Jim Basnight: We Rocked and Rolled – The First 25 Years of Jim Basnight: The Moberlys and Beyond (Disclosed Records 2008)
Jim Basnight is a Seattle-based musician who has been making great pop music for 25 years and has now put together a career spanning collection of his finest songs. Like all compilations should, We Rocked and Rolled goes on in chronological order and therefore it’s time to set the time machine to late 70’s and early 80’s and give The Moberlys the first chance to win my heart over. It’s a rather easy task to them, because The Moberlys played my kind of music. This is just fabulous rockin’ garage pop / power pop that has everything I need. There’s great catchy songs that do rock hard but do not forget the importance of gorgeous harmonies and sweet melodies. Half of this collection is filled with songs by The Moberlys which is a good idea, because all of these are great and there’s some (should-be) power pop classics and jewels like You Know, I Know, I Wanna Be Yours, I Need Your Love and Last Night among them.
Leaving The Moberlys behind and moving on to the 90’s and Jim Basnight’s solo album Pop Top that was a very fine guitar pop release. Hello Mary Jane and Stop The Words continue on the same catchy as hell path that The Moberlys set up, but Opportunity Knocks is a bit of a boring rocker as far as I’m concerned. There would have been a lot better stuff on the album Pop Top. In the late 90’s Jim formed a new band The Rockinhams that lived up to its name. The Rockinhams delivered simple almost punky power pop songs and released one album on Not Lame Recording Company. Four songs made the cut and this is all really good stuff even though I’m a little bit surprised that the wonderful opener Played A Trick isn’t included. Out of the ones that made the cut, the biggest applauds goes to Rock and Roll Girlfriend. Simple, almost hilarious, but oh so enjoyable rock anthem in the vein of Slade or early KISS.
The Jim Basnight Thing is next in line. During this time Jim added some jazzy and folky moods to his music. There’s hardly any rock in here and it takes some time to get used to that trumpet that often makes an entrance. The only Jim Basnight Thing album is bit of “a hit and miss” record for me. However, both songs that are on this compilation belong to the hit category. The last two songs of this compilation are from Jim Basnight’s Recovery Room album that gathers together songs he wrote during 1999-2004. As an album it’s my least favourite. It does have it’s moments, but all these flutes and string quartets are making me dizzy. I prefer that simple but brilliant rock’n’roll of the early days.
In overall, We Rocked and Rolled is a really good introduction to the music of this underrated tunesmith. He certainly has an ear for melody and has written lots of wonderful power pop songs during his career. I probably would have been even more thrilled about some The Best Of The Moberlys compilation but the later stuff is also very enjoyable.
Jim Basnight Discography:
The Moberlys: Sexteen (Wonderful debut album full of great rockin’ power pop / garage pop, 4 hearts for this 23 song version I have here. The finest stuff on this is worth a lot more though)
Jim Basnight & The Moberlys: Seattle – New York – Los Angeles (collects together recordings The Moberlys did during 82-89, not all are perfect but you could form a stunning 12-14 song album out of these 23 tracks, 4 hearts.. but that imaginary 12-14 song album would be close to 5)
Jim Basnight: Pop Top (A really good guitar pop album, 4 hearts)
Jim Basnight Thing: S/T (Adds a bit jazzy and folky moments to Jim’s pop music. Sounds scary, but works pretty well. 3 hearts)
The Rockinghams: Makin’ Bacon (Played A Trick, Need A Car and Rock’n’roll Girlfriend is one hell of a song trio, but this rock’n’roll rocket does have some “only ok” material as well. 3,5 hearts)
Jim Basnight: Recovery Room (The latest effort that compiles together tracks he did during 5 year period 1999-2004. A bit incoherent maybe, but does have some great moments. The string arrangements and such goes a bit too far for a fan of simple pop music and this isn’t totally my cup of tea as a whole. 3 hearts)