Crystal Mansion

Crystal Mansion

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When Motown had R. Dean Taylor, Meatloaf, and Rare Earth, poppy blue-eyed soul with urban leanings on their Rare Earth imprint, the company also released this disc by Crystal Mansion. Engineered by Brooks Arthur, who went on to produce Crystal Mansion's 1979 album on Twentieth Century, Peter Allen, and many middle of the road acts in the '80s, this disc, by what was once a pop band, is a real strange one. Prior to this album they almost hit with "The Thought of Loving You," a timeless pop song written by David White and covered by Sonny & Cher, as well as the Manhattan Transfer. Dave White Tricker appears on this disc courtesy of Bell records, contributing three co-written numbers, "Earth People," "A Song Is Born," and "Satisfied.." David White Tricker also shows up on Len Barry's abysmal Ups and Downs on Buddah the same year, 1972. This album has a better groove than Barry's, but it gets mired in the down side of Atlanta Rhythm Section or Rare Earth, the unfortunate non-hit sides of those bands. Why Collectables would re-release this with an additional track, James Taylor's "Carolina on My Mind," is a mystery. There is nothing here as sublime as their little mini-pop masterpiece, "The Thought of Loving You," and despite having it together better than solo outings by Rob Grill of the Grass Roots or Len Barry, "Peace for a Change" is not the kind of tune you would seek out to play repeatedly, nor would a classic hits music director go out on a limb for "Boogieman." The cover, featuring bare trees over a blue "crystal" mansion, is the best thing about this disc. The gatefold holds the lyrics, but there are no lost Bob Dylan etchings here, nor words that will be published in volumes of important rock poetry. To be kind, "There Always Will Be More," " I Love You," and the final track, "Earth People," aren't bad. "Earth People" is reminiscent of "Calling Occupants," the hit for the Carpenters and Klaatu. It is the highlight of the album. Let's call it Crystal Mansion's "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home." Nice keyboards, good production, great vocals, but the three minutes and 59 seconds seem to drag on, and nothing here is, as mentioned, as stimulating as their signature tune, "The Thought of Loving You," which, unfortunately, is not on this disc.

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