Calling Stephen Bishop's Red Cab
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 03/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Man...I have been wondering if this would ever make it to CD before they became obsolete. Leave it to Rhino/Wounded Bird. Stephen Bishop's idiosyncratic third album probably made the suits at Warner Brothers blanch when they first heard it. If they signed him away from MCA after the success of Careless and Bish, they probably hoped for more of the romantic hits. What they got was a frisky, playful album that, even though there were obvious MOR singles, there were two songs about criminals and killers, along with the delightful little ditty "Sex Kittens Go To College."
After all, "Cellmate Rudy came from Japan/where they taught him how to kill with his hands" is about as far removed from "Puts on Sinatra and starts to cry, On and On" as he could have gone. Which probably doomed this album to its beloved cult. The kind of off-kilter humor Bishop was known for (he had small roles in The Blues Brothers and Animal House) surfaces throughout "Red Cab," like the music hall arrangement for "Thief In The Night."
What the suits (and probably radio) expected was there, even if it got overshadowed by the zaniness. "Send a Little Love My Way" did make some radio inroads, and the title track is a perfect bit of melancholy on a par with "On and On" (as Bishop sings "me and my car broke down..."). His famous friends all drop in, including Eric Clapton and Phil Collins (who are both on "Sex Kittens Go To College"), and mentor Art Garfunkel lends his unmistakable voice to the title track.
With all that star power, it is easy to look at "Red Cab to Manhattan" as one that got away. It's not like Bishop's fortunes failed, either. His songs became major hits (The movie "Tootsie," Phil Collin's huge "Separate Lives.") But his own albums became so for off expectations that "Red Cab's" follow-up, "Sleeping With Girls" got rejected and songs only turned up 6 years later on "Bowling in Paris" after Phil Collins went to bat for him. So get this album while CD's still exist. It's Stephen Bishop at his best."
Must-Have for Bish Fans
Spence | Virginia Beach, VA United States | 03/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This one's great, but differs by having more variety on it.
"Careless" was very minimal, but beautiful.
"Bish" was lush and romantic, with a couple smart disco-like tunes.
"Red Cab" is more unconventional. But still a classic album.
I dunno... maybe he's more upbeat rock? He shifts gears lots here, even within the same song.
Still, it yields lots of memorably good songs, some quite perfect."
Bish's Best Album
J.C. Clark | 05/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No hits, but the songwriting is excellent throughout. All the songs mesh together beautifully. This album has more rock spunk than the usual Bish effort. The lyrics have an endearing quirkiness and humor to them. I can't believe it took so long for this to make it to CD."