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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Rick Springfield

The Early Sound City Sessions

Review by Gary Hill

Rick Springfield pretty much ruled a big chunk of the music world for a while. He was one part rock star, one part TV Star (remember Noah Drake on General Hospital) and all pop idol. The thing is, he also had musical talent. This disc was recorded by him before he broke big. Unfortunately it was never released. I say “unfortunately” because there is really some great music here. The production leaves a bit to be desired at times (just in the fact that it’s a little flat and rather dated) but the disc can still entertain. It’s highly recommended for Springfield’s die-hard fans, but the more casual listeners might want to pick it up, too because it gives a peek at the early incarnation of Springfield’s sound.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Starting with a stripped down bluesy approach this turns to a killer rocker as it carries on. Springfield’s voice delivers with a great sense of rock and roll authority and the whole track has a classic sound and arrangement. Lyrically this addresses a situation of Springfield getting mistaken for Springsteen as in the title “Bruce.”
Just One Look
This has a more stripped down, ‘50’s rock feel. It doesn’t do a lot for me, but it does have character.

The Solitary One
“The Solitary One” reminds me at times of Huey Lewis, but the verse is more evocative and potent than most of Lewis’ music. It’s a pretty cool track and actually one of the better ones on show here. The chorus has a meaty rock and roll sound to it.

Spanish Eyes
This mellower cut that feels a bit like some of Hall and Oates’ stuff is one of my favorites on the CD. This track has such a great texture to it. It rocks out a bit more in some parts, but manages to maintain its mood.
Everybody's Cheating
Here we get an anthemic ballad like number. I like this one a lot. It has a lot of emotional oomph and is another standout.  Springfield and company turn in a bit of hurdy gurdy approach later, lending a Beatles-like feel to it for a while.
Looking For The One
This bluesy, bouncy rocker is fun. It’s nothing spectacular but works pretty well nonetheless. The section later where they power up the arrangement is quite strong.
Cold Feet
Here’s another that feels a bit like Huey Lewis. It’s still got the Rick Springfield approach and a killer rock and roll attitude. “Cold Feet,” with its playful arrangement is another highlight of the CD.

Brand New Feeling
Starting fairly mellow, this is a pretty standard 1970’s style rocker in one way. It’s got a healthy helping of soul and R & B in the arrangement, though. It works pretty well and the funky bass line is nice (if perhaps a bit too far in the mix at times), but this track doesn’t really stand taller than the bulk of the music here.
Beautiful Feelings
A bluesy ballad, this is one of the most emotional pieces on the CD. It’s also the most purely held in the ballad basis. It’s also one of the strongest cuts on the disc, due to a large part on Springfield’s powerhouse vocal performance.
A little bit over the top in terms of the arrangement and themes, this is a good song, but nothing earth shattering. Of all the material here, this is probably the one that would get you to hit “skip.” Not that it’s that bad, but it’s not on the same level as the rest of the music here. It does get better in the later moments, but it’s a little too little, a little too late.
Still Got The Magic
Here’s a cool riff driven rocker with a lot of funk to bring things back at the end. This is a great number and another highlight of the disc. That makes it an excellent choice to close things out.
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