Thursday, May 12, 2016
Color Me Gone - Color Me Gone (1984)
Back in December, I posted a rip of Marti Jones' Unsophisticated Time, her debut solo album, which launched her career as a critically-acclaimed pop-rock songstress. But before that album came out, Jones was known as the lead singer for the Ohio quartet Color Me Gone, which released one six-song extended play record in 1984. (Ignore the sources that claim this was an '83 release -- it says "1984" is right there on the record label.)
It's hard to say what kind of music Color Me Gone did. It sounds to me like they were trying to imitate the sound R.E.M. had at that point, which consisted of laid-back melodies laid upon arpeggiated electric guitar riffs. But that's not exactly a genre, is it? Back then we called it "alternative" which came to mean something else ten years later. We also called it "college rock." Maybe this is post-punk or post-new wave.
The E.P. has never come out on CD and a new copy will cost you over $100. But for anyone who wanted to know what it sounds like, well, here it is. That said, I have to agree with the Trouser Press review, which calls the songs "unmemorable," save for one tune, "Hurtin' You."
That song -- which bears traces of Smokey Robinson's style (always a good thing) -- turned out to be written by someone outside the band, Chuck Keith, who was a member of another Ohio band, the Hi-Fi's. This answers the question as to why Color Me Gone got more publicity than airplay: They just didn't have the songwriting chops. By the time Jones went solo, she knew enough to get material from top-flight composers in order to fill out her albums.
Still, this E.P. sounds nice enough as a remembrance of that now long-gone early '80s guitar rock sound. Play it when you're feeling nostalgic for the days of Rank and File, Green on Red, Guadalcanal Diary, and others of that ilk.
Marti Jones: Unsophisticated Time (1985)
Marshall Crenshaw - U.S. Remix (1984)
Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone (1984)
1. Lose Control
2. Calm Before A Storm
4. Almost Heaven
5. Hurtin' You