CASH BOX MAGAZINE - April 18, 1981

MCA/Carousel recording artist Donnie Iris delivered one of the sleeper gems of the year with his "Back On The Streets" LP. His multi-tracked wonder of a label debut was paced by the hook-ridden Top 25 single "Ah! Leah!" And his success is as much of a surprise to him as anyone.

The Beaver Falls, Pa. native had been laying low in his basement hideout after recording an album for Cleveland-based Sweet City Records' Midwest label, when all of a sudden he found himself in the major leagues with MCA/Carousel Records.

His single was getting plenty of action in the Midwest with the tiny botique label, but once MCA stepped in, "Ah! Leah!" seemed to take off everywhere. His sudden success isn't so surprising to pop analysts, though, as songs like "I Can't Hear You" and "Agnes" exhibit that mixture of shimmering emotion and electric energy that characterized the classic rock period of the Beatles-dominated late '60s.

In fact, Iris fronted his own classic rock period group - he was the leader of the '60s band The Jaggerz, which had a style heavily influenced by the Liverpool Four, and struck with a big hit with "The Rapper." The Jaggerz, recording for Neil Bogart's Kama Sutra label, disbanded in 1974 after recording its last fateful LP for the obscure California-based Wooden Nickel label.

Undaunted, Iris hooked up with an R & B band, Wild Cherry, in the late '70s. Invigorated by the experience, he returned to his beloved Beaver Falls to cut some fresh wax of his own.

Although it was recorded only a few doors away from his Third Ave. home, "Back On The Streets" has a brilliantly layered vocal and instrumental feeling that sounds as if it were recorded at the top 24-track studio in the country.

The brainchild of Iris and keyboardist/best friend Mark Avsec, the album became a reality via the help of local musicians Marty Lee (guitar), Albritton McClain (bass), Kevin Valentine (drums) and Kenny Blake (saxophone).

Already having hit #58 on the Cash Box Top 200 Albums chart, Donnie Iris looks like he's "Back On The Streets" for good.