Brandon Cruz

Eddie Is a Punk: The Courtship of Eddie - Recordings from 1970-1997

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Not quite novel enough to be as interesting as a novelty record, Eddie Is a Punk chronicles the career of Brandon Cruz, best known as the cute tyke on the 1970s series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Nothing if not complete, the record features not one, not two, but four versions of the show's theme song, the Harry Nilsson penned "Best Friend." Included are two versions of the song as performed by Courtship's star, Bill Bixby (who performed it for the show), as well as a punk version performed by Nilsson along with the grown-up Cruz's 1990s West Coast punk outfit, Harmful If Swallowed. Intended for, but ultimately not included on, a tribute album to the late Nilsson, the fourth take of "Best Friend" is once again a punk effort, but this time Cruz (with an odd David Bowie rasp) is accompanied by Micky Dolenz and, on guitar, Greg Hetson (finally, members ofthe Monkees and Bad Religion/Circle Jerks are teaming up). Hearing Dolenz strain to sound like a tough punk is almost humorous enough to justify buying this record. Almost. "Daddy What If" is a syupy environmentally minded duet between Bixby and a six-year-old Cruz. The remainer of the album consists of songs performed by the various inoffensive, but mediocre, punk outfits Cruz has fronted over the years, including Harmful If Swallowed, Twister Naked, Dr. Know, and the Ugly Truth, whose "72 Hour Hold" was penned by the artist's mom. Fairly bland by-the-numbers speedpunk, several of the songs sound strikingly like Minor Threat, especially the "I Don't Wanna Hear It" offspring "Pretty Things." Album highlight "Superman" is likable mostly because it sounds like the Ramones' "We Want the Airwaves" spliced with the New Bomb Turks. Liner notes by Cruz outline his career and his battle with substance abuse, and give a history of his bands and their songs, including the artist's blink-and-you-missed-it stint as the frontman for Flipper.

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