lit80s

I gave Jules a quick once-over a little over three years ago, so I think it’s high time I spotlighted another track of Shear beauty, this one from his stellar solo debut, Watch Dog. Bearing the distinctive production stamp of Todd Rundgren as well as guitar work from Elliot Easton, Watch Dog is one of the shining gems of 1983, or as it’s more commonly known around these parts, the Best Year for Music Ever!

Besides featuring “All Through the Night,” later a top-five hit for Cyndi Lauper, Watch Dog is jam-packed with hooks and memorable tunes like “I Need It” and “She’s in Love Again.” It’s a damn shame it was only on CD for a fifth of a second; used copies, should you ever be able to find one, run upwards of $100 or more. The brightest moment on the album has to be its opener, the heartbreaking “Whispering Your Name” (download), the story of a man who discovers his lover still has another in her heart thanks to her sleeptalking. Here’s where Rundgren’s production is patently obvious, but whereas it usually tends to overpower the artist in question, with Shear it works beautifully.

Let me take a moment here to rant about record companies and their stranglehold on out-of-print masters. EMI is sitting on both Watch Dog and Shear’s second solo album, The Eternal Return (1985), letting them rot in a vault somewhere. Music consumers, especially you wonderful people who read Popdose, know how easy it would be to digitize these masters and throw them up on iTunes or Amazon. So why the delay? Especially in this economy, where the low overhead makes this a slam dunk. Argh. Drives me nuts. Rant over.

Although it was released as Watch Dog‘s lead single, “Whispering Your Name” failed to chart. The album didn’t move that many copies, either, but it obviously had fans, as Lauper’s cover of “All Through the Night” proved. Another artist a decade later covered yet another song off Watch Dog, and we’ll feature it on Thursday’s Lost in the ’90s. Be here, won’t you?

“Whispering Your Name” did not chart.

Get Jules Shear music at Amazon or on Jules Shear

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