Golden Carillo

Toxic Emotion

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AllMusic Review by

The Shirts' Street Light Shine on Capitol was one of the best-kept secrets of 1979. Shirts lead vocalist Annie Golden teamed up with music veteran Frank Carillo 15 years later for this powerful collection of folk-rock. The cover of George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" is pensive and intense, with Jaap Vrenegoor's drums quiet enough to let the guitars build alongside them. This is a beautiful rendition of the Beatles' classic with Golden's vocals harmonizing so nicely with Carillo. The acoustic guitars splash all over the place during the middle, brought back to earth by a solo verse from Golden. Great arrangement. Carillo's production on this album is not as fragmented as Mike Thorne's presentation of the Shirts; the duo's Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood-style "Missing in Action" (inspired by the film Made in Heaven) should have been all over AAA radio. Darlene Love is thanked on the liner notes, and Golden certainly had the girl group sound down pat in her last life. Here she makes the transition to adult rock perfectly; the hook on "Gravy Train" is like an Irish folk rendition of J.Geils' "Centerfold," while Carillo uses that Barry Maguire gravel voice to good effect on the opening track "All in My Mind." Ricky Bird of Susan and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts co-wrote and plays guitar on "Three Wishes," and his presence is a welcome surprise, but it is the solid pop of the 11 Golden/Carillo originals, especially on "I Don't Wanna Lose You Now," that makes this set so impressive. Recorded in New York, Belgium, Germany, and Holland, the duo takes this format and discovers ideas that could have benefited its contemporaries the Washington Squares as well as Jennifer Warnes during her Leonard Cohen phase, for just two examples. "A Fire in New Town" sounds like Bruce Springsteen getting serious. The album ends beautifully with "Faded & Jaded," a "Tears in Heaven"-type song with Carillo's voice full of regret, held up by Golden's charm. It's a shame this disc didn't get the airplay it richly deserved.

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