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CITY BOY

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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City Boy biography
Formed by Max Thomas in 1974. A Birmingham (UK) based folk turned "artrock" band in the vein of 10 CC and CHARLIE. Put out a rather poppy single "Hap-ki-do" in 1976, followed by their first album: "City Boy" 1976. Some might dismis them as pure pop, but they have much more to them than that. There are plenty of stuff for both proggers and rockers to sink their teeth into, both musically and lyricwise. CITY BOY managed to pull it off in many a music style and that with elegance, brilliance & sheer enthuiasm. Six albums later it all ended with the seventh and final (their most ordinaire album).

Guitarist Mike Slamer went on to play with Steve Walsh (KANSAS) on 2 albums under the name of: Streets. As far as i know, his latest endeavours was with hardpop/rock outfit: STEELHOUSE LANE. Friends of art rock/pomp rock band like: 10 CC / CHARLIE / PRISM... should have a ball with CITY BOY.

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Buy CITY BOY Music


It's PersonalIt's Personal
Renaissance 2008
Audio CD$10.99 (used)
The Day The Earth Caught FireThe Day The Earth Caught Fire
RENAISSANCE 2008
Audio CD$10.64 (used)
City BoyCity Boy
RENAISSANCE 2008
Audio CD$4.96
$4.96 (used)
Dinner At The RitzDinner At The Ritz
RENAISSANCE 2008
Audio CD$19.85
$19.98 (used)
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CITY BOY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CITY BOY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 22 ratings
City Boy
1976
4.11 | 26 ratings
Dinner At The Ritz
1976
3.23 | 17 ratings
Young Men Gone West
1977
3.07 | 25 ratings
Book Early
1978
3.77 | 29 ratings
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
1979
2.20 | 11 ratings
Heads Are Rolling
1980
4.06 | 12 ratings
It's Personal
1981

CITY BOY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CITY BOY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CITY BOY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.06 | 3 ratings
Anthology
2001

CITY BOY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CITY BOY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dinner At The Ritz by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 26 ratings

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Dinner At The Ritz
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Dinner at the ritz is one of the best art rock albums ever..

After a good debut album city boy manages to write a set of songs sounding tighter and more focused than before. this would be their most complete progressive album ever. The band is featuring some heavy guitars but still manages to have a light feel to their music due to their great vocals which are never dark but always positive and uplifting , that's why it is so easy to get into . the music always sounds professional and complex because of how all instruments blend with each other creating a complete mould. There are no fillers here , every song has something to offer , and i'm glad they had a good production and recording to support their music. The music contains some super great breaks stating of the high standard music delievered , it can remind you of 'crack the sky' , 'supertramp' and some 'queen' maybe , fusing some cabaret , funk and a good dose of humor. songs have that bright vibe to them , featuring some great vocal harmonies , beautiful blistering guitars with great riffs and some sharp accurate solos , top that with their fine rhythms carried out with very good drums and bass.

The music ranges from short effective rocky songs with heavy guitars and some intricate rhythm to long more progressive songs. the highlight for me is 'dinner at the ritz' featuring some very good singing , suiting the song perfectly , before a change of music occur , showing their exquisite humor with those funny vocals , adding some great saxophone to the mix , leaving me with only applause , another one is ' state secrets' starting as a rocky tune and in a second turns to funk rock creating a main funky theme out of vocals , guitar , noises and a couple of piano notes , you should really hear this to believe , it then continuing to rock , closing this album with a bang. 'the violin' features another side of the band focusing on a beautiful ballad with ( of course ) very good violins arrangements , acoustic guitar and a lead beautiful violin touches.

The good rating certainly is appropriate. City boy manages to create a wonderful and diverse album with a lot for prog fans to appreciate. If you are interested with the prog related genre you shouldn't miss out on this. my 4 star rating is gonna put the album down a bit and i wish it wouldn't happen but i would give this a 4.2 on a prog related scale. Super excellent addition to your prog collection. Nice cover too...

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 The Day the Earth Caught Fire by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.77 | 29 ratings

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The Day the Earth Caught Fire
City Boy Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars CITY BOY could best be described as 10CC with a hard rock fetish, or SUPERTRAMP with less distinctive vocalists, or QUEEN without the hooks, or the British KAYAK, or, you get the idea. Not a lot of identity wrapped up in this package, and literally dozens of bands were doing this as well or better, not that this style lends itself well to one-upmanship other than in the commercial department. Sadly, that is where CITY BOY was most ignominious, barely establishing more than a cult in select realms like individual floors of university dorms.

