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  • I Bet You’ve Never Heard This … #3




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    Welcome to the third installment of I Bet You’ve Never Heard This, where I recommend albums you actually may have heard, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. These “Never Heard” albums should be in all of our libraries, but for one reason or another we missed them upon original or rerelease.


    The first two articles in this series have been hits, not so much because of what I wrote, but because the feedback and community submissions of albums never heard, has been fantastic. Keep them coming, send me an email at [email protected].


    On to the current album I bet you’ve never heard.



    The Album - Bill LaBounty by Bill LaBounty (1982, Warner/Curb)


    It’s time to hit the exit ramp off of the rat race that is our everyday lives, and step aboard the boat. In yacht rock parlance, one who is aboard the boat is part of the club, either a legendary musician of this special genre of soft rock, or someone kicking back to enjoy these sonic delights. For the next few minutes, let’s all get aboard the boat, forget about any dumpster fires, and take a trip back to 1982.


    Recorded at Warner Bros. In North Hollywood and A&R in New York City, this Russ Titelman production belongs near the top of the yacht rock mast. Bill LaBounty is in top form and surrounded by legends such as Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd, Jennifer Warnes, Steve Lukather, David Sanborn, and James Taylor among many others.


    This album certainly isn’t audiophile demonstration material like so many Steely Dan albums, but perhaps this is a good thing. I guarantee nobody is burnt out of Bill LaBounty and in my opinion, the music on this album is every bit the equal to much of Steely Dan’s catalog. Hopefully this non-audiophile status will enable us to enjoy the album alone together, rather than hear it endlessly blasted out of every hotel room at the next audio show.


    Anyway, all aboard the boat.


    I first talked about Bill LaBounty in my review of the dCS Rossini APEX, where I said the following.



    On the opening track [Livin’ It Up] Bill LaBounty's Rhodes piano evokes an emotion that suits the song so well and creates a nice counterbalance to Ian Underwood's synthesizer. The stars of this track though, are LaBounty's vocal performance and David Sanborn on the Alto Saxophone. The classic 1982 sound, when heard through the Rossini Apex, is as good as it gets. Not perfect, but also not editorialized with something added. Through the Rossini Apex, LaBounty and Sanborn transport the listener to the deck of a boat floating off the coast, where the sun is shining, beverages are flowing, and good times are had by all. 



    41xEPKF8R1L._UF1000,1000_QL80_DpWeblab_.jpgThe remaining nine tracks on the album are every bit as good as Livin’ It Up. For example, track two, Didn’t Want To Say Goodbye, is low-key, even for even for yacht rock, and features lovely vocal harmonies by Bill LaBounty and James Taylor. It’s one of those tracks that feels good, even though LaBounty proclaims, “I threw it all away, I used to have a lot of pride, I got no pride today, Didn't really wanna say goodbye.”


    On Dream On, two elements among many stand out as favorites of mine. The horn section featuring trumpeters Chuck Findley and Jerry Hey, is sparse but oh so perfect, entering and exiting the song quickly, but effectively. It’s like a horn section hook, that keeps me coming back.


    In addition to the horns, I love Dean Parks’ dreamy guitar solo midway through the track. It isn’t a Mike McCready style face melter, but perhaps a signal that it’s time to top off one’s cocktail or remove the umbrella from that fruity drink and get serious about hydration.


    Another favorite, among favorites, on this album is Never Gonna Look Back. LaBounty starts it on the Rhodes and delivers a lead vocal that oozes effort and emotion. What more could we ask for, while floating through these warm waters of yacht rock? How about some vocal harmonies by James Taylor and Jennifer Warnes? Ok, done and done. This one is three minutes of sipping a fine port or relaxing with that Ron Zacapa Rum.


    I’ve probably listened to this album a hundred times since discovering it in the last year. I just can’t get enough of it. Never before have stories of heartbreak, regret, mid-life crises, mistakes, and a touch of revenge that comes with newfound freedom, sounded so good.


    Bill LaBounty by Bill LaBounty is available to stream and purchase at 16 bit /. 44.1 kHz from the following places. Enjoy.


    Tidal | Apple Music | Amazon Music | Qobuz







    About the author - https://audiophile.style/about
    Author's Complete Audio System Details with Measurements - https://audiophile.style/system



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    37 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

    Listening to it now for the first time.


    17 minutes ago, cgiammona said:

    Listening to it for the first time as well!


    Well, at least two people had never heard this one before today :~)

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    +1 for never heard of this guy. I was stationed in Germany at the time this was released so not surprised I missed it,  well,  that and the fact that it went under the radar pretty much everywhere. Listening now and agree with all stated above. As a vinyl guy, even though there are many copies available on Discogs they command a decent price. A Japanese issue with a different cover looks like the best deal, except for the shipping 🙁


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    Hey Chris,

    Based on your recommendation a couple of years ago, I tried out Lady Blackbird and really enjoyed it. Thanks for that. So I gave this one a try. I think comparing it to Steely Dan is a long stretch. The musicianship may be there, but the songwriting isn't anywhere close. There is a reason why it sank without a trace forty years ago.  Sorry to sound so negative. A lot of great music was produced in 1982, but this isn't it. Different strokes for different folks.

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    Shelby Lynne - Just a Little Lovin image.png.3db7574f639a8c46e2138d040b1f9ebd.png

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