Album Reviews

Tommy James – A Night In Big City…Plus

Released By : Angel Air Records

Genre : Pop/Rock, AOR

Links :


01.  Read Headed Woman (In A Black Limousine)

02.  Baby Tonight

03.  Give It All

04.  I Think We’re Alone Now

05.  Who Do You Love

06.  Megamation Man

07.  Madd Blue

08.  Blue Bird

09.  Angels And Strangers

10.  Tighter, Tighter

11.  In Slow Emotion

12.  Glory Glory

13.  Comin’ Down

14.  You’re So Easy To Love

15.  Halfway To Heaven

16.  Say Please

17.  Two Time Lover

18.  One Emotion Away

19.  Distant Thunder

So far in 2011 Angel Air records have been on a roll as far as bringing us some stuff from the vast back catalog of bubblegum-pop turned AOR superstar Tommy James, but up until now most of it has been the stuff he releases with his band The Shondells. Just recently however I received a copy of this release A NIGHT IN BIG CITY, which is from much later in James’ career and was in fact first released in 1996. This has been easily my favorite Tommy James release so far and really is a special disc.

A NIGHT IN BIG CITY was very highly regarded upon its initial release due it being a bit different to anything James had previously done, and in hindsight sticks out as something a bit different to anything he has done prior to it as well. Basically it was a concept album that was created to be a sort of audio movie if you like, an idea that stemmed from James’ memories of sitting around the radio in the evenings as a child before the days where every home had a television and listening to the stories that poured out of the speakers, we don’t have anything like that these days, but it must have been pretty great. The flowing storyline through the album follows Tommy and his band having a night out on the town and stopping to play in certain venues along the way. Across the journey he meets a woman, gets a ride in a limo, plays some shows and visits one of the oddest little clubs he could find where time stands still and weirdness ensues. I guess my little description doesn’t really do it justice but trust me when I say it is an enjoyable story and an amazing album cover to cover.

RED-HEADED WOMAN (IN A BLACK LIMOUSINE) is a great pop/rock tune that has a fantastic production, MEGAMATION MAN is a song before it’s time and is a fine, fine AOR tune with a very interesting lyric, MADD BLUE is a very odd little ditty that is really hard to explain but very enjoyable and BLUE BIRD sees James taking on the crooner era with a song that reminds me of something Frank Sinatra would do. But the best of the bunch here is the remake version of I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW, which adds a real dirty rock vibe to original and trumps it in each and every way.

As if that wasn’t enough to be worth your money, there are also eight…count ‘em again…eight bonus tracks that have been collected from various B-sides and unreleased demos from between 1974 to 1991. They vary in quality but each is a worthy addition and something that fans will want to delve into for sure. There’s also some great information in the booklet that goes into a bit more detail about the concept of the original album and also gives plenty of information about each of the bonus tracks. The only thing missing here is some lyrics, but that’s just a personal preference as I really like to read along, but it’s obviously not essential to the enjoyment factor of this very unique album.

Angel Air Records have yet again released a real winner here and if you haven’t had the chance to check out the original then there’s no time like the present. For Tommy James fans that already have a copy of the original, fear not as the eight bonus tracks and the informative booklet are worth the admission price alone.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 10/10

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