Thursday, May 21, 2009

Detective - Detective

Review By Michael Thomas Roe

Count me as one who is mystified as to why Detective never made it to the Big Time. All the ingredients were there: all star line up, big push by big record label and gobs of l.p.'s produced at the time (how many vinyl copies of "Detective" have YOU seen in the bargain bin?).
But let's face it, Detective was a little bit "different". Right off the bat on "Detective" they are definitely playing it cool. That is to say that the first track, "Recognition", is hardly the rockin' head blast that the at-the-time Led Zeppelin-heads were expecting, let alone wanted. It's a spooky little number with a bluesy slide guitar and some jazzy riffs. Things heat up a little with "Got Enough Love", but it seems that the boys are taking their cue from the Philly soul bands, not Bad Company, who quite literally stole their thunder.
Things finally click on "Grim Reaper" wherein Detective solidly lays down the heavy metal thunder, sheets upon sheets of black and dark blue. But I suspect that at the time of release not many listeners had made it that far. Certainly not to "Nightingale", the fourth track, a brutally beautiful "dreamy love ballad" (Michael Des Barres' description), which could be the band's finest hour.
The remainder of the CD does manage to chart some Bad Company territory, the galloping drums of Jon Hyde (who would figure so prominantly on "It Takes One To Know One") finally stepping out. But all is tempered with a flavourful jazz instrumental "Deep Down" that finally highlights the keyboard talents of Tony Kaye.
Come to think of it, this music is down right unselfish. Not one musician outshines the other. Detective is a perfect cohesive unit. Remarkable.
Things get hot and sticky with "Wild Hot Summer Nights" and bass man Bobby Picket finally gets a go at it. Deliciously funky.
Detective was a cut above in the quality department (please refer to the list of band-mates again) and certainly uncompromising. And not to go in to too much detail about Mr. Michael Des Barres, but given his pretty boy glam roots and "Decadent with a D" lifestyle, he was probably a little too far out for the day. But god, could he sing and turn phrases and coo and caw.
"Detective" is tasty, bluesy and thoughtful. Something completely unexpected at the time. So why wasn't Detective "the next big thing"? I think we're looking at the time honoured tradition of how the really practiced and talented bands don't get near the success the gimmick laden and untalented bands get. Unfair? Hell yes.

1. Recognition
2. Got Enough Love
3. Grim Reaper
4. Nightingale
5. Detective Man
6. Ain't None of Your Business
7. Deep Down
8. Wild Hot Summer Nights
9. One More Heartache


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