by: Boney M.
Boney M.'s follow-up to their 1976 success Take the Heat Off Me closely adheres to the formula established by that album: a combination of original songs and offbeat cover versions done in a style that marries bubblegum pop hooks to a disco beat. Like its predecessor, Love for Sale also scored some notable international hits: "Ma Baker" is a colorful gangster story that boasts a stuttered vocal hook guaranteed to stick in the listener's head, and "Belfast" is an up-tempo dancefloor stormer that works some surprisingly heavy sounding power chords into the group's slick dancefloor sound. Frank Farian's slick, lush production ensures that the album is a slick piece of ear candy from start to finish. However, the album tracks are not as consistent this time out: the cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" benefits from an effective rhythm guitar hook but the up-tempo arrangement robs the song of its emotional power, and "Gloria Can You Waddle," while catchy, is little more than a rewrite of the group's early European hit "Baby Do You Wanna Bump." With these criticisms in mind, the album still offers enough strong tracks to please Boney M.'s fan base. The most interesting of these is a ballad style cover of the Yardbirds' "Still I'm Sad," which transforms this rock song into an effective mood piece dominated by the group's Gregorian chant-like humming. In short, Love for Sale is a solid listen for Boney M. fans, but casual listeners who just want the hits should probably opt for one of the group's compilations. ~ Donald A. Guarisco