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Donnie Iris

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Donnie Iris - Back On The Streets [MCA / Carousel Records MCA-3272] (1980)

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Donnie Iris


Back On The Streets

Released: 1980
Label: MCA / Carousel Records
Catalog: MCA-3272
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Ah! Leah!
02 I Can't Hear You
03 Joking
04 Shock Treatment
05 Back On The Streets
06 Agnes
07 You're Only Dreaming
08 She's So Wild
09 Daddy Don't Live Here Anymore
10 Too Young To Love
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Album Review

Tom Demalon []

Donnie Iris emerged fronting his own band in the late '70s after stints with the Jaggerz and Wild Cherry. Hailing from western Pennsylvania, Iris became a popular live draw before signing with MCA and releasing his debut record, Back on the Streets (later reissued by Razor & Tie), on which Iris had worked closely with Mark Avsec, who co-wrote, produced, and played keyboards. Back on the Streets is a blend of meat-and-potatoes rock and new wave, which succeeds due to its simple nature and some infectious hooks. The big hit was ''Ah! Leah!,'' which, with its throbbing bassline and crunchy riffs, climbed to number 29, but there's more here. Other choice cuts include the finger-snapping melody ''I Can't Hear You'' and the barroom love song ''Agnes,'' which owes a debt to the Spencer Davis Group hit ''Gimme Some Lovin'.''

Donnie Iris's Biography

Jim Worbois []

He found fame as the lead singer of the Jaggerz (the one-hit wonder from 1970 responsible for the number two hit "The Rapper"), but Donny Iris returned to the pop charts in the early '80s several times as a solo act. Born Dominic Ierace in Beaver Falls, PA, Iris began singing at weddings at age five, and by eight was performing on local television and entering talent contests. When his voice changed, he took up the drums but later got back into singing while in high school. A self-taught guitarist, he formed Donnie & the Donnells while in college.

The Jaggerz, Iris' next band, were formed from the remains of several local bands. Though the band's big hit was "The Rapper," in actuality, the band began as an R&B revue. Outside of Pittsburgh, where songs like "Gotta Find My Way Back Home" and "(That's Why) Baby I Love You" (on Gambel Records) were radio favorites, this period did not bring much success to Iris or the band. Their next move was to Kama Sutra, where Iris' "The Rapper" was the first in a series of three hits the band enjoyed.

After the Jaggerz broke up, Iris toured with Wild Cherry, whose 1976 hit "Play That Funky Music" made them a hot property into the end of the decade. Unfortunately, Wild Cherry was another one-hit wonder, and Iris was out of a job by 1980.

That same year, Iris teamed up with keyboard player Mark Avsec (ex-Wild Cherry & Breathless) for the first in a series of good albums for MCA; the single "Ah! Leah!" hit number 29 that year, and six second-rank singles charted during the next five years. Avsec and Iris' collaboration proved to be a good thing in both the songwriting and artist/producer department during this time. By the time of 1993's Footsoldier in the Moonlight, though, Iris' talent as a songwriter had apparently dried up and he was relying entirely on Avsec originals.
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