Burns Sisters, The - 1986 The Burns Sisters

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Burns Sisters
ALBUM: The Burns Sisters Band
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Jeannie Burns, Marie Burns, Annie Burns, Terry (Teresa) Burns, Sheila Burns - vocals * Ron Riddle - drums, percussion, synth bass * Ira Siegel, Rob Lavery - guitars * Kasim Sulton - bass * Gregg Mangiafico, Doug Wyatt - keyboards * Peter Scherer - synclavier * Louis Cortelizzi - sax * Patrick Burns - backing vocals (bass)

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Wonder Who's Out Tonight * 02 Listen To The Beat Of A Heart * 03 We Should Be Together * 04 Tell Me * 05 This Time * 06 Run Rebel Run * 07 Take Me Tonight * 08 Who's Gonna Dance With Me * 09 I Need Your Love * 10 I'm Gonna Stand


We reviewed the second of the Columbia releases of this all-sister act a few years ago. Now it's time to look at their 1986 debut. Thanks to the Internet, we can revisit the Burns Sisters story prior to that debut. From a large Irish family (12 siblings all up if I recall), the Binghamton, NY raised sisters were spread across the age divide, with Jeannie and Marie living down in Florida for a few years during the mid 70's. Returning home to New York State in 1978, the duo moved to Ithaca, northwest of Binghamton at the foot of Cayuga Lake. There they began forming the basis of the Burns Sisters, with sisters Annie, Terry (or Teresa) and Sheila hooking on to become a 5 member band, which operated from 1979 all the way through to their eventual Columbia signing in 1985. Columbia bought in a collection of top New York studio musicians including Utopia's Kasim Sulton and former Happy The Man drummer Ron Riddle, who also helped arrange most of the songs. Producer was Richard Gottehrer, better known as Blondie's producer, co-founder of Sire Records, as well as being a member of offbeat 60's trio The Strangeloves. Strange indeed! Anyway, the Burns Sisters debut is all about mid 80's melodic pop, with an image and sound that was so centric of that era. All the imagery you can imagine from that time is here.

The Songs

'I Wonder Who's Out Tonight' is a new-wavey opener, full of drum machines, artificial hand-claps and a catchy groove. I like it. AORsters should go for 'Listen To The Beat Of A Heart', slightly ballad-oriented in style, but radio friendly nonetheless. Annie sings this one, she sounds great! 'We Should Be Together' is the highlight so far for me. With Jeannie taking the lead, this is a stinging hi-tech number that compares admirably to the likes of Idle Tears and Wild Blue. 'Tell Me' continues with the same tempo, more hi-tech escapades with all the vocal harmonies in the background. 'This Time' with Teresa now on lead vocal, shifts to a slow-pace ballad with a hint toward a Celtic flavour, thanks to the delicate flute work. it's quite lovely actually. As per the songtitle, 'Run Rebel Run' is a quickfire pop rocker, no stopping at the traffic lights for this one! 'Take Me Tonight' is another AOR ballad that is given the benefit of the Burns Sisters harmony vocal treatment. 'Who's Gonna Dance With Me' is similar to 'We Should Be Together' which we heard before. Throw in a bit of Scandal plus those bands mentioned earlier, and we're in the zone. 'I Need Your Love' provides a pleasant mid-pace excursion, the album finishing up with the political activism vocal chant of 'I'm Gonna Stand'. It's a powerful statement with the girls in full-cry.

In Summary

The Sisters had 'I Wonder Who's Out Tonight' converted to video, while 'Listen To The Beat Of A Heart' reached #23 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. Certainly the groundwork for their next LP 'Endangered Species' was built here, and I'm glad the quintet moved into full AOR territory even if they didn't really know what the term meant! Yet to be released on CD, a two-on-one with 'Endangered Species' could be what the CD Reissue Doctor ordered!

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