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4.7 out of 5 stars30
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on June 30, 2008
Evolving from Dream Six, CB 's first album is short, loud, and sweet. Slower, soulful songs like "Beware of Darkness" and "Make me Cry" with its awesome harmony vocal, are mixed with full speed ahead hard rock monsters like "Over Your Shoulder", "Still in Hollywood", and "Your Haunted Head".

In between are mid tempo rockers like "True" and "Cold Part of Town". There is not a bad song on the album, and most are memorable. "Little Sister" (only half a heart away) and "Song For Kim" are superb.

The band at this early stage is solid. Harry Rushakoff is not flashy on drums, but solid as a rock, his bass pedal mixed up front, working with Johnette Napolitano's bass guitar to lay down a very effective rhythm. Jim Mankey is outstanding on the rhythm guitar parts, but has not evolved into the blazing fast, agonizingly tortured demon he would become. He sounds more like The Edge than Jimi Hendrix on this album, but is effective enough.

Johnette's voice and songwriting are the attraction, however. The songs always mean something, are never just words to sing for the song. But, the true attraction with Concrete Blonde was Johnette's voice.

She has a low voice compared to most female singers, and it is soulful and powerful. She hits the notes, and does it with great control and volume. It is as good a female rock and roll voice as there has ever been. If you are looking for a high pitched, cutesy little voice, popping along with peppy tunes, and a massive backbeat for dancing being the only memorable part of the instrumentation, pass this one by. If you are thinking Avril Lavigne, or Madonna, forget it. Think Janis Joplin with power and even more attitude, with great lyrics, and you are close.

What you have is exactly how most of us would put together a Chick fronted Rock band. Powerful drumming, blistering guitar, and a Chick with attitude, thrashing the bass while she belts out songs with a set of pipes you won't believe.
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on March 17, 2004
This debut album by Concrete Blonde is one of my favorite albums of all time. It is solid. Every track is a slam dunk. And it has variety from the country "True" to the heavier rockers like "Your Haunted Head," "Still in Hollywood" and "Over Your Shoulder," to the beautiful cover of George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness," to the acoustical "(You're the Only One) Can Make Me Cry." Then there are the excellent lyrics of urban poet Johnette Napolitano. In the single "Still in Hollywood," we meet the middle aged "queen of L.A." with "purple-painted cheeks and glitter on her eyes" and the "troll on the corner" who smiles after receiving a quarter because "he wasn't abused, he wasn't confused, he had nothing to gain and less to lose." "It'll Chew You Up And Spit You Out" is an alternate version of "Still In Hollywood" with some kickin' drums and a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation at the end. The instrumental version of "True" is wonderful. Other favorites include "Song For Kim (She Said)" and "Little Sister" ("I'm only half a heart away"). Nothing I can write will do this album justice. If you know Concrete Blonde from their singles like "Joey" or are interested in 1980s gems that may have gone under the radar, give this 1986 release a try. It will not disappoint. My CD copy includes lyrics and a photo of the band.
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on September 2, 1999
Bloodletting made me a huge Concrete Blonde fan, and it took me a long time to find this CD, but the search was worth it. As usual, Johnette sounds great and I'm really surprised by the emotion and polish the group had this early in their career. Definitely search this album out and give it a try.
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VINE VOICEon December 11, 2004
I'm amazed that this album is so hard to find. My ancient vinyl version was bookended by the two versions of "True." This album came out at a time in the late eighties when rock music had pretty much ceased to respirate.

"Beware of Darkness" is a great cover of an old George Harrison song, "Little Sister" features some of the personal and vibrant lyrics on the album. The vocals and playing are excellent throughout the album.

Found some change in my pocket, thought I'd take a chance and dial...

This album came out during a dark period in my life and the music has intense personal value and meaning. It's more than worth the money. You ought to buy a copy while it's available. You never know when you're going to need it. Music has kept more than one lost soul off the rocks. This isn't music for idiots. You'll need to bring a little something to the table.

