NILS LOFGREN : CRY TOUGH

  1. Cry Tough
  2. It's Not A Crime
  3. Incidentally...It's Over
  4. For Your Love
  5. Share A Little
  6. Mud In Your Eye
  7. Can't Get Closer (WCGC)
  8. You Lit A Fire
  9. Jailbait

Label : A&M Records

Release Year : 1976

Length : 37:14

Review (AllMusic) : After releasing a solo debut that made a great case for his talent but didn't deliver the rock & roll goods as expected, Nils Lofgren turned up the guitar heroics on his 1976 album Cry Tough and the results were a lot closer to what fans had hoped for from the whiz kid from Grin. However, Cry Tough also unwittingly revealed the Achilles' Heel that would haunt Lofgren's solo career for the next three decades -- there's no denying that the guy is a great guitar player, but his gifts as a guitarist and songwriter have been maddeningly inconsistent, and while 1975's self-titled solo debut was one of his high-water marks as a tunesmith, he gave himself more room to strut his stuff on guitar here without bringing many memorable tunes to the table ("Jailbait" and the title cut are particularly faulty). It's significant that two of the sharpest and most effective tracks on Cry Tough, "Incidentally It's Over" and "Can't Get Closer (WCGC)," feature the same rhythm section that backed Lofgren on his debut; produced by David Briggs, they sound straightforward, compelling, and emotionally direct, while most of the rest of the album (produced by Al Kooper) features a larger band, a glossier approach, and somehow allows Lofgren to effectively sound lost on his own album. Lofgren certainly plays up a storm on Cry Tough, and his soloing on "You Lit a Fire" and "It's Not a Crime" is inspired, but that's not enough to keep this record afloat. Cry Tough is at its best when it is also at its simplest; if the whole album had been as good as "Incidentally It's Over" and "Can't Get Closer (WCGC)," it would have been a winner, but instead it was the first in a long line of disappointments from a gifted but problematic talent.