Wednesday, September 21, 1988
By Kathi Whalen
Section: Style; Page C10 Length: 178 words
Tommy Conwell's Aggressive Pop
Philadelphia's Tommy Conwell has suffered links with one of his home town's biggest pop exports, the Hooters, but in fact he's steeped in the leaner bar band sounds and attitude of George Thorogood. Monday night at the Bayou, Conwell and his band, the Young Rumblers, barreled through time-tested R+B licks that they, unlike Thorogood, have resourcefully fitted into strong pop originals.
Conwell's aggressive personality was a plus in keeping the sold-out crowd attentive on this first date of his national tour. Or at least the stamina was laudable -- his ho-hum repertoire of rebel-yell calls, which the audience never failed to shout back, sounded ridiculous coming from a young Northern boy.
Fortunately, the set proved he's mastered a more difficult art -- conjuring pop songs that blend irresistible hooks with a light rockabilly beat. "Workout" summed up the bluesy undertone that competed all night with ebullient Top 40 tunes such as "Half a Heart" and "I'm Not Your Man," but coupled in the same set they gave Conwell that elusive signature sound.