If one group track could lay claim to being well known, it would be the title cut here, a surprisingly powerful progressive song with a pleasant pop sensibility. It was the darling of the sci fi set at the time. Several other decent if overly clever short tunes are included, like "Modern Lover Affair". "New York Times" sounds like ELO right down to the Eldorado-styled ending. They also almost pull off another prog coup with "Interrupted Melody" but it seems a tad disjointed, and you can forget about the 13 minute closer other than as confirmation that CITY BOY's closest association with the progressive movement was temporal.

By all reports things went down from this not particularly lofty peak. Recommended only to those who are red hot for groups of this ilk.

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 The Day the Earth Caught Fire by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.77 | 29 ratings

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The Day the Earth Caught Fire
City Boy Prog Related

Review by maryes

3 stars The fifth albun from the Britanic band CITY BOY " Day the Earth Caught Fire" is a very good example from 70's Art-Rock style.. The sound is a mix of influences of , 10 cc, Sweet, Styx ( mainly in the vocal choirs). The albun in itself, in spite of presents some interesting moments in a form of riffs or maybe some eletric guitar and keyboards solos, is very far of a progressive rock music and is more close of a a little more elaborated hard rock.The best moments are in the track 1 "Day the Earth Caught Fire" with a moog solo and a good vocal arrangement and a the final guitar solo, the track 7 "Machines" a heavy song in ALICE COOPER's "vein" with a guitar solo in BOSTON or maybe STYX' style and the track 8 "Ambition" with 5 distinct párts ( the more close of a progressive song ). My rate is 3 stars !!!

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 The Day the Earth Caught Fire by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.77 | 29 ratings

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The Day the Earth Caught Fire
City Boy Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars In the mid 70s, a series of British groups combined elements of classic prog, adding some heavy rock a la Zeppelin and some hints of glam (T. Rex, Gary Glitter and early Roxy Music). Some went on to massive fame (Queen, Bowie), so-so celebrity (Sweet) and no distinction whatsoever (City Boy). Wiki defines glam as "Visually it was a mesh of various styles, ranging from 1930s Hollywood glamour, through 1950s pin-up sex appeal, pre-war Cabaret theatrics, Victorian literary and symbolist styles, science fiction, to ancient and occult mysticism and mythology. City Boy are among those rare bands that had definite talent but only 2 albums hit any kind of renown, the "Dinner at the Ritz" and this one. Obviously, the title here implies a science fiction slant (a famous classic movie whose storyline is the following: panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices and have caused the orbit of the Earth to alter, sending it hurtling towards the sun) and the songs are reflective of the hysterical eccentricities that were extremely newsworthy at the time. I purchased the vinyl back when it came out as I was intrigued by the then media reviews of this concept album and ever since I was always compelled to slide this one alongside Sheer Heart Attack and Desolation Boulevard, as there are some uncanny resemblances. Lol Mason's high pitched vocals akin to Freddie Mercury and Brian Connolly, Mike Slamer's loud guitar crunches in the Andy Scott/Brian May school of rock rifferama, steady bass and power drumming that certainly recall Taylor or Bonham from Roy Ward , who sings a bit too. The differences are mostly in the person of Max Thomas, a deft keyboardist who paints the ivory symphonics with aplomb. The title track is a marvelous slice of rock harmonics, a bruising, highly melodramatic opus that could easily have been penned by the Bohemian rhapsodists, with its massed choirs, insanely catchy chorus ("Run for your life"), moody synth backdrops, and cyclonic beats. A slippery axe solo only adds to the pop-corn drama. Wow! "It's Only the End of the World" is ballsier, almost basic heavy rock, drummer Ward taking over the mike and sounding like a rock 'n roller, aided by the lush massed backing vocals, guitars weaving in and out and doomsday ahead. Lots of fun, "sports car driving off a cliff" kind of a track! "Interrupted Melody" has an almost Springsteen-like flavour, a piano-driven exposure of the sleazy life of girls of the night, lustily teasing the unified choir vocals that parallel the brash guitar, a depressingly lurid story encased in yet a brilliant song. Slamer's solo is devastating, enough to make any May fan stand and applaud. "Modern Love Affair" is breezy, a typical brit rock song, a hint of pub cabaret and lots of rock and roll, a perfect foil for some vocal/guitar histrionics and a chorus that never fades from memory. "New York Times" has quite an intro, instrumental fracas that will wink at the Queen boys (Queens, New York, get it?), huge orchestrations that will recall George Martin's work with the Fab Four, again with that Cabaret feel, a sizzling axe solo and some dizzying dynamics. Drummer Ward really has nice pipes here, elevating this track to lofty heights. "Up in the Eighties" is another sweltering winner, swerving contrasts, a sense of "deja entendu"(look it up!), I swear I hear Dr John's "Are You in the right place?" . The pub was too hot to bear any more pain. "Machines" is where things get hot and heavy, a raunchy workout with crunching riffs, bruising bass and tectonic drum beats, Ward singing like a madman while bashing his kit, the squeaky synth backed chorus is like something from the Sparks, totally unexpected but deeply appreciated. The guitar solo sounds like Bill Nelson on steroids! The lyrics continue to astound by their doomsville frankness. Now of course, you have to wait to the finale, the whopping 12 minute+ "Ambition" suite in order to anoint this with duly stamped prog credentials and rightly so. This is one hell of a roller coaster, replete with 3 segments that clash, crash and smash as the planet goes down the tubes of its own destruction, a button pushed, humanity vaporized. An epitaph to political stupidity, at a time when the chance of nuclear obliteration was quite real, even possible (Too many near misses, from 1960 onward). The manic "Rev-On" section is hot and juicy, almost deliriously close to hard rock where it not for the swooping synths and clavinet. The singing here is primeval and endearing, Steve Broughton, Lol Mason and Ward all contributing to the vocal melee. This is a brilliant unknown gem that deserves high praise and way many more devoted fans, including the royals . 4.5 Urban punks

