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November 29, 2008

SKYBAND:A look inside my record collection

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I just had to bring this one in from the garage because of the cover. I just had to give it a listen and see if the band was anywhere near as awful as this cover made them look like they were. How could they be worse? Were they made to put those silly fake "tribal headgear" things on, could they possibly have been forced at gunpoint? There's absolutely no sense of irony about the cover, other than none of them look happy to be there.

So, I put the record on and start looking it up and it turns out that a.) the record isn't horrible at all and b.) two of the members are actually from a band that I liked called Tin Tin, the English / Australian band that was produced by Maurice Gibb and released two albums through Atco. In fact, one of those two guys, Peter Beckett, had also been in a prog band called Paladin that did a couple of records for Bronze (the label responsible for Uriah Heep and Motorhead!). Beckett, as it turned out, left this band and formed the band Player and had a hit with "Baby Come Back" a few years after this. RCA records, in all of their packaging glory, provide next to no information on the cover aside from song titles and the producer. Get this: the band members aren't listed BUT somebody named Jeremy Railton is credited with "Skyband's headgear." However, from what I read on Beckett's website, despite the fact that all three embers wrote, sang and played guitar, none of them actually played on the album. Session players provided all of the music and they just sang. Usually when that happens the music isn't that interesting, but whomever they hired to knock this stuff out (again, no credits) did a really good job in their name. The single was called "Bang! Oh! Ya Got Me" and it was actually a minor hit somewhere. It's actually a bit of a rocker, surprisingly, with an odd bit of rock violin in it providing a strange bit of musical tension. Most of side one is one the not horrible side, not too unlike fellow pop-rockers Pilot, who were also fully qualified rockers stuck in a soft rock rut (but at least they had one really big hit to show for it...and they didn't have to wear head-gear!). Maybe the bar was set too low...but I'm actually quite surprised. I expected something completely awful and it's not awful at all (except to look at!). This is probably one instance where a band was corralled into looking a certain way to appeal to the broader audience, but glitter-rock was pretty much over by 1975, and the only bands that got anywhere by wearing headgear were either Redbone (who were actual Indians) or the Village People.

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