It’s always a tough act trying to replace a deceased front man. For every band like Big Country, who successfully (at least for a while) moved Alarm singer and longtime band friend Mike Peters to the front of the mic, there’s an INXS or Doors who have fumbled through various weak versions and ended up looking like sell outs. When the ‘80s band The Call lost its singer to a heart attack in 2010, it was pretty safe to assume that would be the end.
But in an appropriately fitting tribute, the band came back together for two special shows in California with Michael’s son, Robert Levon, on vocals. The younger Been is best known as the singer for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. What could be seen as exploitive (see INXS and The Doors) is actually a very touching tribute that adds weight to a strong catalog of songs. The 14 tracks here that dip deep into the band’s seven album history, still sound fresh, decades later. The high point, as probably expected, is also their biggest hit, “Let the Day Begin.” But there are also still plenty of other great moments here, like the album opener “Everywhere I Go” and songs like “Oklahoma.” A fitting tribute to a great band.
The Call (featuring Robert Levon Been of B.R.M.C.) – A Tribute to Michael Been/14 tracks/Label Records and Lightyear and Caroline/2014