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 Anthology by CITY BOY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2001
3.06 | 3 ratings

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Anthology
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I might as well share my opinion of this compilation album since I already covered all of its material during my City Boy retrospective. The main question is whether a newcomer should invest into a 70+ minute anthology or just go with the actual studio albums? My answer has always been the latter, since compilation albums rarely manage to capture an entire carrier, especially when we're talking about a versatile band like City Boy. Surprisingly, this is really not the biggest concern that I have with this so called Anthology album.

It's not even the fact that this album doesn't have a single track off the band's seventh and final record It's Personal, although the later re-releases have No Ordinary Life added in as a bonus track. Nor is it the irritating decision of not placing the tracks in their chronological order (or any other logical order, for that matter). No, my main concern comes from the idea that there's just too much average material here that really doesn't do much for me.

I can understand why you would include the title track off Heads Are Rolling or the band's first ever single, Hap-Ki-Do Kid, which was also performed during their first Top Of The Pops performance. But then there are forgettable tracks like Need A Little Loving and Surgery Hours (Doctor Doctor) that I doubt that even the biggest fans would consider even remotely essential to the band's repertoire. The worst thing about this is that excellent compositions had to be overlooked due to these poor choices. I'm talking about classics like Sunset Boulevard, The Violin, State Secrets - A Thriller, Bordello Night, Cigarettes and Domino, just to name a few!

What I'm basically saying here is that if you want to explore City Boy then start with their band-titled debut album and Dinner At The Ritz. If you're short on cash, then go for the double disc package that features the two albums, released in 1998 by Renaissance Records. There is really no reason to purchase this Anthology since this is far from a Best Of collection, which I'm sure is the reason why such an album title was not chosen for this modest compilation!

***** star songs: Shake My Head And Leave, (Moonlight) (4:26) Dinner At The Ritz (6:43) The Day The Earth Caught Fire (5:26)

**** star songs: 5-7-0-5 (3:13) I've Been Spun (3:24) Beth (2:45) Modern Love Affairs (3:31) She's Got Style (3:20) What A Night (3:02) Goodbye Blue Monday (5:01) New York Times (5:11) Young Men Gone West (4:06)

*** star songs: Heads Are Rolling (3:59) Hap-Ki-Do Kid (3:13) Bad For Business (3:34) Need A Little Loving (3:41) Surgery Hours (Doctor Doctor) (3:04) You're Leaving Me (3:59)

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 It's Personal by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.06 | 12 ratings

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It's Personal
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Oh boy, where do I even start commenting on this release? Well, I can start by stating that this is easily one of the best final albums that any band have ever put on tape!

