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City Boy - Book Early CD (album) cover

BOOK EARLY

City Boy

 

Prog Related

3.14 | 33 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Actually, they have already sold out!

"Book early" was the album which finally brought commercial success for City Boy, in the form of a hit single. "5705" will be familiar to anyone who was listening to pop music in the late 1970's, its early use of a digital dial tone sound instantly distinguishing it in that crowded market. The song was in fact originally called "Turn on to Jesus", but while the record label loved the melody, they felt that the theme would cause problem when it came to radio play. The band rewrote the lyrics and the rest is history. While the general perception of the band is (rightly) that of one hit wonders, the follow up single "What a night", also appears on some versions of this album.

With new drummer Roy Ward now installed, the line up is restored to a six piece. The songwriters once again are primarily Steve Broughton and Lol Mason but the rest of the band contribute here and there.

There's no denying the simplistic beauty of "5705", it is a classic pop song in the way of "Video killed the radio star" and just about anything by 10CC or Queen. Placed up front on the album though, it does tend to belittle what follows. Songs such as "Summer in the schoolyard" and "Do what you do, do well" (a poor Queen imitation) are lazy and lacking inspiration. "Oh what a night" was a poor choice for a follow up single. The song is a pastiche of Beatles like verses and Bee Gees like choruses, with a 10CC core. Sadly, the decent orchestral arrangement cannot disguise what is a very average song.

Even lyrically the album is suspect. Take "Raise your glass (to foolish me)" for example. It tells the tale of someone who gets drunk, kills someone who questions the faithfulness of his wife, and ends up in jail. Hence we have line such as "I've been told all the prison bars are closed". "Cigarettes" (the longest track at 5 minutes) at least has some meat to it, the guitar work being incisive if predictable. Such moments are all too few though.

In all, a disappointing album. The huge hit single the album contains is a fine piece of pop, but that's about it really. All "Book early" does is confirms that the vestiges of prog in the band's earliest works have now been ditched altogether.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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