Sometimes I’m a little more than taken aback by something that comes back into print – especially when said release sold little to nothing the first time around. The latest re-release to reaffirm my faith in mankind is Wounded Bird’s re-issue of the first and only Ebn-Ozn album, Feeling Cavalier.
Is Ebn-Ozn’s 1983 (Best Year for Music Ever!) single, “AIEOU Sometimes Y” really Lost in the 80s material? Debatable, since it’s hardly a long-lost forgotten track and still gets some fair airplay on 80s shows and clubs. Yet no one under the age of say, 30, seems to have heard it. Ned Liben and Robert Rosen (get it? EBN-OZN?) got some MTV and club action with the single, made even better on the 12″ version (which I’ve provided – “I dare you to play this record!”). Please – do not let the appearance of Ozn’s man-pris (that would be Man Capris) frighten you:
Their label Elektra seemed pleased with the single’s response, so a full-length platter followed in 1984. Feeling Cavalier may not be what fans and Elektra were expecting, though. It’s all over the stylistic map, with a salsa tune (“Video DJ”), mushy synth-ballads (“Stop Stop Give It Up”), a truly wretched remake of “Rockin’ Robin” (with the vocal completely processed thru a vocoder), and straight ahead guitar-based rock with the album’s first single, “Bag Lady (I Wonder)”. “Bag Lady” may have been picked as the single to show some range, but mostly it confused a lot of folks…it was dancey, but not too dancey…there were synths, but more guitar solos. What happened to all the wry irony? What was this preaching about the homeless? And how did they score Imogene Coca for the video?
“Bag Lady” did garner a smidge of club play and some college radio action, but not nearly as much as their debut single. Elektra basically shrugged, issued a promo-only single for “Stop Stop Give It Up”, then the duo called it a day. Sadly, Liben died from a heart attack in 1998, while Rosen went on to work in film. I wonder if either ever thought their forgotten album would be re-issued 22 years later?
“Bag Lady (I Wonder)” peaked at #36 on the Billboard Club Play Chart in 1984.
Get Ebn-Ozn’s Feeling Cavalier at Amazon, but hurry – they only have three copies left!