REO SPEEDWAGON – This Time We Mean It/ R.E.O.
This Time We Mean It: C-
BGO Records has packaged together two early albums by REO Speedwagon, This Time We Mean It and R.E.O.
The package is interesting because the listener can compare the REO Mike Murphy era right next to the Kevin Cronin era. The first thing that becomes apparent is that REO is much better with Cronin at the helm.
This Time We Mean It shows a band struggling to find their sound, resulting in a mix mash of songs. The Gary Richrath tunes are the best of the bunch, including “Dance” “Gambler” and “Candalera” yet the album fails to capture the listener beyond basic curiosity. The songwriting is such that it really does not call one back to listen to the songs again and again.
R.E.O. shows the band finding their classic sound that would propel them to stardom. The Kevin Cronin penned “Keep Pushin’” and “(I Believe) Our Time is Gonna Come” were FM radio hits that raised the band to new popularity. Richrath’s “Flying Turkey Trot” shows the REO guitar sound come to life while “Lightening” and “Tonight” are both solid tracks as well, making this one the winner betwixt the two.
BGO Records is doing a great job of keeping releases like these alive, which is historically important to classic rock at this stage of the game.
By Jeb Wright
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