A comic book hero idea put to music with Alice Cooper, Black Oak Arkansas' Jim Dandy, the Who's John Entwistle, Justin Hayward, Carmine Appice, Eddie Jobson, Keith Moon, Nicky Hopkins, Kenny Jones, the then-hip backing vocalist of the Thunderthighs, Bill Bruford and others add performances here which remind one of the film project Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The problem with Flash Fearless is that it is all names and no substance, the songwriting subpar. Elkie Brooks has a great voice, but the song "Sacrifice" has little to offer, Terence Hillyer and Dave Pierce's music and lyrics pedestrian at best. John Entwistle's vocal on "To the Chop" sounds like it is straight from Rocky Horror Picture Show, Leslie Duncan, Doreen Chanter and Jill Mackintosh's background vocals are way out in the mix, in a song that can't decide if it is '50s, '60s or perhaps out of place on this strange project.
Side one opens as if it is part five of a serial (with side two, part five, of course), and you, dear listener, find Elkie Brooks "Trapped," a kind of neat idea which runs afoul because Steve Hammond and Dave Pierce don't deliver a song like you'd find on other "rock operas", Tommy or Jesus Christ Superstar. Certainly talent abounds, but the result is as cheesy as the comic book cover, and the camp is unrealized. Alice Cooper proclaims "I'm Flash," a rare team of Bill Bruford and John Entwistle backing Alice, which sounds great on paper, but the "production assistance" from producer Bob Ezrin at the Record Plant fails to embellish the lackluster material -- which just can't manifest the promise of all these name talents. That Shep Gordon allowed an Alice Cooper so hot at this point in time to participate, is astounding. This does nothing to enhance Cooper the way he did, with Aerosmith and Earth, Wind & Fire, on the Sgt. Pepper's film soundtrack, or even how the rare live version of "Black Juju" livened up the Medicine Ball Caravan soundtrack album. Jim Dandy's "Country Cooking" has a lesser artist like Jim "Dandy" Magnum going through the motions -- with Justin Hayward on guitar and Entwistle on bass -- a totally ludicrous misuse of major talent. And if you can figure out the story line here, you are a few steps ahead. A tough outing for all involved, trite lyrics, nondescript melodies, and little to invite other than the oddity of the match-ups. James Dewar gets six-minutes plus to work with Roxy Music's Eddie Jobson, Nicky Hopkins' piano, Entwistle's bass, and Bill Bruford's drums. It's one of the better songs, and one wonders why Bryan Ferry isn't doing the honors? Perhaps he was busy participating on the Beatles tribute All This and World War II -- an album which was at least an artistic success, even if its sales were probably on the same level as Flash Fearless vs. the Zorg Women, Pts. 5 & 6. Amateurish and not lending itself to repeated listenings. Another of those records one must own but not play.