Record Mirror - September 22nd 1979
THE PRODUCERS - take 1
ALL IN A LITTLE NAME
JAMES PARADE encounters the golden eared ones.
(Please note - I have only typed out parts of this article which were Blondie related - Mark Bruce)
JUST TAKE a quick glance at your record collection when you get home from work tonight. Look at that little name pushed up on the left hand side of the label where it says "Produced By" and the chances are you'll see names like Tony Visconti, Giorgio Moroder, Mike Chapman, George Martin, Phil Spector and Mickie Most popping out of that plastic.
It's well known that in Britain groups such as Sweet, Mud, Suzi Quatro and Smokie would probably never have even existed had it not been for commercial masters like Chinn and Chapman and Phil Wainman being seated at the controls. And Mickie Most, who has manufactured more bands than Racey have smiles has had crane loads of hits from the days of the Animals, Herman's Hermits and Donovan up to the wonderful Racey. Uncharacteristically, Most failed with his punk and powerpop proteges the Vibrators and the Autographs.
American Richard Gottehrer who has directed Robert Gordon, the Yachts and Dr Feelgood let Blondie - who he also discovered - have their rein on 'Plastic Letters' though he had completely controlled what was critically lauded as their most inventive album 'Blondie' but which was to no avail as far as success went.
They always sounded confused and badly arranged with Gottehrer and though Mike Chapman of Chinnichap was heavily criticised for making them sound 'too commercial and tinny' his involvement led to hits like 'Heart Of Glass', 'Sunday Girl' and 'Hanging On The Telephone'. Before Gottehrer, the unfortunate Yachts also suffered at the hands of Will Birch (of the Records) and ex-Deaf Schoolboy Clive Langer. All of which can't have done very much for their commercial prospects.
1 full-page ad for the Blondie single - Dreaming.
Reviewed by PAUL SEXTON
Good enuff to eat
BLONDIE: 'Dreaming' (Chrysalis). Blondie are getting typecast in their 45s, even if this is new from 'Eat To The Beat'. But everybody will eat it so who's to complain. Soundwise, it's 'Picture This' compromising with 'Sunday Girl'. Another number one, by the way.
BACK TO THE ROOTS
BLONDIE: 'Eat To The Beat' (Chrysalis CDL 1225)
THE BIG one, eh kids? More wrist fodder and a soundtrack too. This, Blondie's fourth album is the work that Chris Stein described as "uh, experimental, though a bit like da furst album". The similarity to the band's first outing is undeniable, though on an experimental level it is on a par with Status Quo. What is clear here is the fact that as the face of the cattle-market reaches even more frightening levels the music falters, the band slip the cabbage in their back pockets and knock out sub-standard pap. Their sole consolation is the fact that they can spout, 'Blondie is uh groop' and hope that this untruth is digested. Really it's all a bit pathetic, Debs dear. All the kids want is a picture of you and I wouldn't have minded a small remembrance of something more solid.
It's true Blondie have created some masterful pop. The first two albums bristled with quality and vitality. 'Parallel Lines' had the odd nice tune and bowed low to the demands of American commercialism, 'Eat To The Beat' is merely half baked deletion bin barf.
'Dreaming', the current single and no doubt hurtling hit-wards as you read, is 'X Offender' with no gonads. 'The Hardest Part' and 'Union City Blue' are straight hard rock, the first with funk overtones and both boringly American and derivative. 'Shayla' is the archetypal Blondie ballad that has bred contempt in it's familiarity. The only half way decent track on side one is the title track, a slice of fine R'n'B-based pop with exemplary drumming from Clem Burke and neat harp break from one Randy Hennes. 'Accidents Never Happen' sounds like 'Detroit 442' and fizzles the side out.
Side the second opens with 'Die Young Stay Pretty', a limp reggae work out that would shame the Barron knights. 'Slow Motion' sounds like a Tamla Motown reject, even so it's the best of the side. 'Atomic' must surely be parody. Imagine The Shadows playing a disco version of 'Three Blind Mice' and you have it. 'Sound-A-Sleep' is a lullaby that works. 'Victor' is unmitigated crap. Again the sub-Batman riff is employed, Debs screams while the boys in the band audition for a part in 'African Queen'. More mediocrity closes the album. 'Living In The Real World' is preceded with a screamed '1-2-3-4' and sounds rilly punky. It would shame some of the worst supports I've seen down the Nashville.
No one is going to convince me that this is a good album. No one. 'Eat To The Beat' marks Blondie's arrival as a (sic) supergroup. It stinks. ++ RONNIE GURR.
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