Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Runaways

I distinctly remember picking up this along with the first Ramones record when they came out because I had
read about both bands. I don't remember which one I listened to first, but I know that the Ramones album was weird enough that it took some warming up (though they quickly became one of my all time faves) but this record struck me right from the start! I was already familiar with producer/songwriter Kim Fowley, so had some idea of what he might conjure up. But with its combination of hard rock/heavy metal and punk/pop/whatever, it really hit me. And, of course, the fact that they were good looking females about my own age made them quite appealing, as well!

While the songwriting here is a bit (understandably) juvenile (even as an older man, Kim Fowley's writing was always juvenile, as well), the songs are still damn catchy and the playing - while not virtuoso-level - is solid - certainly better than I was at the time! Drummer Sandy West and lead guitarist Lita Ford, especially, were pretty rockin' here (dig Lita's solo in "Blackmail"). Lead vocalist Cherie Currie has a pretty good range and with Joan Jett offsetting the vocals (sometimes taking the lead herself), there was a good balance and variety.And, not to forget bassist Jackie Fox, who managed to pull of some cool runs while being the best looking one of the bunch!

Classic songs here include the fantastic "Cherry Bomb" - a perfect tune for Cherie and I always liked the analogy - along with their version of Mitch Rider's version of Lou Reed's "Rock'n'Roll", and originals "You Drive Me Wild" and "American Nights". Some are fun'n'corny, like "Secrets" and especially "Dead End Justice", but still pretty energetic.

Overall, this holds up better than might be expected from a Kim Fowley produced gimmick band - due to the talents of the girls (and they were girls then) themselves. Still a cool teenage rock'n'roll party album!