MARTHA DAVIS: Policy: CD

MARTHA DAVIS released her first solo album entitled Policy in November 1987 and some of the musicians who worked with her on the album included Clarence Clemons, Kenny G and Charlie Sexton. Five songs were released as singles from the album, but none of them were to become hits in America, but “Don’t Tell Me the Time” was a top 10 song in Australia.

“Tell It to the Moon” is a song that should have been a huge hit with the hooks, her powerful voice filling your ears, and the instant you hear it, you want to hear it again. “Just Like You” is another song that should have been a hit with the saxophone solo, the beautiful instrumentation and again her voice! “Heaven Outside My Door” is a very beautiful slow song that goes right into another slower song “Don’t Tell Me the Time” which is every bit the equal to previous songs from THE MOTELS. “Rebecca” keeps the slow songs going with a very brooding song that is actually quite beautiful. “What Money Might Buy” takes a look at the young kids who end up as prostitutes on the streets. “Don’t Ask Out Loud” is a slow song with the beautiful combination of Davis’ voice and the saxophone interweaving and making it a standout track. “The Hardest Part of a Broken Heart”, “Lust” and “Bridge of Sighs” keep the slow songs going and the latter really has the power to draw you in with the sax and Davis’ heartfelt vocals crying out to you. The upbeat “My Promise” is still slow, but has a more positive outlook and is the most purely romantic song on the album.

I can’t understand why fans of THE MOTELS didn’t pick this up in droves, the only thing that I can think of is the lack of faster songs on the album because the quality is still here. If you are a fan of her previous work, you need to get this album and see where she ended up and hear the beauty on this album.

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THE MOTELS: Shock: CD

This is the fifth and final studio album from THE MOTELS until they released the album Clean Modern and Reasonable which was issued in September 2007. They were working on another album to be released after this, but Martha Davis decided to go solo and the band broke up nearly two years later.

The album does have more flourishes of the ’80s, but it still holds onto the great songwriting, the seductive vocals of Davis and the sinewy saxophone that peppers their music. Singles released from this album include the U.S. top 40 “Shame,” the Top 100 title track “Shock,” as well as an Australia only release “Icy Red” that did not chart.

The singles “Shame” and “Shock” start this album off on a fantastic high. Both songs being full of life and sublime beauty that still resonates after all these years. “Hungry” is a nice slower song with great saxophone and Davis’ beautiful vocals making you get shivers. “Annie Told Me” has a nice slow beat and is full of lush keyboards and plaintive vocals, plus a great sax solo. “Icy Red” continues the slower set of songs, but is so full of emotion and bleakness that its cold sound and would fit in perfectly with a walk in the woods on a snowy day. “New York Times” brings the pace up a bit more and sounds like it could have been a single in its own right. “State of the Heart”, and “Cries and Whispers” keep things upbeat and are full of hooks, while “My Love Stops Here”, and “Night by Night” are slower and especially the latter sound like classic slow songs from the band.

Yes it has a definite ’80s sound to the production and the effects in the songs, but the good thing is that the songs are still of a high standard that it still works. The band was consistent, putting out great music time and time again and never received the recognition that they deserved, get this album and all of the other remastered albums and enjoy music that is timeless.

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THE MOTELS: Little Robbers: CD

Fourth album in and the band still sounds great with catchy songs, exemplary playing and the emotive vocals from Martha Davis. The band kept the high quality from their third album and was given another hit album.

“Where Do We Go from Here (Nothing Sacred)” starts off the album with strong keyboard playing and a very catchy melody. “Suddenly Last Summer” is the big hit on the album and deserves its place in the ranks of classic songs with Davis giving us another beautiful vocal that tugs at your heart. “Isle of You” has nice jangling guitar playing, and a strong vocal from Davis adding to the island feel of the song. “Trust Me” is another of their more rock oriented songs and has a ton of energy and is pretty fast paced with a fantastic saxophone solo. “Monday Shut Down” is a great new wave song that you find on all of their albums and adds a bit of guitar playing that really rocks out. “Remember the Nights” is a terrific song that should have been a bigger hit and is extremely catchy. “Little Robbers” is another catchy song that stands out on the album with the excellent saxophone. “Into the Heartland” is a great new wave song with the icy synthesizer and the saxophone coming in and out of the song to make it a very bouncy and fun song. “Tables Turned” has a nice mellow beat and is another beautiful slow song that you just close your eyes while listening to and fade into the ether. The final song “Footsteps” has a bit of a reggae beat to it and is a perfect ending to another fantastic album.

