Twilley, Dwight


Band members                         Related acts

- Dwight Twilley - vocals, guitar

 

  supporting musicians: (1986)

- Kim Carnes -- backing vocals

- Susan Cowsill -- vocals

- Steve Goldstein -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Craig Hull -- guitar

- Charles Krampf -- drums, percussion

- Kenny Lee Lewis -- guitar

- Jerry Peterson -- sax

- Bill Pitcock IV -- guitar

- Jerry Scheff -- bass

- Phil Seymour (RIP) -- backing vocals

- Noah Shark -- synthesizers

- Waddy Wachtel -- guitar

 

 

- Phil Seymour (RIP)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Scuba Diver

Company: EMI America

Catalog: ST 17064
Year:
 1982

Country/State: Oklahoma

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: cut out hole top right; original inner sleeve with printed lyrics

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5558

Price: $15.00

 

A shameful reflection on the early 1980s music business and popular tastes, 1982's "Scuba Diver" found Dwight Twilley continuing his corporate wanderings.  Signed by EMI America after three years of legal limbo while he tried to wrangle his way out of the earlier deal with Arista, this alignment marked Twilley's third major label in six years.  Musically the album had a rather difficult 'birth' featuring a mixture of tracks that had originally been planned for release as Twilley's second Arista solo effort (the planned title was "Blueprint"), coupled with four new studio tracks.  While Twillley was credited with penning all ten songs, given the material had been recorded over a span of years, using multiple bands (Susan and John Cowsill participated in many of the sessions and deserved special notice for turning in some sterling backing vocals throughout the final LP - check out 'Touchin' the Wind'), different recording locations, and different producers (Twilley produced three songs on his own while the other seven tracks reflected production collaborations with the likes of Chuck Plotkin and Geoff Workman), it was a miracle that the results sounded as cohesive as they did.  To be honest Twilley's instantly recognizable jangle rock sound came through with flying colors.   Outside producers like Workman may have polished his sound a little too much on a couple of tracks like 'Later That Night', but it was clearly done in an attempt to attract top-40 radio attention.  The fact that few people were listening was criminal since Twilley originals like the aptly titled 'I'm Back Again', 'Somebody To Love', 'I Think It's That Girl', and 'I Found the Magic' were as good as anything he'd ever written and would have sounded great on commercial radio.  Instantly memorable melodies coupled with driving rhythms and that subtle hint of Buddy Holly made this stuff nothing less than wonderful  ...  Guess that was the kiss of death in terms of sales.

 

EMI floated a pair of singles off the album, but in an era of new wave and disco madness neither did much commercially.

 

- 1982's 'Somebody To Love' b/w 'Later That Night' (EMI catalog number B-8109)

- 1982's 'I Found the Magic' b/w 'I'm Back Again' (EMI America catalog number B-8115)

 

Twilley also became the first artist to have a live concert broadcast on MTV.  While sales weren't great, coupled with the resulting television exposure and an American tour, things started looking up for the man.

 

"Scuba Diver" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'm Back Again   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:55

2.) Somebody To Love   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:45

3.) 10,000 American Scuba Divers Dancin'   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:15

4.) Touchin' The Wind   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:40

5.) Later That Night   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:42

 

(side 2)
1.) I Think It's That Girl
   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:43

2.) Dion Baby   (Dwight Twilley) - 2:53

3.) Cryin' Over Me   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:57

4.) I Found The Magic   (Dwight Twilley) - 2:32

5.) Falling In Love Again   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:23

 

 

By the way, Twilley has a fantastic website at:

http://www.dwighttwilley.com/site/47moons/home.shtml

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Jungle

Company: EMI America

Catalog: ST-17107

Year: 1984

Country/State: Oklahoma, US

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4726

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00

 

How Dwight Twilley hasn't become a major superstar of the magnitude of someone like Tom Petty is simply beyond my comprehension ...  While I love Petty, I just can't understand how he's sold billions of records while Twilley can't get arrested ... Boy this country is a mess !!!

