BLACKJACK AnthologyLemon CDLEM84 (2006)
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a rock vocalist called Michael Bolotin, and a fine rock vocalist he was too.
Sadly he later changed his name to Bolton and became the successful mullet wearing soppy balladeer and housewife favourite that we’ve all come to know and loathe.
But back then, Blackjack were a half decent band who sadly never realised their potential.
Both Polydor albums (1979 and 1980) are featured here on one disc, and alongside Bolotin were former Meatloaf guitarist Bruce Kulick (later of Kiss et al), bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Sandy Gennaro.
The self titled debut featured producer Tom Down (Skynrd etc) and although heavier / better than anything under the Bolton moniker, it does err towards light rock with a commercial edge. There are some strong moments, and the off widdles from the hands of Kulick are good too. 'Fallin’' is an uptempo r’n’b rocker that is pretty enjoyable.
The second album Worlds Apart kicks off with a cover of 'My World Is Empty Without You' and, like the debut, occasional keyboards fit in well. A top Blackjack moment. 'Love Is Hard To Find' is a moody and rockin’ track and definitely one of their better tracks.
The second album is a good couple of points better than the debut, which was comparatively weak.
Musically the band failed to live up to expectations considering the band members, and through lack of support from their label Polydor, the project was doomed.
All members went on to bigger and better things, but this is an interesting footnote. Far from essential but shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Review by Joe Geesin