After two albums with Boston based outfit Piper, it was with trepidation and bravery that front-man Billy Squier ventured out on his own. A good move in hindsight, as Squier would be one of the industry darlings between 1981 and 1984.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Billy Squier
ALBUM: The Tale Of The Tape
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Billy Squier – vocals, guitar, percussion * Bruce Kulick – guitar * Bucky Ballard – bass * Bobby Chouinard – drums * David Sancious, Richard T. Bear – keyboards * Ernest Carter – percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Big Beat * 02 Calley Oh * 03 Rich Kid * 04 Like I’m Lovin’ You * 05 Who Knows What A Love Can Do * 06 You Should Be So High, Love * 07 Who’s Your Boyfriend * 08 The Music’s Alright * 09 Young Girls
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After two albums with Boston based outfit Piper, it was with trepidation and bravery that front-man Billy Squier ventured out on his own. A good move in hindsight, as Squier would be one of the industry darlings between 1981 and 1984, with a couple of mega selling albums to boot. His debut is this one. ‘The Tale Of The Tape’, produced by Eddy Offord and containing no real hit singles as such, still, it would lay the platform for what was to come.
The big drums, a feature of Squier’s back-catalog is introduced as early as the first song ‘The Big Beat’, described by many as being one of the most sampled songs ever. I guess this was before drum machines and Korg Electribe’s became popular huh?
I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Calley Oh’, a track that a certain Mr Axl Rose was also keen on too it would seem. The man has good taste, just a pity he doesn’t own a decent alarm clock. ‘Rich Kid’ is interesting in the same vein as a workingman’s Michael Bolton. The brash guitar work and dabbly keyboards make it an easy comparison to make.
Squier has delivered some pearler ballads over the years. However, ‘Like I’m Loving You’ is one that is probably criminally ignored, but not so ‘Who Knows What A Love Can Do’, a track that fuses all that was good from the 70’s with the (then) fresh air approach of the early 80’s.
‘You Should Be High Love’ received a bit of radio airplay at the time, and is closest to the material on his next album ‘Don’t Say No’. Though Squier didn’t quite go out deliberately to ape the prevailing new wave/power pop sound, some influences sneak through on ‘Who’s Your Boyfriend Now’.
‘The Music’s Alright’ is the longest track here, with the chorus and end sequence making for a winning combination. The standard LP version finishes off with ‘Young Girls’, an ebb/flow masterpiece, with acoustic guitar/piano parts offset by some stinging electric guitar.
When reviewing this album, I was intrigued as to how much positive reviews ‘The Tale Of The Tape’ attracted in the hip-hop scene, where some of Chouinard’s drum work was heavily featured as samples, and how his booming drum work was admired. Strange but true.
The other notable achievement of this album is how producer Eddy Offord managed to keep the sound so organic. His prior work is a who’s who of the progressive rock scene, yet there is very little to detect – influence wise. Though Squier would achieve bigger success with ‘Don’t Say No’ and ‘Emotions In Motion’, there is enough on TTOTT to suggest that this is where it all started.
Great also that the album has received a couple of high quality reissues, including UK reissue labels BGO (Beat Goes On) and Rock Candy, plus the American Beat reissue in 2007. You’ll find the odd bonus track associated with each release too. There are plenty of choices to select from, and all are pretty easy to get a hold of.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)