Someone kindly pointed me towards this album a few months ago, and I decided to get my own copy so I could rip it in higher quality because - as with all of Cheryl Dilcher's albums - it's pretty excellent. Sadly, "Blue Sailor" marked the last of Ms Dilcher's recorded output.
I would conclude that the album has a slightly more conventional rock approach than its predecessors. Cheryl's debut, "Special Songs", takes a folk approach, the follow-up "Butterfly" jumps all over the stylistic map, and the third album, "Magic" has a very tight, sophisticated feel, near-funky in its rhythmic discipline. Some critics compared the artist to Melanie, when in truth only two songs (Rainbow Farm and Irma from "Butterfly") support the comparison. I adore some of Melanie's albums, but Cheryl Dilcher is a far more sophisticated musician with an easier-on-the-ear singing voice.
Which brings us to "Blue Sailor". A strange thing about the album is that the mix sometimes threatens to bury Cheryl's vocals - I would have preferred them slightly more out front - her lyrics are always worth hearing for starters, and I had to refer to the printed words in the gatefold quite a few times, just to grasp what she was singing about.
The disco single, Shake Me Up, is like a square peg in a round hole. I'm trying to make a point here, without using the clichГ© 'sticks out like a sore thumb'. It's an amusing and reasonably enjoyable track, but it feels like it belongs somewhere else. I'm sure Cheryl would have been great with a Nile Rogers approach to disco, but Shake Me Up teeters nearer the naff end of the genre, where the Village People reside.
The rest of "Blue Sailor" is strong. The set opens with Run and Hide, the dramatic tale of a fugitive. It's this, the title track and "Ellie" that I feel would have benefited from a mix that gave more prominence to the lead vocal. "What Do I Do Now" is a favourite of a mine, for its irresistible "Closer...Closer" hook.
The album was produced by John Stronach and Jim Taylor, with Cheryl assisting on arrangements. As usual, she plays twelve and six string guitars. Stand-out musicians include Al Kooper and Lowell George.
For reasons unknown, Cheryl was encouraged to affect a 'just had a lobotomy' type of stare for the album cover shots of her last two albums. For this one, she's also had an unfortunately crispy perm and applied circus makeup. And here is the album itself, at 320 kbps, to enjoy