Band members Related acts
- Bill Jerome (?) -- vocals
- Steve Jerome (?) -- vocals
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Hot Ice
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: 5949
The Tomorrow label is one of those infamous mid-1970s tax scam labels. Like the Dellwood, Guinness, and Tiger Lily imprints, there isn't a great deal known about this company. Because it was smaller and lesser known, biographical information on Tomorrow is even scantier. In fact, this album doesn't even show up on the few label discographies that are out there ... if you locate one, catalog number TVI-136 is normally shown as 'unknown'. As you can imagine, even without hearing the music, I was pretty happy to stumble across this one since it added one more piece to the tax scam puzzle.
Even though there wee no performance credits on 1977's "Hot Ice", the album appears to have been the work of brothers Bill and Steve Jerome. In addition to producing the album, the brothers seem to have written all ten tracks (the publishing credits were shown as Probosis Music). Can't say I know a great deal about the Jerome brothers. I know they've worked in the business for decades, starting out with a Brooklyn record store/recording studio and produced acts as diverse and The Fifth Estate, The Left Banke, and Reparata & the Delrons. They've written music, engineered, produced, worked as studio musicians, and A&R men. All-in-all careers most folks would love to have enjoyed ! (For anyone interested in the convoluted tax scam story, the Jeromes also produced an album for the Guinness label - 1977's "Lady Luck" which was credited to 'Northern' (Guinness catalog number GNS-36060). Not quite as good as the album by The Former Members of the N.Y. Rock Ensemble (also on the Tomorrow label), but still one of the better 'pop' releases on a tax scam label and well worth looking for.
Based on the band name and album title I was expecting to hear a collection of soul, or funk numbers. Naturally I was dead wrong. In this case the ten tracks featured a collection of 1960s and 1970s-styled commercial pop - some of it quite good.
"Hot Ice" track listing:
1.) Elener (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: **** stars
'Elener' (the title was actually sung as 'Eleanor'), sounded like something lifted off of a mid-1960s album by The Turtles. Boasting one of those 1960s' styled sunshine pop melodies with a breezy melody and smiley harmonies, it made for a fantastic slice of power pop that also would have made a nice toothpaste commercial. One of my favorite performances.
2.) Smuggler Dan (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: *** stars
In contrast to the first song, 'Smuggler Dan' had a distinctive mid-1970s pop feel. With Mexicana-flavoring, the cutesy 'story' lyric was something that you either loved, or found totally insipid ... Not my favorite performance, but it certainly had top-40 potential so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.
3.) We Gotta Live with One Another (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: ** stars
To my ears 'We Gotta Live with One Another' sounded like something a '70s act like Lobo might have recorded. Well written commercial pop with a catchy chorus, this was more product than art, but so what ...
4.) Honey Child (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: **** stars
Yeah, I'll admit the fact that it featured what sounded like a Coral electric sitar won me over ... For what it was worth, 'Honey Child' sounded like something Neil Diamond might have written and recorded in the mid-1960s. A nice, upbeat pop number that faded out way too early. The vocal comparison to early Diamond was uncanny.
5.) Come On with Me (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: *** stars
With Phil Spector-styled production (there were even what sounded like kettle drums in the mix), 'Come On with Me' had the 'big' echoic sound you associate with acts like The Everly Brothers. Very retro mid-1960s atmosphere on this one which actually made it quite entertaining.
The first disappointment, side two's 'Get Together' suffered from out of tune vocals. The lead singer(s) simply didn't sound very comfortable in the higher register ... The spoken word section didn't exactly help the song, nor did the MOR horn arrangement.
2.) Same Old Thing (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: ** stars
A heavily orchestrated ballad, 'Same Old Thing' was another track that sounded somewhat shaky. Perhaps only intended as a demo, the song was also a bit on the MOR side of the spectrum. Pass.
3.) Funky World (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: **** stars
In spite of the title, 'Funky World' was another up tempo pop gem. Complete with great thundering bass pattern that would have made John Entwistle proud, and some of those carefree sunshine pop lyrics, this one was radio-ready.
4.) Sofia (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: *** stars
Like the earlier 'Elener', 'Sofia' captured the mid-1960s sound that made The Turtles such a guilty pleasure. The downside was that come 1977 that 1967 sound was hopelessly out of favor with the buying public. Shame since this was mindless pop pleasure ... Great tune.
5.) We Can Make the World (Steve Jerome - Bill Jerome) - rating: *** stars
Initially 'We Can Make the World' struck me as a sappy throwaway track, but after a couple of spins the song's retro appeal kicked in and registered with me. Yeah, the 'we can save the world' lyric has dated, but it still made for a happy trip down the nostalgia road ... Hum, reminds me of The Partridge Family a little bit.
I actually got in contact with Bill Jerome a couple of years ago. I was curious to learn whether he knew about the Northern LP. Based on our brief email exchange, he indicated he was unaware of the LP, but when I asked about the Guinness label, the emails abruptly came to an end.
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