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City Boy

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City Boy Book Early album cover
3.15 | 43 ratings | 6 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. (3:10)
2. Summer in the Schoolyard (3:52)
3. Goodbye Laurelie (3:10)
4. Raise Your Glass (To Foolish Me) (2:57)
5. Cigarettes (5:30)
6. What a Night (2:57)
7. Do What You Do, Do Well (3:29)
8. World Loves a Dancer (3:24)
9. Beth (2:45)
10. Moving in Circles (4:05)
11. Dangerous Ground (4:53)

Total Time 40:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Broughton / guitar, backing vocals
- Chris Dunn / bass, acoustic guitar
- Lol Mason / lead vocals
- Mike Slamer / acoustic & electric guitars
- Max Thomas / keyboards
- Roy Ward / drums, backing vocals

- Merle Anger / guitar
- Roy Babbington / bass
- Robert John Mutt Lange / bass
- Greg Mathieson / keyboards

Releases information

LP Vertigo 9102 028
LP Mercury SRM 1-3737

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Matte for the last updates
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CITY BOY Book Early ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CITY BOY Book Early reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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: (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)

Latest members reviews

4 stars What can i say! The most underrated band of all time?! Vocals way beyond most bands of their time and even now. I saw them once at an outdoor concert in miam florida and i do remember the song " Mama's Boy" i was left speechless. Summer in the schoolyard had some lyrics that were excellent l ... (read more)

Report this review (#100932) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I just wan't to say that this is my favorite City Boy album. Maybe not so progresive, but still it is, because they did take a step into a different direction and that prog for me. There where great songs with great music and harmonies in it. I just love to hear "The world loves a dancer" ... (read more)

Report this review (#100931) | Posted by Jan-E | Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I simply want to say that "Moving in Circles" is one of those songs that left a permanent mark on my psyche. "I feel we're moving in circles, of which we have no understanding weaving spirals but leaving no trace I can get over this strange, erie feeling, we're moving in circles and I can't ... (read more)

Report this review (#82096) | Posted by paulnew2000 | Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I got LP "Book Early" for free at the time of an electronic shop opening around 1983 or 1984. and Cigarettes are my favourite tracks. The rest is quite good rock music but you won't find something prog into that. It's just rock. I'd like to listen to other albums but they aren't available ... (read more)

Report this review (#57964) | Posted by BronDune | Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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