Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
All Dressed Up & No Place to Go
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Nicolette's 4th and Final Warner's LP a Return to Form!
Cain Farmer | Alexandria, VA | 03/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ted Templeman gave the production reigns to pop artist Andrew Gold [known mostly for his 70s single smash "Lonely Boy"] for Nicolette's final pop outing on the Warners label in 1982, and the results were just short of stellar, which was a very needed thing for Nicolette, who had been declining in the years since her phenomenal 1978 debut, "Nicolette."
It's too bad Warners didn't commit more of a marketing budget to "All Dressed Up," though, and ultimately, the LP, which critics then raved about, went nowhere in sales. It's hard to know whom to fault for what could have been Nicolette's saving grace and return to the top 40, but whoever chose the likeable and winning remake of "I Only Want to Be with You" as the first [and only, I think] single off the album just wasn't thinking: not 3 or 4 years before, perhaps even closer in time, the same song was covered by the Bay City Rollers and was a super-smash for that group. Pop radio's memory was long enough at that time to prevent Nicolette's version of the song from gaining any real momentum, and the single could only get to number 53 or so, and exited the Hot 100 after about 7 weeks or so. A better choice for the album's single would have been the lilting ballad, "Just Say I Love You," but I guess everyone felt more confident in the possibility that Nicolette might be able to take over as Pop's Covers Queen from then-descending Linda Ronstadt, and thus "I Only Want to Be with You" became the album's single release.
If "All Dressed Up and No Place to Go" suffers from anything, it's a kind of dated sound, instrumentation and backing vocals that sound too much alike from track to track [Templeman as producer can be faulted for deviating too much from Nicolette's first effort, but he cannot be faulted for his better, fuller, lusher instrumentations that accompanied Nicolette on her three earlier LPs]. But make no mistake: Nicolette returned to fine form with this LP, and some of her finest work is here. Andrew Gold finally gave Nicolette fans what they had been waiting for, and didn't get with the second and third LPs: a few different musical genres and strong song selections for Nicolette's gorgeous vocals, including even some reggae-flavored pop here [Leon Russell's "Say You Will"]. Rock ["Two Trains"], pop ["I'll Fly Away"], country-fused jazz [the takes-a-couple-of-listens-to-really-like "Love, Sweet, Love"], blue-eyed soul [the remake of "Nathan Jones"] are all given great representation here, and the LP overall is excellent, classy, demanding repeated plays. As was usual for Nicolette's Warner LPs, the album closes with a ballad, one of Nicolette's most haunting recordings, "Still You Linger On." Weak tracks on the LP, which are responsible for making this LP second only to "Nicolette" in my book [which had no weak tracks] are the rocking "I Want You So Bad" and bubble-gummish "Talk to Me," but on the latter track, anyway, Nicolette's vocals are stunning.
This LP ended Nicolette's time with Warners, and it wouldn't be until 1985 that Nicolette's fans would see another Nicolette album, which was sad at the time, since we fans had enjoyed "Nicolette" in 1978, "In the Nick of Time" in 1979, "Radioland" in late 1980, and "All Dressed Up" in the summer of '82. When she did return, with 1985's "...Say When," she was with a new label, and she was pure country, or as pure as an artist who refused to be pigeon-holed into one genre could get. And even if you didn't really like country music, what you liked about Nicolette, if you were a fan, was still present in her two country LPs: that wonderful voice [or should I say those wonderful voices], and some wonderful songs for displaying that wonderful voice. Hopefully one day soon "...Say When" and "Rose of My Heart" will be released on cd's, because the best of Nicolette's catalog wouldn't be completed without some fine tracks from those two LPs [and I'm not talking about the songs from those LPs that appear on "The Very Best of Nicolette Larson" from a few years back, either]."
Nicolette's Best Album
Eric James | Belcourt, ND USA | 04/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this fan's opinion, after years of toying with all kinds of musical genres, Nicolette dished out her most sound (and best) record with 1982's sexy "All Dressed Up..." Over the years, this CD became harder to come by and I'm extremely happy it's back in print for fans who hadn't had the chance to hear it in its day.
