THE BAND: Ric Ocasek (vocals, rhythm guitar), Elliot Easton (lead guitar), Benjamin Orr (R.I.P. vocals, bass), Greg Hawkes (keyboards, percussion, saxophone), David Robinson (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: Originally released in 1978 (one disc, nine tracks) and lasting just over 35 minutes. This digitally remastered "Deluxe Edition" released in 1999 includes a 2nd disc containing 56+ minutes of material. Disc-2 features one live track, eight demos (songs from this 1st album), and four unreleased demos. The cardboard package itself unfolds horizontally, then vertically. Included with the discs is an extensive 22-page booklet containing song titles/times, numerous band photos, all song lyrics from both discs, a 5-page intro (shortened from "The Cars Anthology", 1995), Billboard chart success, band members and original black & white photos/artwork. Recorded at Air Studios, London (Feb '78). Label - Elektra/Rhino.
COMMENTS: The Cars were never better than this debut album. Rock and pop with a synth/techno alternative flavor. Classic songs that sounded like nothing else at the time. The Cars were "New Wave" before there was New Wave (which hit in the early 80's). Nine songs - with only one question mark (filler?) in "I'm In Touch With Your World". The other eight tracks were gold (the album reached #18 on the Billboard Pop charts and has sold over 6 million units). Ric Ocasek's quirky voice teamed with bassist Ben Orr's smooth voice worked well together. Greg Hawke on keyboards made & pulled this band tighter. The hit songs that made it to major air-waves were "Let The Good Times Roll", "My Best Friend's Girl", and "Just What I Needed". But, check out tracks 6-9... "You're All I've Got Tonight", "Bye Bye Love", "Moving In Stereo" and "All Mixed Up" run together fluidly - these are awesome album tracks. Sure this band looked like a bunch of geeks, but man when they came together with their instruments, they really made some beautiful music. Looking at The Cars catalog of albums, in my opinion, only their sophomore album "Candy-O" (1979) came close to making the bold statement of their 1st album. The Cars' debut is ranked #282 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 500 all-time greatest albums. Disc-2 is good on first listen... the demos presented here are what got them their record deal in the 70's. The bonus/unreleased tracks are decent as well - but be prepared to -not- be blown away by them. As fun as the demos are to hear, the playing is pretty raw, some instruments are to loud and others too soft, and the demo "tape" itself is somewhat limited as far as highs (treble) and lows (bass) go. The unreleased tracks fall into the category as many other bands and their unreleased tracks... they're unreleased for a reason... they were not good enough to be released at the time, so into the vault they went. With that being said though, the long time fan should get a kick out of them over the first few listens (and then filed back in the vault). The Cars have several compilations - the best being their "Complete Greatest Hits" (2002) and the 2-disc set "Cars Anthology"... and both compilations feature 6 of the 9 tracks from their debut. Rhino did it correctly in leaving the originally album by itself on disc-1, and the bonus material on disc-2. The Car's debut is a classic disc and this "Deluxe Edition" does it justice (5 stars).