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Album Review

With Anytime in 1981, Henry Paul had thankfully stepped back from the precipice of the abyss that idiot biker rock bands fall into. Members of his original group continued to leave, as now both Jim Fish and organist Barry Rapp were out, though Rapp appears here as a guest, as does Joe Lala, who was an unofficial member. Anytime is a wild amalgam of musical excess; while "Living Without Your Love" echoed both Loverboy and Duran Duran, "Hollywood Paradise" felt more like Sammy Hagar hanging out with Saxon. It does seem that the band found a balance of writing tough and accessible pop songs and keeping its harder rock edge in much the same way that .38 Special had done with "Hold on Loosely." Take a listen to the positive anthem "Keeping Our Love Alive" for an example. The title track is quite beautiful, with twin lead guitars ushering a midtempo soft rocker with gorgeous vocal harmonies and a great singalong chorus. "Outa My Mind" harks back to the band's debut album, where country, folk, and rock entwine in a pop song, as they do on "Crazy Eyes." "766-2623 (Romance)" is a minor-key boogie rocker with dumb words, a killer hook, and even finer harmonies. But nothing can compensate for the hard, heavy rock cover of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." It would seem that anyone who loves the original would hate this with a passion, but its drunken charm — as in everyone singing with a cover band in a bar on Saturday night — is undeniable. In fact, it pretty much smokes. There are no questions or feelings of loss in this version; it's all wondrous magical memory and even the bass solo in the bridge becomes a funky stroll along the boulevard. It's funny, crass, and cool. The final two tracks on the set are classic Southern rockers: The hard-rocking "Rising Star (In the Southern Sky)" should have been a model for the previous album, as it screams with power chords abounding, and the final cut, "Distant Riders," is Molly Hatchet meets Ennio Morricone. Yeah, it's a version of pure cocaine truth in cowboy archetypes. This is a pretty great record despite its dated sound, and the Wounded Bird CD reissue has excellent sound.

Anytime, Henry Paul Band
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