Christopher Cloud

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1973)

- Christopher Cloud (aka Tommy Boyce) -- vocals

- Patrick O'Connor -- bass

- Michael Overly -- lead guitar, flute

- Brian "Bugs" Pemberton (RIP 2013) -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians: (1973)

- Ben Benay -- harmonica

- Allan Lindgren -- keyboards





- AIM (Patrick O'Conner, Michael Overly and Bugs Pemberton)

- Tommy Boyce (solo efforts)

- Tommy Boyce and His Rockin' 60's Band

- Boyce and Hart

- Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart

- Tommy Fortune (Tommy Boyce)

- The Lomax Alliance (Brian Pemberton)

- The Mersey Lads (Brian Pemberton)

- Shelley Nemetz (Brian Pemberton)

- One (Brian Pemberton)

- Rain and the Gypsy Wizard Band (Brian Pemberton)

- The Tommy Band (Tommy Boyce)

- The Undertakers (Brian Pemberton)

- Walrus (Brian Pemberton)





Genre: pop

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  Blown Away

Company: Chelsea

Catalog: BCL1-0234

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $15.00


On the heals of three albums with songwriting partner Bobby Hart, 1973 saw singer/guitarist Tommy Boyce form Christopher Cloud.  Recruiting bassist Patrick O'Connor, lead guitarist Michael Overly and drummer Bugs Pemberton, the quartet were signed by Wes Farrell's Chelsea Records.  


Produced by Boyce (credited as Tomme), "Blown Away" failed to make good on it's title.  I'll tell you I've seldom been as disappointed by an album.  Similarly, I've seldom encountered an album that's been so hard to listen to a second and third time.  Boyce was an extremely talented songwriter.  On his own and together with Bobby Hart, he crafted some of the best mid-'60s pop songs out there, including material that made The Monkees superstars ('(Theme From) The Monkees', 'Last Train to Clarksville', 'She', and 'Words').  Unfortunately anyone expecting to hear material of the same caliber on this collection was in for a major disappointment.  Hard to exactly pin down the source of my disappointment, but part of it stemmed from the fact Boyce and company sounded like they were trying too hard.  There was almost a sense of desperation across these ten songs.  "We want the audience to love us ... how many rock and roll clichés can we cram into three minutes?"  Well, judging by tracks like 'Brand New Boogie At 10 A.M' and 'Thank God For Rock 'n Roll' the answer was way too many.  Adding to the sense of despair, both songs included nods to Mick Jagger (as did 'I Heard It All Thru The Wall').  Musically this was like listening to a race to the bottom.  To my ears not one of these songs was memorable.  On performances like 'Sandra, The Cat Lover' and 'Dr. Moss' their attempts at cuteness were mind-numbingly bad.  The best of the worst was one of two covers - a slightly revamped cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Cecilia' - through the original was far better.


The album proved a commercial flop.  Boyce reappeared as a member of the pseudo-Monkees reunion 

Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart  (1975's "Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart" Capitol catalog number ST-11513).  O'Connor, Overly and  Pemberton continued their partnership, releasing a 1974 album under the name AIM ("Aim for the Highest" Blue Thumb catalog number BTS-64)




"Blown Away" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Brand New Boogie At 10 A.M.(Michael Overly -Tommy Boyce) - 5:54 rating: *** stars

Hum, at best dedicating a song to Mick Jagger comes off as cheesy and desperate.  When the song is a slice of calculated bubblegum pop, it's an even weirder move.  Interesting, that dedication aside and overlooking the sophomoric lyrics, 'Brand New Boogie At 10 A.M.' was actually a likeable slice of top-40 pop. Can't say I have a clue why Ben Benay's harmonica solo was in the mix ...

2.) Friendly Sabotage (Michael Overly -Tommy Boyce) - 3:15 rating: ** stars

Imagine Archie, Jughead and the Riverside gang trying their hands at a Little Richard-styled slice of rock and roll.  Yeah, it was pretty much dreck.

3.) Celebration (Tomme Boyce) - 6:06 rating: *** stars

Opening up with a decidedly harder rock sound, when the dark, biting and distinctly non-politically correct vocals kicked in 'Celebration' reminded me of something Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople might have recorded. Slapping effects on Boyce's voice made it even stranger.

4.) Do You Want Me, Just For Five Minutes? (Tomme Boyce) - 1:16  rating: ** stars

To be honest, 'Do You Want Me, Just For Five Minutes?' was so short it barely qualified as a song.  What was there was a pretty ballad, encumbered by the clunky title.

5.) Thank God For Rock 'n Roll (Tommy Boyce - Boyce) - 3:26 rating: ! star

Welcome to cliché 101.  Framed in a bland country-rock melody, 'Thank God For Rock 'n Roll' offered up a mind numbing list of pop and rock band names, including another nod to Mick Jagger.  I'm guessing it was meant to be cute, but it wasn't.  Who knows why, but Chelsea released the song as a single.





- 1973's 'Thank God For Rock 'n Roll' b/w 'Krush on Kris' (Chelsea catalog number BCBO-0101)





(side 2)
I Heard It All Thru The Wall (Michael Overly -Tommy Boyce) - 3:20  rating: ! star

The first time I heard the boogie rocker 'I Heard It All Thru The Wall' I wondered if I'd mistakenly set my turntable to 45 rpm. And then I wondered if I'd mistakenly slapped on a Loggins and Messina album.  Horrible and I'll be darn if it didn't include another nod to Jagger. Horrible.

2.) Cecilia (Paul Simon) - 2:48 rating: *** stars

Technically 'Cecilia' was the album's standout performance.  Admittedly their speeded up arrangement wasn't nearly as good as the bouncy Simon and Garfunkel original, but at least the melody was vaguely recognizable.  

3.) Dr. Moss (Tomme Boyce) - 1:05   rating: ! star

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, along came the pseudo-dog food commercial 'Dr. Moss'.  Seriously ...  

4.) Zip A Dee Doo Dah (Allie Wrubel - Ray Gilbert) - 4:10  rating: *** stars

Yes, it was a remake of the "Song of the South" - the opening sounded like something off a Bad Company album.  Shame the rest of the remake wasn't as good, though it was better than any of the originals.

- 1973's 'Zip A Dee Doo Dah' b/w 'Interpretation of War' (Chelsea catalog number 78-0118)

5.) Sandra, The Cat Lover (Tomme Boyce) - 4:33 rating: ** stars

Well, their attempts to rock out simply got increasingly shrill and irritating as the song went along.  The lyrics which include mention of "marijuana" guaranteed radio wasn't going to get anywhere near the song.