The debut album from Operation:Paperclip, a project put together by bassist Bob Madsen, was ‘The Return Of The Stanislaus County Kid’ and was built around singer and keyboard player Tony Carey, along with Gregg Bissonette on drums, and was one I thoroughly enjoyed. The second album again features Bob and Gregg, but this time they have brought in Chad Quist (guitars) and Jerry Merrill (keyboards). There is no Tony Carey, but this time we have a singer and performer who released an album some 30 years ago which I played almost continuously. That album was ‘Slam’, and the singer is Dan Reed of Dan Reed Network.
There is always a considerable period of time between me receiving and album and coming to review it, so I had totally forgotten Dan was on here, and I was convinced that what I was listening to was someone combining the styles of Dan with Prince to take this delicate and enjoyable album firmly into the Eighties. So when I saw who was involved it all made sense as to my mind, he is still one of the most under-rated singers around, and this album finds Bob and the guys combining their music with his talents to create something which is incredibly enjoyable and listenable to the very first time of playing. In an ideal world many of these songs would be played on the radio and become massive hits, as they really are songs, and the accompaniment has been designed to provide plenty of space for Dan to really show his funk and soul chops. This album may have rock at its heart, but that has been tempered and we move straight back into the Eighties and captures a time of innocence which now seems so long ago. It is deliberately a singers’ album, and when that singer is Dan Reed, then the result is something very special indeed. “I’m So Sorry” is where the band decided to do their best DRN style and could have been released by that band back in the day, although the mellower style and not the hard rock funk they were also known for. Superb.