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THE MOTELS: All Four One: CD

This is it…the album that took THE MOTELS to the next plateau and put them on the top of the charts. With MTV starting and the need for videos, the excellent song, plus Martha Davis’ smoldering good looks, there was no doubt that they were going to go big.

Kicking off with the fast-paced and catchy “Mission of Mercy”, the album starts on a high note. We then jump right into “Take The L”, a fantastic song with power and an energy that should have put this in the top ten. The band is playing right at the top of its game and the next song, “Only the Lonely” is a highlight not only on this album, but one for any band. With Davis’ plaintive singing and the deft playing of the band, they take a song that would be mushy and trite from another band and make it into the beautiful song that stands up today. “Art Fails” is a great new wave song that has a fair bit of classic rock guitar work that gives it a nice edge. “Change My Mind” shows the chops that the band has with the smokey jazz sound that they pull off perfectly. “So L.A.” has a fantastic synthesizer sound throughout, cold and melodic and has a huge amount of depth. “Tragic Surf” is more in the rock camp, but adds enough gloss to keep both the rockers and the new wavers happy. “Apocalypso” was supposed to be the name of the third album, but was rejected by the record company and this re-recorded version of the song has terrific saxophone throughout. “He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss)” is kind of the twin to “Take The L” with a sound very close to it. “Forever Mine” has a Motown sound and is bright and airy sounding. and ends a fantastic album.

Has the band gotten any better from their first two albums, no, the songs are just a bit tighter and the musical climate moved into their sound and with video play, they got the hit album that they deserved. From start to finish, an album that will make you feel good and bring back memories of your youth and get you singing and dancing.

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THE MOTELS: Careful: CD

The second album from THE MOTELS and it continues the new wave mixed with a touch of rock from their first album, but this time the band has a bit more warmth and feeling. Martha Davis still has one the most incredible vocals in music and it still is a pleasure to hear her sweet tones on this album. The band on this release consists of Martha Davis (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Tim McGovern (Lead Guitar), Marty Jourard (Keyboards, Saxophone), Michael Goodroe (Bass), and Brian Glascock (Drums).

With their second album, THE MOTELS didn’t change too much that was on their debut, but the songwriting and playing matured a bit with their touring and they ended up with an album in the top 50 in America which was a definite plus for them. Songs like “Cry Baby”, and “People, Places And Things”, give them album some nice upbeat moments and the singles “Danger”, “Whose Problem?”, and “Days Are O.K. (But The Nights Were Made For Love)” are all fantastic, but the slow song “Slow Town” really lets Davis shine with her beautiful vocal performance. The band plays with such energy and emotion on this album that it ranks up there with their debut.

Another great album with beautiful remastered sound that lets you hear all of the emotion dripping from the vocals is such a pleasure. One more winner from THE MOTELS.

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THE MOTELS: Self-titled: CD

THE MOTELS first album from way back in 1979 with Martha Davis’ fantastic voice and excellent playing from her band really grabs you with the stripped down and stark sound that they created. Ten songs that haven’t aged and sound even better now than they did when first released.

This is a remastered release with the same packaging as the original LP in CD format (cardboard sleeve), and looks exactly like the LP release, but the sound is incredible. You can hear the plaintive vocal from Davis on “Total Control” and it sends shivers up your spine…such a fantastic track. The band plays really tight and does a great job of incorporating both the emerging new wave and a touch of rock to keep the edge sharp and makes song after song of classics that should have been a hit for them. The line up for the band at that time was: Martha Davis (guitar, vocals), Jeff Jourard (guitar), Marty Jourard (keyboards/sax), Michael Goodroe (bass), and Brian Glascock (drums). There isn’t a duff song on this album and it just gets better every time that I play it, I especially loved the saxaphone, an instrument that got a lot of use in the ’80s and perfectly accents these songs.

With the great songs, exemplary playing, the sensuous vocals of Davis and the incredible remastered sound, this is a fantastic release that deserves to be in your collection. You can hear the start of the band that will go on to be a huge hit maker in a few years on here and it’s an excellent debut for an excellent band.

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