It wouldn't be an understatement to say that Heads Are Rolling was a low point of the band's career which made most people assume that City Boy was over and done with. Even their label Atlantic realized that there was no more hit potential left in the band and dropped them as soon as their contract expired. The band handed in their seventh album to the label before leaving but Atlantic executives decided against releasing the record. Fortunately there was still a distribution deal with Phonogram Records (though Vertigo) that made it possible for the Scandinavian market to actually experience this gem!

I really find it hilarious that the Swedish Wikipedia page for this UK band is actually twice as long as its English counterpart! I guess that we Swedes know a quality act whenever we see one (Warning! This statement is obviously very shallow and you can probably find at least a dozen exceptions to this so called rule). Still, the fact that City Boy was a lot more popular in the Nordic regions remains a fact. I'm obliviously very happy about it since I got to grow up with City Boy.

One can only be amazed when a band actually manages to create a noteworthy album at the late stages of their career. It's Personal is even more than just a noteworthy release, it's easily one of the top two records in the band's career! Tracks like No Ordinary Life, The Police-inspired Names And Addresses are just beautiful while Exit The Heavyweight can pretty much be considered a perfect ending to a short but very memorable career. The rest of the tracks do a good job of creating atmosphere for the highlights, with a minor exception of La Guerra De Mondo since the tracks simply sounds out of place with the rest of these cheery pop tunes.

I would be lying if I said that It's Personal was a Progressive Rock album, but let's not forget that City Boy was never really a Prog band to begin with, hence their Prog Related-tag. If all you're after is a great rock album with a few touches of Art Rock then look no further!

***** star songs: No Ordinary Life (4:12) Names And Addresses (4:15) Exit The Heavyweight (4:34)

**** star songs: Rat Race (3:14) The Blind Leading The Blind (4:08) Lovers (4:21) It's Personal (4:33) Who Killed Dolores (4:03)

*** star songs: La Guerra De Mondo (3:51)

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 Heads Are Rolling by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.20 | 11 ratings

BUY
Heads Are Rolling
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars A slight misstep...

City Boy lost two of its original members after their previous release, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, managed to completely miss the attention of the mainstream audience. Steve Broughton and Chris Dunn were important to the signature style of the band and seeing them leave did create a lot of hollow room, especially since the remaining quartet decided to carry on without any replacements.

Let me start by addressing the album's cover since it never really appealed to me and I honestly can't imagine how anyone could have green-lighted it. Book Early was the most unappealing album cover up until now but Heads Are Rolling definitely drops the bar a few more notches which makes Book Early seem not that bad in comparison. The cover really has not connection to the music that it tries to represent since this album is just as colorful and vibrant as most of the previous albums.

Although the overall style is still the same, the quality of the compositions is really not on the same level as before. The first three tracks starts the album off on a weird note that does take a while to shake off. Fortunately we have tracks like Change In The Weather, The Police-inspired Domino and Speechless that returns the album on the right track for a while. This doesn't really hold for too long and the quality sinks once again with The Sound Of The Bell and the ultra cheesy ballad You're Leaving Me.

Heads Are Rolling shows City Boy at their career low, which is quite understandable since the band needed some time to reorganize themselves in order to get back on track. Most fans actually didn't get a follow up to the story until only a few years back when the band's seventh and final album It's Personal finally got a proper release, but more on that in my next review!

**** star songs: Change In The Weather (3:44) Domino (3:45) Speechless (3:35) Bloody Sunday (3:25) Life On The Balcony (4:57)

*** star songs: Mr. Shoes (3:24) Heads Are Rolling (3:58) Need A Little Loving (3:41) The Sound Of The Bell (3:41) You're Leaving Me (3:58) Heaven For The Holidays (3:34)

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 The Day the Earth Caught Fire by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.77 | 29 ratings

BUY
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars 1979 was the year when City Boy would return to their Art Rock ambitions and release their most accomplished album yet! The Day The Earth Caught Fire was both heavier and tighter than the two previous releases. The tracks are all thematically linked creating a concept album that prophesies disaster that our world is coming to. It might be considered a bit too much to ask for the audiences living in the era of oil crises and New Wave to comprehend the hardship that the band dealt with in order to pursue this artistic vision. The success of the previous release just didn't catch on and it's truly a great pity considering how good this material is.

