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Music Review: Boston - Walk On

by Dave Bealer

New Boston albums show up about as often as major locust swarms. The mere seven year gap between "Third Stage" and "Walk On" sets a new record for alacrity. Perhaps Tom Scholz grew tired of suing his record company and decided to spend some extra time in the studio.

Like novelist Robert Heinlein, who had to build a new house with his bare hands between each novel (read _Grumbles From the Grave_ if you don't believe me), Tom Scholz apparently has to build an entirely new studio, after personally designing and building all the electronics, for each new Boston album.

Eric Clapton may well be the greatest rock guitarist in history, but Boston has the best "guitar sound." The fact that this sound comes mostly from Scholz's gadgetry, rather than the playing skills of the artists in Boston, doesn't diminish this fact (at least too much). Let's face it, the quality of Boston guitar work went downhill when Barry Goudreau left the band during the decade between "Don't Look Back" and "Third Stage."

"Walk On" turns out to be merely a par effort for Boston. The major problem is the absence of Brad Delp, their one-and-only lead singer. Fran Cosmo is a reasonable replacement, but it's not quite the same. True Boston trivia buffs will remember Cosmo as a vocalist from Barry Goudreau's 1980 self-titled solo album (surely one of the best LPs not yet available on CD).

"Walk On" is another Tom Scholz show: written, produced, engineered by, and starring Tom Scholz. This may go a long way towards explaining why Scholz is the only remaining original member of the band. All these other duties kept Scholz from writing any truly catchy lyrics for this outing. There's no "A Man I'll Never Be" or "Can'tcha Say" lurking on this disc. Boston still *sounds* like Boston, though. For some of us, that's good enough. Recommended for Boston fans - everyone else will want to avoid it.

Copyright 1994 Dave Bealer. All Rights Reserved.

Dave Bealer is a thirty-something mainframe systems programmer. His musical ability extends to playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the piano using only five keys. This makes him as qualified to review music as most of those who do it for a living. When not listening to music, Dave writes for and publishes his own e-mag, Random Access Humor. He can be reached at:, The Puffin's Nest, (410) 437-1460, of Fido: 1:261/1129, (410) 437-xxxx.

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