Friday, January 24, 2014

40 Year Itch : The Other Big Star

As we anticipate the February 1974 release of Big Star's Radio City, let's take a moment to listen to one of the Ardent label's other great power pop band, The Hot Dogs. Formed by Memphis rockers Bill Rennie and Greg Redding, The Hot Dogs ( like Cargoe)  share their label mate's love of 60's pop, Beatlesque harmonies and stinging guitar solos. Lead guitarist Terry Manning also produced Alex Chilton's 1970 sessions. Drummer Richard Rosebrough also played the skins on Chris Bell's I Am The Cosmos.

Ardent, an offshoot of Stax Records,  was by no means the kind of label that could turn any band into big stars. Their distribution was awful. Even if you'd read something about the band, you couldn't find the records in the stores. And Say What You Mean did get some press including a review in an April '74 issue of Rolling Stone:

Bill Rennie's writing , arranging and vocal work on "Another Smile" and "Way to Get You" are so like (Pete) Townshend the could fit on Who Came First. Say What You Mean shows the Hot Dogs to be yet another you group that may become exceptional once they dig an identity out of their inspirations. In the meantime, they are making polished, listenable music.

But The Hot Dogs had even worse luck. They reportedly lost all their equipment in a club fire.

Rennie and Redding made another album Hot Dogs album in the late 70's before joining Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, of all people in Black Oak ( formerly Black Oak Arkansas) for two albums.
Say What You Mean is no Radio City but it's worth hearing. And you can listen to it, track by track, on this Ardent website .

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