1977 saw Nils Lofgren running on empty. “I Came To Dance” is not his best work and I remember being hugely disappointed by it at the time - especially given the preceding brilliance of “Nils Lofgren” (1975) and “Cry Tough” (1976). But – and this is the big but – if you’re a fan of the record and remember it with affection - then this 2010 reissue is an absolute must buy.
It’s a new ERICK LABSON REMASTER and is sparkling in its sound quality (has over 900 mastering and audio restoration credits to his name and is one of Universal’s top engineers). It’s also the first of the Hip-O Select remasters to get a get a British release – hence a price of less than six quid for UK fans.
“I Came To Dance” was his 3rd solo album released March 1977 on A&M SP-4628 in the USA and A&M AMLH 64628 in the UK – this 2010 CD is a straightforward 36:21 minute reissue of that LP (Hip-O Select B0014387-02). Released on their own site in June, it received an August release date in the States – and now September 2010 in the UK. The insert that came with original vinyl copies is fully repro’d in the foldout inlay (complete with lyrics and recording credits). The band featured Nils and his brother Tom Lofgren on Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Wornell Jones on Bass, Patrick Henderson on Piano and Andy Newman on Drums (who also co-produced the album with Nils). “I Came To Dance”, “Rock Me At Home”, “Home Is Where The Hurt Is” and “To Be A Dreamer” featured PATTI AUSTIN on backing vocals – while “Code Of The Road”, “Happy Ending Kids”, “Goin’ South” and “Jealous Gun” featured LUTHER VANDROSS on backing vocals too.
It opens on an absolute high – the irrepressibly upbeat “I Came To Dance” which had me dancing round the kitchen like – well – a dancing fool (lyrics above). The remaster has also brought out the drums and bass on “Rock Me At Home” and “Home Is Where The Hurt Is”. And of course there’s the main deal - that guitar playing that sounds like water flowing. On “Code Of The Road” he just makes that sucker sing – an amazing axeman. I’d have to admit that irritatingly some of the guitar work still seems buried back in the mix somewhere (the weirdly recorded “Goin’ South”), but Labson’s remaster is subtle – it’s there – just fuller and clearer than before. The overdone backing vocals always felt wrong to me – and the years haven’t changed that. “Happy” ends it well – even if it does sound like a take on the song of the same name on The Stones “Exile On Main St.”
“I Came To Dance” is the kind of album that has some great tunes on it and the rest are filler. But oh the good ones…
Recommended – especially given the new sound quality.
PS: I’ve also reviewed the 2007 Hip-O Select remaster of his solo debut “Nils Lofgren” (1975). There’s also a TAG above for both Erick Labson and Hip-O Select to see more of his work and their titles.
PPS: check out his sublime guitar-playing on “Shot At You” from 1992’s “Crooked Line” and “Driftin’ Man” on the double 2003 live set “Nils Lofgren Band Live” – blissful stuff