Cleveland, OH, is an important market for all kinds of music. That was proven when Epic Records executive Steve Popovich, a former Clevelander, decided to return to the city and start a new label. Popovich, his New York partners and a small staff had Cleveland International Records off the ground by 1977. They made a conscious decision to work with artists in a variety of musical styles. Cleveland International also provided management and consulting services for acts who didn't record for the label specifically. Cleveland International Records 1977-1983 is an interesting -- and musically wide-ranging -- compilation of 13 songs from its initial six-year history; Popovich relaunched the label in 1994. Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell was Cleveland International's first hit, and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is included, as is "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" from his partner, songwriter Jim Steinman. Ellen Foley, the female vocalist on Bat Out of Hell, is represented by the bombastic "We Belong to the Night." The meat-and-potatoes rock & roll of the Iron City Houserockers' "Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive)," Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' "I Don't Want to Go Home" and Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band's cover of Billy Joel's "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" was -- and is -- always popular in Cleveland. "Too Wild to Tame" by the Boyzz is stylish hard rock. The Euclid Beach Band's "There's No Surf in Cleveland" is a shameless Beach Boys imitation. Essence's "Sweet Fools" is smooth, silky soul. "Cleveland Rocks" by Ian Hunter will live eternally on Cleveland radio. The real find on this collection is "Wasn't That a Party," the infectious 1981 seminovelty hit by the Rovers, formerly the Irish Rovers. Cleveland International Records 1977-1983 is the only readily available CD featuring the song.
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AllMusic Review by Bret Adams