Paradise by the Sandinista light… as produced by Roscoe Ambel!
By Blurt Staff
Ellen Foley is best known as the powerhouse voice behind Meat Loaf’s multi-platinum 1977 legendary duet, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” although her dossier includes a string of credits, from music to film and theatre. She received several gold records and awards for her three solo albums recorded on Epic Records (Night Out, Spirit of St. Louis, Another Breath), which were produced by high profile rock legends such as Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, and Mick Jones and Joe Strummer of The Clash. In fact, the Clash backed her up on the Spirit album in ’81 – she was Jones’ girlfriend at the time – and she guested on the band’s 1980 classic Sandinista.
She was the inspiration for The Clash’s “Should I Stay, or Should I Go,” and sang backup on records by power-pop trailblazers Todd Rundgren (“Hello, It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light”) The Clash and Joe Jackson (“Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Steppin’ Out,” “Sunday Papers”). Foley also taught at the School of Rock, the foundation for Jack Black’s 2003 film of the same title. She also found success on the big screen and the stage with featured roles in the films “Hair,” “Tootsie,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Married to the Mob,” and “Cocktail” – and leading roles on Broadway in Me and My Girl, Into The Woods, and the revival of Hair. She played a public defender in the TV series “Night Court,” and was a host on the VH-1 series, “Top 21 Countdown.” She stars in the upcoming indie film, “Lies I Told My Little Sister,” which will be released in 2014.
After a 30-year hiatus from the music industry, Foley is releasing About Time. It’s her first solo album since the 1983 release Another Breath. With production from Eric Ambel of the legendary roots rock band The Del-Lords paired with the introspective songwriting of Paul Foglino from the cult favorite 5 Chinese Brothers, About Time finds the St. Louis-born vocalist unbridling vivaciously edgy, guitar-driven compositions that are nostalgic yet fresh—certifying Foley’s reign as a veteran in power pop world while pronouncing her readmission on classic rock grounds. The transfixing choruses that she delivers unrelentingly, evokes memories of the female rock icons of the ‘70s and ‘80s like Debbie Harry, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar, with a heavy dose of Jagger-esque grit.
In the album’s opening track “If You Can’t Be Good” Foley wastes no time validating her virtuoso: “If you can’t be good, be careful/If you can’t be careful, be tough/If you can’t be tough, be lucky/If you’re unlucky, don’t fall in love,” she warns with an alluring timbre that makes it all the more tempting to do otherwise. She chronicles the irony of unrealized love in “Any Fool Can See” while unveiling the skeletons in her closet in the candid “I Can See” and the timeless track, “Worried Woman,” a nod to her new backing band The Worried Man. Never shying away from bare emotions (“Nobody Ever Died From Crying”) or her eventful past (“Around the Block and Back”), Foley wears her heart on her sleeve and does so unapologetically— as with the infectious knockout “If You Had A Heart,” which has Foley reminiscing about a former flame and delivering a ferocious blow concurrently as she recalls his flaws. She sheds her rock n’ roll aura for a bluesy rendition of “Guilty,” by award-winning songwriter and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nductee Randy Newman.