Terence Boylan [Spinnaker]

Terence Boylan

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Terence Boylan [Spinnaker] Review

by William Ruhlmann

Terence Boylan's recording career began in his early twenties with his 1969 Verve Forecast Records album Alias Boona, but the first time he gained recognition was in his late twenties, when he released a self-titled album on Asylum Records that was very much in the Southern California singer/songwriter mold. It probably didn't hurt that Boylan's brother, John Boylan, was a producer whose clients included the Eagles. Asylum gave the Terence Boylan album the full treatment, with a list of sidemen that included members of the Eagles, Steely Dan, and Toto, plus some of the highest priced session musicians in Los Angeles. Boylan possessed a throaty baritone more reminiscent of Eric Andersen than Jackson Browne, but similar enough to the latter, especially given the arrangements, that on tracks like "Sundown of Fools" the music was strongly reminiscent of Browne's first couple of albums. If "Rain King" sounded like Joni Mitchell's "Help Me," meanwhile, that was because some of the same musicians were playing on it. Boylan sang poetic lyrics of travel and romantic disappointment, not as confessional or literate as Browne's or Mitchell's, but making up for that in their evocative quality. Despite the commitment of Asylum, the album just grazed the charts. Ian Matthews' Top 20 cover of "Shake It" probably assured Boylan of a second release, but 1980's Suzy was uneven and did not sell at all. That was that until Spinnaker's 1999 self-titled compilation, which had eight of the nine songs from the 1977 Terence Boylan album (the missing "Where Are You Hiding?" is one of the best songs on the LP), four from Suzy, and three previously unreleased songs: "True Love Isn't Cool," "Coming Home," and "Keep Shining On." Two decades on, it is easier to separate Boylan's singing and songwriting from the arrangements, especially on the later tracks, which are not so imbued with L.A. session gloss. And he remains a lost gem of a singer/songwriter, a star-in-waiting who never happened; though from the sound, he easily could have been another Kenny Loggins or Dan Fogelberg.

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