Producer Mike Chapman, who had recently worked with Pat Benatar and Blondie, came on board for Bow Wow Wow's When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going set. Perhaps it's Chapman's involvement that finds lead singer Annabella Lwin sounding a bit like Debbie Harry at times. This 1983 album was also the first that had no writers from outside the band contributing. When the Going Gets Tough is a well-polished, well-executed effort that holds some surprises mainly in the fact that there is more diversity than on prior Bow Wow Wow records. Chapman adds a gloss to the ballads "Lonesome Tonight" and the dreamy "Love Me," with Lwin toning down her usual frantic delivery.
In the summer of 1971, BANG, a trio from the Philadelphia area, decided to take a road trip to Florida to try their fortune. While buying some rolling papers in the Sunshine State, they learned about a Small Faces and Deep Purple concert nearby in Orlando. They showed up at the venue and brazenly declared they were ready to go on stage. The concert organizer asked them to set up and play for him. After a couple songs, he told them they were opening for Rod Stewart and Faces. Before they knew it, BANG was playing with Bachman Turner Overdrive, Deep Purple, Three Dog Night, Fleetwood Mac, Ike and Tina Turner, The Doobie Brothers, and even Black Sabbath. Capitol Records signed them, and three LPs were released. This CD was put out by the band and has the albums Bang and Mother/Bow To The King both on the same cd. This was self released and not on any label.
Bassist Ron Carter varies the personnel often enough to keep one's interest throughout this CD. Carter, who contributed six of the ten compositions (which alternate with four familiar standards) takes his share of bass solos but also showcases pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba (who is pretty restrained throughout) on the opening "Mr. Bow-Tie" and allocates a generous amount of solo space on some selections to trumpeter Edwin Russell (inspired by Miles Davis but possessing his own fire) and Javon Jackson, who often sounds like a close relative of Joe Henderson.
Malcolm McLaren, of Sex Pistols fame, made teenager Annabella Lwin the centerpiece of his next creation. Backing her with members of Adam & the Ants, they were dubbed Bow Wow Wow and released See Jungle! See Jungle! in 1981. The focus was on style and the music was a mix of dance and new wave always with a heavy nod toward percussion. The results are mixed and you sometimes have the feeling that you are hearing the same song repeated. However, it's difficult not to find yourself drumming your fingers to the frantic beats. Lwin makes sure that you never forget that she's only 15, either through her vocal delivery or her outright declarations (as on "Chihuahua"). The band also serves up an interesting spaghetti Western instrumental on "Orang-outang" and everything falls into place on "Go Wild in the Country," with Lwin's uninhibited shrieks touting the merits of getting away from it all.