 

 Co-produced by Noah Shark (of Tom Petty fame) and Mark Smith, 1984's "Jungle" marked Twilley's second solo release for EMI America and was easily his most commercial and consistent album.  Twilley remained a consummate pop meister, but he was also smart enough to adapt to the public's growing taste for new wave acts ... synthesizers !!!  Personally I could have lived without the period synthesizers, but with the exception of the title track most of the songs were strong enough to survive even with them.  Highlights included the sterling Byrd-ish 'Why You Wanna Break My Heart' (Roger McGuinn eat your heart out), 'You Can Change It', and 'Cry Baby'.  Each of those songs should have been gigantic radio hits.   Elsewhere, backed by vocal support from Petty, massive MTV exposure and lots of touring, Twilley finally managed to return to the charts with the single 'Girls' b/w 'To Get To You' (EMI America catalog number B-8196).  EMI also tapped the album for two follow-on singles:

 

- 'Little Bit of Love' b/w 'Max Dog' (EMI America catalog number B-8206)

- 'Why You Wanna Break My Heart' b/w 'Chilly D's Theme' (EMI America catalog number B-8235)

 

Supported by a wave of live performances and television appearances the LP went on to become Twilley's biggest seller.

 

"Jungle" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Little Bit Of Love   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:48

2.) Girls   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:28

3.) Why You Wanna Break My Heart   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:45

4.) You Can Change It   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:03

5.) Cry Baby   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:41

 

(side 2)
1.) 
Don't You Love Her   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:44

2.) Long Lonely Nights   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:58

3.) Jungle   (Dwight Twilley) - 4:36

4.) To Get To You   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:43

5.) Max Dog   (Dwight Twilley - Rocky Burnette - P. Robinson) - 1:41

 

YouTube let's you see a couple of the accompanying releases.  Be forewarned the video and sound qualities aren't necessarily great.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n7ykctLEW4

'Girls'

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOwOhJNU4uI

'Why You Wanna Break My Heart'

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Wild Dogs

Company: CBS Associated

Catalog: BFZ-40266

Year: 1986

Country/State: Oklahoma, US

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: promo stamp on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6370

Price: $10.00

 

Dwight Twilley's one of those acts that consistently leaves me scratching my head ...  A supremely talented singer and songwriter, since the mid-1970s he's released a stream of stunning albums that for the most part have been all but ignored by critics, radio, and the buying public.  Naturally, 1986's "Wild Dogs" meant with the same fate which was even more unfair given he'd finally managed to make a didn't in public recognition via 1974's "Jungle" album and the minor hit 'Girls'.  Unfortunately, Twilley's follow-up took two years to see daylight, coming after he'd split ways with former label EMI America.  The new collection found Twilley teamed with producer Val Garay who had recently enjoyed massive commercial success with Kim Carnes (Carnes provided back-up vocals on a couple of tracks).   The marketing goal seems to have been something along the lines of using Garay's heavily produced synthesizer dominant sound to modernize Twilley's retro-pop sound.  Judging by tracks like 'Sexual' and 'Baby Girl' the thought seems to have been applying the adult contemporary sheen Garay had brought to Carnes catalog would serve to capture the same audience for Twilley.  Working with a less secure artist Garay probably would have simply steamrolled the artist into submission, but for the most part Twilley survived the partnership.   Yeah, there were times when Garay's production simply cluttered the aural landscape ('Baby Girl'), but most of these Twilley originals were strong enough to survive with their dignity intact.   As for enjoying commercial success by updating Twilley-s sound - needless to say, it didn't happen.  In spite of the fact the album included another first-rate collection of Twlley originals - exemplified by material like 'Shooting Stars' and 'In My Dreams' at least two thirds which had top-40 written all over them, fate intervened to ensure the set vanished without a trace.  This time around Twilley had the misfortune to have signed a contract with Joe Isgro's Private I label.  The signing came just as Isgro got caught in a massive payola scandal that saw Private I  collapse with Isgro being charged with 57 counts including racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.  (In Isgro's defense, when the case was tried in 1990, it was dismissed by the presiding federal judge on grounds of "outrageous government misconduct.")  Unfortunately, that finding did nothing to salvage Private I, or Twilley's album.  In the meantime Epic's CBS Associated label picked up the album and released it with almost no promotion (I've never actually seen a stock copy of the album), ensuring instant commercial death.

