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Album Review

A beautifully constructed collection of tightly coiled pop/rock from one of America's better-kept musical secrets — Merrill's spangled past as a member of Vodka Collins and Arrows really never leaked out of Japan and Europe, respectively, but that hasn't prevented the New York native from undertaking a steady stream of solo albums, each of which proves that the ears that envisioned "I Love Rock 'n Roll" have not lost an iota of sparkle or passion across the intervening years. Aleecat was recorded in the U.K. in early 2004 with a backing band highlighted by Glitter Band mainstay Pete Phipps; from start to (almost) finish, it was cut in just 12 hours, a red-hot session that allows each song to stand on its barest attributes. The gorgeously Beatlesque "Illusion," the motorvatin' "No Speed Limit," the glam-stomping "Lost in Lust," and the mellow acoustics of "Phoenix and the Renegade" all sparkle with a sparseness that is all the more beautiful for the brittle bareness that gives the album a timelessness that a "fuller" sound would have stripped away altogether. That is reserved for the four bonus tracks, the distinctly late-'70s-shaded demos for a projected second album by Merrill's post-Arrows band, Runner. The highlight is the original demo of "When the Night Comes," a song later covered by Lou Rawls and Catherine Howe, and a prototype of "Feet (All Around the World)," which Merrill subsequently cut with the re-formed Vodka Collins.


Born: 19 February 1951

Genre: Rock

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

Alan Merrill has had a long and varied career as a pop musician on three continents. Born Allan Sachs, the son of singer Helen Merrill and horn man Aaron Sachs, singer, guitarist, bassist, and songwriter Merrill played in several bands in Greenwich Village as a teen before moving to Japan, where, as a member of the group the Lead, he signed a recording deal with RCA Victor Tokyo in 1968. The Lead had one big hit in Japan, "Aoi Bara," before breaking up, leaving Merrill as a solo act. He recorded...
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Aleecat, Alan Merrill
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