Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Day the Earth Caught Fire
Genres: Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
A victim of punk and nwobhm
Klaus Nrskov | Copenhagen Denmark | 01/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The truly amazing thing about City Boy is their vocals. Apart from the even more amazing Sweet and Queen, City Boy is just about the best when it comes to vocal harmonies and multi-layered singing. This record and "Book Early" prove this point wihtout a doubt and with three really strong voices in the band (Broughton, Mason and Ward)their options on the vocal side were numerous - and they knew how to make use of them ... big time.
Also the songwriting is notably strong. Again you will have to start with the same to releases. "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" and "Book Early" are quite simply among the best pop/rock albums of the late seventies. And some of the songs could be regarded as classics. But this was the time of punk and new wave and everybody was looking somewhere else at the time. Simplicity and agression reigned and was preferred to classic qualities such as the above mentioned. And later - when City Boy released "Head are Rolling" - the New Wave of British Heavy Metal had hit the world and what we wanted was twin-guitars and quite different vocal aproaches.
Just the same City Boy was an excellent band and far more interesting than bands of the same genre such as Supertramp, Camel or even contemporary Genesis. All bands that did far better and whos legacy stand much stronger today. I truly find this unfair. City Boy were excellent and should be praised for their fantastic vocal-work and strong songs. They build this on top of a more than decent musicianship. I find this record to be marginally better and more consistent than "Book Early", but really you need to get them both. Their only real hit, "5-7-0-5" is on "Book Early" as is their strongest song ever, "Cigarettes". Also on the same release you find the beautiful "Dangerous Ground" and the equally melodic "The World Loves a Dancer". But "Book Early" also has a few misguided moments where you might be able to hear that City Boy was originally a mid-english folk-band - you might want to skip "Goodbye Laurelie", "Raise your Glass" and "What a Night" - i certainly do.
This would naturally lead to this record. "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" was the last record with all of the three voices in the band. Broughton left after this record. And it is their best record - chiefly because it is so consistent yet versatile and because the songwriting and musicianship is slightly matured compared to "Book Early". Stand out tracks are the titletrack, "Machines" and the suite-like "Ambition" which are essentially four rather different tracks melted together in a way that works ok, but really you should listen to the four parts as four songs - as a concept it doesn't really work - not for me anyway. If you prefere the more edgy songs of City Boy you might think that the three tracks closing side one on the original LP are one too many to stay awake but at the end of the day they are all strong and melodic tracks.
City Boy never got anywhere, really. Which is quite a shame since they were one of the most interesting bands outside punk during the late seventies. Their vocal work are spectacular and a number of their songs truly stand out - even at this day and age. If you want to buy your way into City Boy, you should start here and go on to "Book Early". Then if you want more, try out "Heads are Rolling" - essentially a Lol Mason record, but with some really strong songs and a harder approach. Maybe then buy "Young men Gone West" or "Dinner at the Ritz" from the mid-seventies. Also good releases - but nowhere near the level of the two stand-out records.
City Boy is a an interesting band who deserved to do better than they did. And if you like complex composing in a compact song-format and in a distinctively seventies ambience ... well, don't hesitate. Spend!
10 stars, or WHY WHY WHY?
P. Mann | AZ | 07/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not much new can be said, but I wanted to add my voice to the others, if for no other reason than, maybe it'll catch someone who can make a re-release happen's eye. To repeat the FIRST obvious question, why didn't these guys ever make it BIG?? ALL of the hallmarks of MAJOR celebrity were there, on virtually EVERY album, although, I DO have a bias, as TDTECF was the FIRST CB album I heard, and is STILL my favorite! But EVERY one had a few stand out tunes (Chart toppers)..Young Men Gone West had, I've been spun and, One after Two, had they gotten some airplay, they'd have been HUGE, DATR had Goodbye Blue Monday, though a part of those albums (Dinner, and The Day....) was "concept" type stuff, that radio stations had pretty much abandoned in favor of the 3.5 minute 'ditty', by that time, (IMHO, FM radio was ruined forever after syndication & program managers started dictating "what WE wanted to hear") BAH, I wont get going on THAT issue.
I honestly believe that, had these guys been at their peak when FM was still "radio free", they would have been wildly popular, it's too bad, the majority of a generation was cheated out of some FANTASTIC music because of that."
One of the 70's best bands
J. Demauro | USA | 02/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like great arrangements, great POP and great musicianship, then CITY BOY Is a Band you should check out. I think "Dinner at the Ritz" is their finest moment, but their first album and TDTECF are a close second.
They were probably one of the best bands in the 70's never to make it really big. Think Supertramp meets Deep Purple with Lucifers Friend."