The Speedboys,
Look What Love's
Done to Me Now

(Llist Records, 1983)

The Speedboys' second album does not so much genre-hop as it defies categorization. Rockabilly, blues, jazz, vintage rock ... it's all here in this eclectic collection of I've-never-heard-it-before-so-it's-new-to-me treats.

The Speedboys are Bobby Blue Blake on guitar; Robert Bobby on vocals; Bobby Kinsley on guitar and vocals; Bobby Lawson on bass guitar; Bobby Lowry on keyboards and harmonica; and Bobby Schmidt on drums. These fellows throw body and soul into their playing, and it shows.

"Make Her Tonight" starts off modestly, misleadingly. Not overwhelming but far from mediocre. A surprising swing in the second number, "Let's Go," starts toes tapping and fingers snapping. "Girls, Girls, Girls" is the third song and is a bit of a paradox. The feel is vintage and the swing is grand. I wanted to love it, but the line in the chorus, "Don't wanna woman; give me girls, girls, girls...," just wouldn't let me. I kept thinking it was a bit late in the 20th century for such sentiments but, at the same time, that the speaker was at least honest. It is effective in arousing emotion. Hence, it is successful.

"Love Me Again" is sad and slow, taking excellent advantage of one's emotionality. The music itself is rendered superbly. A jewel in this crown.

The title number, "Look What Love's Done to Me Now," is oddly appealing. By this time, the album has made another convert, and the fact that this song gets a bit busy toward the end goes almost unnoticed in the overall smoothness. "Ride Around the Block" is sassy and funny; it makes the audience want to move with the fine music that has as much fun as the lyrics do. It hops and you will want to as well. "Hearts Like Atoms Split" should get an award for the name alone. Again taking advantage of aroused emotions, it hits a sad, slow note that belies the humor in the title. Excellent work by all involved.

The main thing missing from number nine is Jim in this would-be Croce tune. "Don't Mess With the Messer" just sounds like it should be one of his, the music more than adequately makes up for the less inspired lyrics. Don't get me wrong though, it is a fun little number and well worth it's inclusion. In the number 10 slot, "Anna" is sound musically and lyrically. It continues the solidification of this album that started out middle of the road. The final offering is a showstopper -- literally. "I Just Wanna Know About You" is unique and startling in its switch from slow and mournful to hopping and bopping. It works excellently as an anchor piece.

The whole album is a good intro to the Speedboys and their irreverent and entertaining take on the musical scene. That they have only two albums is a real shame.

[ by Debbie Gayle Rose ]