Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Real Kids

I was lucky enough to have friends in the Boston scene in the late 70’s, so I learned about some of the fantastic bands that were popping up there. This was a strong scene with some truly inspired musicians that almost rivaled the NY scene.

One of the best of the bunch was the Real Kids. Led by John Felice, a former member of the Modern Lovers, these thuggish looking, long-haired reprobates created some superb power-pop/punk.

One of their most well known songs has to be the shoulda-been-hit, “All Kindsa Girls”. I actually think that the single version might have been a little better than the album cut, but this is a superb example of powerful, hi-energy pop and a wonderfully constructed song.

Not quite as monumentally catchy (though that would be tough!) but still great, is “Solid Gold”, another melodic raver. Ironically, next up is an update of Buddy Holly’s “Rave On”, which certainly does! Felice reminisces about the great Boston 60’s scene in “Better Be Good” and exhorts the town to try to emulate those times while he shows them how to do it!

More upbeat 50’s/60’s r’n’r in the love song “Taxi Boys” that John liked enough to use the title as a name of a future band. The band actually slows things down for a downright pretty ballad, “Just Like Darts”. This is far from wimpy, though and is a great song! But, back to the r’n’r basics in the frantic “She’s Alright” – high speed retro riff rock!

More pure power-pop in “My Baby’s Book”, a song in which the girl knows that the guy loves her and he’s “alright in my baby’s book”! Felice manages to not be saccharine at all as he talks about the girl forgiving his faults and keeps the song rockin’ and catchy as hell! Another rollickin’ 50’s song is covered in “Roberta”, with DMZ’s Mono Man on keyboards.

Showing his sense of humor in the riff-laden “Do The Boob”, John again decries the state of the local music scene with hilarious lines like “the guys are all faggots, the girls look like Lou Reed”. These cats had a real feel for r’n’r history as evidenced in their take on Eddie Cochran’s “My Way”. Ending with the oddly titled “Reggae, Reggae” (which has nothing to do with that musical genre), they create a wildly hypnotic pounder that is manic and a helluva way to close this terrific slab of Boston rock.

This is another classic 70’s album – a perfect mix of punk, pop and 50’s & 60’s rock’n’roll!
(PS - the image that i found - presumably from a CD reissue - is different from teh Red Star LP cover.)