Robin Lane & The Chartbuster – Same (1980)

FrontCover1Robin Lane (born 1947, Los Angeles, California) is an American rock singer and songwriter. Her band, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, released three albums on Warner Bros. Records in the early 1980s, and was best known for its single “When Things Go Wrong”.

Robin Lane grew up in Los Angeles. Her father was Ken Lane, songwriter and pianist for Dean Martin; her mother was a model. While in her teens, Robin began singing and performing in folk-rock clubs in southern California. From 1968 to 1970 she was married to future Police lead guitarist Andy Summers. In 1969, she sang backing vocals on the song “Round & Round” on Neil Young’s album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. In the 1970s, Lane moved to eastern Pennsylvania and then to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her musical interests turned from folk-rock to a harder sound influenced by the growing punk rock and new wave genres.

In 1978, Lane formed the Chartbusters with Asa Brebner and Leroy Radcliffe (of The Modern Lovers), Scott Baerenwald and Tim Jackson. She had signed with Private Stock Records, which shortly afterward went out of business. After Jerry Wexler saw a Chartbusters show, however, he signed the band to Warner Brothers.

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Their first album, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters (1980) featured the singles “When Things Go Wrong” and “Why Do You Tell Lies?”, earned favorable reviews, and received widespread airplay; the music video for “When Things Go Wrong” was the 11th song shown on MTV’s first American broadcast day, August 1, 1981. The band had two more releases on Warner, the EP “5 Live” (1980) and “Imitation Life” (1981). The limited commercial success of these records, combined with business disputes and Lane’s desire to have a child, led to the breakup of the Chartbusters in 1983.

Lane continued writing and recording music, and released the independent EP “Heart Connection” (1984), the self-produced cassette In Concert (1989), and the full-length Catbird Seat (1995). She co-wrote the song “Wishing On Telstar” for the 1991 Susanna Hoffs album When You’re a Boy.

In 2001, Lane and several of the Chartbusters regrouped for two reunion concerts, and decided to continue recording and performing; they released “Piece of Mind” in 2003. Since then, Lane has moved to western Massachusetts, where she works with the Turners Falls, Massachusetts Women’s Resource Center, using music therapy to aid survivors of abuse. On 4 April 2014 Tim Jackson premiered his film of Lane’s life and career, When Things Go Wrong, followed by a Q & A and a set by Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts. (by wikipedia)

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Her three song EP on manager Mike Lembo’s Deli Platters label, featuring “The Letter” (an original not recorded for this album), “Why Do You Tell Lies,” and “When Things Go Wrong,” reportedly sold in excess of 10,000 units, many in the Northeast. Robin Lane’s Warner Brothers debut was produced by Joe Wissert and features the musicianship of Asa Brebner and Leroy Radcliffe on guitars, Tim Jackson on drums, and Scott Baerenwald on bass. With alum from Jonathan Richman’s Modern Lovers and all band members singing, they had the elements for mega success. These songs are all great, but the Wissert production stripped the band of what made them so popular in the Boston area. The three guitar attack onstage sounded like The Byrds with a superb female vocalist. The lack of guitar in the middle of “Don’t Cry” with just an annoying cymbal ride is the kind of sparse production which turned a powerful act into a low-key Pretenders on record. That’s the problem when a record label doesn’t understand the nuances of great musicians and the are they are creating. Warner released a five song EP of the band recorded live at the Orpheum Theater in Boston in 1980, sold at a special price — kind of admitting that the first album lacked the magic the band generated in performance.

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The live EP, produced by Michael Golub, captures some of that sparkle, but it too misses the mark with the guitars mixed way down. Hearing a song like “Why Do You Tell Lies” on the studio recording, without the lush guitar sound it cries out for, is discouraging. This is a band that deserved to craft pop hits for radio and were never given the proper chance. The songwriting and musicianship breaks through the thin production, and you can hear the potential. “Many Years Ago” and “Waiting in Line” actually sound very ’90s, the high end and the hollow sound would actually come into vogue years later. But that’s not what this band was about. There are some great songs here, especially “When Things Go Wrong.” One can only hope someone comes along to record this material in a way that it can be appreciated by the masses. “Be Mine Tonite” is heavier, but still feels restrained. The inner sleeve contains the lyrics and some very cool snapshots of the band. (by Joe Viglione)

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Personnel:
Scott Baerenwald (bass, vocals)
Asa Brebner (guitar, vocals)
Tim Jackson (drums, vocals)
Robin Lane (vocals, guitar)
Leroy Radcliffe (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. When Things Go Wrong (Lane/Cipolla) 3.14
02. It’ll Only Hurt A Little While (Lane) 3.13
03 .Don’t Cry (Lane) 3.23
04 .Without You (Lane) 3.10
05. Why Do You Tell Me Lies (Lane) 2.56
06. I Don’t Want To Know (Lane) 3.03
07. Many Years Ago (Lane) 3.31
08. Waitin’ In Line (Lane) 3.21
09. Be Mine Tonight (Lane) 4.18
10. Kathy Lee (Lane/Cipolla) 3.27
11. Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow (Lane/Jackson/Radcliffe) 3.33

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