Danny Wilson

Bebop Moptop

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The Scottish trio Danny Wilson (named for Frank Sinatra's character in the 1952 film Meet Danny Wilson) earned critical acclaim and modest commercial success with its engaging, melodic debut album, Meet Danny Wilson, in 1987. The band was rightfully compared to critical favorites Steely Dan and Prefab Sprout, combining light jazz-rock with quirky lyrics and a strong pop sensibility. Chock full of catchy pop nuggets like "Mary's Prayer" (a U.S. Top 40 hit), "Five Friendly Aliens," and "The Girl I Used to Know," Meet Danny Wilson is widely regarded as one of the finest debut albums of the late '80s. Unfortunately, Danny Wilson's promising start out of the pop music gates came to a crashing halt with the less than stellar follow-up, 1989's Bebop Moptop. Members Gary Clark, Kit Clark, and Ged Grimes still weave sophisticated, Steely Dan-style jazz-pop arrangements with clever wordplay, but the lack of strong pop hooks makes Bebop Moptop a frustrating listen. It seems Danny Wilson was more concerned with coming up with clever song titles like "The Second Summer of Love" and "The Ballad of Me and Shirley Maclaine" than anything resembling a memorable tune. Only the catchy "I Was Wrong" is nearly as good as the flawless pop from the band's debut. Bebop Moptop is far from a terrible album, but it is utterly forgettable. Predictably, the album failed to match the success of its predecessor, and Danny Wilson disbanded in 1990. Fortunately, Danny Wilson left behind a pop near-masterpiece, Meet Danny Wilson, and it is worth seeking out by fans of intelligent pop music. Bebop Moptop just doesn't measure up.

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