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City Boy: Anthology

Sounding remarkably quirky in the same way as say Supertramp or Roxy Music could at times, City Boy hailed from Birmingham in England and formed in the mid-seventies. Whilst they did have the odd hit (most notably the opening track to this album "5-7-0-5"), they are now best remembered for containing Lol Mason would go onto success with his band Maisonettes, and Mike Slamer who would team up with Kansas' Steve Walsh in the band Streets, before moving on to Steelhouse Lane and a successful solo career. In truth the fact that this band's legacy isn't actually stronger than that is decidedly unfair on an act who not only had an ear for some catchy tunes, killer choruses and classy hooks, but also added some real weight to their music through cracking musicianship and stunning arrangements.

Releasing six albums between 1976 and 1980 (a seventh It's Personal was also in recorded 1982, but not released until 2004 and isn't represented here), City Boy were a real class act, if a rather light-weight one, who used layered vocals and elements of rock, pop, funk, classical, and AOR to create clever songs that should have seen them flying high in the singles chart on a regular basis. The first five City Boy albums were also notable for the early influence of a certain producer under the name of Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who go on to multi-platinum success with AC/DC, Def Leppard and Shania Twain, and while these albums came along very early in his career, the ambitious arrangements and interesting multi-layered vocals and instrumentation were definitely a sign of what he would be heavily involved with in years to come.

Highlights on the disc come thick and fast, with the standout being the hit "5-7-0-5", which is so damn catchy that my whole family were singing along on first listen, while the other minor City Boy hits "What A Night" and "The Day The Earth Caught Fire" are also great illustrations of how to write hook laden poppy hits, that aren't overly simple or throwaway. In truth every one of the eighteen songs on this album could, or indeed should have been chart hits, as the multi-part vocals courtesy of Mason and guitarist Steve Broughton who shared lead vocals are simply fantastic, while guitarists Slamer and Broughton, keyboard player Max Thomas and bassist Chris Dunn are as tight a poppy, rock, jazzed, funk unit as you'll ever find. The only spot in City Boy that altered during the band's time was behind the drum kit with Roger Kent, Roy Ward and Tony Braunagel all passing through, although by the time of the final album represented here (1980's Heads Are Rolling), Broughton and Dunn had had enough, with the rest of the band following suit in 1982 when City Boy split.

Anthology is a great collection that illustrates that City Boy were an act with real poise and presence who still deserve to be on the radio to this very day with the regularuty that the likes of Supertramp still are.

Track Listing
1. 5-7-0-5
2. I've Been Spun
3. Shake My Head And Leave, (Moonlight)
4. Dinner At The Ritz
5. The Day The Earth Caught Fire
6. Heads Are Rolling
7. Beth
8. Hap-Ki-Do Kid
9. Bad For Business
10. Modern Love Affairs
11. She's Got Style
12. Need A Little Loving
13. What A Night
14. Surgery Hours (Doctor Doctor)
15. Goodbye Blue Monday
16. New York Times
17. You're Leaving Me
18. Young Men Gone West

Added: June 10th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link:
Hits: 1712
Language: english

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