CITY BOY – Book Early [Air Mail Japan miniLP remastered]
CITY BOY was one of the most underrated British acts of the ’70s-’80s. The Birmingham area band was the first major exposure of talented guitarist Mike Slamer (Streets, Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key, Terry Brock, Devil’s Hand). Also, City Boy’s earlier albums were produced by famous Robert John “Mutt” Lange (Def Leppard), his first international work after relocating to the UK from South Africa.
Mutt (a.k.a. ‘Crisp Ears’) became the seventh member of the band, helping the group hone their musical skills and assisting with City Boy’s amazing vocal harmonies.
Their breakthrough came in 1978 with their hit song “18.104.22.168.” (Mutt Lange’s first hit single) and the subsequent album “Book Early“.
The cut reached the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart, achieving also a silver award for 200,000 copies sold, and also made the top 30 in the U.S., peaking at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
City Boy toured the USA in 1979 supporting the album playing a total of 66 concerts.
The material featured on “Book Early” is easily among the band’s most accessible stuff, an enjoyable slice of commercially oriented pompy AOR.
All tracks are bright and energetic tunes with E.L.O. and Queen influences (specially for the elaborated vocal arrangements), pomp hints ala New England and a Eagles soft rock feel in some places.
Songs as the breezy “22.214.171.124.”, the beautifully orchestrated “What A Night” or the meaty “Cigarettes” where Mike Slamer shines on the guitar, makes “Book Early” a very consistent album.
Fortunately, the five first City Boy albums have been freshly remastered featuring a 24-bit treatment, and released as a cardboard sleeve (mini LP) that faithfully replicates the UK first press LP design.
This is the best way to discover (or re-discover for old school AOR fans) a very good band that never got a deserved attention, to appreciate Mike Slamer’s talents on the six strings and check out why Robert “Mutt” Lange became the best rock producer in the years to come.
Great sound and package. Highly Recommended.
01 – 5-7-0-5
02 – Summer In The School Yard
03 – Goodbye Laurelie
04 – Raise Your Glass (To Foolish Me)
05 – Cigarettes
06 – What A Night
07 – Do What You Do, Do Well
08 – The World Loves A Dancer
09 – Beth
10 – Moving In Circles
11 – Dangerous Ground
Steve Broughton – Guitar, Lead & Backing Vocals
Chris Dunn – Bass, Acoustic Guitar
Lol Mason – Lead & Backing Vocals
Mike Slamer – Guitars
Max Thomas – Keyboards
Roy Ward – Drums, Lead & Backing Vocals
Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange – Bass, Backing Vocals, Production
Merle Anger – Guitar
Roy Babbington – Bass
Greg Mathieson (David Roberts, Steve Lukather) – Keyboards