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Tattoo Review…

Lew Bundles

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GDM | rock music reviews

ARTIST: Tattoo
ALBUM: Tattoo
LABEL: Prodigal
SERIAL: P6-100141S1
YEAR: 1976

LINEUP: Wally Bryson - guitars, vocals * David Allen Thomas - guitar, slide guitar, percussion, vocals * Jeff Hutton - piano, organ, synthesizer, vocals * Dan Klawon - bass * Thom Mooney - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 What Did He Do * 02 Give It To Ya' Easy * 03 Send A Ship * 04 I Still Want You * 05 Absolutely Love * 06 It's Cold Outside * 07 Yer Stale * 08 Lonely Saturday Night * 09 This Is Your City * 10 The Highway Calls My Name


Following the untimely break-up of The Raspberries, guitarist Wally Bryson took off for sunny California while Eric Carmen eyeballed a solo career with the storied Clive Davis at the helm.

We all know how the story ended with Carmen becoming a solo star with an envious string of hit singles while Bryson stuck to the rock band angle with Tattoo and a couple years later in the more successful Fotomaker.

We have reviewed the first two Fotomaker albums here at Glory Daze and it will take a lot of nerve to write up anything complimentary on their third disco oriented album without Bryson 'Transfer Station' so don't hold your breath!

Having said this, let's take a look at Tattoo who signed to Motown's 'rock' label- Prodigal after Bryson's move to Los Angeles.

After a few line-up changes, Tattoo played scattered gigs in the L.A. area with Thom Mooney formerly of The Nazz and Paris on drums, and there were high expectations the group would breakout in a big way after signing to Prodigal, but it was not to be.

The Songs

This record's biggest problem is the production, or lack thereof. This is one of the worst sounding albums you will come across - honestly.

The sound is flat with a complete lack of dynamics, something that did not go unnoticed by the band that was not around during the final mix.

Major mistake since the music itself for the most part is good - falling into the REO Speedwagon, Jo Jo Gunne and James Gang thumping denim and cowboy boots early 70's Midwestern sound.

The opening track 'What Did He Do' has all the earmarks of single potential, hinting at Alexis and Brother Bait but falling well short of classic pomp.

After this 'out of character' track the rest of the record is very workman like, again not too dissimilar to REO Speedwagon during this same period and like Champaign, Illinois' favored sons, Tattoo would have gone over big in Dubuque, Peoria and Fargo with the right promotion.

In Summary

Prodigal would offer Tattoo a second album, but by this time the group had run its course and Bryson left L.A. for New York's Long Island and a promising gig with the aforementioned Fotomaker.

Tattoo's sole album is still easy to find in a good second hand shop or the usual internet outlets but it's certainly not essential, more of a minor blip in The Raspberries bumpy history.

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