44 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Youngstown, Ohio's Blue Ash were a 1970s power pop band with heavy guitars, a strong and spastic Keith Moon inspired drummer, flawless vocal harmonies and a raspy frontman who helped the band sometimes sound like an American version of Slade. Since Blue Ash were another talented, '70s, guitar-pop quartet that obviously deserved to soar above the very commercial radar they struggled under, their recordings often garner more comparisons to Big Star. But like Slade, hip-swaying hair shakers such as the infectious ""Abracadabra"" sprinkle some glammy glitter into the song's stomping swagger, while ballads like ""Silver Horses"" display that Blue Ash had a fondness for string sections and dandy, breezy, baroque pop worthy of powdered wigs and silk handkerchiefs. So why are all 44 of these songs as largely unheard of as they are outstanding? Long story short: their A&R man decided to put most of his eggs in the basket of another band he was simultaneously pushing — The New York Dolls. But Nelson (and the prolific Blue Ash) had access to unlimited studio time, which is why this treasure trove of cult worshiped rock 'n' roll is so plentiful and perfect sounding.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Youngstown, Ohio's Blue Ash were a 1970s power pop band with heavy guitars, a strong and spastic Keith Moon inspired drummer, flawless vocal harmonies and a raspy frontman who helped the band sometimes sound like an American version of Slade. Since Blue Ash were another talented, '70s, guitar-pop quartet that obviously deserved to soar above the very commercial radar they struggled under, their recordings often garner more comparisons to Big Star. But like Slade, hip-swaying hair shakers such as the infectious ""Abracadabra"" sprinkle some glammy glitter into the song's stomping swagger, while ballads like ""Silver Horses"" display that Blue Ash had a fondness for string sections and dandy, breezy, baroque pop worthy of powdered wigs and silk handkerchiefs. So why are all 44 of these songs as largely unheard of as they are outstanding? Long story short: their A&R man decided to put most of his eggs in the basket of another band he was simultaneously pushing — The New York Dolls. But Nelson (and the prolific Blue Ash) had access to unlimited studio time, which is why this treasure trove of cult worshiped rock 'n' roll is so plentiful and perfect sounding.

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3:12
2:15
3:11
2:08
2:59
3:03
3:01
4:01
2:48
2:21
2:48
2:33
3:39
3:53
3:31
3:04
3:25
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3:18
2:56
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3:11
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3:39
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4:08
2:44
5:44
4:48

About Blue Ash

Blue Ash's fate mirrored that of fellow power poppers like Big Star -- not enough sales to back up all those critical hosannas. Youngstown, Ohio residents Bill Bartolin (vocals, guitar), David Evans (drums, vocals), Jim Kendzor (vocals), and Frank Secich (bass, vocals) formed in 1969, and soon won comparisons to the usual suspects associated with the tag: the Beatles and the Who.

Strong regional interest secured a deal in 1973 with Mercury Records, home of the New York Dolls. Both bands even had the same champion in A&R man Paul Nelson, who plucked Blue Ash's demo from an unsolicited tape pile. No More No Less appeared that year, and is best remembered for its raucously melodic leadoff track, "Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)." Critics fell all over themselves, but sparse sales dashed hopes of continuing with Mercury.

Evans was long gone when Front Page News finally appeared on Playboy's ill-fated label in 1977. The group's talent burned as brightly as ever -- though snowed under horns and strings -- but failed to improve its fortunes. There the story ended, although Blue Ash won a brief burst of notoriety when Anglo-poppers the Records covered "Abracadabra" for a 12" single in 1979. (The original version is also on Rhino's Poptopia! 70s Power Pop Classics compilation.) Secich enjoyed the highest profile after Blue Ash's breakup. When fellow former Ohioan Stiv Bators yearned to move beyond the shock punk of his former band, the Dead Boys, he teamed up with Secich on a May 1979 single, "The Last Year"/"It's Cold Outside." They felt sufficiently encouraged to then collaborate on Bators' 1980 solo album Disconnected, which has since been reissued on Bomp Records. (Ironically, Bators and Secich shelved a demo of the Glories' "I Stand Accused" after Elvis Costello did it for his Get Happy! album.) Secich also worked with ex-Dead Boys rhythm guitarist Jimmy Zero in Club Wow, which managed one single ("Prettiest Girl"/"The Nights Are So Long") during its two-year run from 1982 to 1984. ~ Ralph Heibutzki

  • ORIGIN
    Youngstown, OH
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • FORMED
    1969

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