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Motor City Connection

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Album Review

If Yeah! and School Punks were nonstop parties, Brownsville Station's fifth album, Motor City Connection, is the hangover, the one where the group reckons with the aftermath of having a good time all of the time. Most of the original numbers are racked in guilt, heartbreak, and self-recrimination, tales of broken hearts and loneliness, highlighted by the moody and driving opener, "Automatic Heartbreak," the bitter yet swaggering "Self Abuse," and the proto-power ballad "You Know Better." In between these moments of introspection are a couple of good covers — J.B. Hutto's "Combination Boogie" and the Little Walter instrumental "Crazy Legs" — and the album ends with the suite "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll," a nine-minute epic that is the closest old-time rock & roll ever came to art rock. Cub Koda is now firmly the band's frontman — Michael Lutz only sings a segment of "They Call Me Rock 'n' Roll" — and the group is more musically ambitious here, trying a little bit of everything. Not only is there the aforementioned suite, but there's a variety of guitar sounds; it's not all pedal-to-the-metal distortion. There are some synthesizers in the mix and the entire sound has been streamlined, so it's sleek and hard-hitting, bringing them away from their patented boogie rock and closer to the mid-'70s mainstream. While the bandmembers were most at home tearing it up — as evidenced by the hardest-rocking numbers here — they still sounded good with a little more polish, and that variety makes Motor City Connection one of Brownsville Station's more intriguing albums, even if it's not among their most consistent.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in Ann Arbor, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '10s

A Detroit area rock & roll band formed in 1969 by guitarists Cub Koda and Mike Lutz, Brownsville Station's original members also included T.J. Cronley (drums) and Tony Driggins (bass), with Henry Weck replacing Cronley on drums in 1971. Initially influenced by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other '50s rockers, their early albums included inspired covers and genre-faithful originals, all presented in Marshall stack, double bass drum bigness. Far more effective as a live act (with Koda's...
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