Day 7: Rumble – Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers

Day 7 (Loud and Local): Rumble – Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers

Tracklist

  1. I’m Not Your Man
  2. Half A Heart
  3. If We Ever Meet Again
  4. Love’s On Fire
  5. Workout
  6. I Wanna Make You Happy
  7. Everything They Say Is True
  8. Gonna Breakdown
  9. Tell Me What You Want Me To Be
  10. Walkin’ On The Water

About the Album

Rumble by Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers was their first album to be released by a major record label (Columbia Records). The band struck the big time for while with Rumble… having two singles reach #74 (I’m Not Your Man) and #48 (If We Never Meet Again) on Billboard’s Top 100… as well as those two singles reach #1 and #9 respectively on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.

Thoughts on the tracklist

The tracks found on Rumble, are an eclectic mix of blues, hard rock, and bar rock. That’s just the way I like my music, an eclectic mix of different genres fused into one awesome package. These tracks are high-energy, get your blood pumping, stick your lighter in the air (or smart phones, as the kids do these days). Conwell adds that Philadelphia pride and blue-collar attitude to the tracks.

“I’m Not Your Man,” the first single and track off the album was one of the biggest hits for the band… striking at #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks. The guitar of Conwell leads the charge in this song and his unique, raspy voice is amazing.

Tell Me What You Want Me to Be,” is a chugging, locomotive jump that was written by Conwell which comes near the end of side two of the album. The song, as an electric guitar scratches out the Morse code rhythm, for which Conwell sings of a drifter. The conclusion shows up in the form of the chorus, “Well, there is no happiness being this free / Oh Lord, won’t you tell me what you want me to be?” you get a sense of the character’s trials, formerly hinted at in the vocals (and explored in the guitar solos), became blindingly clear.

For those who have listened to, or have seen Conwell and the Young Rumblers prior to Rumble, know some of the familiar originals like “Gonna Breakdown” and ”Walkin’ on the Water.” These tracks contain the strident backing vocals and crunching guitars found more often on rock epics than the blues.

“If We Ever Meet Again” has that sound at first like a soft, unplugged, acoustic pop song; similar to that of The Eagles. Here we see Conwell goes against what is expected. He complements his chiming vocals with melodic, occasionally weeping lines of slide guitar that give the love lyrics a regretful spin.

Thoughts on the album

This album has that hint of blues, rock, bar rock, and hard rock. Conwell’s voice and guitar compliment the album’s (and the band’s) sound.If you were a Philadelphian, a kid growing up in Philadelphia, or a college student in Philadelphia during the mid-to-late 1980s you knew who Tommy Conwell was and is. Don’t get me wrong this album was stripped down compared to Conwell’s live performance. But the feeling still remains. With hits such as “I’m Not Your Man”, “Love’s On Fire”, and “Everything They Say Is True” the album holds its own.

Conclusion

The sound isn’t revolutionary. It’s nothing truly special. But when it comes down to it, Conwell and the gang struck gold with Rumble, reaching the top of chain of mainstream rock in the late 1980s. It’s most definitely a real rock-and-roll album. It’s cocky but not pretentious, direct but not blunt, hooky but not gushy. If you have 42 minutes, a lighter, and an urge to groove, then look no further for Rumble provides.

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