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Artful Dodger - Honor Among Thieves (LP)

Artful Dodger - Honor Among Thieves (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title:  Honor Among Thieves
Company: Columbia
Catalog: PC-34273
Year: 1976
Country/State: Fairfax, Virginia
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: minor ring wear
Available: 2
Catalog ID: 6113
Price: $10.00

Given these guys were from Northern Virginia, I can clearly remember buying this one at my local record store/headshop (a Penguin Feather) and simply being knocked out by the album. I must have played it every day for a month straight and know that I did my best to convince school friends that these guys were going to be the next big thing ... Co-produced by Edward Leonetti and Jack Douglas, 1976's "Honor Among Thieves" was one of those classic mid-1970s rock albums that (in spite of my best efforts to promote it), somehow managed to slip through the cracks. With guitarist Gary Herrewig and lead singer Billy Pallisell again responsible for the bulk of the nine tracks (lead guitarist Gary Cox contributed two songs), the sophomore set was slightly slicker and better produced than the debut collection. It may not have had the overall freshness of the debut, but song for song it was as good as the first album with at least four of these tracks standing as lost FM radio classics. Exemplified by songs like the title track, 'Not Enough' and 'Remember' these guys managed to effortlessly blend hard rock moves with great melodies, and a healthy dose of affection for English rock. Powered by Pallisell's ragged voice, it was power pop with brains; the kind of stuff better known bands like The Raspberries would have killed for. Unfortunately, in spite of some strong press reviews the set could do no better than # 208 on the charts.

- To this day I can't understand how 'Honor Among Thieves' missed out providing the band with a massive commercial hit. This was the kind of rocker that bands like Badfinger and The Raspberries would have gladly sacrificed their rhythm guitarists to have written. Fantastic melody, pounding beat, great jangle guitars, and one of Billy Pallisell best vocals. What wasn't to like ... rating: **** stars
- Even though it had a slightly more pop orientation, 'Not Enough' was every but as good as the title track and would have made an equally impressive single. This one also served to showcase the band's impressive harmony vocals. rating: **** stars
- 'Scream' showcased the band's obvious affection for British rock a-la Badfinger. A fantastic ballad, Eric Carmen would have killed to have written something this good which is probably why Columbia tapped it as a single. rating: **** stars
- Slapping a heavy metal arrangement on top of Otis Blackwell's classic 'Keep a Knockin'' probably didn't sound like the year's most original decision and it wasn't ... That said, propelled by Steve Cooper's deafening bass they managed to turn in a credible Zeppelin-esque take on the track. rating: *** stars
- At least to my ears 'Keep Me Happy' was another track with a distinctive British feel, to say nothing of another instantly attractive melody and one of Gary Cox's best lead guitar solos. rating: **** stars
- One of the album's standout performances, powered by Cox's jangle guitar and an amazing hook, 'Remember' had everything you'd expect of a hit single (not that it was). rating: **** stars
- Penned by lead guitarist Cox, the ballad 'Dandelion' took awhile to get going but redeemed itself with a classic chorus. Easily one of the album's most impressive songs ... rating: **** stars
- Showcasing Cox and Herrewig on twin lead guitars, 'Hey Boys' was a taunt bar rocker and served as a great example of the band's ability to mix rock moves with more commercial touches. rating: **** stars
- With a distinctive Anglophile edge, Cox's second contribution to the collection 'Good Fun' could easily have been mistaken for a Badfinger track. This one simply dripped top-40 commerciality and the unexpected doowop moves were hysterical. rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, Columbia made a half-hearted attempt to float a single off the LP:

- 1976's 'Scream' (stereo) b/w 'Scream' (mono) (Columbia catalog number 3-10431).

YouTube has a concert performance of the song:

"Honor Among Thieves" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Honor Among Thieves (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 4:14
2.) Not Enough (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 4:00
3.) Scream (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 5:42
4.) Keep a Knockin' (Otis Blackwell) - 4:20

(side 2)
1.) Keep Me Happy (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 3:42
2.) Remember (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 3:27
3.) Dandelion (Gary Cox) - 4:16
4.) Hey Boys (Gary Herrewig - Billy Pallisell) - 2:56
5.) Good Fun (Gary Cox) - 4:15
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Last Updated: 21 Jan 2015 16:42:51 PST home  |  about  |  terms  |  contact
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