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  • The Nylons' performing career began in 1980 at a time when a cappella outfits were not in vogue. The fact that the Nylons were unlike any a cappella act on the scene made them stand out, and earned them accolades and a devoted audience almost immediately. The band has existed in one form or another for 25 years, but it is the original quartet of Claude Morrison, Arnold Robinson, Paul Cooper, and Mark Connors that created their most beloved recordings. This, their 1982 self-titled debut album, sounded great upon release, but their following four albums have overshadowed its innocent charm. Each of the vocalists had a distinctive voice that blended together perfectly, although Connors' voice was the most awe-inspiring; his soaring, beautiful vocals could make a brick cry, and he probably broke both men's and women's hearts during his tenure with the Nylons. His emotional lead on "Up on the Roof" made the song his own, and his heartfelt lead on the self-penned (with Cooper) "A Million Ways" is still stunning. Connors wasn't the only Nylons lead vocalist; all shared the spotlight throughout their career. Morrison's touching lead on "Rock and Roll Lullaby" equaled Connors' best moments. Robinson and Cooper are less impressive on this release, although they would reach great heights over the next ten years or so (Cooper's "Some People" is pretty fab, though). Some of the less distinctive tracks here sound as if they were recorded with Ralph Cole before Robinson joined and were not on the same scale, though they were not embarrassing either. The Nylons' debut paved way for the great records they were about to make, and deserves another listen, though this is not the place to begin. That honor is left to their next album, One Size Fits All. ~ Steve "Spaz" Schnee
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