April 17, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 59: Alice Cooper ~ Muscle of Love

In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes for sale as well (see links below). If interested, contact me by email please, not by a comment. 

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Muscle of Love is the seventh studio album by Alice Cooper, which was released in 1973. It is the final studio album recorded by the original Alice Cooper band. Cooper stated in an interview at the time of recording that the album marked a return to a basic rock sound. "It's not complicated in any sense and there’s not a lot of theatricality on it. It's very basic rock & roll throughout."

Alice Cooper ~ Muscle of Love
reel-to-reel tape box
album design - Pacific Eye & Ear
photo of tape box by Styrous®

Woman Machine is a science fiction-themed song dating back to the band's early years and is, as Cooper explained, "basically a chauvinistic song. It's about a female robot, like Julie Newmar was on that TV program with Bob Cummings. If we had women robots, they could do anything, even sexual things, just by changing their tubes."

Alice Cooper ~ Muscle of Love
reel-to-reel tape box back
album design - Pacific Eye & Ear
photo of tape box by Styrous®

Never Been Sold Before is the retort of a prostitute to the man she is supporting, and, according to Cooper, the title track is about "sexual awakenings. It's about the kid who just learned how to masturbate, and what all those dirty books his father used to hide are all about."

Man With the Golden Gun was written with the intention of having it appear on the soundtrack of the then-upcoming James Bond film of the same name. Cooper recalled in a 2011 interview:
It was supposed to be the Bond theme, but it actually came in a day too late, and by the time they heard it, they’d already signed for Lulu's song. I went, "You're gonna take Lulu over this?" [Laughs.] 'Cause it was perfect for The Man With The Golden Gun. It had helicopters, it had machine guns—it had the Pointer Sisters, Ronnie Spector, and Liza Minnelli doing background vocals! We went to every single one of those John Barry albums to try and invent the perfect James Bond song, and even Christopher Lee, who played Scaramanga in the movie, said, "Oh, man, why did we take the Lulu song? This song is the one!" [Laughs.] So, yeah, we lost out on that one, but I still put it on the album. I said, "I don't care, I’m going to do a James Bond track no matter what."

Alice Cooper ~ Muscle of Love
reel-to-reel tape detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Muscle of Love received an uneven reception from critics. Writing in Rolling Stone, Lenny Kaye gave the album a mixed review, describing its content as "hit-or-miss" and believing that the group had lost focus with regard to its musical direction. Phonographic Record published a negative review and suggested that the group had been unable to overcome the loss of Ezrin. Creem, however, gave the album a positive review, calling it "a magnificent effort".

Although Muscle of Love went to #10 on the Billboard 200 and earned a respectable gold certification, it was considered something of a commercial disappointment in light of its predecessor Billion Dollar Babies having reached #1 and attaining platinum.

Alice Cooper ~ Muscle of Love
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Track listing:

Side one:

1 - Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo) (Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith) - 5:10
2 - Never Been Sold Before (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith) - 4:28
3 - Hard Hearted Alice (Cooper, Bruce) - 4:53
4 - Crazy Little Child (Cooper, Bruce) - 5:03

Side two:

1 - Working Up a Sweat (Cooper, Bruce) - 3:32
2 - Muscle of Love (Cooper, Bruce) - 3:45
3 - Man with the Golden Gun (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith) - 4:12
4 - Teenage Lament '74 (Cooper, Smith) - 3:53
5 - Woman Machine (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith) - 4:31


Alice Cooper Muscle of Love reel-to-reel tape on eBay

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