A feeling of urban grit but delivered with a clear, sober exactitude that feels much more like poetry. From what I can recollect the band instantly fell into the standard L.A. black hole of one-album-success-and-a-lifetime-of-heroin-use. But I'm surprised to have to dig to find this album again, this truly is one of the best rock albums ever recorded.
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on May 21, 2007
I'm so glad they finally remastered this classic, Concrete Blonde is one of my all time favorite bands and will forever be played on the Bradley Buzz. I just recently came up with the cash to buy the first CD in this remastered version and can't believe I didn't pick it up earlier. Featuring my ultimate fav CB song "True" plus their classic "Still In Hollywood", the moody and sassy "Dance Along The Edge", the hard rock chill of "Over Your Shoulder", the moody and sad (Makes my sister cry) "Little Sister" ('you're only half a heart away'), this is one of those albums that everyone in the world should own - so go buy it!
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Friends tell me they feel this was not only Concrete Blonde's first, but best album. I'm not so sure I agree, mainly as I love just about everything they did. This album is, of course, a great one, containing the first couple singles by the group (two versions of "Still in Hollywood") and other outstanding numbers. To be honest, I think Napolitano's releases as Pretty & Twisted and her breath-taking solo album, "Scarred" are contenders for the best albums by segments of the group. Your collection isn't complete without this CD if you're a fan of the group. The "best of" CD isn't enough.
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on June 1, 1999
The first cd by concrete blonde is amazing. It is only surpassed by seeing them at a live show. "Still in Hollywood" sets the tone for a cd that goes from one side of the spectrum to the other. Napolitano sings every chord with raw emotion. She delivers every song like poetry. It is a crying shame they have disbanded. If you like this cd... check out her new band "pretty and twisted". Also excellent stuff!
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on November 26, 2005
Contrary to what Gordon Wagner said, Concrete Blonde did not fall immediately into "...the standard L.A. blackhole of one-album-success-and-a-lifetime-of-heroin-use." CB has recorded a few more albums --and I believe are still a band and recording new material-- since this one; and, although they may not have duplicated the chart success with their later efforts over the subsequent years, they did have a modest hit on college and mainstream radio with the Bloodletting tracks "Joey" and "Caroline." Because CB had established a loyal fanbase on alternative radio --when that term still meant something--, singles from subsequent albums had regular airplay on the modern rock stations I listened to throughout the early and mid-'90's, long outlasting the shelflife of fellow bands that emerged at the same time in spite of the fact that the band was led by a female bassist-vocalist which was an original twist on the typical band format. Though rare, there have been bands over the years led by bassist-vocalists and there have also been bands with female bassists as well, but CB is the only one I can recall --Sonic Youth not included b/c Kim Gordon isn't SY's only vocalist on all of that band's songs - swaps singing duties with now-husband Thurston Moore-- to combine the two wildcard band line-up formats. They long outlasted the shelflife of those other bands because they had new things to say and new thematic territories to explore beyond what their first efforts offered, promised and delivered where the vast majority of bands fail to come up with something new to say after the success of thier first effort, hence the term "somphmore jinx." CB experienced no such shortfalls; in fact, they grew in new directions lyrically and mucically and became, in my opinion, one the better of the non-grunge alternative/modern rock acts of the late-'80's to mid-'90's.

--not having been familiar with this particular CB album prior to encountering it here on Amazon, I assigned the rating of 4 stars b/c, based on my high regard for CB's songcraft and musicianship, I'm sure this album's at least above avg., but due to my not actually having heard I'm reluctant to assign any value greater than 4 stars. However, I do plan to buy a copy as soon as I can, so I can get a listen and determine if it's worthy of a rating of 5.
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on May 28, 2004
I'm excited to see that there's enough faith in this album today to cause a remastered version of it. The record is almost 20 years old but it's a terrific accomplishment for a debut artist by an unknown group in that it's still amongst the group's best work, even as their sound continued to grow for the 8 years or so they were a favorite underground group. They try on punk for brilliant size in "Still in Hollywood" and "Your Haunted Head," and it's a rough-cut thrill, but their real accomplishment is in the heart of their soft songs - "True," "Cold Part of Town," "Can Make Me Cry," they're amongst the most genuine and touching songs the band wrote.
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on March 6, 2004
Even though "Bloodletting" is often considered to be their best album, sometimes I think this is my favorite. Some of it's almost punk, but the rest is the melodic alt-rock that they're known for. "True" is an excellent song, and great opener, and "Beware Of Darkness" and "Still In Hollywood" are sweet also. But my two favorites by far are "Make Me Cry" and "Song For Kim (she said)". Both are really moving, to me anyway. I suppose to the newcomer I'd recommend a collection, but for the older fans, "Concrete Blonde" is a must. I'll never get rid of my vinyl copy.
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