Joy Rider's rare and important album, Real to Reel, was produced by the legendary Genya Ravan, lead vocalist of girl group Goldie & the Gingerbreads and producer of Ronnie Spector and the Dead Boys. Rider is decked out in macho policewoman's garb on the front and back cover, and a very clever remake of the Exciters' Top Five 1962 hit, "Tell Him," starts the fun. With that same street-smart sound of her own end of the '70s albums And I Mean It and Urban Desire on 20th Century Fox, as well as the 1980 Siren disc for Ronnie Spector, Genya Ravan gives Joy Rider a special production that Ravan's ex-boyfriend, producer Richard Perry, could never have dreamed of. Rider performs that girl group classic, "Tell Him," as well as ten of her originals. Four were co-written with guitarist Jimmy Voxx, one was co-authored by the singer and Avis Davis, and four were by Joy Rider herself, including the intriguing "Jimmy Brown Eyes." "Run With Me" has a Rolling Stones-style riff updated with the trebly new wave guitar sound of Voxx, "Straighten Up" is quirky Annie Golden/Shirts-type punk-pop, and one wonders if Joy Rider realized the cosmic significance of her working with Genya Ravan. "Oh Boy" is what Ronnie Spector needed to supplement Siren, kind of like the Quick meet the Shangri-Las, very cool and bridging the gap between techno and garage rock -- great melody, too. "Jimmy Brown Eyes" has a wildness, with Joy Rider's lyrics like a little soap opera, frosted with clever hooks. What Jimmy Voxx does with the guitars (the axeman borrowed from RCA Records for this outing) is totally radical, elements that would have given an added dimension to groups like the B-52's. "Look in the Mirror" would have fit nicely on the soundtrack to the film Hairspray, sexy updated girl group stuff that Goldie & the Gingerbreads no doubt would have given listeners had they stayed together. Rider stretches the pop format in "Give It Up and "If You Fade out, Eddy," with the guitar sounds again deserving acknowledgment. The band rocks so well on "Can't Stop Being in Bed," with bending guitar notes supplementing the leads, that one only wonders what happened to this act. They take the Savage Rose's ideas a few steps forward into the future. "Get Me Nervous, Get Me Hot" could be Devo meets Yoko Ono, a strange ending to a really remarkable recording.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione