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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Have A Good Time But ... Get Out Alive!'
Artist - Iron City Houserockers

For those not in the know, Love's So Tough, the 1979 debut from the Iron City Houserockers, established the Pittsburgh-bred group on a national level, garnering important recognition, most notably from legendary journalist Greil Marcus (Rolling Stone).

The band had created a unique sounding blend of blue collar rock informed by their influences which included a deep love of Chicago blues, early rock and roll and old school soul, all mixed together with dollops of the then-current sounds of punk and new wave added in.

Their second album, 1980's Have A Good Time (But Get Out Alive), found them recording in New York City with an incredible supporting cast.

Cleveland International's Steve Popovich and Marty Mooney tapped Mick Ronson (David Bowie) to co-produce the sessions, with additional input coming from Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople) and Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny)."We were a particularly effective concert band at the time We just wanted to kick your ass and tear the place down."

"That's the attitude we had and then you had these guys that joined us who had much more experience recording," he further explains. "They brought a little bit of sophistication to the whole process. You have the English guys and then you had the New Jersey guys and then you has us from Pittsburgh and on paper, it never should have worked. But somehow it did. Everything just fell into place."

Cleveland International Records is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Have A Good Time ... But Get Out Alive! with a new expanded reissue that is available on both CD and Vinyl (bonus tracks available via a download card).

Grushecky worked with his son, Johnny (who also plays guitar in the current version of the band) and his sound engineer, Brian Coleman, to compile a second disc with an additional 16 tracks, all previously unreleased.

It features more than an hour's worth of demos and rarities, including alternate takes and in some cases, songs that didn't make the final running order of the original album, adding an intriguing chapter to the existing legend of the record."We always went into a local studio in Pittsburgh and I would write songs," Grushecky continues. "Some of the guys would bring in some ideas and we would demo everything,"

"Most of the demos, when we were recording them, we weren't setting out to make a final product. So a lot of this stuff is just first and second takes to see what the song sounded like."

Going through reel-to-reel tapes and even some cassettes that had been in boxes for decades, Grushecky found he had an abundance of material.

"At first, I thought we were just going to include a couple of extra tracks on this reissue. Then I started finding all of these different things and I started to get excited about it," he says. "You know, to some people, I'm sure it would be like a great lost Iron City Houserockers record."

1. 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive)'
2. 'Don't Let Them Push You Around'
3. 'Pumping Iron'
4. 'Hypnotized'
5. 'Price of Love'
6. 'Angela'
7. 'We're Not Dead Yet'
8. 'Blondie'
9. 'Old Man Bar'
10. 'Junior's Bar'
11. 'Runnin' Scared'
12. 'Rock Ola'

Featuring a vibrantly magnificent 12 tracks, this completely rockin' collection from one of the most wholly underrated bands of the day, still stands loud and proud today, trust me!

Featuring some great vocals and lyrics from Joe Gruschecky, the guys open with the drum and guitar-led title track with the harmonica-driven 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' along next.

The one-two guitar bounce of 'Pumping Iron' is then backed by the subtle piano lead into the mid-tempo wonderment of 'Hypnotized,' before the free flowing, high flying majesty of 'Price of Love' is brought forth.

The temperature is turned back up for the Springsteen-esque 'Angela' which is followed by the melodic piano and drum core of 'We're Not Dead Yet.'

This pulsating album continues onward with their salute to Debbie Harry on the fast-paced 'Blondie, the gentle guitar and accordion-driven 'Old Man Bar' (featuring Gil Snyder), and then the Springsteen brand of guitar rock returns for 'Junior's Bar.'

The album then rounds out with the rockin' blues of 'Runnin' Scared' with the low key storytelling of 'Rock Ola' bringing the album to a close.

1. 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive)' [Demo]
2. 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' [Demo]
3. 'Pumping Iron' [Demo]
4. 'Don't Stop The Music' [Demo]
5. 'Angela' [Demo]
6. 'Price Of Love' [Demo]
7. 'Hold Out' [Demo]
8. 'Rock Ola' [Demo]
9. 'Struggle & Die' [Demo]
10. 'Rock Ola' [Extended]
11. 'Charlena/Blondie'
12. 'Runnin' Scared'
13. 'Runnin' Scared' #2'
14. 'Hypnotized' (A Work In Progress)
15. 'Rooster Blues'
16. 'Do Wah Diddy'

This most perfect missing link between Springsteen's E Street Band and Petty's Heartbreakers continues bringing the good stuff here on this second disc of musical gems.

First up are lower key demos of 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive),' 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' and 'Pumping Iron,' before we get 'Don't Stop The Music,' a totally rockin' blues cut, complete with harmonica backbeat.

Next up are more tentative demos, such as the second take of 'Angela' and 'Price Of Love,' which are backed by both the foot-tappin' 'Hold Out' and a demo of 'Rock Ola.'

The gradual build of musicianship and storytelling of 'Struggle & Die' makes this one of my own personal favorites of these outtakes, and that's followed by an extended version of 'Rock Ola.'

We then get a fervent 'Charlena/Blondie' blend, which is backed by two versions of 'Runnin' Scared,' a chitty-chatty 'Hypnotized' (A Work In Progress) jam, before this second disc closes on the harmonica and guitar brilliance of the Lightnin' Slim track 'Rooster Blues' (which sounds like 9 Below Zero had entered the building), and then an accelerated The Exciters cut (although it was made famous by Manfred Mann), 'Do Wah Diddy'

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