Life Sentence to Love by Legal Weapon is a special little forgotten an in all honesty flawed album, It bombed when released, it's over produced, it's a little to slick, and when you play the tunes many of which are rerecorded version of songs from their earlier indie album versions they just lack the roar and grit of the original, but I love this record anyway. I am not sure why, it's got all of the stuff that I mentioned going against it, but still it endures in my collection, not only on compact disc, but on LP as well.
Musically it's cleaned up west coast 80's punk rock, it's what a major label, a studio and a producer can turn a band into... hell honestly, I wasn't there, I don't know what really happened. I suspect that the label heard in the band what many of us fans out there (and there are fans) heard, a great bluesy slightly country rock sound, with a strong voiced woman out front. They saw a punk group that had survived the LA scene with the core intact (and a seemingly ever changing get of players in the background), who were different enough from the Hardrock Blues Metal (read Hairmetal) pack to stand out, but still in the same ballpark and might sell to that market.
Released in 1988, and come to think of it that was about the time that I was on the prowl for Legal Weapon stuff (it would be almost 5 years before I could track anything down, and then I would have to special order it), but I never saw this album anywhere around. Come to think of it there was a lot of punk rock stuff that had somehow slipped into the world of the bigger entertainment industry ( the film world had The Runnin' Kind and Dudes, the soundtrack of which is where I found out about Legal Weapon)... and most of it floundered. Maybe it just wasn't time, maybe it's not anything that will ever have a time.
There is a little place in my heart where I want to believe that this album would have been a hit. At least a underground hit, if it had been released at another point in time, if what ever happened with the label hadn't, if only. if only...But.... but.... here it is, I remember it, and while I don't play it every day or even every month, it is one of those records that every so often I pull out and play, spin and enjoy... ok and sometimes maybe, just a little it helps me remember what it was like finding the music, and feeling that first rush of excitement and pleasure of having discovered not only the band, but the power of the music.
More Forgotten Music over at Scott Parkers blog here.