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R.E.O. Speedwagon
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  • Just the good ol' boys, back before the controversial (love him or loathe him) Kevin Cronin made REO top-heavy with ballads. Curly crooner Cronin did provide some smooth yin to fiery axe-kicker Gary Richrath's rough yang, so this platter drops some rather faceless barroom boogie. But unsung keyboardist Neal Doughty's chops are as sharp as ever, and REO would salvage the smoking "Sophisticated Lady" and the sleazy anthem "157 Riverside Avenue" for their never-ending live oeuvre. Most songs are good, hard bits with nary a trace of Hi Infidelity's infectious bubble rock. You know the amount of subtlety expected from a band that titles a tune "Prison Women" (later appearing on the premium Jailhouse Rock: Hits from the Big House collection). Like most old-timers, a return to these earthy roots would no doubt help REO out in their latter, uninspired years. ~ Whitney Z. Gomes
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