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Network: Network/Nightwork

Here's another 70's act resurrected from the vaults by Renaissance Records &, the long forgotten two albums from New York rockers Network. Both albums were originally released in 1977 & 1978, and show just what good songwriting and outstanding musicianship can do when blended together. When Network and Nighwork were thrust on the scene, pop, disco, and punk were starting to rule the airwaves, and many of the progressive rockers were quickly becoming a thing of the past. Network however embraced some of the pop & disco elements into their sound, which consisted of stellar guitar work, plenty of keyboards, tight rhythms, strong soulful vocals, and catchy melodies. Think of a more rocking Steely Dan, a more proggy Fandango, a less grungy Grand Funk Railroad, a slicker Journey, and you have an idea of where Network were coming from.

The self-titled debut is filled with songs that easily had radio potential, especially the engaging pop/disco meets prog rock keyboards gem that is "You Lied", the catchy AOR piece "Save Me, Save Me", the tender ballad "Holly", or the gritty rocker "Without You". The latter has some excellent guitar work from Richie C, who is a fine player and spreads his crunchy riffs and tasty solos all throughout these tunes. Keyboard player George Bitzer also is a force to be reckoned with, whether laying down funky electric piano & clavinet vamps, layers of orchestrations, or blazing, prog rock styled synth solos. The band could really rock out too, and they show their musical muscle on "Can't Find Another Lover" and the mystical "Backseat Driver".

From the opening track off the Nightwork part of the CD, "We're Only Into Rock And Roll", it's evident that the band were out to turn it up a notch on their sophomore release. Much heavier, and more guitar dominated, Nightwork shows a band that seemed to want to keep up with the other heavy rock bands of the late 70's rather than try and set the world on fire with hit singles, though a few tracks, like "I Already Played It" and "Don't Do Nothing Crazy", are lighter fare with plenty of catchy hooks. The meat and potatoes of this album remain the heavy rockers, and there are plenty of Aerosmith/Nazareth styled crunchers here, such as "Beautiful Lady", "Halfway to Paradise", "Stargazer", and "So So Good". Closing number "Better Man Than Me" is a great heavy rock number with some funky grooves, and again reminds of classic Grand Funk Railroad.

If many of us have never heard of the band Network, well, that's the fault of the band's record label at the time, not the band. This is very solid AOR, complete with plenty of hard rock muscle, pop sheen, and some prog musicality. Too bad they never hit the big time-this band had what it took. Kudus to Renaissance Records for making these two gems available once again.

Track Listing
1. You Lied
2. So Far Gone
3. Save Me, Save Me
4. Holly
5. Without You
6. Go Find Another Lover
7. Don't Leave Me Alone Tonight
8. Fly Away
9. Backseat Driver
10.We're Only Into Rock And Roll
11.Halfway To Paradise
12.I Already Played It
13.Beautiful Lady
15.Don't Do Nothing Crazy
17.So So Good
18.Better Man Than Me

Added: December 20th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Renaissance Records
Hits: 2260
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Network: Network/Nightwork
Posted by Glenn Stefano on 2010-01-25 14:39:45
My Score:

The track "Sundown" received very little airplay on AOR stations across the U.S. in mid-70s. However, it is being resurrected thanks to stations like KDKT-US.

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