Thursday, 3 November 2016

"Dog Days/Red Tape" by ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION (2009 Beat Goes On 2LPs onto 1CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Boogie Smoogie..."

Often perceived as a cross between The Allmans and a lesser version of Little Feat (a combo that would turn many on) - Southern Rock supergroup ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION had their 3rd album "Third Annual Pipe Dream" from September 1974 and the hugely popular/very commercial  "A Rock And Roll Alternative" from January 1977 covered by Beat Goes On Records back in August 2009 (BGOCD 870).

Now it's the turn of album numbers four and five - records that are more Little Feat than Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Dog Days" from September 1975 and "Red Tape" from May 1976 - both originally on Polydor Records in both the USA and UK. Here are the rhythmic details...

UK released July 2009 - "Dog Days/Red Tape" by ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION on Beat Goes On Records BGOCD 874 (Barcode 5017261208743) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD and plays out as follows (68:42 minutes):

1. Crazy
2. Boogie Smoogie
3. Cuban Crisis
4. It Just Ain't Your Moon
5. Dog Days - [Side 2]
6. Bless My Soul (Instrumental)
7. Silent Treatment
8. All Night Rain
Tracks 1 to 8 are their fourth studio album "Dog Days" - released September 1975 in the USA on Polydor PD-6041 and November 1975 in the UK on Polydor Super 2391 179. Produced by BUDDY BUIE - it peaked at No. 113 in the USA (didn't chart in the UK).

9. Jukin/San Antonio Rose
10. Mixed Emotions
11. Shanghied
12. Police! Police!
13. Beautiful Dreamers
14. Oh What A Feeling
15. Free Spirit
16. Another Man's Woman
Tracks 9 to 16 are their fifth studio album "Red Tape" - released May 1976 in the USA on Polydor PD-6060 and July 1976 in the UK on Polydor 2391 223. Produced by BUDDY BUIE - it peaked at No. 146 in the USA (didn't chart in the UK).

ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION was:
RONNIE HAMMOND - Lead Vocals
DEAN DAUGHTRY - Keyboards
BARRY BAILEY - Guitars
J.R. COBB - Guitars
PAUL GODDARD - Bass
ROBERT NIX - Drums

The outer card slipcase lends the release a classy feel and the 12-page booklet has comprehensive (if not overly praising) liner notes about the band by CAMPBELL DEVINE. There are a few photos and the usual credits – original and reissue. But the big news is a fabulous Remaster by BGO's ANDREW THOMPSON done at Sound Mastering in London. Both albums sound glorious – the original quality Production values very much to the fore. This is a huge sounding CD and for all the right reasons.

After a rather Pop-Rock start with "Crazy (Times)" - things get seriously dirty Southern Boogie with the wickedly groovy grunge of "Boogie Smoogie" - a song about a dive filled with hookers, greasy chicken and beer-swilling clientele throwing their cans at the bar band trying to make a buck. The Audio is superb for this huge fan fave. Their commercial 'let's write one that will be played on Country radio' streak kicks in for the jaunty "Cuban Crisis" - the kind of song Little Feat would have made a better fist of. "It Just Ain't Your Moon" is good old boy Rock 'n' Roll and sounds chunky - a really sweet sounding transfer. Things mellow into the big smooch of "Dog Days" - a power ballad that doesn't really ignite. The instrumental "Bless My Soul" is a funky little Southern Boogie number that actually sounds more 1977 dancefloor than 1975 chicken coup. Another fave is surely "Silent Treatment" - a wickedly catchy groove with 'honky tonk' harmonica where our boys are captured by a quiet lady (Ronnie struck out). It ends on the warmth of "All Night Rain" where ARS do their best Eagles impression.

You really the quality of the Remaster with the 45 lifted off "Red Tape" - the Boogie Rock of "Jukin". Buie and Nix delivered a wickedly good Rocker - the kind of song Jo Jo Gunne would have killed for. "Mixed Emotions" is the same - another clever ZZ Top type groover with Hammond's vocals sounder better than ever and those dual guitars tearing it up. "Shanghied" is another Rocker as the album begins to sound more and more like "Tres Hombres" with a commercial funk. Not surprisingly "Police! Police!" opens with arriving sirens, doors slamming and then a huge guitar riff (another travelling late at night - got hassled - song). The ballad "Beautiful Dreamers" is at least more convincing than the previous LP's attempts - a piano chord tells us that blue jean friends have faded. Again back to hard-hitting boogie - a huge guitar sound on "Oh What A Feeling" - and the single "Free Spirit" is the same - amazing clarity.


You wouldn't call either of these albums 'masterpieces' - hardly anything ARS ever did could hold a candle to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat or even The Allmans - bands with real chops and tunes that moved. Having said that - if you're a fan or even partial to Southern Rock – then this superb-sounding twofer CD is an absolute must-own...

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