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Benefactor Original recording remastered

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, January 17, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Romeo Void was a new wave group from the '80s fronted by female vocalist Debora Iyall and distinguished by a great fat sax sound. Benefactor hit the Billboard charts in 1982 & features one of their signature songs, 'Never Say Never'. It is now being released on CD for the first time anywhere in the world, and features the complete Never Say Never EP as a bonus! Wounded Bird Records. 2005.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 17, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Wounded Bird Records
  • ASIN: B000CC3RZQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,983 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By RSD on January 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
All we need now is the re-release of "It's a Condition".

Wounded Bird Records has done New Wave music a great service by releasing this album on CD. As an added treat, you get the "Never Say Never" E.P. which is included as bonus tracks.

Debora Iyall's voice had a disconnected condescending quality that inspired lust and erotic vibrations.

Benjamin Bossi's Sax playing needs to be singled out as a highlighted element as well. His impact is still felt today. His solos have been included in popular video games. He has transcended his artisic medium.

Zincavage kept the pace of the songs with a sometimes hostile bass rhythm that was thick and fluid. The other instrumentation, of Wood and Carter, stuck to his bass-lines like they were taffy.

Ultimately this band's success was victimized by the image obsessed era they arrived in; the 80's. If Debora Iyall had the figure of a Jessica Simpson, they would have had the full force and resources of their record company's marketing department behind them.
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Format: Audio CD
Most US punk, new wave & ska bands from the early 80s tended to be pale imitations of UK acts, who usually had smarter lyrics, better playing & catchier rhythms. Romeo Void was the exception. Romeo Void's use of saxophone & Debra Iyall's sultry voice added a jazzier dimension to their music and really separated them from the growing New Wave crowd. Add to that smart lyrics & a danceable beat and you have a winning early 80s combo. Unfortunately they didn't quite garner as much success as other, lesser bands, and the success they did achieve was from their more inferior material, after which they quickly disbanded.

Romeo Void's "nvr sy nvr" EP (included in its entirety here as bonus tracks) is the group at its peak. This masterpiece, which was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, was first issued on San Francisco's 415 label and received modest attention on college radio, but little else. However, because the infectious & catchy song "Never Say Never" continued to receive regular play in clubs & on college stations a full year after its release, Columbia signed the band & released the album "Benefactor" featuring a censored/edited version of "Never Say Never". It then re-issued the EP, giving it a bit more visibility, thereby still getting air/club play for over 2 years after it's initial release. I remember "Benefactor" being a bit of a disappointment, if only because the songs were shorter than "nvr sy nvr" and (except for Undercover Kept) not quite as infectious. However, the album grew on me with repeated listenings and soon grew to like it as much as their first album (It's a condition), though it did seem to make a nod in a more commercial direction.
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Format: Audio CD
A few years ago, I had a craving for the music of my youth and hit the internet in search of Romeo Void's fantastic "Never Say Never" EP, which I hoped to find on CD. No such luck. The only version of the song was on the compilation "Warm in Your Coat", inexplicably minus the opening guitar riff. I no longer have a turntable, so I bought a cassette tape of the EP in desperation. It was as good as I remembered, maybe better. In 2006, Romeo Void's second studio album "Benefactor" was released on CD with the four songs from the "Never Say Never" EP as bonus tracks. What could be better? The "Never Say Never" EP, produced by Rick Ocasek of The Cars in 1981, is superior to the LP that it inspired in 1982, but "Benefactor" is an eclectic album with a lot to like.

Debora Iyall provides the brash, sexy vocals and wrote the lyrics (except for "Wrap It Up"). Peter Woods is on guitar, Benjamin Bossi on saxophone, Frank Zincavage on bass, and Larry Carter, whose only work with Romeo Void was on these two albums, is on drums. "Benefactor", the LP, had 9 tracks, beginning with a shortened version of "Never Say Never" (3:27) with one expletive distorted beyond recognition. The EP version of the song (6:07) is farther down the track list, expletive restored. Debora Ilyall's taunting sexuality and general skepticism are in full, unforgettable force in the song's famous come-on/put-down chorus: "I might like you better if we slept together". "Present Tense" (5:48), also from the EP, is a favorite of mine. It features a particularly seductive combination of insolence and raw poignancy, along with a strong hook.

The other songs from the "Benefactor" LP vary in style but not in punkish attitude that always seems like a dare.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ah, the hopeful outlook of the '80s, before everyone knew all the nasty things you could get from sleeping with someone. I loved this record then, and it still sounds fresh and rocking after all these years, thanks to Debora Iyall's aggressive vocals. All the songs are good, very cynical and wonderful for people recovering from a relationship gone bad or just feeling lonely.
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