BLACK BAMBI – Black Bambi (remastered reissue 2017)
Here’s another one from the vaults: BLACK BAMBI self-titled album recorded in 1990 with Beau Hill as producer but shelved due to music industry uselessness. “Black Bambi” finally got released in 2001, but now 20th Century Music has made it available again with a refreshed sound.
Black Bambi is another example of a band that has it all to make it big: great musicianship, the looks, a recording contract with Atlantic Records and a top producer in Beau Hill. However, they were missing an important factor; luck.
The band initially came together when San Diego transplant Steven Ray Anastos left his band City Slick only to discover than another band from his hometown, Aircraft, had also called it a day. Having admired that band’s material, Anastos decided to call guitarist Ronny Jones to see if they might put something together to test the waters and soon after Steven and the bulk of Aircraft were in business as BLACK BAMBI.
Playing their first show at The Whiskey A Go-Go on New Year’s Eve 1987, the band ran through a handful of shows before the rhythm section was ousted in favor of bassist John Grimmett and drummer Dave Casey.
At this point the band’s sound became more focused with a classic hard rock imprint, and a buzz was swiftly building throughout the major labels.
1989 would see the band sign with the legendary John Carter at Atlantic Records and they were immediately sent into Enterprise Studios with highly sought after producer Beau Hill behind the board for an album that was scheduled for an early 1990 release.
Opening slots with both Badlands and The Black Crowes followed and BLACK BAMBI were primed for major success. And then the bottom fell out.
Basically, they were orphaned. Carter parted ways with Atlantic Records right as the band were completing the album. The timing could not have been worse. BLACK BAMBI were left high & dry and there was no coming back from that.
Musically “Black Bambi” is pure late ’80s sounding classic hard rock, with mature songwriting and that slick production from the era. Think a mix of The Cult ‘Sonic Temple’, Tesla, Badlands, Vain, Atomic Playboys, etc.
The track ‘Dancing With The Shadows’ is probably Black Bambi in microcosm: bright rhythm section, sharp guitars, lyrics that would pass the lips of The Cult frontman without a problem with a slightly Vince Neil-esque delivery and wrapped in a big-bollocked, airy production guaranteed to sound good on a Sunset Strip dancefloor at two in the morning.
There’s songs like me ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Cry Blackbird Cry’ really sounding like lost glam metal classics, and it’s nice to get the chance to hear some ‘new’ hair metal recorded at the scene of the crime and not reimagined by post modern hipsters or balding has beens looking to reignite their glory days thanks to a small pay check from voracious nostalgia-loving record labels.
20th Century Music has done a very nice job with the tapes sound (this is not the poor bootleg floating the web). The album has just been digitally released and will be available on physical CD next Friday 18th.
01 – Mary’s Birthday
02 – In the Meantime
03 – Cry Blackbird Cry
04 – Crucified
05 – Seven Miles to Rome
06 – Dancing with the Shadows
07 – Down
08 – The Celebration
09 – 99 1/2
10 – Broken Mirror
11 – Lay Me Down
12 – Soul of a Child
Steven Ray Anastos: lead vocals
Mark Crowley: guitar
John Grimmett: bass
Dave Casey: drums
produced by Beau Hill
BUY IT !