Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog - 1981

As a kid I really liked Jesse's girl, but then I became aware that Rick Springfield was for girls and like many boys in the 5th or 6th grade, I couldn't like that. Besides he wasn't a real rock star. He was on General Hospital. Funny how stupid you can be growing up.

Today of course I think Rick Springfield is better than anyone gives him credit. I listen to this record and "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet" and I can't believe how strong his song craft and vocal chops were. I had this epiphany a few years back when I digitized those records and burned them to disc. I had them in the car and I fell in love. Sure there were the hits "Jesse's Girl" and "I've Done Everything For You", but the other tracks were strong too. There are even a hits that I kind of forgot, "Love Is All Right Tonite" and "Hole In My Heart" for example. The song kicks off the record and is basically a perfect song.

Fast forward to 2008 and I'm going through this big 80's power pop phase. So as I'm listening to all these kind of obscure acts, it hits me, Rick Springfield was basically a power pop guy. So I dig up these records and give them another listen, with that context and I like them even more. He is working with that 3 minute pop song format and rocking it to its fullest. And I do mean rocking it. This album is full of rebellious rock and roll spirit. In fact I wish I had been listening to this as a kid, because I think it would have meant more to me then. I can also see why teenage girls connected with it. The songs are about being a young girl or area bout some guy taking a girl out and romancing her.

I have to make mention here that Rick's cover of the Sammy Hagar song "I've Done Everything For You" has got to be one of the greatest pop rock songs of all time. And it is one of those rare examples where the remake outshines the original. You hear the Hagar original which is good, but it seems like a demo compared to this production perfection on the Springfield track. Everything about the song is better. The guitar has more attitude from the first machine gun into. Rick's vocals are better. That is saying something because Sammy has some serious vocal chords, but here it is all about attitude. In fact this may sound strange, but in listening to it recently I think it is fair to say that there is a bit more of a punk rock attitude in Rick's version. I can't say enough about the song.

I will mention a couple more things. There are a few lyrics that I simply love. Sammy gets credit for this. "This one way love affair ain't fair. It ain't no affair to me." The other one I like is "I'm going out on the town tonight and get as wild as I can be. I'm gonna find out what it's really like to be loose, high, and free."

"Everybody's Girl" is a number I've taken notice of recently. It has a quasi reggae rhythm thing going on for the verse and then it breaks into a great rockin' chorus. Lyrically the song is really interesting to me. It starts off as one of those "I hate this girl because she's sleeping around" kind of things. I mean this guy it warning the girl that she's going to get a bad name because she goes with all these guys. It is very judgmental. But as the song progresses you see that this is all just an act because really he still wants her.

"Daddy's Pearl" is a good one. Again this is one of those ones I think connected with the female teens. It's also got a nice catchy chorus and is a little more pop than rock. I think that the underlying fantasy here is that daddy's little girl may be going out and doing things her father may know about or approve of. This sets up the next song "Red Hot Love" perfectly which is a bluesy, sultry number that radiates sexual heat. It sounds like a wild Mardi Gras night where all the rules can be broken.

Kind of the strangest track on the record closes the album out. "Inside Sylvia" sounds spacey and trippy. But the spacey music paints a beautiful canvass on which Rick can paint a beautiful song. It's a nice quiet way to fade out the record.


01 Love is Alright Tonite.mp3
02 Jessie's Girl.mp3
03 Hole In My Heart.mp3
04 Carry Me Away.mp3
05 I've Done Everything For You.mp3
06 The Light Of Love.mp3
07 Everybody's Girl.mp3
08 Daddy's Pearl.mp3
09 Red Hot & Blue Love.mp3
10 Inside Silvia.mp3

Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog.zip


Amy said...

Rick is the bomb! Check out his website for current info on him! Rickspringfield.com

Spencer said...

Will do. Thanks.

Lauri said...

This is a great cd - and you like said, even better now than many of us knew then - it still rocks. I adore "Daddy's Pearl" and the words of "Everybody's Girl" are great- it's a fine CD all the way around (ok, once an album) and Rick continues to entertain with new material, which is so cool. He has a new cd I hear coming out July 29th (heard on Hero Awards 7/4) and he himself says it shoudl be called "Working Class Dog II"- but - with songs about love it is aptly called "Venus in Overdrive". Check it out!

Spencer said...

Thanks for the heads up on the new record. I'm going to keep my eyes out for that. Can't wait to hear it. Rick's been working the road quite heavily this last year, so it is nice to hear that some new music will be coming out of all that hard work.

gerardopv62 said...

Please re-upload