Cherry Red Records (label)
23 June 2014 (released)
05 July 2014
Originally a songwriter, North Carolina born Mark Germino headed to England in the 1980s to record his first two solo albums, after landing a deal with RCA. Now packaged and re-issued as a single item, these two albums mark the high point for a singer who gained cult status in the UK. That was mainly thanks to the wonderful Rex Bob Lowenstein, which was a lament about a radio DJ quitting his show after the station was taken over by the corporates; "he's frequently heard but seldom seen". He ends in court after playing "smash and trash" from a locked studio.
With a folk-rock style similar to John Mellencamp, Germino now sounds very much of his time. 1987's Caught In The Act.... is the stronger of the two releases (and features Rex Bob Lowenstein) - with more stories of Americana in the shape of Backstreet Mozart, which has keyboards and drum crashes that show an 80s' production that hasn't aged well. Better is the Springsteen-esque Diamonds Are Out, Rubies Are In and the title title track.
There are highlights too on 1986's London Moon And Barnyard Remedies, with the delicate Oriental Drag and Broken Man's Lament displaying a singer who was sounding like he was pleased to be performing his own material rather than giving it away. Both albums feature members of Fairport Convention in the backing band and their presence keeps an English flavour to this American-folk.