Making transitions is never easy, and the way Juliet Simmons Dinallo expresses the ups and downs of the human process of moving, changing and growing older is the joy of listening to Dream Girl. There’s tension here, and unresolved matters of the heart and soul: “I don’t have all the answers,” goes one song, and another finds the narrator driving from Nashville to Memphis, accompanied by a groove that evokes the sweet-and-sour styles of both cities. Juliet Simmons Dinallo and Michael Dinallo, who collaborated on three of the songs here (Juliet wrote the rest) sound as though they’re in love with the music of the South, but they’re also in love with the possibilities of transition that soul music has always laid out so eloquently.
Since 2004's Player!, blues-centric guitarist/vocalist Nick Curran left his record label, joined up with Kim Wilson's latest incarnation of the Fabulous T-Birds, performed with his own punk-blues combo Deguello, and basically rumbled and tumbled through a number of sundry side projects, all the while eschewing the solo career that led to him taking home the 2004 W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist Debut. Clearly, this allowed the ever-musically voracious Curran a chance to stretch his chops and imbibe more of the vast array of influences that spark his interests, from '40s jump blues and '50s rock & roll, to '70s punk and '80s hard rock. All of which Curran brings to bear on his fiendishly inspired, 2010 solo comeback Reform School Girl. A fiery, campy, and insanely rockin' album, Reform School Girl sounds like something along the lines of Little Richard backed by the Misfits with Phil Spector recording the proceedings in his garage.
"Little Girl" is a rock & roll classic. With its sneering vocals, vague threats, crude chords and rhythms, it's a menacing, swagger masterpiece of garage rock. It's also the only good thing the Syndicate of Sound ever recorded. Little Girl – The History of the Syndicate of Sound compiles nearly everything the group recorded, yet none of it comes close to matching the power of their hit single; it's a mess of weak originals and limp covers. The patience of even the most dedicated garage rock fan will be tested by the disc.
Roy Orbison's comeback started in 1986, when David Lynch used "In Dreams" for a pivotal sequence in his masterwork Blue Velvet. So mesmerizing was Dean Stockwell's pantomime of the 1963 hit that Orbison soon became in demand. He re-recorded his hits for a collection naturally called In Dreams, he gave a star-studded concert called Black & White Night, and then he began work with ELO leader Jeff Lynne on a comeback album. The duo tabled the album to join the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, a collaboration with Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan that turned into a surprise smash in 1988. Once that record began its run up the charts, Lynne and Orbison completed the album that became Mystery Girl, but the record didn't come out until February 1989, a few months after Roy's tragic death.