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Thomas, Mickey - 1981 Alive Alone
» Posted by Avatar

englandashes
on May 27 2009, In 1981 Articles , 1 Comment , 2644 Reads , Print



ARTIST: Thomas, Mickey
ALBUM: Alive Alone
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: ELK 52312
YEAR: 1981

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mickey Thomas - vocals; Joe Vitale - drums; Don Felder - guitars; George 'Chocolate' Perry - bass; Paul Harris - piano

Other Musicians Steve Porcaro, Donnie Baldwin, Craig Chaquico, Norton Buffalo

TRACK LISTING: 01 She's Got You Running * 02 Alive Alone * 03 Maybe Tomorrow * 04 Following Every Finger * 05 This Time They Told The Truth * 06 Survivor * 07 You're Good With Your Love * 08 I Don't Wanna Talk About It * 09 Too Much Drama * 10 Badge

WEBLINKS: www.mickeythomas.com


Background
What I like about Glory Daze is that is presents the Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Now I am not talking about the contributors, although I myself do exhibit two of these attributes, hence no picture of me in the FAQ section, I am describing the albums that are reviewed. They don't just concentrate on the next big thing, but willing to source out those rare albums and provide an unbiased view, which sometimes means a reappraisal on so-called lost classics or those that have merely passed us by. Also albums that are really just plain poor. So this brings me to the Mickey Thomas second solo album which has all three elements housed in one platter. This was released in 1981, a follow up to his 'As Long As You Love Me' album from 1976. From what I have gathered, this second opus was a contractual obligation to the record company, I wonder if they would had been so keen if Mickey had not gained fame and fortune in joining Jefferson Starship in 1979. To give a bit of context, this was released between 'Modern Times' and 'Nuclear Furniture'. Something I will touch upon further in my summary, and interestingly, all the songs come from outside writers, including Eddie Schwartz, Andy Goldmark, Cindy Bullens and The Eagles pairing of Glenn Frey and Don Henley.


The Songs
The album begins with 'She's Got You Running', not surprisingly was also released as a single. I would be happy if they all had the same quality as this track, it's a stormer. Coming from the same vibe as Franke & The Knockouts, this is definitely one of the 'Good'. I have seen this release being sold as 'AOR perfection', well yes I can agree with this for the first track, but I doubt if the seller got to listen to the rest of the album as they could well be caught under the Trade Description Act.

'Alive Alone' has a Styx ballad appeal to it, but any earlier energy generated from the opening is soon lost. This is The Eagles with less country, although Don Felder does appears throughout this album. Actually in his book 'Heaven & Hell (My Life In The Eagles 1974 - 2001)' this album only warranted one line where he mentioned that it saw him returning to work with Bill Szymczyk.. so no interesting anecdotes about Mickey Thomas then Don? The song has a definite westcoast feel to it, but not the most invigorating title track I have ever heard.

Ah, 'Maybe Tomorrow', a Robbie Patton and Jonathan Cain co-write no less, sounds encouraging, the opening is very reminiscent of one of Robbie's tunes, then it moves into what's best described as 'swing', even crossing to 'motown' with Barry Manilow, like Steve Perry was doing on 'Street Talk' with a song like 'I Believe'. It's funny it's only when I realised it was a Robbie Patton tune that I started to appreciate it or understand it, otherwise I thought it was considerably lacking. Much like the next track..

'Following Every Finger', just when I was starting to listen more intently, this arrives. With its reggae influence running through the song, I do find this to be one of the 'Ugly'. Never my favourite genre of music and here it does not work at all.

Closing side 1 is 'The Time They Told The Truth', not a reference to Members of Parliament over their expenses claim (this is the main political story here in the UK at the moment), although we are thankful that Mickey can pronounce his T's. Another big time ballad with a Dennis De Young approach to it, plenty of backing vocals and saxophone, which means points knocked off here.

The opening to the second side being 'Survivor' is able to breathe life into the album, just as it was beginning to struggle. The song is trenched in the late 70's, excellent high pitched vocals and with the appearance of team-mate Craig Chaquico puts some fire into proceedings. The song is pushed higher and is a golden AOR track, one for the 'Good' corner.

'You're Good With Your Love', a mid paced tune but includes Satan's instrument, otherwise known as the harmonica. Really nothing saves this track, the insipid westcoast feel, the cheesy harmony vocals sounds like it was produced for the title song of a 70's television sitcom, that would be pulled after one series. Pedestrian is a good explanation, in terms it takes too long to reach the end. Another one for The 'Bad'.

'I Don't Wanna Talk About It' does try, with Mickey putting in a good vocal performance. The song has a Jimmy Barnes, Huey Lewis influence, even new wave but just doesn't instil enough melodic heartbeats to keep the listener alive (alone). I wonder if it describes Mickey view on this album?

Unfortunately it doesn't get much better with 'Too Much Dance', this really plods along, a touch of blues, country but ultimately 'Bad'.

'Badge' of course being the Cream cover so at least the album finishes with something recognisable and pleasing to listen too. It is actually a pretty good version and shows what we are all aware of, being that Mickey is one of the best vocalists ever to grace (Slick) an AOR album.


In Summary
So what constitutes a solo album? One that gives an artist a chance to diversify, a chance to record songs that maybe his current band have chosen to ignore, a chance to test the waters and look at the possibility of going solo? Well I don't think any of those meet the reasoning behind this album, as mentioned in the opening, but an album which is made up of songs all of which are from outside writers. Which is the main problem why this album doesn't work, there are too many diverse styles competing, it doesn't flow which means they is no golden thread running through the album. With the calibre of the writers you would expect better results, but hey the more I played the album the more the tunes started to express themselves. Yes there are a couple of stinkers and with too many contributors it struggles with consistency. A case of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.


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#1 | gdazegod on July 09 2017 12:54:10
Great article. Agree with you on 'She's Got You Running' and 'Survivor'. Two superb tracks.
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