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ROGER C. REALE AND RUE MORGUE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Radio Active (Big Sound) 1978

With infectious melodies and clear-cut hooks, this has to be classified as pop, but Reale's rough, tough vocal style makes it difficult to do so; the contrast is what makes the record so appealing. Reale, who also plays bass on the album, was part of the late-'70s talent pool that developed around Wallingford, Connecticut's Trod Nossel Studios (which led to the New York-based Big Sound label); Rue Morgue is drummer/singer Hilly Michaels and guitarist G.E. Smith. He has a knack for melody that's best exhibited on "High Society" and "Kill Me," but all the tracks (including the excellently titled "Madonna's Last Stand") hold up just as well. There's even a surprisingly good cover of the Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself." Reale might not have the sexual leer of Reg Presley, but he comes close.

[Charles P. Lamey]
   See also Hilly Michaels