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Did someone clone Tom Petty?

Generic Blues Album
Love and War
By Robert Vaughn and the Shadows

Island Records: 1987

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This review first appeared in the November/December 1987 issue of A Critique of America.

Just what we need – a Tom Petty soundalike from Southern California. It's a pretty good rip-off of Petty, actually, but does the world really need two Tom Pettys?

Like all releases on Island Records, this is music with an overt political message – but it's the same unimigantive lock-step Democratic Party message just about every "socially aware" artist hews to. A little originality would be nice.

The Petty image is pretty complete here – a publicity shot of the band shows the members dressed in quasi-Southern/rural outfits trying their best to assume the look of a rebel. It's bad enough that bands from the South don't realize the Civil War is over; having a bunch of Southern Californians trying to assume the look is a bit much.

The songs are actually fairly good, in a Tom Petty sort of way. "Justice" is a solid rocker, and "Spanish Rebels has its moments." The musicianship is top-notch; Vaughn's singing A-1.

If one Tom Petty isn't enough for you, Robert Vaughn and the Shadows may be just what you're looking for.