Blue Tears - Dancin' On The Backstreets
Suncity Records
80's Melodic Rock
16 songs (71:52)
Release year: 2005
Blue Tears, Suncity Records
Reviewed by Mike

It's been 16 years since this band's first and only album in 1990. From that debut album, Blue Tears received modest attention via their single, Rockin' With the Radio. However, the atrocious grunge invasion of the early 1990's brought the band's career to a grinding halt after that one and only album. Songs had been recorded by the band for a second album, but as with many other 80's rock bands, hair metal bands, and anything remotely related to the 1980's, they were dropped by their label like a hot potato. With the climate for this type of music becoming a lot more hospitable in recent years (thanks in large part to the internet community), Blue Tears decided that the time was right for this release. As a result, the large stack of songs in Blue Tears' vault will finally see the light of day. As a kid going to school and growing up in the 80's and early 90's, this type of music was the majority of what I listented to. Although my tastes quickly evolved to heavier sounds such as NWOBHM, thrash, and traditional heavy metal during my late teens, I'll always have a spot for this syle of music.

Musically speaking, Dancin' on the Backstreets is very similar to the self titled debut album. Furthermore, I would say that the quality of the songs meets, or perhaps exceeds that debut by a tad. This album and Mad, Bad, & Dangerous are a collection of both previously unreleased, non-album tracks and tracks that were intended for the second Blue Tears album. I do feel that the material featured on this album is much stronger, and closer in sound to the band's debut album.

For those of you not familiar with the band, Blue Tears plays a Def Leppard mixed with Bon Jovi style of 80's hard rock. The songs are built around thick, catchy chorus lines, not far removed at all from Def Leppard. Keyboards help to give the music an upbeat, albeit dated (which is expected given the age of the songs) feel to them. Still, the guitar work and the excellent lead vocals of Gregg Fulkerson are the most important components of the music, and are at the forefront of the sound. Yes, the lead singer's name is Gregg Fulkerson, although he could easily be mistaken for Jon Bon Jovi during several of these songs. You won't hear anything terribly complex as far as musicianship or songwriting goes, but that shouldn't be a surprise to fans of this genre. The music of Blue Tears is your textbook definition of straight forward, fun, anthemic party rock from the 1980's. Having said that, there are a fair number of flashy, yet well done guitar solos scattered throughout the songs. Kiss and Tell, All Cried Out, and Slip and Fall sound strangely similar to Pump era Aerosmith, a bit of a bluesy deviation from the bulk of their material. The band pulls this off quite well, and it serves to add some variation to the album. Of course, what would an album like this be without sappy love ballads? The obligatory tracks here are Storm In My Heart, Strong, Dream of Me, and Yours. Storm in My Heart is good enough that it would have likely been a big success back in the day, but I find Yours to be easily forgettable over time. Strong is an acoustic piece that builds momentum in places, then expands into a full choir during the chorus lines; excellent and emotional songwriting. Dream of Me is an atmospheric number that contains well performed acoustic pieces and one of the more emotional vocal performances from Gregg. Also, there are some very emotional, Neal Schon like guitar solos to be heard in this song, giving it a noticeable Journey flavor. Even if you're like me and aren't as grabbed by the ballads as the rocking tunes, there are a total of sixteen songs on this album, making it very easy to find a lot to like. The band's strong suit is defintely energetic, anthemic hard rock. Each of the uptempo tracks has that catchy, anthemic quality to it, backed up by instantly recogzinable chrous lines. As I said before, the sound is dated, but that has to be expected considering the fact that these songs were written about 15 years ago. To further that point a bit, the sonics on this album defintely have some older qualities to it. Namely, the drum sound is very snarey, while the bass is relatively turned down in the mix. Despite that, the sound is very clear, thanks to the digital remastering of the songs from 8 track tapes.

There are a few interesting notes worth mentioning about some of the material on this disc. Fans of the super group Contraband will recognize the track Loud Guitars, Fast Cars, and Wild, Wild Women. Gregg and bassist Mike Spears originally wrote this song as a joke, but their management gave it to Contraband who released the song as their first single. The video for this song actually got some decent airplay on MTV when it was released. Slip and Fall was intended for the never released second Blue Tears album, but instead, it was used by label mates Every Mother's Nightmare on their Wake Up Screaming album. When first listening to this album, the track A Date With Destiny seemed to have Bat Out of Hell (Meatloaf) written all over it. After some reading, I learned that it was written for Meatloaf, as he and Blue Tears had the same manager at the time. Meatloaf never used the track, and so here it is on Dancin' on The Backstreets.

Unlike many 80's bands that are surviving today on inferior material with unfamiliar lineups (cough... Ratt), or pure nostalgia tours based upon endless compilations (cough... Poison), Blue Tears actually delivers quality material with this album. Certainly, the band might not win any new fans with this release. However, anyone who owns the band's debut album or is a general fans of 80's rock from the LA Strip would be strongly advised by me to snatch up this album!

Killing Songs :
Summer Girl, Loud Guitars, Fast Cars, & Wild, Wild Women, Storm in My Heart, A Date With Destiny, All Cried Out
Mike quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Blue Tears that we have reviewed:
Blue Tears - The Innocent Ones reviewed by Mike and quoted 79 / 100
Blue Tears - Mad, Bad, & Dangerous reviewed by Mike and quoted 70 / 100
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