Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Just a Boy
Genres: Pop, Rock
UK 2002 reissue of the British singer/songwriter's sophomore album, originally released in 1974. Includes three bonus tracks, 'Praise The Land' (session recording & used in 'Budgie' TV series), 'Reasons' (session out ta... more »
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UK 2002 reissue of the British singer/songwriter's sophomore album, originally released in 1974. Includes three bonus tracks, 'Praise The Land' (session recording & used in 'Budgie' TV series), 'Reasons' (session out take) & bonus audio of Leo talking about his beginnings & playing extracts from some of the album demos. Housed in a slipcase.
Anthony J. Windle | 08/27/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, it's true...Leo Sayer was once the man who brought disco to a new level of cheesiness. However, people are far too eager to write off his earlier efforts because of this unfortunate drift in the late 70s. In fact, Leo started off as a very skilled and poignant singer/songwriter with the help of manager Adam Faith and co-songwriter David Courtney. For anybody that is willing to enter the world of "Just A Boy" with an open mind, they are likely to be pleasantly surprised with the depth that they will find there. Further, the listener will be quite surprised to find that, for an individual who has several exceedingly dated 70s relics under his belt, this album has actually aged quite well and comes across as fairly undated.This album probably contains Leo's most personal lyrics and his most impassioned vocals. In fact, it would not be outrageous to lump this in with other "concept" albums from the 70s, as most of the songs present revolve around Leo's "Coming of age" within the music industry. One follows Leo from his lonely/confused beginning ("Telepath"), to his down-and-out start as a songwriter ("Train" and "One Man Band"), to his eventual climb in popularity ("S.O.L.O"), and finally to his contemplation at the top ("Giving It All Away"). Essentially we are presented a career retrospective from an individual who had only released one previous album! Even though people tend to lose this theme within the variety of styles present in the album, this is more of a positive than a negative. For, as far as albums go, "About A Boy" contains the entire spectrum of musical styles with Leo's unique lyrics and vocals to connect it all. As with any Leo album, there is a certain amount of vaudeville present ("Long Tall Glasses"), but also included are some ballads ("Bells of St. Mary's"), some almost psychedelic rock ("Telepath"), and a certain amount of straight out rock ("One Man Band"). Thus, this album runs the gamut, while still maintaining a consistent vision.Leo broke through with a strong debut, "Silverbird," but it took experience in the music industry as well as a certain amount of lyrical/musical sophistication to be able to create an album such as, "Just a Boy." However, do not be fooled into believing that "About a Boy" is a straight-up thematic juggernaut...for, let us not forget that it is Leo Sayer, and Leo's patented move is to throw a certain degree of cheesiness and playfulness into his albums! This re-release finally allows the Leo fan to grab this album which, until now, was rather hard to find and almost exclusively available on LP. Further, this version of "Just A Boy" contains the song, "Praise the Land," which was used in the show "Budgie" starring Leo's manager Adam Faith and also included is the song "Reasons" which Leo wrote for Roger Daltry and actually appeared on one of Roger's solo albums."
Great staying power.
abj | Silver Spring, Maryland USA | 12/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's a lot of reasons why I avoided Leo Sayer during the latter years of the Seventies. Chief among them were "When I Need You" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," which managed to epitomize the worst of Seventies balladry and Seventies disco. Then there was his decision to play Sun City in South Africa during the apartheid era, which I still believe was inexcusable. So it took a long road for me to travel to get to this fine album. This is chock-full of great songs by Sayer and his then-writing and playing partner David Courtney, all (sort-of) centered around life as a working entertainer. Probably the most affecting are the first and last numbers; "Telepath" captures the disorienting feeling of trying to adjust to travel and still maintain contact with those closest to you (this was written before cellphones, you know!), while "Giving It All Away" has the FEEL of determination about it, even though the lyrics are somewhat oblique. "Long Tall Glasses" is the catchiest song here, about singing or, in this case, dancing for your supper. When Leo starts vamping the line, "Of course I can dance," the band kicks in behind him and it all makes for rousing fun. He owes a big debt to Elton John and Van Morrison in a few places, but in the end the songs and the singer win you over.
With this album, I can forgive Leo Sayer for his later lapses---and for my constantly getting him mixed up with Richard Simmons!"