Bay City Rollers

Rollin'

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It took them four years to make it (in every sense of the phrase), but the Bay City Rollers' debut album could not have kicked off more explosively, with the mind-mangling chant of "Shang-a-Lang," their third hit single but the first to truly state the band's business in mile-high neon-lit tartan letters. And the fact that two more major smashes still lurked onboard only amplifies the album's achievement -- at last, a teenybop idol that wasn't afraid to spread its wings and fly. Rollin' is a dynamic collection, even once you're past the singles: "Summerlove Sensation," with its fairground friendliness and human Wurlitzer compulsion, and the ultimate chant of "Saturday Night." Indeed, almost every track on the album could have been a single -- and several more of them were. "Jenny Gotta Dance" had been released by John Kincaid just a few months earlier, while "Give It to Me Now" was originally recorded by "Heart of Stone" hitmaker Kenny during 1973. But still the album sparkles, from the fan base-baiting version of the old Phil Spector chestnut "Be My Baby," through to the handful of band originals that proved the Rollers would probably have made it regardless of who pulled the songwriting strings. In the event, it is impossible to overstate the contributions of Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, a pair who thought nothing of rhyming "things we used to say" with "shoo-be-doo-ay," and who have a wall of golden discs to prove it. See, the kids don't need literature and they don't need art; they need something they can sing along to, and Rollin' delivers from beginning to end.

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