Ian Lloyd

Goose Bumps

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Managed by Bud Prager in 1979 (the man who represented Foreigner, Deena Miller -- daughter of Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller -- Leslie West, and many others), the former singer for Stories was produced by a man instrumental in Aerosmith's comeback, the late Bruce Fairbairn. With help from members of the Cars, Foreigner, and former Aerosmith guitarist Jimmy Crespo, this album had all the elements for the breakthrough disc that Ian Lloyd deserved. "Slip Away" was written by Ric Ocasek and should have been a big Cars hit since it really didn't conquer radio on behalf of Lloyd. Ben Orr is on bass and backing vocals, Ric Ocasek pipes in on backing vocals and rhythm guitar, and Jimmy Crespo plays the very new wavey guitar -- it's Aerosmith meets the Cars with Stories lead vocalist! Russ Ballard's "First Heartbreak" sounds like a lost girl group classic with T.Rex overtones. A smart cover like the Bee Gees' "Holiday gets all synthed up, while the Zombies' "Time of the Season," always a welcome title, gets a respectable and unique reading by Stories former lead singer. "Open Soul Surgery" definitely goes the Foreigner route, though Lou Gramm and Mick Jones are on other tracks like "Love Stealer" and "She Broke Your Heart." Side one is very good, but side two fares even better, the title track, "Goose Bumps," with a solid riff and creepy vocal by the singer, and something even more key -- hooks different from the other 11 songs. There are substantial melodies all over this disc, solving the problem of his Polydor outing three years prior. Where the self-titled Ian Lloyd disc was mostly penned by the singer, Goose Bumps has a dazzling display of inviting and original tunes from all sorts of contributors. Ian Hunter and Corky Laing collaborate on "Easy Money" -- and this would've been great on a Mott the Hoople or Mountain disc, very different and distinctive, like when Hunter co-wrote "Goin' Through the Motions" for Blue Oyster Cult. "New City Lights" features Michael Brecker on tenor sax while Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams contribute the strong "I'm Ready." Paul DaVinci pens the final tune, "Love Is a Ship"; it is dreamy, another change of pace, and a superb conclusion to an album by a singer who gets help from some serious players, colors and flavors for his music that are more than worthwhile. Coming three years after his self-titled Polydor release, the 1976 disc which retained the services of Stories guitarist Steve Love and also contained performances by Mick Jones, this was the one after the transition album, the one that should have brought Ian Lloyd more hits like "I'm Coming Home," "Mammy Blue," and "Brother Louie." It made some noise but got lost in the rock & roll shuffle, however, Goose Bumps, with its red fingernails scraping across a chalk board cover (perhaps a little too punk for a pop artist), is more than just a solid outing from Ian Lloyd, it is an exemplary record and is worth repeated spins.

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