Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Rockets - 1980 - No Ballads

The Rockets
No Ballads

01. Desire
02. Don't Hold On
03. Restless
04. Sally Can't Take
05. Takin' It Back
06. Time After Time
07. Sad Songs
08. I Want You To Love Me
09. Is It True
10. Troublemaker

Bass – Dan Keylon
Drums, Backing Vocals – John "Bee" Badanjek
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Dennis Robbins
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Jim McCarty
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Donnie Backus
Lead Vocals – Dave Gilbert
Organ – Lee Michaels

No Ballads had "Desire," the band's best, written by Rockets guitarist Dennis Robbins (now a successful Nashville songwriter) and Bee; it only dented Billboard's Top 100, but won mad radio play and should've landed the band atop the AOR heap. Buoyed by Bee's "Sad Songs," a "Sally Can't Dance" cover and an apt (and unironic) closer, Gilbert and McCarty's "Troublemaker," the album was serviceably rock-solid. 

Hard to imagine, but here was a Motor City band penning true, blue-collar, Detroit-style anthems for hard-working beer drinkers, radio and girls, a band that'd trekked across this continent countless times playing arenas supporting the biggest names in rock 'n' roll, recorded five albums on four different major labels — it was a rock 'n' roll machine that did everything … but truly succeed. 

Looking back, listening, something's dark about the Rockets, something feels doomed. Timing is everything and the end of the '70s might as well have been the end of the century, musically. Oh well.

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