Dan Hartman

Instant Replay

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"Instant Replay" itself kicks off with an "American Top 40" peppy countdown and boogies its way through an ode to rolling over in the clover that's as minty and mildly abrasive as toothpaste. Hartman, one of popular music's undersung utility infielders, sculpted his disco breakthrough with the same intricacy as Seymour Chwast's phantasmagoric album cover, but his fondness for real live percussion, room ambiences, and endless good-time monkeyshines set the finished work apart from the chilling and provocative flesh-against-machine conundrums posed by Donna Summer's work with Giorgio Moroder. His unapologetic love of show tunes with top-hat-and-a-cane swagger shines through the 11-minute-plus "Countdown/This Is It," where the mastermind chases Blanche Napolean through an obstacle course of sometimes-harmonized scat singing in between spidery sax lines from the songwriter's old boss, Edgar Winter. A swingin' party with Hartman, who called his studio compound "The Schoolhouse," teaching ABCs with the proverbial rhythm and ease. (Guitarist Vinnie Cusanso later slapped on some Egyptian warrior makeup and tossed his 12-string in the closet; as Vinnie Vincent, he became a controversial shred guitarist with and without Kiss.)

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