 

- Built on one of those sterling melodies that Twilley seems to effortless churn out, 'Sexual' traded his normally subtle lyrics for a slightly more strident attack.  Clearly written with an ear to commercial potential (check out Jerry Peterson's strategically placed sax solos), the song had a hook to kill for, but someone seems to have overlooked the fact lots of radio stations were unlikely to play something as blatant as this one ...   Not that it wasn't a great track.   The song was in fact tapped for an instantly obscure single.   rating: **** stars

- Returning to a more typical Twilley sound, 'Wild Dogs' was a rollicking  rockers that sounded like a cross between a pissed off Buddy Holly and The Blasters.  Always loved the references to recording equipment.   rating: **** stars

- If you were going to write a top-40 song, 'You Don't Care' would be a perfect template.  Built on an instantly memorable melody with wonderful jangle rock guitars, tasteful synthesizers, and one of Twilley's most earnest vocals, you just had to wonder how radio managed to miss this one.  Near perfect pop !!!   rating: ***** stars

- One of the problems Twilley's always faced is that people don't seem to think he can rock.  Shame, since that's a misconception as anyone who's every heard 'Hold On' would know.  Pulling a page out of the Tom Petty songwriting catalog (he also borrowed Petty's marbles-in-your-mouth vocal delivery for this one), this one rocked out with a vengeance while retaining a highly commercial edge.  Always loved the sweet backing vocals which I think featured Susan Cowsill.   rating: **** stars

- Although it carried a Twilley credit, 'Shooting Stars' was reportedly one of the last songs Twilley wrote with Phil Seymour (who had died of lymphoma in 1993).  The result was a gorgeous ballad that would have been even better had it not been subjected to Garay's production touches - yeah, he almost managed to make it sound like a Kim Carnes tune.    rating: *** stars

- A jittery, Buddy Holly-meets-new-wave styled rocker, 'Baby Girl' would have sounded wonderful on mid-1980s radio.  My only complaint (same as before), Garay's heavily produced synthesizer-based sound took some of the spotlight off of how good the underlying song was.  If anyone cares, you can hear Kim Carnes on backing vocals.   rating: *** stars

- One of the album highlights, 'Ticket to My Dream' was a growling, mid-tempo rocker with another hook that wouldn't let go of your head and one of Twilley's most impressive vocals.   Funny, but for about a year I thought the song was 'Ticket to Abilene' ...   rating: **** stars

- Once it got through the gurgling opening synthesizers 'Secret Place' was revealed as one of the album's most commercial pop songs.  With an easy-going melody and another hopelessly catchy hook, this one would have made another nice single.   rating: *** stars

- Showcasing Twilley's best stuttering vocal, 'Radio' was another track that sounded like it was written for commercial exposure.   Kicked along by a great Waddy Wachtel guitar solo, given a chance at radio play it would have been a massive success. 'Course, no matter how inaccurate it may have been, being associated with a payola scandal killed that notion.    rating: **** stars

- Built on a simple keyboard-based melody, the ballad 'The Spider and the Fly' was one of Twilley's coolest songs.  Try shaking this one out of your head !!!     rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, the set was released by CBS Associate which kicked out a single with little or no promotion.  Frankly I've never actually seen a stock copy of the 45.  There was also released as a 12" single

 

  7" format

- 1986's 'Sexual' b/w 'Wild Dogs' (CBS Associated catalog number ZS4 06050)

 

  12" format

- 1986's 'Sexual' b/w 'Sexual' (CBS Associated catalog number ZAS 2036) 

 

The sad fact of the matter is that as a result of his association with Isgro and Private I, Twilley found himself all but blacklisted throughout the music industry.  In spite of Twilley's immense talent, the resulting stigma (no matter how unjustified) meant no major label was going to come close to him.

 

"Wild Dogs" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sexual   (Dwight Twilley) - 4:09

2.) Wild Dogs   (Dwight Twilley) - 4:20

3.) You Don't Care   (Dwight Twilley) - 3:31

4.) Hold On   (Dwight Twilley) - 4:15

5.) Shooting Stars   (Dwight Twilley - Phil Seymour) - 4:20

 

(side 2)
1.) Baby Girl  (Dwight Twilley) - 3:35
2.) Ticket to My Dream
  (Dwight Twilley) - 3:20

3.) Secret Place  (Dwight Twilley) - 3:51
4.) Radio 
  (Dwight Twilley) - 3:38
5.) The Spider and the Fly
  (Dwight Twilley) - 3:04

 

 

 

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