February 28, 2008

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Billy Vera, Hopeless Romantic: The Best of Billy Vera and the Beaters
Shout Factory Records, Feb. 19
You’ll be hearing a lot about the Sony-distributed Shout Factory Records label in future. Label boss Richard Foos was co-founder of Rhino Records, which, believe it or not, did have a number one hit at one point, this by one Billy Vera. “At This Moment” — the slow-tempo sad-eyed blues single with the refrain “You just don’t love me no more” — somehow failed when Alfa Records released it, right around the time that label bit the dust. A chance incidental appearance of the song on TV’s Family Ties shot the Rhino release into the stratosphere, and thus here we sit, left to ponder a (mostly live) best-of from a true one-hit wonder (unless you count a few prehistoric Atlantic singles). Bottom line with this one is that if Billy Joel, Steely Dan and any other brand of squeaky clean bar-blues is your bag, this is where it’s at. Aside from “At This Moment,” there are a bunch of smiley-face tunes with horns and cute names, as well as a trio of similar ditties produced by former Doobie Brother Skunk Baxter. B-Eric W. Saeger