Saturday, July 2, 2016

Brownsville Station - 1975 - Motor City Connection

Brownsville Station
Motor City Connection

01. Automatic Heartbreak 3:00
02. One That Got Away 5:30
03. Self Abuse 2:53
04. Crazy Legs 3:19
05. Give It To Get It 3:27
06. Combination Boogie 2:25
07. Load Of Love 4:51
08. You Know Better 3:26
09. They Call Me Rock 'N' Roll 9:23
   a. They Call Me Rock 'N' Roll, Part 1 1:41
   b. God Bless Rock 'N' Roll 2:45
   c. Can't Wait For Friday Night 2:15
   d. Welcome 1:33
   e. They Call Me Rock 'N' Roll, Part II 1:09

Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards – Michael "Sam" Lutz
Drums, Percussion – Henry "H-Bomb" Weck
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Lap Steel Guitar – Cub Koda

If Yeah! and School Punks were nonstop parties, Brownsville Station's fifth album, Motor City Connection, is the hangover, the one where the group reckons with the aftermath of having a good time all of the time. Most of the original numbers are racked in guilt, heartbreak, and self-recrimination, tales of broken hearts and loneliness, highlighted by the moody and driving opener, "Automatic Heartbreak," the bitter yet swaggering "Self Abuse," and the proto-power ballad "You Know Better." In between these moments of introspection are a couple of good covers -- J.B. Hutto's "Combination Boogie" and the Little Walter instrumental "Crazy Legs" -- and the album ends with the suite "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll," a nine-minute epic that is the closest old-time rock & roll ever came to art rock. Cub Koda is now firmly the band's frontman -- Michael Lutz only sings a segment of "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll" -- and the group is more musically ambitious here, trying a little bit of everything. Not only is there the aforementioned suite, but there's a variety of guitar sounds; it's not all pedal-to-the-metal distortion. There are some synthesizers in the mix and the entire sound has been streamlined, so it's sleek and hard-hitting, bringing them away from their patented boogie rock and closer to the mid-'70s mainstream. While the bandmembers were most at home tearing it up -- as evidenced by the hardest-rocking numbers here -- they still sounded good with a little more polish, and that variety makes Motor City Connection one of Brownsville Station's more intriguing albums, even if it's not among their most consistent.

Brownsville Station - 1974 - School Punks

Brownsville Station 
School Punks

01. Kings Of The Party 4:12
02. Mama Don't Allow No Parkin' 3:05
03. Meet Me On The Fourth Floor 2:54
04. Fast Phyllis 2:35
05. I Get So Excited 2:54
06. Ostrich 2:52
07. I Got It Bad For You 2:35
08. Hey Little Girl
09. I've Got Love If You Want It / I'm A King Bee 4:14
10. I'm The Leader Of The Gang 3:33

Drums – Henry "H-Bomb" Weck
Vocals, Bass – Michael "Sam" Lutz
Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica – Cub Koda

Flush from the success of "Smokin' in the Boys Room," which climbed all the way to number three on the pop charts, Brownsville Station was eager to keep the party going, deciding the best way to do so was to capitalize on the juvenile delinquent image they captured so perfectly on their big breakthrough. Hence, the title of their quickly released follow-up is School Punks; the illustrated cover pictures the trio all decked out in leather in front of a graffiti-ridden school wall; the opening cut, "Kings of the Party," references the hit; "Meet Me on the Fourth Floor" rewrites it; and "Mama Don't Allow No Parkin'" and "Fast Phyllis" tell similar tales of high-school misadventures. Unlike Yeah!, which had only two originals, School Punks is heavy on new material from Cub Koda and Michael Lutz, which are punctuated by well-chosen covers like Geno Washington's "I Get So Excited," a blues medley of "I've Got Love if You Want It/I'm a King Bee," and Gary Glitter's "I'm the Leader of the Gang." The other big change is that Koda has become the unofficial leader of the band. He sang "Smokin' in the Boys Room" and he sings everything here with the exception of the cover of Dee Clark's "Hey Little Girl," which Lutz sings. Cub gives the band an appealing, funny, down-and-dirty persona that suits the band's heavier attack on School Punks. While there's nothing as undeniable as "Smokin' in the Boys Room," "Kings of the Party" and "I'm the Leader of the Gang" are rampaging rockers, "Ostritch" is a very funny stomping country-rocker, the band gets to stretch out on the blues medley, and the whole record just feels like one nonstop party.