Quick Spins

Gary Ritchie / Head On A Swivel

Gary Ritchie

Head On A Swivel

When The Beatles broke big in America, American groups started cropping up everywhere, intent on capturing that same Beatles’ magic. Bands like The Knickerbockers and The Cyrkle were looking to do much more than most of the also-rans, though. Their aim, inspired by the lads from Liverpool, was to create something with the same level of enthusiasm and electricity.

Here, well-known popster Gary Ritchie continues that tradition, with a wink and a nod, and his heart in the right place. He is, after all, along with musical partner Jeff King, responsible for the cult-favorite release, Beat The Meatles.

“Maybe It’ll Be Tonight”, takes a post-punk stab at what might’ve been an early MTV hit, when power pop was really becoming a thing. The title track, reminiscent of The Dave Clark Five’s “Over and Over” is another winner, and gets seriously-close to that ’65 energy.

My fave of the set, however, is “Arms Around A Memory,” which boasts a catchy melody and jangly guitar sound that pop dreams are made of. In a perfect world, that’d be the A-side of Capitol Records vinyl single, spinning on the Dansette.


Quick Spins

The Beat/Public Confidential

The Beat featuring Ranking Roger

Public Confidential (DMF)

The English Beat broke big in the early 1980’s, blending elements of ska and new wave into their own thing. Like a lot of early MTV bands, they eventually disbanded, before resurfacing in the 1990’s in multiple forms. Principal vocalists Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger both continued to tour as The Beat, as recently as last year, before Roger’s untimely passing in March.

“Public Confidential” is Roger’s swan song, and it’s an incredible one. The title track lopes along with spooky sax fills, feeling like the eery epitaph to “Mirror In The Bathroom.” While all of these songs stand with the band’s best, “A Good Day For Sunshine” is that feel-good anthem that eclipses them. Roger will be missed.

By Dan Pavelich