It’s Personal was City Boy’s seventh and final release. Their previous record, Heads Are Rolling, was probably their least inspired effort to date. Steve Broughton, one of their chief songwriters and lead vocalists, had quit the previous year and it looked like they were not going to be able to recover from this loss. Not so.
It’s Personal is a fine effort for the band to end their career on. This record ventures further into the Styx-like rock they were establishing on 1979’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire and away from the varied styles and textures of 1977’s Young Men Go West. Although I personally miss the more exploratory efforts of past records, there is nothing at all wrong with the direction they have gone here.
The harmonies and vocals are always outstanding and a hallmark of the band as they prove on opener “No Ordinary Life.” It rocks and it rolls and it moves and it grooves. Yes! Lol Mason is the longtime lead vocalist and co-founder of the band and does an outstanding job here, as well as on the reggae-influenced “The Blind Leading the Blind” and “Exit the Heavyweight.” Although not listed as such on the album sleeve as such, drummer Roy Ward shares lead vocals on this album and ably sings several songs such as the Def Leppard meets Neil Sedaka-like “Rat Race,” and “Names and Addresses,” which seems Police inspired. The album does lose just a bit of steam around the middle, but picks up at the end amicably.
No review of City Boy can be complete without mention of the outstanding fretwork by co-founder Mike Slammer. He shines throughout the record, especially his solos on “Lovers” and “”Names and Addresses.” He is one of the great unsung shred-masters and has since gone on to play with some of progressive and AOR’s most talented individuals.
City Boy should have been big in the late seventies. They had a sound that recalled Queen or 10CC, and later locked into a more hard rock approach that was more Styx or Kansas-like. With the harmony vocals they were famous for, this really clicked artistically. Unfortunately, it never seemed to click with the buying public.
Because of the loss of their recording contract, this album had been largely unavailable for years. Thank goodness for the 2009 Renaissance Records release that finally brings this album to CD for the anxiously awaiting City Boy fans. Give It’s Personal (or for this style the even better The Day the Earth Caught Fire) a listen, and you could become one.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on August 3rd, 2011