Before Richard Perry took Leo Sayer to the top of the charts in 1976 and 1977, his former bandmate and sometimes songwriting partner David Courtney provided all the music to Sayer's lyrics here and co-produced with manager Adam Faith 1974's Just a Boy album, featuring the Top Ten 1975 hit "Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)." Leo Sayer had a geeky appearance on this album cover, as well as on the Endless Flight and Here albums, though he got trendy during the disco of Thunder in My Heart. Just a Boy lacks the gloss and sophistication of the later releases, including the Courtney-produced Here in 1979, but a break-up song like "When I Came Home This Morning" has naïve charm and shows the potential. The underproduction actually adds to the aura of the singer/songwriter persona, and one can see why Three Dog Night chose "The Show Must Go On" from his Silverbird disc, hitting a year before "Long Tall Glasses" from this fine effort. "One Man Band" is not the same composition as Three Dog Night's 1970s hit, but it rocks, two sets of musicians providing the accompaniment, with different personalities coming in to add their flavors, like Keith Nelson's banjo on "Long Tall Glasses" which supplements Paul Keogh's slide guitarwork. "Another Time" features songwriter/co-producer Courtney on piano, as does "Giving It All Away" and "Telepath." Sayer's vocals also have a warmth and intensity that don't reflect the image he portrays in the smiling/laughing Terry O'Neill back cover photos, or Humphrey Butler-Bowden's interesting cover painting. With all his own success on the charts, interaction with other stars, and visibility as a hit songwriter for others, it is interesting that some of the fine work here wasn't picked up by more of the '70s artists who were in need of hits. Where Neil Sedaka's catalog got a good going over, a beautiful song like "Solo" is here in these grooves with its musical references to both "The Show Must Go On" and "Long Tall Glasses." A better production and different take on the ideas might have been a Godsend for those artists in need. Just a Boy maintains a good feel throughout and is a very entertaining set of performances.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione