Dale Bozzio

Riot in English

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Trading in the thin Ken Scott production of her band, Missing Persons, for the thick, Princely sounds of producers Robert Brookins and Attala Zane Giles, Dale Bozzio comes up with an album that sounds like Boston's the Jonzun Crew employing a female lead vocalist. Prince contributes an excellent "So Strong" with its slick and funky musical movements and -- perhaps more importantly -- a record label on which to release this effort. Brookins was a 23-year-old musical prodigy when he crafted this album, and his work with Phil Bailey, Earth, Wind & Fire, and others creates an interesting blend for the gal who was the cultured version of Wendy O. Williams on rock stages in the 1980s. Bozzio has grown up here, as "Simon Simon" rocks with authority, a good album leadoff, as is the song which launches side two, the title track, "Riot in English." The former Mrs. Bozzio pens all the lyrics except for "Overtime" and the Prince tune, and her lyrics are pretty cool. Like Steven Tyler, she knows how to pull a chic cliché and envelope it; "Tiptoes through the tulips/Do you know what I mean" may give a nod to Tiny Tim and Lee Michaels, but in realty it's an Yma Sumac-style reinvention of Marianne Faithfull's "Broken English," and that's quite an amazing mixture of ideas. Being labelmates with Sheila E. might have been a double-edged sword; Prince's benevolence couldn't bring the magic that the Bee Gees sprinkled on so many artists, but he does give Dale Bozzio the opportunity to prove she's as charming on record as she is in person and a talent in her own right apart from Missing Persons. The tight-as-a-drum production sounds are right out of Trevor Horn's notebook, and "Overtime" has the hooks and the dance beat which deserved to get chart action. Bozzio sounds very comfortable in this new setting and Warner Bros. should have made a more concerted effort to break the divas they were releasing in the mid-'80s. Beyond Madonna, they had the aforementioned Sheila E. and the Jonzun Crew-produced Apollonia. Bozzio is a fine project as well, with songs like "Ouch That Feels Good," which could have made radio lots more fun during those days when new wave was morphing into dance rock.

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