Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Creatures of the Street
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
On the heels of the critical and commercial debacle that was his first album, what did Jobriath do? Retreat into more accessible, radio-friendly material? Not a chance. Instead, Jobriath made an album even more grandiose t... more »
On the heels of the critical and commercial debacle that was his first album, what did Jobriath do? Retreat into more accessible, radio-friendly material? Not a chance. Instead, Jobriath made an album even more grandiose than its predecessor, a series of musical vignettes for the images flickering on the back of his eyelids. Rock n roll it ain t; audacious it most certainly is even to today s ears.
1974 glam-rock LP crushed by the hype of its predecessor
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 09/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jobriath's self-titled 1973 debut received positive notices, but the ensuing publicity hype all but sunk the artist's critical reputation. He'd delivered the musical goods, but his manager's hype machine and a failed-to-materialized grand tour of European opera houses hung over this follow-up like a rain cloud. The notoriety that greeted the first openly gay rock star's debut had turned to scorn and apathy, resulting in little notice of a sophomore album that featured some wonderfully crafted, dramatic glam-rock. It probably didn't help that Jobriath's manager stuck his name in the credits as "Jerry Brandt Presents Jobraith in Creatures of the Street," and suggested the album was a romantic comedy.
Co-producing once more with engineer Eddie Kramer, Jobriath's second album's broadens his reach with additional orchestrations and showy production touches. He continues to sing in a high register, retaining a tonal resemblance to Mick Jagger and Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter, but here he adds gospel and classical elements to both the vocal arrangements and his piano playing. Despite suggestions that this was a concept album, the concept remains obscure. Still, much of the album sounds as if it were a cast album to a stage musical with rock-opera pretensions. "Street Corner Love" is rendered as mannered show rock, and the stagey "Dietrich/Fondyke" combines a full orchestral arrangement, piano flourishes and a female chorus into a dramatic splash of film nostalgia. The funky "Good Times" sounds as if its tribal-rock vibe was lifted from "Hair" - a period play in which Jobriath had performed a few years earlier.
More inventively, the grittily-titled "Scumbag" is rendered as the sort of music hall country-folk the Kinks recorded in the early 1970s, and Jobriath's orchestration for "What a Pretty" is impressively threatening. Only a few songs, "Ooh La La" and "Sister Sue," break free of the theatricality to stand on their own as glam-rock. There are many similarities to Jobriath's debut here, but the overall result is more fragmented and contains few nods to radio-ready compositions. After promotional fiascos consumed Jobriath's debut, there seemed to be no interest in commercial pretensions on what would be his swansong. Dropped by both his manager and label, he retreated from the music industry, reappearing a few years later as a lounge singer named "Cole Berlin," and passing away largely unnoticed in 1983. With the reissue of his two Elektra albums, modern-day listeners can hear his music in place of his hype, and the music - particularly the debut album - is worth hearing. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]"
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 10/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sucked into the quicksand of its own hype, theatrical rock singer Jobriath's second album went virtually unnoticed in 1974. LP copies of his debut and "Creatures of The Street" were so rare that collectors were shelling out big bucks for them on e-bay and similar sites. It took the fandom of one Morrissey and his compilation reissue of Lonely Planet Boy to remind folks that Jobriath was for real.
With that identity re-established, the Collectors' Choice wing of Rhino has brought Jobriath's two albums back onto the marketplace. You can now listen to them 35 years after the deadly hype that drowned them and after Jobriath's death in 1983. Unfortunately, you can also hear the reasons why Jobraith's music never really caught on through "Creatures of The Street." The music comes off as stagy and more than a little pretentious, with arrangements that sound like they were tailored for a Broadway Musical. The two brief interlude/bridges, "What a Pretty" and "Dietrich/Fondyke," are pointless theater, and frankly, Jobriath was not the best of vocalists.
That said, there are a few songs here that are solid trashy glam. "Good Times" and "Heartbeat" are decent, and probably helped establish Jobriath's live reputation (google his videos sometime, there are a couple). "Scumbag" is close to Elton John's character sketches, while "Ooo La La" is kind of soulful. His band, the creatures, plays with zing and the string/orchestral arrangements add nicely, if a bit over the top. But it's too little too late, as Jobriath could not escape the fact that the antics of his manager had so derailed his career that he'd become an industry joke (Elektra Records chief Jac Holzman famously stated, "I made two errors of judgment in my days at Elektra and signing Jobriath was one of them").
Freed from the atmosphere of the time, you can now listen to Jobriath's concept album as an entity on its own. While it plays out as a story of men and women lured into the trap of glamour and fame, it could also read as an epitaph for the late singer himself, as he died of AIDS in NYC, a bitter and forgotten recluse who made his living playing cabaret piano in New York dives. The release of Jobriath's two albums provides a much needed footnote to a man who wanted to be something, pushed to the barb-wire fence as hard as he could, and wound up being the forgotten body everyone in the more androgynous 80's climbed across. I can only recommend Jobriath's CDs to historical completists of either glam rock or gay subculture."
A Copy Of A Letter I Sent Collector's Choice Music
Paisley Yankolovich | Laughlin, Nevada | 09/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just purchased this cd and am shocked at the liner article! How could you release a cd and enclose such a hateful eulogy for the artist? I'm not defending Jobriath or denying the truth of the article but surely it is an insult to the fans.
Heck, you even included the fact that no one knew or cared that the man had died!
Your company thought enough to make money of the guy, surely something positive could have been said about his work.
I assume this e-mail will do no good but I had to let someone know how cruel I felt your choices were here."