Dan Hartman

Images

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Dan Hartman's Images came before his solo success with "Instant Replay" and "I Can Dream About You," and for the most part it is a pleasant set of recordings. "My Love" is hardly the Paul McCartney, Lionel Ritchie, or Petula Clark tune; it is John Wilcox from Todd Rundgren's Utopia and bassist John Siegler working with Hartman to give the world a luscious pop tune that should have charted as the songs by the above-referenced artists did using this same theme. This is slick, dense, complex pop music with lots of guest stars. Ronnie Montrose adds his guitar to the driving "The Party's in the Back Room," while Randy Brecker guests on "Can't Stand in the Way of Love." Hartman plays the kalimba on "Love It Too Much," an island tune with more than a touch of reggae, but keeping to the pop which this artist embraced so fully. "If Only I Were Stronger," resplendent in Tom Strohman flutes and heavy keyboards, is a blue-eyed Sound of Philadelphia song. The Harrisburg native had a good grasp of the sounds around him, and Images takes many journeys, from this Ambrosia-meets-Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes number to "High Sign and "Telephone," two songs which vaguely resemble Billy Squier's material with his band Piper. Squier's "Telephone Relation" is poppier than Dan Hartman's "On the Telephone" -- and Squier was playing his tune in the Sidewinders years before. "High Sign," which also features Ronnie Montrose, borrows from Piper's "Who's Your Boyfriend," and you know these artists were on the same circuit -- it's fun seeing the similar themes show up on two albums from the same time period. "Can't Stand in the Way of Love" is more slick R&B which would have suited a latter-day Chairman of the Board or Spinners very well. Rick Derringer plays acoustic lead and rhythm guitars on "Thank You for the Good Times," while Edgar Winter co-writes the first track, "Hear My Song," almost a sequel to their hit "Free Ride." It's a very mainstream album from a very mainstream artist. The "Cat Scratch Fever" riff of "The Party's in the Backroom" beat Ted Nugent by a year on this 1976 outing -- and Images remains a worthy testament to the many sides of the late, multi-talented recording artist.

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