Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Swing Out Sister - It's Better To Travel (1987)


Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

I guess this stuff would now be classified as "sophisti-pop" but when I discovered it in '87, I didn't care what you called it; I liked it.  Admittedly, I originally played the first cut, Breakout, then flipped the tape over, rewound a bit and played Fooled By A Smile, then I'd repeat that process over and over. But eventually I started listening to the whole tape and began to appreciate the album as a whole - it's best listened to whole, so CD is the way to go. I see that a deluxe 2 disc edition was released in 2012 - I'll be on the lookout (if a little bit is good, more must be better, right? That's what I think after listening to this CD's bonus remix tracks).

The sound of the group is polished but not sterile. Plus we get real drums (a rarity in pop music back then), real strings, and real horns. I've heard Corrine Drewery's voice compared to Dusty Springfield's and I'm good with that comparison - it's sexy as hell. My only complaint is that the liner notes don't provide a full personnel listing. I'm only now discovering the group's later albums and I'm enjoying that journey, but I'll recommend this as a point of departure and if all you've heard of this group are the Top 40 singles, I suggest you dive on in.

The album garnered SOS two Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group or Duo (Breakout). The group lost to Jody Watley and (I've Had) The Time Of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes, respectively.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #40

Tracks: No skipping. In addition to Breakout and Fooled By A Smile, my favorites are Surrender and the instrumental Theme From It's Better To Travel.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: When I first heard Breakout on the radio, I knew I had to buy the album post haste. However, I had no idea who the artist was so I asked a fraternity brother who was a radio & television major and part time DJ on the college station, KETR. He spouted off "Swing Out Sister" faster than you can say "shazam" and the hunt was on.



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