English paper.   Summer recorded the tune for her "Bad Girls" album and as irritating as her version was, Roberts' shrill, oversung version was even more irritating.   rating: ** stars


(side 2)
1.) The Guys You Dance With
   (Bruce Roberts - Andy Goldmark) - 4:09

Goofball who can't dance ...  seriously, hard to believe anyone would write a song with a lyric based on such a concept.   Man, hard to believe the '80s were that carefree.  Easy to imagine Bette Midler, or Barry Manilow doing a cover of this one.    rating: ** stars

2.) No Other Love   (Bruce Roberts - Andy Goldmark) - 3:56

Pretty, but vapid adult contemporary ballad - at least it was better than the disco stuff.  rating: ** stars

3.) Heart Be Steady   (Bruce Roberts - Carole Bayer Sager) - 3:17

Normally co-writing a song with Carole Bayer Sager was a recipe for bland MOR.  Mission partially accomplished - another tune just waiting for inclusion in a throwaway film soundtrack.   Shame since this one demonstrated Roberts had a nice voice.  rating: *** stars

4.) Prelume (instrumental)   (Bruce Roberts) - 2:03

Larry Byrom's acoustic guitar solo and Leland Sklar's bass provided the standout performances on this brief new age-ish instrumental.   rating: ** stars

5.) Light In the Window   (Bruce Roberts - Andy Goldmark) - 4:40

Imagine The Eagles going into Southern California self-hatred overdrive and you'd get a feel for this heavily orchestrated slice of over-indulgent navel gazing.   Other than a nice guitar solo from Snuffy Warren, this was a big yawn.  rating: ** stars