1/  Thunder Box                                (AS,AY,Young,Johnson,Gr.Cmdr)  3.43
  2/  Dune Buggy                                 (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.13
  3/  I Want You To Love Me                      (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.25
  4/  Love Comes Your Way                        (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        5.54
  5/  Theme For All Nations                      (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.35
  6/  Friends                                    (Apollo Smile,Richmond,Watson) 3.27
  7/  Hymn To the Sun                            (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        3.47
  8/  Temple of Love                             (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.36
  9/  Peace                                      (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.41
  10/ Theme (Reprise)                            (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        0.43
  11/ Dune Buddy (bonus remix)                   (Apollo Smile,Richmond)        4.35

          Recorded at Chung King House of Metal, NYC, Apollo's Bedroom, Delicious
            Vinyl Studios, Paramount Studios, Red Zone and Hollywood Sound
          Mixed at Hollywood Sound and Larrabee Sound Studios by Freddie Richmond Jr
            and David Bianco
          Mix Assistant: Thom Russo
          Track 1 Praxis remix by Bill Laswell and Jason Corsaro at Platinum Island
            Sound Studios, New York City
          Produced by Freddie Richmond Jr.
          Additional co-production on tracks 2,8,9 and 11 by Matt Dike
          Additional co-production on tracks 2,3,4,8,9 and 11 by David Bianco
          Mastered by Dan Hersch at DigiPrep, Los Angeles
Apollo Smile: lead vocals, piano, B-3 organ, vocoder; Johnny "Guitar" Watson: vocals, box; Rudy Copland: vocals; Ronnie "Fingers" Jeffrey: B-3 organ, Honky-Tonk keyboards, piano, mellotron, ADAP II for all sampling; Sister Jean: vocals; Sister Gail: vocals; Mark Christian: guitars.

          1991 - Geffen Records (USA), DGCD-24299 (CD)


Before Apollo Smile became a minor, very minor, celebrity as the "World's First Live Action Anime Hero," she was a humble live action recording artist. She began her career hanging around with the Pooh Sticks and their creator Steve Gregory of Fierce records fame, and the same winking, self-referential approach to pop music that served them so well also serves Apollo Smile well here. Her self-titled debut is a bubbling, wacked out hippie funk record that will leave you alternately shaking what your momma gave you and wiping the tears of laughter away. Songs like the storming, Bill Laswell-produced, AC/DC sampling "Thunderbox," the perfect summer funk jam "Dune Buggy," "I Want You to Love Me," and "Peace Sign" are marvelously mindless and fun examples of bubblegum early-'90s style. She and producer Freddie Richmond, Jr. create a sweet, silly atmosphere that is very conducive to the state of happiness. Hurray for that! The laughter comes into play on the seriously weird "Friends," which finds the possibly too drunk to funk Johnny "Guitar" Watson dueting with Apollo Smile on a drippy tune about being friends to the end. She keeps going on about what great friends they are while Watson howls, "Friend, I'm your friend" over and over. Brilliant! There are also some wonderfully silly mystical songs, which allow Apollo Smile the chance to espouse her philosophy. Her mantra throughout is "My name is Apollo, Child of the Sun" and on the blissful "Temple of Love," the peaceful "Peace Sign," and the brief spoken interlude "Theme (Reprise)" she talks about world peace, crystals, pink striped pussycats, and leaping elves. Unfortunately, she includes some more serious songs like the thudding ballad "Love Comes Your Way," the acid-jazz instrumental "Theme for All Nations," and the slight acid house instrumental "Hymn to the Sun." These less than wonderful tracks are still fun, though. Apollo Smile is one of the true hidden gems of the '90s and it is one of the great shames of modern pop music that this was not a hit and that there was no follow-up album. Don't waste time lamenting what never was and what will never be and hit your local used CD emporium. If you are lucky you might find a copy of the disc propping the storeroom door open.

Tim Sendra (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)