Best songs: There's No One As Beautiful As You, If You Want This to End, Please Tell Me That I've Suffered Enough, Rachel I'm Very Sorry
Worst songs: the last few.
Texan (by way of Los Angeles, just like Don Henley) Dean Strickland is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who needs a drummer. He's got a Tom Petty-ish voice (except not quite as, er, Southern), a bag of guitar riffs, and a lot of songs. What he doesn't have is a drummer. And he knows it: one of the songs on this album is called "Bassist and Drummer Wanted", and is actually pretty damn funny. At least I hope that's how it was intended. The problem, you see, is the drum machine. I don't mind drum machines when they're not intended to emulate an actual drum set. When they are, however, I have to protest -- it's a poor substitute. It's one of the two problems I have with this record. The second problem is that there are too many songs on here. I am not a fan of albums that are long. My philosophy is, if you have a good long album, you can make a great short album. Which is the case with Some Girls to Blame.
On the first half of this album, Dean expertly tackles a variety of genres: the punky album opener "Please Tell Me That I've Suffered Enough", the pounding blues "Rachel, I'm Very Sorry", the country "If You Want This to End", and the power ballad title track. The fun doesn't stop there: my personal favorite on the album is the anthemic Hammond-driven "There's No One As Beautiful As You", and...well, you get the point, I hope.
The second half doesn't engage my interest as much. The last four songs on the album kind of take an overly angry bent and don't really fit on the record. Chop 'em off and you'd have yourself a more consistent overall listening experience. Of the rest of side two, there are several good tracks: "Something To You I Just Wanted to Tell" (aside from being a bit grammatically awkward) is a nice ballad, "Lying Girl" is a catchy uptempo tune, and there's the aforementioned "Bassist and Drummer Wanted".
So there you have it, more or less. Dean's not perfect, but he's got some talent, and he's certainly worthy of your consideration, especially if you like guitar rock.
If you want to buy this album, visit Dean's website at http://www.geocities.com/deanstrickland1/. And please note that I resisted the urge to make a Dean Stockwell joke through the whole thing.
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