Paris - Big Towne 2061

Paris – Big Towne 2061

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Neither as dark nor dramatic as the remarkable debut; Paris was still vastly different from anything cranked out of the hard rock scene of the day and it’s a weird record, to be frank.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: Paris
ALBUM: Big Towne 2061
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-11560
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

LINEUP: Bob Welch – guitar, vocals * Hunt Sales – drums, percussion, vocals * Glen Cornick – bass, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blue Robin * 02 Big Towne 2061 * 03 Pale Horse Pale Ride * 04 New Orleans * 05 Outlaw Game * 06 Money Love * 07 Heart Of Stone * 08 Slave Trader * 09 One In Ten * 10 Janie

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

It’s a shame Capitol did little to promote what has become one of the greatest ‘lost’ hard rock albums of the 1970’s. Fronted by bespectacled guitarist Bob Welch, the driving force behind what many consider Fleetwood Mac‘s best work; Paris spent the spring of America’s bicentennial year on a whirlwind opening act jaunt.

Support gigs included Blue Oyster Cult, Styx, Starcastle, Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd while watching their ambitious Zep-influenced debut spectacularly nose-dive on the charts. By the time the follow-up ‘Big Towne, 2061’ hit the shops, Paris were finished and Welch began eyeing what would become a lucrative solo career beginning with 1977’s delicious ‘French Kiss’ LP.

The Songs

Neither as dark nor dramatic as the remarkable debut; Paris was still vastly different from anything cranked out of the hard rock scene of the day and it’s a weird record, to be frank. Gone are the larger than life Led Zeppelin-isms in favor of Be Bop Deluxe styled artiness and oddly enough – southern rock. It should come as no surprise much of the record is a wash and yet I find it strangely compelling.

Cherry-picking the albums best and worst – the Dixieland bop of ‘Blue Robin’ and ‘Outlaw Game’ take matters south in no time with a vocal mix that sounds like it was telephoned in from Mars. Not sure what kind of post Vanilla Fudge psychedelic hangover producer Bob Hughes was under, but man it’s rough.

The title track and ‘Pale Horse, Pale Rider’ have the same effect and thirty-two years after first hearing the album I’m still not sure this is even the same band that recorded the mind-blowing heavy classics ‘Black Book’ and ‘Starcage’. Making matters worse is side two’s opener ‘Money Love’ with drummer Hunt Sales dropping in on poorly executed lead vocals and is a bonafide mess of a song suggesting the band were clearly fresh out of ideas, stoned, or both.

What I want to believe is Welch was sneaky and saving his best material for later but only he knows for sure. ‘Heart Of Stone’ and in particular ‘Slave Trader’ are mediocre but passable echoing Fleetwood Mac while the proggy ‘Janie’ is the best cut here and the closest to the true Paris sound if there ever was such a thing.

In Summary

Unusual yes, mandatory listening no, and needless to say I passed on the Zoom Club reissue years ago. I do like the cover art which fits the mood of the record perfectly – strange.

Video

Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Blue Robin


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