Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tommy Tutone - National Emotion

This week (September 23rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of National Emotion, the third album from Tommy Tutone. After their previous 1981 album hit the top twenty, this one stalled at number 179 on the US Billboard Album chart.

The line-up for the band for this record included Tommy Heath (guitar, piano and vocals), Jim Keller (guitar and vocals), Steve LeGassick (keyboards), Greg Sutton (bass) and Mickey Shine (drums).

Side one opens with “Dumb But Pretty”, an up-tempo rocker praising a young woman’s looks over her brains.

The mid-tempo “Someday Will Come” is filled with eternal expectations.

“Laverne” has a slinky, hypnotic rhythm to it.

The title track is next. “National Emotion” has an old-time rock feel to it, sounding a lot like some of the tracks from Billy Joel earlier in the summer of 1983.

“Get Around Girl” was the only single released from the album; it failed to make much noise on any of the charts. The lyrics tell of a cheating woman who sees other guys on the side, even some her boyfriend’s buddies.

Side two begins with “I Believe”, another optimistic ode.

The old adage “Money Talks” is the title of the next track. But this one points out that all the cash in the world can’t always buy happiness.

The B-side to the single was “Imaginary Heart”, a tune about accepting the fact that the woman he loves did not love him back.

Things slow down with “Sticks and Stones”, a confession of a heartbreaker.

The record closes with the bouncy “I Wanna Touch Her”. For me, it has a bit of a 70’s throwback rocking sound to it.

National Emotion was the band’s final release on the Columbia Records label. Tommy Tutone stepped away from the recording studio for over a dozen years, only to regroup with a slightly different line up in 1996. Lead singer Heath even went on to be a computer analyst.

I had a very hard time tracking down the tracks from this one to listen to for a review. It was not available as a digital download from any of the usual sources; I suspect it was never released in any other format besides vinyl and cassette since 1983. So, it remains buried in those three decade old record collections of hardcore fans and 80's music lovers. There were definitely a couple songs from here that I liked; the entire first side holds up pretty well. I would certainly pick it up were it ever to hit the digital market. To quote the second song, maybe "someday will come" for that release.

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