Rockets – S/T [Detroit 1979] – Used LP
VG/VG white label promo.
titled Turn Up the Radio in some countries.
Produced by Johnny Sandlin
Detroit Wheels splinter group. With this 1979 long player, this Detroit outfit reached an audience outside of Michigan and this likely marked the height of their popularity, with their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" actually climbing into the top 40, and "Turn Up the Radio" getting plenty of airplay--in Michigan at least. Other than omitting the reflective extended ending, Rockets offer a fairly faithful rendering of "Oh Well," and "Turn Up the Radio" is pretty catchy and of course radio friendly. On this album, they seem to be trying to break through to a bigger audience, via FM radio and not just continue their practice of backing up bands that came to Michigan in the 70s. They were perfect for most rock and roll bands at that time whether they were hard rock, glam or whatever, and while they always got the party started, they also didn't seem bent on upstaging the headliner.
The Bob Seger song that opens Side Two was apparently given to the band (as I'm not familiar with Seger doing it) and also fits in with this more radio-friendly sound. But even with a slight change in direction on this album and another ballad on side two, this still maintains this band's no-nonsense approach, the cover of "Lucille" pointing out something we'd heard from this band’s beginnings--a clear Little Richard influence (something we'd also clearly heard with Seger), while the vocals also point out a clear Motor City sound--Mitch Ryder and MC5. In fact, as lead singer David Gilbert changes his voice to sound a bit more like Little Richard on this cover, the sound also recalls when MC5 covered Little Richard in 1970, and through all this and remembering Mitch Ryder in his prime, it all becomes clear that Little Richard had a big influence on all this Detroit bands. The closer also sounds more like something from the debut, and while they maintain their sound and integrity, and some might find this the most enjoyable album in their catalog, others will find this album a little less interesting--with the sounding pointing in the direction of the 70s hard rock sound of 1979. That said, and the strong cuts certainly make this another worthwhile listen. It's another good album of straight-forward Motor City rock n roll, nothing fancy and nothing to sneeze at. -- winch (green noise)