Shoes, SHOES Best

Johnny Black

By Johnny Black

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The best from a group of forgotten power-pop legends.

By the mid '70s, power pop had become a well-established, if not particularly lucrative, sub-genre. Bands like the Raspberries and Big Star led the charge but, regrettably, Shoes (no "the," please) from Zion, Illinois, got trampled in the rush. Head Shoe John Murphy and his brother Jeff had been smitten by the Beatles when they were nine and ten respectively and formed a band as soon as they possibly could, eventually releasing their home-recorded debut, Black Vinyl Shoes in 1977. Although the British Invasion bands were clearly the Murphys'first love, the minimalistic energy of punk pioneers like the Ramones was a welcome new factor in the mix, drawing a clear line in the sand between Shoes and the first wave of power poppers. On this generously proportioned best of, "Turnaround" could be a lost Wings gem, the melodic rise and fall of "Now and Then" is pure McCartney and "Tomorrow Night" offers an artful blend of the Fab Four and the Kinks.