No song on the album drags. From the impressive cover of "I Only Want To Be With You" to the 'let it be' sentiment of "Two Trains", every song is memorable and with some of Nicolette's best vocals of the time.
Other favorites are "Nathan Jones", which should have been a killer hit, and "I Want You So Bad", featuring a beautiful yearning vocal by Larson.
Let's keep our finger's crossed for Nicolette's next 2 country albums to FINALLY be released on CD!!!"
Very slickly produced; often sounds rote & tired
Dave | United States | 02/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Looking at an original vinyl copy of the late, great Nicolette Larson's 4th solo album, 1982's "All Dressed Up And No Place To Go", you can't help but instantly be struck by the sexy front and back covers--there probably was a feeling of desperation on the part of Warner Bros. for this album to get noticed due to the fact that Nicolette's 2nd & 3rd albums did not live up to the solid commercial success of her debut. However, don't let the cover give you the wrong impression that this album is a painful sell-out. The production here is indeed very slick, but almost always tasteful, and the album sports solid, professional performances--Nicolette is in fine form (not that you'd expect anything less). Familiar names such as Linda Ronstadt, Valerie Carter, Wendy Waldman, Little Feat's Billy Payne, and virtual/ future Little Feat member Fred Tackett all contributed performances here. Ted Templeman, the producer of Nicolette's first three albums, `stepped down' here (he is credited as the executive producer)--instead, the album was produced by virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gold who was once engaged to Nicolette, and Gold also played on all the tracks here. As much of a Nicolette fan as I am, the resulting album is undeniably a disappointment--track after track features ho-hum, routine love lyrics, & the album often sounds tired as if it was being made simply to meet a deadline. The album opener "I`ll Fly Away (Without You)", surprisingly, was written by Jackson Browne, Craig Doerge, & Rosemary Butler (it's never appeared on a Browne album), and it basically sets the stage for the album as a whole--it's an okay, decently tuneful pop song, but it feels rote and a bit underdeveloped. The mellow ballad "Just Say I Love You" (which does have a nice chorus), the up tempo "Nathan Jones" (which does have some cool backwards reverb used on Nicolette's voice), & the mid-tempo Larson/ Gold-penned pop tune "I Want You So Bad" are all decent tracks--they really don't sway you much one way or the other. On the weaker side, "Say You Will" is an overcooked feel-good tune with ultra corny synthesizer and a mariachi-style instrumental break that's highly annoying and even cornier, although it's mercifully brief; "Love, Sweet, Love", written by Paul Barrere of Little Feat, is just dull, Dixieland-flavored fluff with excessive, gospel-style background vocals that unmistakably recall Little Feat. "I Only Want To Be With You", although not as annoying as the famous Dusty Springfield version, is still a highly unfortunate choice of a song to cover--a super-sugary, ultra-slick, bubblegum pop tune, a major drag. The Little Feat/ Lowell George cover "Two Trains" has grating synth horns and feels like a forced attempt to "rock things up". On the other side of the coin, "Talk To Me", despite the typically ho-hum lyrics, has super cool, riffy electric piano, ringing electric guitars, & is melodically catchy; and the album ends with a wistful, moving cover of Gold's tender, melodic ballad "Still You Linger On" (as an aside, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, who dated Nicolette for a period of time, blatantly used this song as the basis for his "You Don't Love Me Anymore" from his 1992 album "Off the Deep End"). "All Dressed Up And No Place To Go" was not a great way for her to end her 4 album run with Warner Bros., but she did return with the interesting 1985 album "Say When" on MCA, which has generally more of a country-pop leaning than her earlier solo work. Still, "All Dressed Up And No Place To Go" certainly isn't without merit, & it's nice to see that Wounded Bird Records has reissued it on CD in 2005 (along with her previous 3 albums)--not a bad item to snap up if you see it cheap."