CD Review of Since 1951 by Andrew Gold

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Since 1951
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Universal
Released: 2006
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If the name rings a bell, it means you’re in your late 30s and you remember his two Top-40 hits: “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend.” Yes, that’s right, Gold’s the guy who’s responsible for giving the world the theme from “The Golden Girls.” I’ll hold him down, you start kicking him.

Just kidding, Andrew.

Although he’s been flying decidedly under the radar since then, Gold has continued to release some great pop albums; in fact, between his records – both solo and with side projects like the Fraternal Order of the All and Bryndle (the latter group including Karla Bonoff) – and his production work with artists like Jesse McCartney, Lisa Carrie, and Serina Flagg, he’s arguably more active than any of his ‘70s peers. And given that those peers include Art Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor, that’s an impressive statement.

Since 1951 finds Gold continuing his trend of writing catchy, jangly pop songs, many of which are reminiscent of Del Amitri, like opener “Can Anybody See You,” “First Time in Love,” and “The Secret”; there’s also a definite Jimmy Webb vibe to “The Best of Everything.” In fact, there are several stylistic tips of the hat to other pop musicians, like Steely Dan on “Back on Top” or the Beach Boys on “Teardrops.” Creatively, the only notable misstep is “Cyberspace,” which, it must be said, sounds like an old fogey trying to keep up with the kids; fortunately, as experiments go, the instrumental “Main Title” is decidedly more successful, accomplishing its goal of creating the feel of a motion picture score.

The production throughout Since 1951 is stellar – to be expected from a guy who once handled such duties for 10cc – but it’s particularly notable on such great-sounding songs as “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” and “Baby’s Got A Gun.” By the way, although the songwriting credits aren’t readily available, if the latter song isn’t a co-write with Graham Gouldman, the 10cc stalwart who teamed with Gold to form the ‘80s band Wax (“Bridge to Your Heart”), then Gold’s just learned a lot about his former co-conspirator’s style, because it sounds just like a Gouldman song.

On the whole, these new songs are solid enough that the album doesn’t need the unnecessary, god-awful, and presumably tongue-in-cheek “Lonely Boy Redux” that closes the disc. (Actually, it’s not that bad on the whole…but the first minute of the track is excruciating.) Now that the album has been rescued from indie oblivion via Universal Music Enterprises and been made available for download via iTunes and other online outlets, here’s hoping it gets investigated more than his previous several releases have been.

~Will Harris