I've always regarded this record as one of City Boy's two finest along with THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE. Part of my reasoning is nostalgic; RITZ was the first City Boy record I purchased shortly after its 1976 release. More compelling though was the lack of schmaltz factor. The Achilles heel of virtually all of their records was their inability to avoid soft rock/MOR material (like 'Beth' and many others). This album possesses more backbone, more muscular tunes like 'Mama's Boy,' 'Walk on the Water' and 'Goodbye Blue Monday' without sacrificing creativity. The one exception is the 7:20 yawner 'The Violin.' That epic California soft-rock selection prevents this CD from achieving a solid 5-star rating.
City Boy emerged on the scene at a time when the more artful wing of the art-rock brigade was crumbling. I, however, was still clinging on and these boys reminded me of many of my favorites like Bowie, Ronson, ELO, 10cc, Sparks, Queen and Be Bop Deluxe. But by 1977 Bowie was held captive by the German art machination, Bill Nelson was formulating the angular origins of New Wave, Queen was wallowing like pigs in their own filth, 10cc had lost their creative spark(s) in Godley and Creme, Sparks were becoming increasingly intrigued by disco and Jeff Lynne de"orchestra"ted his band. That left City Boy as king of the hill, at least in my mind. Their harmony vocals, lead guitar and unconventional lyrics borrowed from many of the above bands' more creative periods. They weren't a perfect band but continued in the art rock path that its predecessors had already forsaken. And that was fine by me.