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PETE REYNOLDS REVIEWS THE LATEST FAME ALBUM, WHICH IS OUT ON BBC RECORDS no. KIDLP 003
(April magazine 1983)
This album would be worth getting for the pictures on the cover and inner sleeve alone, but the music is fantastic too, as those of you who've bought the record already know!
It is a true souvenir of their last tour, complete with spoken links and introductions, and snatches of conversation between the Kids themselves. The LP opens with a bang, as Debbie encourages us to clap our hands to the fast-moving rhythm of “Body Language”. It's a rousing number, which Debbie and Gene sing really well. Of course, this is the first full-length song they sang on their last tour, after the opening medley, and they give it everything they've got.
“Could It Be Magic Like You” is the second track, and also the B-side of the Kids’ new single. It's guaranteed to touch the hearts of all those who like the shy magic of Lee Curreri (Bruno) himself. He wrote the song and sings it in a husky voice, ending with a quiet, modest “thank you”.
Then Carlo bursts onto the disc with the fast, punchy rock number, “Friday Night”, which is the A side of the single. The theme of the song is that the week is rotten except for Friday, when the singer finally sees his girlfriend. (Don't worry, Carlo fans, it's only a song, not necessarily true to life!) The backing musicians really let rip and Carlo encourages with them, “Lay that saxophone”, and a little guitar now”. The Albert Hall audience can be heard applauding in the wrong place, as they thought the song was going to end before it did. But it was just a teasing pause before the chorus is repeated again!
“Desdemona” is next, complete with apologies for stealing the idea from Shakespeare! Gene, Carlo and Erica make an excellent job of describing Othello and his jealously about Desdemona, and the instrumental backing is particularly imaginative, with hints of Elizabethan string quartets!
The familiar “Starmaker” is the fifth track on Side One. Anyone who was at any of the last concerts will recall the hush that fell over the audience while the Fame troupe was singing it. It was wonderful to be actually part of this moving atmosphere instead of just watching it on TV.
The bouncy “Hi-Fidelity” closes this side. Of course it's Debbie singing it, not Valerie, but she makes a good job of it, nevertheless. The tempo is faster than on the single and Debbie's voice is very different to Valerie's so the two versions make an interesting contrast.
Side 2 opens with another familiar song, which was a single – “Mannequin”, featuring Gene Anthony Ray. On stage, this was the number that grabbed the attention of all the male Fame fans, as Gene sang it surrounded by beautiful, skimpily clad girls including Lori Singer in a bikini!
A medley from the first LP follows, all familiar well-loved songs. Debbie solos on “A Special Place”, showing off her sophisticated singing style. Lori's fresh, folky vocals are heard on “It's Gonna Be A Long Night”, Erica and Debbie harmonise exquisitely on “I Still Believe In Me” – those last few notes send tingles up the spine! Then Carlo and Gene sing “The Secret” and everyone joins together for “Be My Music”.
Next comes “Life Is A Celebration”, which would definitely be a good number to release as a single. Several radio stations have already picked it out and are playing it a lot. Next to the title track, it's a fitting theme song for Fame.
The snappy “We Got the Power” lets everyone have their own little vocal freak out and the brass section makes the backing track really dynamic. The album finishes off with “Fame” itself, featuring The Waters, the backing singers who worked so hard on all the shows, and sang on most of the songs on this album.
All we can say is . . . . if you haven't already got this album, buy it fast, stick it on the turntable, close your eyes and imagine you're experiencing a fantastic Fame show all over again!
This interview was provided to me by Elaine.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.