Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Rockets - 1981 - Back Talk

The Rockets 
Back Talk

01. Back Talk
02. Jealous
03. Lift You Up
04. Shanghaied
05. Love For Hire
06. I Can't Get Satisfied
07. Tired Of Wearing Black
08. I'll Be Your Lover
09. American Dreams
10. Lie To Me

Bass – Bobby Neil Haralson
Drums, Lead Vocals – John "Bee" Badanjek
Guitar – Dennis Robbins
Guitar – Jim McCarty
Keyboards – Donnie Backus
Lead Vocals – Dave Gilbert
Percussion – Jack Douglas

The hard-rocking Rockets from Detroit almost hit the big time with their 1979 record Rockets (Turn Up the Radio). They had two pretty solid AOR staples (in the Detroit area anyway) with their blistering cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" and the rollicking "Turn Up the Radio." However, by the time of 1981's Back Talk, the band was still trapped in the netherworld of being a perennial opening act and really struggling to survive. It shows in the music, as almost every song seems to be aping another act or trying a different sound. Mostly though they sound like a good bar band of the early '80s able to crank out good-time summer rock & roll ("Back Talk"), moody ballads ("Jealous"), blue-eyed soul ("Lift You Up," "Lie to Me"), lighter-waving ballads ("Tired of Wearing Black") and tunes to get the girls out on the dance floor ("I Can't Get Satisfied," "I'll Be Your Lover"). At times (especially when Johnny Badanjek takes over the vocals from somewhat shrill David Gilbert) they sound a lot like Huey Lewis & the News, a good-natured bunch of lifers with loads of talent and spunk. What they came up with is a decent rock record really worth re-discovering.

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