Hotline to the Underground: JOEY MOLLAND’S BE TRUE TO YOURSELF


Hotline to the Underground
Review by Joe Viglione

Album Be True To Yourself

Artist: Joey Molland
Hotline to the Underground

On July 12, 2021 the vinyl release of Joey Molland’s Be True To Yourself lp will emerge on Record Store Day. Pick it up as it is an instant collector’s item with every track stellar and memorable. Produced by Mark Hudson and featuring Julian Lennon, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Steve Holley the work is brilliant artistically and a resounding musical success.

The four minutes and fifty-eight seconds of opening track “This Time” sweep in with majesty and authority. Joey Molland’s vocals appeal and this Mark Hudson production feels like it would be a perfect duet with George Harrison…or Paul McCartney…or Ringo. Molland consistently writes contemporary (key word) music that we adore from the era as does the daughter of Denny Laine (nee Brian Hines) of Wings with her Karmacar band. Molland and Heidi-Jo Hines (Karmacar) are the best purveyors of the sound established by the Beatles out there, original music that excites, generates interest, performances that leads to repeated spins. There is a huge market for this delicious stuff, the key is finding all those in the appreciation society lost and spinning in the quagmire that is the internet. Someone hit them over the head with this and they’ll love you forever.

Be True To Yourself is no revision of past glories, the ten songs take you to a place in the future where the Fab Four would have gone. Exemplified with the dignity of “Rainy Day Man,” resplendent in Beach Boys harmonies and George Harrison riffs. Molland was there when the magic happened, was part of the magic and there on the past glories for all to hear. The majestic melodies, vibes and solid construction in these digital (and now vinyl again) grooves need to find a film soundtrack to launch this wonderful work into the stratosphere.

Like Deep Purple, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Paul McCartney, you can find much of the music free on YouTube. These stalwarts of the ever evolving Rock and Roll music genre now utilizing the YouTube platform the way AM radios in the 1960s got the music out. Remember hearing your favorite song and hitting the cassette player? Of course you don’t, that was time on a planet long ago and far far away. Be True To Yourself is out there on the “tube,” front and center, and you’ll want the repeated spins without the darn commercials that proliferate these days inside that venue. But that’s OK, AM radio had too many advertisements as well, what is important is that the download platforms are our new radio in 2021.

The aforementioned Rolling Stones have a magnificent song entitled “Heaven,” find it on Tattoo You. Molland’s “Heaven” is a sensation counterpart to Jagger/Richards excursion, though the sounds are separate and different from the Stones; it’s truly All Things Must Pass Volume 3, for 2021. There is no doubt in my mind that this music, played and performed with Karmacar’s Heidi Jo along with Ringo and Sir Paul would usher in a new era of Beatles’ magic. All four of them were there, Heidi around the McCartney farm, Badfinger on the right track with “Baby Blue,” “Come and Get It,” and of course the Nilsson masterpiece “Without You” (power ballad from Tom Evans and Pete Ham of Badfinger.) “Shine” has Mark Hudson truly pouring all the elements into the kettle and pouring out dreamy, creamy moods.

“All I Want To Do” is power-pop reinvention. Hudson’s sublime production and the essential talents of McCartney/Elton John/Ian Hunter drummer Steve Holley, Julian Lennon, Mike Nesmith and Jason Scheff providing exquisite backing. It is a wall of sound, perfectly spaced and so very exciting from track to track. Indeed, this long-time rock journalist doesn’t hand out mere platitudes, I’ve got better things to do. Be True To Yourself is the real deal, a merry-go-round of borderline psychedelia, a Magical Mystery Tour for 2021. If you feel that this essay dips too much into the Beatles’ bag, it is only for the fact that the fans of the Fab Four, the Kinks and yes, the highly popular Monkees, need to absorb this series of compelling sounds.

My review of the 2001 This Way Up on AllMusic.com is similar to how I feel about this new album. There are millions and millions of fans still out there on the planet, and somehow they need to be alerted to this album that brings the music they love into the 21st century.

CD / DIGITAL TRACK LIST:
1. THIS TIME
2. BETTER TOMORROW
3. RAINY DAY MAN
4. HEAVEN
5. ALL I WANT TO DO
6. I DON’T WANNA BE DONE WITH YOU
7. ALL I DO IS CRY
8. LOVING YOU
9. SHINE
10. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Cat: OV-402

CD / DIGITAL TRACK LIST:
1. THIS TIME
2. BETTER TOMORROW
3. RAINY DAY MAN
4. HEAVEN
5. ALL I WANT TO DO
6. I DON’T WANNA BE DONE WITH YOU
7. ALL I DO IS CRY
8. LOVING YOU
9. SHINE
10. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Cat: OV-402

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