Upon learning that the 70’s boy-band the Bay City Rollers were getting back together after a 30-something year hiatus, I was quite excited as I have always been fond of their music and their 70’s television show. While this may date me, I recall every person I knew while growing up being huge fans of these Scottish gents wearing tartan kilts and dominating the airwaves and magazine covers at the grocery store checkout lines. It was called Rollermania and the only way you could avoid hearing about the Bay City Rollers was to be in a coma. There was no escaping it! Back to present day, they are working on an album together (the first since 1978) and are already selling out dates on their tour which starts in December.
As of this writing, the confirmed original members signed up are: lead vocalist Les McKeown, guitarist/backing vocalist, Stuart “Woody” Wood and bass guitarist/backing vocalist Alan Longmuir. According to CNN, guitarist Eric Faulkner is interested but former drummer Derik Longmuir (now a cardiologist nurse) is not. The band is now managed by John Mclaughlin who, if I may say so, is doing great job – he is just the right guy to manage this project.
When the band announced it’s first reunion concert in over 30 years was going to be December 20th at the Borrowland in Glasgow, Scotland (Scotland’s premier rock venue), tickets went so fast they added another night, and then another night and then yet another night. Rollermania has obviously been defibrillated & resuscitated (that one’s for you Derik). The dates are Dec 20th, Dec 21st, Dec 22nd and Dec 23rd. And yes, the boys will be sporting their tartans!
In honor of this good news, I decided to venture on a slightly different path and write a review of their forthcoming album – before it was even recorded. In fact, to my knowledge the songs haven’t even been written. But, being so familiar with their work both as a group and as individual artists, I feel quite confident I can nail this.
When I heard the Bay City Rollers had a new album out, I immediately went to iTunes to buy it. The moment I saw the artwork for the album, I was both taken back in time to my teen years filled with great memories listening to and watching these guys AND I was taken to present day where I could tell by their pictures they too had added a few years but somehow the two different emotions quickly merged into one which I’ll refer to as “The Modern Day Rollermania”. I didn’t know for sure what was to come, but I was sure it was going to be awesome!
With the album downloaded on my iPhone, I put in my Beats Earbuds by Dr Dre and hit the play button. With the first note, I was already happy. Perhaps it was the anticipation. Maybe it was the excitement. Actually, it was all that and so much more. I was immediately treated to a familiar yet unknown sound that brought a smile to my face, a dance to my step and a beat to my heart.
Every song on this album is equally magnificent, each with it’s own unique message and personality. Each members voice adds a very special characteristic to the songs. Their melodic structures with their perfectly accented harmonies are complex in structure yet somehow sound effortless. The familiarity of their voices, instrumentation and musical composition immediately invite you in and yet the new songs keep you on your toes in anticipation of the unknown that’s still to come. It’s truly a treat to be able to experience so much from music.
The album is full of these familiar, yet unknown journeys which draw you in and make you feel awesome. It’s great music, fun music, captivating vocals & harmonies that are layered atop instrumentation that morphs into a delightfully great experience.
To each member of the Bay City Rollers, I thank you for your willingness to get back together and for giving the world something fun, entertaining and meaningful. One of the reasons I think Rollermania is so powerful is that it is somewhat like the fountain of youth we all yearn for…it takes us all back in time to our own special & happy places and that’s a journey we all embrace with open arms.
I give this album and each individual band member an A+ in all categories.