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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

Cry Tough - Nils Lofgren; A & M Records

Cry Tough - Nils Lofgren; A & M Records.

Its cold outside and here I am home in an alcoholic haze - or am I? Maybe its just the trance Nils Lofgren has me in.

I can't fight it.....I have to admit that it is my pleasure to bring to you a challenger to Bruce Springsteens rock-punk crown; Ladies and Gentlemen may I present.... Nils Lofgren

'Cry Tough happens to hold 9 of the best rock songs my ears have had the pleasure of listening to; and let me say to you that I wasn't asked to do this review its just that the whole album is so bloody good! You've a right to know about it.

Our Nils has been around a bit now, he's trucked with Neil Young in Crazy Horse; produced average-only music with Frin and produced one solo effort simply called "Nils Lofgren". Ah yes "Nils Lofgren' pointed the way to "Cry Tough".

This is his second solo effort and from beginning to end everything gels as there isn't one bum track.

Side One starts out with the title track "Cry Tough", in which Nils sings about new British rock phenonemon Dr Feelgood, and Nils thinks they are up his alley, he really wants to dance to 'em:

"Cry Tough" is a little more complex than the other cuts on tis album and as such highlights the emphasis he has put on production this time around.

"Its not a Crime" finds Nils out front on guitar and strutting his street punk stuff in the truest fashion. His singing is very easy to listen to and this song, in particular, has a very cruisy feel to it. "Incidentally.... its over", shows just how tight he can work within the three man combo; English maniac Aynsley Dunbar (Ex-Mothers) is on drums and Wornell Jones on Bass. This is the group that backed him on the first album; the percussion lines are strong and flowing and Jones' bass has a real gut rock feel to it.

On other tracks such as "For Your Love" he is back by such notables as Al Cooper and his brother Tom Lofgren. "For Your Love", I hope you will remember is the old Yard birds classic and party standard Here Nils does a brilliant cover version; far slower and more laid back, but damn it the mans got me walking round all day humming his version to myself... it so infectious! He changes the style of the original completely and introduces an upbeat tempo in the middle with rapid snare drumming from Emil Richards very much akin to what Jay Dee Daugherty does on Patty Smiths 'Horses' album.

Side Two starts strongly with 'Share a Little'; a number that evokes strong memories of Lofgrens guitar playing on Neil Youngs 'Southern Man'. Its a very fast number which serves as a brilliant introduction to musically, the most intruiging number on the album. "Mud in Your Eye" features a string bass from Scott Ball along with strange percussive effects behind Lofgrens acoustic riffs. The changes in this piece are classic and the piano fills giving 'Mud in Your Eye" a real sixties feel, eight bar and all! Its about a boy who gets his revenge on a lady who messed around his brother;

"You used to leave your scent
on his whisky-soaked collar,
You both would paint up the
town/ Drink his very last dollar"

"Can't get Closer" and "You Lit a Fire" are really very pleasant numbers with a real West Coast feel to them, Lofgrens guitar sounding more like a steel guitar........

"You started a fire
...oh and I'm burning"....

Yet "Jail bait" says it all, as the sixties statement with the sixties intro:

"My friends call her Jailbait/
You d have to agree/She's only
14, but she looks 23".

An opening like that takes you back; and if released as a single it would have to be a hit, it feels right the whole way. Just give it a listen

Honestly, in a year of excellent albums. Nils Lofgrens 'Cry Tough' is special; he's not a profound artist but, he is highly talented and definitely inspired. I can't recommend this album highly enough, he deserves listening to just as Little Feat do.... if you want to know just "Cry Tough".

— Grant Cairncross.