The title track might seem a bit dated in its typical late seventies production but, other than that, it's an excellent piece of rock music that has been undeservingly forgotten by the audiences. The rest of the tracks keep themselves true to the concept album format, concluding with a 13 minute long medley called Ambition/Me And My Tarot/Rev-On/The End. I guess that some might say that City Boy weren't too kind to their mainstream audience with The Day The Earth Caught Fire since the album lacks everything that they might have enjoyed on Book Early. Only Modern Love Affair gives us the reminder of the simpler past while the rest of the album can almost be considered a long awaited continuation of Dinner At The Ritz.

This is a great album that might have dated a bit more than the other releases in the band's catalog due its somewhat generic production that really oozes the spirit of late '70s/early '80s. Therefore I can't recommend it as much as Dinner At The Ritz, but it's not far from there.

***** star songs: Day The Earth Caught Fire (5:26)

**** star songs: Interrupted Melody (5:30) Modern Love Affair (3:31) New York Times (5:11) Up In The Eighties (4:14) Machines (5:04) Ambition (12:38)

*** star songs: It's Only The End Of The World (4:04)

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 Book Early by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.07 | 25 ratings

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Book Early
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars This was the album that brought City Boy their short-lived time in the spotlight. This might make you automatically assume that this is just a completely disposable album by any Art Rock standards and you'll probably be right about it. Still, I have somewhat of a soft spot for this release. The material featured here is easily among the band's most accessible stuff but I find it surprisingly enjoyable to simply breeze though these tracks just to get some of the magnificent energy that is embedded into tracks like the highly eclectic Cigarettes or the E.L.O.-sounding What A Night.

What really surprises me is the fact that Book Early is a very consistent album, or at least consistent by City Boy standards. The album definitely takes a lot of inspiration from artists like Eagles and E.L.O. in the song arrangements while still managing to maintain some of the classic City Boy magic. The overall feel of the material can be summed up by the words "album-oriented rock". If you like that stuff then this release will definitely be a delight for you, but I somehow doubt that this is something that we should admit enjoying on a Progressive Rock website, so let's keep it our own dirty secret.

Love it or hate it, this is a very commercially oriented album that dumbs down the familiar City Boy formula into a bunch of bright and energetic tracks. I, for one, don't find this a bad thing especially since the band is very up front about it. Just compare this album's cover to the three previous releases and tell me that you don't see a certain change in direction. Simply a good album that isn't trying to be more than what it actually is!

**** star songs: 5.7.0.5. (3:13) Goodbye Laurelie (3:10) Raise Your Glass (To Foolish Me) (2:57) Cigarettes (5:30) What A Night (2:57) World Loves A Dancer (3:24) Beth (2:45) Dangerous Ground (4:59)

*** star songs: Summer In The Schoolyard (3:52) Do What You Do, Do Well (3:29) Moving In Circles (4:08)

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 Young Men Gone West by CITY BOY album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.23 | 17 ratings

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Young Men Gone West
City Boy Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Where would City Boy take their music after the masterful performance on Dinner At The Ritz?

There are generally two ways that an artist/band can go about after releasing a strong album. Either you continue pushing the music into the same direction in order to uncover more potential within the music and push the material to a higher artistic ground or scratch everything and start over from the top. One might assume that the second alternative is an easy way out of the high expectations that the audience might have on the follow-up and that's true even though moving away from a familiar formula will most probably alienate the existing fans base. Queen managed to achieve a comedic effect by following up the grand A Night At The Opera with the light-hearted A Day At The Races, which is probably one of the most successful transitions in the history of rock music. This was really not the case with City Boy.

The band returned to the short song format where most tracks keep around the 4-minute mark and featuring a wide array of styles that will remind you of their debut album from the previous year. I guess that the pressure from the record company began getting to the sextet and Young Men Gone West definitely has a huge hit potential with every track clearly designed to become a potential chart topper. Ultimately all this effort was clearly wasted since it often requires a lot more than great songwriting to please the masses and 1977 was really not a great year for the Art Rock scene.

The album does deliver a few moments for me, especially the majestic ending with The Millionaire, but it lacks the consistency that I expect of a great studio recording. Not a terrible album by any standards, just not really a special nor a rewarding experience for any fan of Art Rock.

***** star songs: The Millionaire (4:26)

**** star songs: Bordello Night (3:04) Honeymooners (3:55) She's Got Style (3:20) Young Men Gone West (4:05) One After Two (3:29) Man Who Ate His Car (3:00)

*** star songs: Dear Jean (I'm Nervous) (5:33) Bad For Business (3:33) I've Been Spun (3:24) Runaround (3:19)

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