Album Review: Baywood – “Live at the Palomino ’81”
Baywood open up their posthumous live album with “We’re Gonna Have a Party Tonight,” and the vibe is infectious. The group is clearly in a good mood, and the whole set reflects not only the band’s high hopes for pop stardom but explosive chemistry. 32 years later, one can merely imagine what would happen if the group had managed to break through the mainstream and become famous. Alas, country rock was not scorching the charts in 1981; the Eagles were on the verge of splitting up, and the launching of MTV shifted musical tastes towards synthesized pop, heavy metal, and the eventual dominance of Michael Jackson. As a time capsule, Baywood Live at the Palomino ’81 offers an engaging flashback to a band could’ve – and should’ve – been huge. Strangely enough, it sounds more relevant now with young indie acts adopting the beards and multi-part harmonies of West Coast country rock.
Featuring vocalist Ronny Lee, vocalist/guitarist Bill Rotella, vocalist/guitarist Stewart Marsh, pedal steel guitarist James “Sparks” Sinclair, bassist Bill Hurlbut, and drummer Marty Fera, Baywood consisted of a wealth of talent that shines brightly in each of the performances here. The boisterous energy of “We’re Gonna Have a Party Tonight” would have boomed from AOR stations in the past if the group had been given a major-label push. The song crackles with upbeat riffs. “Tears and Pain” is even better; it electrifies with its fiery solos.
What’s surprising about the record is that Baywood weren’t afraid to stray beyond the Southern Rock formula. “I’ll Never Get Over You” actually flirts with power pop, a happening genre in the early ‘80s but not something you’d usually hear from Eagles disciples. Speaking of the Eagles, “Forget About Me” reflects their influence and does it proudly. Fortunately, those who weren’t familiar with Baywood to see them live in 1981 can catch them this Friday, October 11, at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, CA.
Official Website: http://www.baywoodmusic.com