Published on November 18th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Black Bambi: Black Bambi (20th Century Music)
Man, these “could have been stars” stories are always tough. How many really good bands missed their chance due to poor management, label dysfunction and just plain bad timing? L.A. (by way of San Diego) rockers Black Bambi was one of those stories. Here’s a band that was part of the Hollywood hair metal heyday, was signed to a major label (Atlantic Records) and had their debut album produced by none other than Beau Hill. In 1990 that should have been a golden ticket to MTV success. Instead, label issues kept their debut album shelved…until now.
Black Bambi had a lot in common with the rest of the Hollywood hard rockers in the late ’80s. A hard rocking sound with just the right amount of melody and just the right amount of sleazy, streetwise charm, and of course an image to match. This is right in line with bands like Bang Tango, L.A. Guns, Ratt and Britny Fox. Songs like “Cry Blackbird Cry,” “The Celebration” and “Dancing With the Shadows” would all have done well on MTV at the time, and you could have easily dropped one of the songs on this album on a movie soundtrack in 1991.
Now, even if they had managed to get this album out in 1991, the sad reality is that Black Bambi probably would have only survived another year or two. The winds of change were blowing out of Seattle, and as fun as their sound was, Black Bambi wasn’t unique enough to withstand that kind of shift in the musical landscape. Still, they deserved their chance at the spotlight.
Sure Black Bambi sounded like most of the other Hollywood rockers in 1990, but that’s not a bad thing. This is exactly the kind of album that fans of L.A. Guns, Ratt, Britny Fox, Dangerous Toys, Bang Tango and Warrant will love discovering all these years later.
Reissue Notes: Black Bambi’s debut album finally (officially) saw the light of day in 2017 thanks to the brand new 20th Century Music label. I haven’t seen the physical product yet, but the sound quality is fantastic.
Summary: Could have been, should have been...