To read past installments of Notes from the Soundboard, click here.
One constant theme of this column is a fixation on bands and artists that somehow fell through the cracks that occur within pop music's lengthy trajectory. That's one hazard of rock's rich repertoire -- so many artists, but so little time to absorb it all. Fortunately, the industry's current obsession with reissues offers a second opportunity to rediscover music that may have been overlooked the first time around.
Once such opportunity has presented itself with the re-release of several albums by the Scottish band, Blue. When the band first appeared on vinyl in the early '70s via a self-titled album, its instantly accessible, pure pop sound won the hearts of all who heard it ... which sadly was far too few.
Nevertheless, the obvious influence of the Beatles -- Paul McCartney in particular -- as well as Badfinger was evident from the first track, "Red Light Song." And with one member of the trio proving to be a dead ringer for both Macca and Badfinger's Joey Molland, conspiracy theorists might have had cause to suspect they were secretly cloned from the same source.
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Despite an early signing to music mogul Robert Stigwood's RSO label, Blue failed to attract notice, despite Stigwood's music industry clout. This was especially surprising given the fact that aside from managing the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton, he was also the impresario behind the films "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease").
Blue had its next shot at the big time when the band associated itself with Elton John's custom Rocket label, and subsequent albums Life in the Navy, Another Night Time Flight, and Fool's Party ought to have gotten it more attention. After all, the musicians were still quite prolific in terms of melodic appeal and an irresistible embrace, which helped boost them briefly into the U.S. charts with a single called "Capture Your Heart." Sadly though, lasting fame never seemed within the band's grasp and by the time the '80s were over, Blue was through.
Fortunately, though, Blue may yet get its due thanks to reissues of its early catalogue, along with two previously unreleased entries, Country Blue and the L.A. Sessions. Both of these show that for all the band members' disappointment, the musical quality was as high as ever. Hints of early country rock ala the Eagles and Poco found an excellent symmetry with their blueprint pop rock approach.
Those who fancy catchy choruses, soothing melodies and ready refrains would be well advised to make the leap into an obscure unknown by checking out these offerings. Even those with less adventurous instincts might want to brave a tentative step by ordering Blue 20, a collection of fan favorites from throughout the group's career. After all, one thing is certain. In the music biz, yesterday's lost treasure can be today's dynamic discovery.