Rockets, The (#2) - 2010 Re Entry


ARTIST: Rockets, The
ALBUM: Re Entry
LABEL: Groovehouse Records YEAR: 2010


LINEUP: Eddie Mahoney - vocals * John Cuniberti - drums * Dan Alexander - guitars * Chris Solberg - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Can't Keep A Good Man Down * 02 Do Ya * 03 Highway * 04 Morning Song * 05 Somebody Help Me * 06 Need More Time * 07 High School QT * 08 I Get So Excited


The Rockets were an established club act by 1971 in the San Francisco area.

Eschewing the prevalent post-psychedelic, country or hard rock influences of the day, The Rockets were still heavily influenced by the British Invasion and by likes of The Move and Badfinger.

Eddie Mahoney (Money) as he still was then, was an outgoing and eccentric front man. Famous for pulling a variety of stage stunts including playing amateur porn films, firing fireworks into the audience and appearing at one New Year's Eve gig dressed in a giant diaper.

The band played around the SF area to some success and even worked the ski resort circuit from Lake Tahoe to Sun Valley.

In 1972 the band booked into Roy Chen's studio in San Francisco's Chinatown (where, amongst others, Copperhead later recorded some ultimately unreleased demo's).

Only two tracks, 'High School QT2' and 'Morning Song' resulted from this session. Shortly afterwards, four more tracks were recorded at Tom Lubin's (Shel Silverstein, Rubinoos, Greg Kihn) studio in Ojai, California, including covers of The Move's 'Do Ya' and The Equals 'I Get So Excited'.

Lubin was working for CBS at the time and sent the tapes to his boss, who in October 1973 rejected them with a one line letter, 'I don't think The Rockets are ready'. By this time the writing was on the wall and by 1974 the Rockets no longer existed.

Eddie, as we all know signed to, ironically, CBS in 1976 for his successful solo career as Eddie Money. Alexander played with John Lee Hooker and Greg Kihn before setting up a successful business in amplifiers and the like.

John Cuniberti has carved a career out in mastering and engineering everything from punk (Dead Kennedys) to country (Jesse Colin Young), rap and the recent Chickenfoot album. He also finds time to play in a Yardbirds tribute act - The Rave Ups alongside Chris Solberg.

The Songs

The CD opens with a gutsy demo of 'Can't Keep A Good Man Down' recorded by a reunited version of The Rockets in 1978. Both that and 'Highway' recorded at the same session featured on Money's 'Life For The Taking' LP.

Next up is a pretty faithful rendition of 'Do Ya' albeit without Roy Wood's treated vocals. The Equals 'I Get So Excited' is a bit crunchier than the original, even the bass sounds heavier.

From 1973, 'Morning Song' could be the stand out track here. It sounds like The Raspberries on a country trip after playing 'Madman Across the Water'. Power pop meets glam and AOR almost.

'Somebody Help Me' and 'Need More Time' could almost be a paeans to the Boxtops or Motown and wouldn't sound out of place on 'Wanna Go Back'.

There's an up-tempo feel to the later, but neither have the quality of 'Morning Song' The last original 'High School QT' could have been a Roy Wood reject from the last days of The Move.

In Summary

San Francisco psychedelic act Earthquake were quoted as an influence. It's interesting to note that by 1971 they were still playing a quasi psychedelic garage rock. Really not very good.

By 1974 they'd developed the much more mature hard edged 'power pop' sound that they became known for. So it appears that The Rockets were ultimately as much as an influence on them as they had been to The Rockets originally.

The sound quality overall is quite excellent for the age and although this is not the strongest or longest collection, these few songs are well worth the money, and there are certainly two or three stone cold classics in there.

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