Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Hooters - Amore

Released on the independent label Antenna, Amore was the first studio album released by Pennsylvania rockers the Hooters. This 1983 debut was a cult favorite in the Philadelphia area and sold over 100,000 copies. The record, which features four songs that were reworked on later albums by the band, was their stepping tone to a major record label deal a year later.

Today we will give this one a listen in honor of its thirtieth anniversary.

The line-up on the record was Eric Bazilian (lead vocals, guitar, and saxophone), John Lilley (guitar), Rob Hyman (lead vocals and keyboards), Rob Miller (bass) and David Uosikkinen (drums).

Side one opens with the title track. “Amore” is a pop-rock explosion about an alluring foreign woman. I am not quite sure what nationality she is since the song references Italian, French and Spanish terms.

“Blood from a Stone” is up next, a reworked version of which appeared on the band’s 1985 album Nervous Night. It is interesting to hear the roots of the song here; the arrangement is a bit lighter and at the same time a slight bit faster in the tempo.

“Hanging on a Heartbeat” also re-appeared on Nervous Night. This original version showcases more of the reggae rhythms in a cleaner delivery.

“All You Zombies” completes the Nervous Night hat-trick. This version has a more reverent tone to it which fits well with the Biblical lyrics of the song.

Side two begins with “Birdman”, a bouncy number about infatuation at first sight.

“Don’t Wanna Fight” is a slower ballad with interesting musical hooks. It features an acoustic guitar solo as well.

“Fightin’ on the Same Side”, with an accordion-like opening, is next. The song would come back in a different version on 1987’s One Way Home.

“Concubine” closes the record off with this quirky rocker about keeping a mistress.

The 2001 CD release of Amore included two bonus tracks. The first is a cover of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” which the performed in June of 1986 at a benefit concert for Amnesty International. The second is a song called “Man in the Street”, a tune first recorded by the Skatalites; this is a live demo from the Hooters’ first recording session in 1980.

I got to know the Hooters through their 1985 album Nervous Night while in college, which I enjoyed a lot. Because of that, I was really interested to listen to Amore for this review as I did not know it was the band’s first record. All in all, I found it interesting to see the band’s early sound and to compare it with how it had progressed in a few years time. Hearing the original versions of songs I knew quite well was also fun.

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