Welcome back to another edition of Mellow Gold goodness, sissies!
I’ll be honest – when Jefito suggested I start a series about Mellow Gold, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure there was really an audience eager for review of this music. However, given that many of you have sent me tracks you feel embody Mellow Gold, clearly I’m wrong. Thanks for sending them in, and keep sending – in time, I’ll try to cover as many as I can, and together, we can TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
So, on that note, I’m happy to present the All-Request Edition of Mellow Gold! Rejoice!
The Boys Band – Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m On Fire) (download)
If you’ve heard this song before,
shame on you I’m impressed. Much like Sneaker, I was not previously familiar with the works of The Boys Band. Our good friend Gerald (aka “The Clone Ranger”) from Austria sent me some tracks by the group, which he faithfully transferred directly from the original LP. (Stop laughing at Gerald, people, that’s not cool.) There were a handful to choose from, and it was a tough decision, but I eventually decided to go with this track, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. First, some history on The Boys Band.
(look! Doug Henning’s in a rock band!)
The Boys Band released their self-titled debut in 1982, and originally was comprised of three members: Greg Gordon (lead vocals), Rusty Golden (keyboards), and B. James Lowry (guitars). Eventually, they fleshed out the band to include other members, most notably Rusty’s brother Chris Golden on drums. All four were, at one time or another, musicians in The Oak Ridge Boys; Rusty and Chris’s father, was a member of the Oaks since 1965, and had financed The Boys Band project.
The band represents the country-twinged side of Mellow Gold. Gerald likens them to Poco, which I definitely hear, and I think Gordon has a vocal quality not unlike Glenn Frey’s. The tracks I’ve heard are just gentle enough, with enough of the smooth harmonies, to qualify for wuss status – especially this one.
“Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m On Fire),” which opens with the smoldering intensity of a Joey Scarbury tune, spent 8 weeks in the Billboard Top 100, but gosh darn it, I can’t find any record of how high it got. So I’m going to guess it peaked at around #88, maybe.
There are two ways, in my opinion, to express the emotion of being on fire. You can be like Bruce Springsteen, who expresses such a sentiment in “I’m On Fire” and is clearly referring to a slow and steady fire; not out of control, and perhaps bubbling just below the surface. Or you’ve got the clearly out-of-control, high danger sentiment of setting someone on fire, like “Fire” by Arthur Brown.
The Boys Band express “I’m On Fire” in such a way that you’re left thinking that maybe one of them is holding a match, or maybe a birthday candle. If anything’s on fire, maybe it’s his shoelace. There’s no danger here. I’m not convinced you’re on fire, sir! Plus, the line in the chorus actually goes, “PLEASE don’t stop me baby, I’m on fire.” Please? PLEASE? How frickin’ polite of you! If you’re on fire, and you want to stay on fire, you’re going to have to make this plea much more urgent. Because I’m about to take a little paper Dixie cup of water and throw it on your shoelace. Pssssssstttt! Now you’re not on fire anymore, you big baby!
I’m left to wonder why they shortened the title. “I don’t know, Boys, leaving ‘Please’ in the title makes us sound wimpy. Whereas the rest of the song clearly lets the audience know we’re on fucking fire. Yeah, let’s leave ‘Please’ out. Ooooh – and let’s put in a key change near the end, right on “higher and higher,” so they actually know we’re really going higher and higher! We’re geniuses! Get ready, Boys, we’re finally gettin’ laid for sure!”
The Boys Band’s debut was also their final album. Each member went on to a number of different projects – too many to list here. However, I would like to mention that the Golden brothers did go on to form the following band:
You can’t make this shit up. Thanks, Gerald, for your Mellow Gold suggestion!
Lauren Wood – Please Don’t Leave (download)
Everybody, please thank our reader woofpop for this one. When he described Lauren Wood as “the female McDonald” in the comments of a previous MG entry, I knew we had to feature it here. For starters, you could listen to “Please Don’t Leave” and imagine McD singing every single word. As it is, the song is a duet between the two of them, and a fine, fine one at that. I mean, it’s got the McD trademark drums, bass and keys, production by McDonald compadre Ted Templeman, a sax solo, and a drum break with hand claps. It’s a fucking awesome song, and for that reason, I really don’t have much to say about it (because clearly I only have a lot to say when I’m being snarky). In fact, woofpop describes it best: “it’s pure ’79 – sleeker than a Camaro Berlinetta. That popping bassline; the bells; that breakdown in the middle of the song – Robbie Dupree would have killed for a song like this.” You said it, brother!
“Please Don’t Leave” went to #20 on the Billboard Pop charts, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary charts. In 1981, she recorded a song entitled “Fallen,” which was somehow selected for inclusion on the Pretty Woman soundtrack nine years later. I will come clean right now and tell you that for my birthday in 1990, I received my first CD player from my parents and a handful of CDs. The very first one I received was the Pretty Woman soundtrack. This has nothing to do with Lauren Wood.
Did I mention that if Lauren Wood is the female McD, her hair makes her the female Rod Stewart?
(or maybe Dave Pirner?)
Check out her website, why don’t you? It’s well-designed and quite funny. You’ll note, when viewing her discography, that she sang the theme song to Just Shoot Me, is probably a familiar voice to your kids from her voiceover work, and successfuly negotiated the end of the Vietnam War. (I’m totally stealing this for my acting resume.)
Thanks again to Gerald and woofpop for sending in Mellow Gold selections. If we gave out medals around here, you’d be getting them for Wimps Of The Highest Order. See you next week!