Bay City Rollers

Dedication

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The first Bay City Rollers album to see simultaneous world-wide release was also, in the eyes of the tartan faithful, the first to reveal a serious crack in the band's hitherto impregnable armor. Founder Alan Longmuir had been eased out in favor of teenage wunderkind Ian Mitchell, songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter had moved on to groom other would-be teeny bop idols, and Dedication was the Rollers giant step toward both musical and critical credibility. They could have pulled it off as well. At least two of the songs, the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" and Harry Vanda/George Young's "Yesterday's Hero," offer up more or less definitive versions of their subjects, with the latter taking added poignancy from the inclusion of off-stage action from a riot-torn Rollers' gig in Canada. A cover of Eric Carmen's "Let's Pretend," meanwhile, certainly signposts the directions in which the group's own songwriters, Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, saw themselves moving, a point proven by their own "You're a Woman." And the closing title track allows the new boy to ingratiate himself with Rollergirls everywhere, with a so-sad-and-sweet monologue over a weeping late-night ballad. Yet Dedication isn't the strongest album that the Rollers could have released at this point in time, a point proven by its British counterpart. There, the gutbucket rocker "Money Honey," and a fabulous version of Tim Moore's "Rock and Roll Love Letter" replace the American version's "Are You Cuckoo?" and the hit "I Only Want to Be with You," with the former, at least, no loss whatsoever. Either (or both) of those absentees would have pumped Dedication up to classic proportions; as it stands, it is merely the Rollers' masterpiece.

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