As musicians from the past get the urge to release new music, many are finding the additional space available on compact disc to be just the place to put previous efforts. That is a blessing for fans of good music, and Ted Solovicos of Boston's Smuggler does just that, giving the world six songs from one of Smuggler's three major recording sessions in the '80s and eight new productions for almost one hour's worth of sound. Going under the moniker Grateful Ted, the CD features a ticket stub on the back cover from when the band opened for Bon Jovi at the Paradise Theater in Boston. This was when "Runaway" was just breaking for Jon Bon Jovi and Smuggler had a bigger following than the guy who would go on to sell millions of records. Having the legacy documented on this fine release makes it that much more of a treasure. Solovicos is a more-than-competent songwriter, and with Mach Bell of the Joe Perry Project releasing Last Man Standing in 2002 and more music being recorded and released by Hirsh Gardner of New England and Rick Berlin from Berlin Airlift/Luna, as well as another Joe Perry lead singer, Charlie Farren, the then-and-now approach not only preserves these great sounds, it gives those who appreciate these honest efforts all the more to listen to. "Sweet and Innocent" has a nice swing with the jazzy piano from Richard Meader and some shocking lyrics: "Your sweet and innocent love/I hear your friends are all queer," and something indiscernible about lesbians; not very politically correct and not very nice, but that's part of the product. Musically it is Bachman Turner Overdrive-lite, catchy tunes from the major songwriter of an important suburban band from the Boston area's early-'80s scene. "Don't Burn the Witch" has that punch Smuggler was all about, and it is one of the CD's best tracks, a thumping, snarling cruncher. The vibe-infested "Love Is Strange" is also a highlight. Interesting new and old music makes up The Time Machine and it's a decent time capsule preserving the work of a group who made some noise by making noise. Fleetwood Mac engineer/producer Dinky Dawson recorded a Solovicos tune, "In the Long Run," released on Boston Rock & Roll Anthology, Vol. 3 in 1984, not included here. It was the only other bit of Smuggler material in release at the time of this release.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione