Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
The folks at One Way Records dug deep into the vaults at MCA and came up with the never released 1988 recording of Coelacanth, the 4th album from The Producers. The Producers are also touring so watch for them to come to a venue near you.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
For those of you who aren't familiar with this Atlanta-based quartet, The Producers were early-MTV era darlings until they had a falling out with a viciously petty A&R rep at Portrait Records, who basically tore up their contract & effectively blackballed them from getting a deal with any other label(s). Dauntless, The Producers (minus original bassist / vocalist Kyle Henderson) recorded their indie release, "Run For Your Life" (which, unfortunately, has yet to see an official CD pressing -- one can always hope!) with a new bassist, Tim Smith, later to play with Jellyfish & Uma Jets.
Having no big label release -- & subsequently no big budget for touring -- didn't deter them from playing out as much as possible, & this had the fortunate effect of sparking interest at MCA records, the label that was supposed to release "Coelacanth" (more about this name later).
Unfortunately, the A&R rep who fired them from Portrait took control of MCA Records & promptly fired them again, effectively ending their "professional" career as a band. "Coelacanth" languished in the MCA vaults for over a decade, never to be heard outside a few "hot" (read: "distorted") bootlegs.
12 years later, the "fish" everyone thought extinct (yes, the "coelacanth") finally re-emerge to have their day, to an extent.
Remixed, remastered, reorganised, & a joy for the ears, "Coelacanth", The Producers' great "lost" album, has finally been officially released & I couldn't be happier about it (well... there are a few things I could be happier about, such as their being signed again to a major label & getting their dues, as well as revenge on Al Teller, but I digress). The songs are crisper, punchier, & just as good as -- if not better than -- all their previous releases.
Lead singer / guitarist Van Temple's voice is in ultra-fine shape, having undergone surgery to remove polyps from his vocal cords in early 1987. Drummer Bryan Holmes' signature beats are bombastic, ever-present & tight as ever, keyboardist Wayne Famous is as frenetic & tasteful as always, & then-bassist Tim Smith plays soldily in the pocket (no mean feat when playing alongside Holmes), & he especially shines on the fretless basslines of "Right Man for the Job" & "Who's Crying Now?".
While The Producers don't have a recording contract, they are still together & touring, albeit mostly just regionally around the Georgia area. Bassist Kyle Henderson has returned to the fold, & while Tim Smith did a wonderful job during his tenure, nothing & no one can touch the original line-up.
In this age of internet-based record companies, there's hope that The Producers will one day release another album of new material (the liner notes of "Coelacanth" allude to this very possibility), but for now, just knowing that (most of) their previously recorded material is finally available on CD is enough.
I guess the only downside to the album is the dull brown cover art. Not bad, but not all that attractive. That's kind of petty considering the good music contained within (don't judge a book by its cover!), but I like cover art.
If you're a fan of the band's previous albums, get this album while you can before it goes out of print and becomes impossible to find.
With the pedigree of a mop-top cover band, Cartoon, I wasn't surprised by the Beatlesque major-minor chord progressions echoing throughout "Out Of My Head" and the minor fifths coloring "Who's Crying Now". But the unexpected Fab Four paean "Trouble With Love", right down to its 1965ish title, is this album's best of the genre.
As Tim Smith's bass stakes a four-corner perimeter around Van Temple's excellent vocal in "Dance On My Heart", I was transported back to 1982 aboard New Orleans' Riverboat President, swaying to this gem and thinking of how well they captured it live, especially the "Oh no" refrains. Sonically, an early-80s Producers show was hard to beat, and garnered the band its lasting reputation for musical quality.
Not all on the album is as noteworthy. The sparse "Right Man For The Job" seems a bit too sparse, while the mid-tempo "One Good Reason" (perhaps one too many at mid-tempo on the record) is only a good performance of a middling song. This pair comprises that which conservatively might be downgraded to filler. The closer "After All Is Said And Done" is a better composition, lacking only the "WOW" factor of earlier Producers efforts. Most disappointing, though, is the Kyle Henderson penned track, Renaissance, which suffers not only from weak lyrics, thinly co-opted from a spiritual theme, but moreso from a decidedly 1980s production value that sounds very dated.
The remake of "Slow Dancing" is an effort to better complete a version that appeared first on the quartet's indie third outing "Run For Your Life". But in filling the holes in the quirky original, some of the charm has been lost. Van Temple faithfully recreates his superb guitar solo note-for-note, which in only 30 seconds constitutes a treatise on how to play well-phrased and musically adept rock guitar. But the muffled recording pales to the crisp, urgent presence of the original, which included a bit of string noise after the opening phrase to remind the listener that Temple achieves brilliance in a single live take. If you haven't before, listen to that earlier version and judge for yourself.
The strongest praise is saved for last. "Primitive Man", the album's aptly-chosen opener, is a jewel of a song more in the vein of the darker complexity of "You Make The Heat" than of the bouncy pop of "The Producers". With its distorted opening riff seguing into Wayne Famous' ethereal synthesizer renderings amid Bryan Holmes' snare flams, the track captures all of the fire, the imagination, and the unique essence of The Producers. This song stands out among its peers, and alone makes the record a must-buy for real Producers fans.
After 20 years, the overwhelming charm of The Producers survives in this long-lost time capsule. In my mind, "Coelacanth" is a reminder that The Producers remain one of the best bands never to hit the big time. What a shame.