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Got Change for a Million

Mitch Ryder

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Album Review

Mitch Ryder's Got Change for a Million?, released in 1981 in Germany on Line Records, continues the progression started on The Detroit-Memphis Experiment in 1969 and the subsequent Detroit album produced by Bob Ezrin. This is no-nonsense blues-tinged rock produced by Tom Conner along with Ryder. "That's Charm," clocking in at five-and-a-half minutes, is the longest track and indeed has charm. Although Ryder looks a bit haggard a mere 12 years after The Detroit-Memphis Experiment, his voice is intact and the tunes, all by Kim Levise and Ryder (aka William S. Levise, Jr.), have a concise poppy snap. "Red Scar Eyes" is a real departure, a moody piece with lyrics that go from introspection to downright deranged, a far cry from the efficient opening track "My Heart Belongs to Me." Included with the liner notes are the handwritten lyrics, from side one seen next to a full glass of beer, and from side two with a photo of a pen next to an empty glass. The earthy voice of Ryder found fame as an instrument for producer Bob Crewe and songs by Crewe, Burt Bacharach, Bill Medley, and others. Although side two's opening track "Bang Bang" fails, "Back at Work" and the reggae-flavored "Ich Bin Aus Amerika" succeed, showing Ryder's development from singer to singer/songwriter. The classic growl of this true, well-rounded journeyman is in fine shape on the exquisite "Bare Your Soul." "We're Gonna Win" opens with looping guitars and unique backing vocals, the band cooking behind Ryder's hard-driving voice. The album was recorded and mixed at Delta Sound Studio in Wilster, West Germany, except for the final two tracks, "Bare Your Soul" and "We're Gonna Win," which were tracked in Detroit. The album was "recorded and mixed without the aid of any reduction devices." Re-released on J-Bird Records in 1995, it's a good look at Mitch Ryder on his own.

Biography

Born: 26 February 1945 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The unsung heart and soul of the Motor City rock & roll scene, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels' blue-eyed R&B attack boasted a gritty passion and incendiary energy matched by few artists on either side of the color line. Born William Levise, Jr. in Hamtramck, Michigan on February 26, 1945, Ryder sang with a local black quartet dubbed the Peps as a teen, but suffered so much racial harassment that he soon left the group to form his own combo, Billy Lee & the Rivieras. While opening...
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