Welcome back to The Turntable Talk. As before, we’ve invited some other interesting music writers to share their opinions on a single topic, and we’ll be running their replies this week. Previous times we’ve looked at the influence of The Beatles, pros and cons of live albums, and the impact of MTV and music videos. This time around, we’re looking at “out of the blue”… debuts that came out of nowhere and really took listeners by surprise. Albums, or singles, that made you turn your head and say “that’s great! Who is that!?” Let’s hear about the great entrances to the musical stage and why they so impressed you… and perhaps if the act would go on to live up to that early potential or not.
Today, appropriately for Canada Day, we have Deke , at the western end of the Great Lakes, from Thunder Bay Rocks. Deke covers the last forty years or so of hard rock at his site and is something of a historian for his city’s great music heritage. He talks about a fellow Canadian today:
Thanks to Dave for letting me hop on this week for Top Debuts. My pick is Kim Mitchell with his debut solo EP. Mitchell already built himself up a career fronting Max Webster but by the time the early 80’s rolled around Kim called it a day with M.W and went solo…
Are you going to find a better five song studio solo E.P than Kim Mitchell’s 1982 self-titled release?
Maybe but probably not. For myself, I missed the boat at the time on Kim’s time fronting his former band Max Webster at the tail end of the ’70s.
It was a Canadian magazine, Music Express, that put out the word that here was Kim. Now solo and trying to make a go of it with his name on the marquee. I bought this way back in ’82 on cassette tape and lo and behold saw it sitting in the used bins on vinyl a few weeks back. A no brainer, pay in cash and dash out the door!
Kim goes balls out in power trio mode with Paul DeLong on drums and Robert Sinclair Wilson on bass. Kim has always played some killer guitar on all his albums, but this EP has Kim going to a whole other level on the fretboard.
“Kids In Action” sets the table as Mitchell gets right down to business and with Jack Richardson dialing in the sounds with Kim these songs sound live with few overdubs in the studio. Put it this way: all these cats can play and of course along for the ride is Pye Dubois who handled all the lyrics (as he largely had done in Max Webster) while Kim took care of the music. “Miss Demeanor” helped him stay on the charts a bit longer with it.
Kim has that cool summer breezy cool guy vocal vibe which comes across in a huge way on these songs. Five songs, no ballads just Kim lifting off on what would become a pretty good career in Canada.
If you’re a guitarist check out this EP for a crash course on exceptional soloing as you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve been slowly collecting Kim’s output on vinyl in the ’80s as I come across it. Now with the inclusion of this EP on vinyl along with Akimbo Alogo(1984), Shakin Like A Human Being(1986) and Rocklandwonderland(1989) my KM collection is coming along nicely!
Rah Rah Ole!