Saturday, January 29, 2011

HOLY SOLDIER - Last Train (1992)

HOLY SOLDIER - Last Train
HOLY SOLDIER started off as a melodic 'white metal' band from Los Angeles, CA in the mid-80's.
Although initially noted for their strong evangelical focus, they regularly played to all audiences.
After several line up changes, they proceeded to record a five song demo with the goal of obtaining a secular recording contract but ended up signing with Myrrh Records, becoming the first 'white' band to join the label (and ending Myrrh’s year long search for the right metal band to sign).

The self-tiltled debut was a melodic L.A. metal album, with sharp guitars and a heavy edge.
But to their 2nd, the label and the group decided to give the sound a more polished, radio friendly approach.
"Last Train" is a smokin' commercial disc, definitely 'arena hard rock' with a bluesy touch.

In my opinion, this album remains as one of the most underrated melodic hard rock pieces from the golden period 90-92.
The songs are catchy, featuring infectious hooks, very good choruses and solid guitar work. Vocalist Steven Patrick job is remarkable, his raspy (yet melodic) style fits perfectly to this new musical direction, providing the necessary distinction to make each song climb to a higher level.
Another good point; their lyrics shifted from evangelicalism to a more ambiguous tone reaching more audiences.
David Zaffiro's production is crisp and tight, helping the band to finish a well rounded recording.

I am posting "Last Train" because it's a little gem in this genre, and strangely it's only available everywhere at very low bitrate.
Really Good


01 - Virtue & Vice
02 - Crazy
03 - Hallow's Eve
04 - Gimme Shelter
05 - Love Is On The Way
06 - Dead End Drive
07 - Tuesday Mourning
08 - Fairweather Friend
09 - Last Train


Steven Patrick : Vocals
Jamie Cramer : Guitars
Scott Soderstrom : Guitars
Andy Robbins : Bass
Terry Russell : Drums



HOLY SOLDIER - Last Train

Thursday, January 27, 2011

JEFF PARIS - Lucky This Time [Japan version] (1993)

JEFF PARIS Lucky This Time Japan version
Prodigious songwriter Geoffrey Leib aka JEFF PARIS has written songs with/for countless artists in the music business like Alias, Mr.Big, Brett Walker, Lita Ford, Vixen, Y&T, Paul Stanley, Michael Thompson, Sheena Easton, etc.
Accomplished musician as well, his opportunity as main artist came in the mid eighties with a major label deal releasing 2 superb albums; 'Race To Paradise' ('86) and 'Wired Up' ('87).
During 1987 Paris toured successfully in the States on a ‘Double Thunder’ co-headlining package with the canadian outfit REFUGEE.

But next year his label drop the contract, then Jeff settle to work on demos for a future next album, amongst them the tapes recorded with his old friend, vocalist and songwriter Moon Calhoun (Moon Over Paris demos).
Other show biz colleagues attended these sessions, guitarists Michael Thompson, Mike Gray, Bett Walker, Jan Kuehnemund, but most the instruments are performed by Paris in person.
By 1993 a now defunct small UK label offered Jeff to release these recordings under the name "Lucky This Time".

This is an awesome collection of american melodic rock / AOR tunes to die for.
"Wrong Side Of Love" and "House On Fire" were written in conjunction with the band MR. BIG.
"Jump The Gun", which sound like a mix between Def Leppard and Kiss, was co-written with Paul Stanley.
"Baby Break Mine" is a collaboration with Skin's guitar-man Mike Gray and the incredible "State Of The Heart" penned together with Vixen's Jan Kuehnemund.
The mind-blowing "Stop Playin' With My Heart" is simply one of the best MR / AOR melodies ever written / recorded.

"Lucky This Time" is pretty easy to find on the web, but not the japanese edition featuring 4 bonus tracks.
Here it is, complete with artwork.
Curiously, asians have left over 2 songs from the european edition. Both are included into the file.
As said, a Must Have.
Highly Recommended


JEFF PARIS Lucky This Time Japan version
+
Lifeline (european release only)
Gypsy Heart (european release only)


Jeff Paris : Vocals, All Instruments
Michael Thompson : Guitar
Jan Kuehnemund : Guitar
Brett Walker : Guitar
Mike Gray : Guitar
Moon Calhoun, Brett Walker : Backing Vocals



JEFF PARIS - Lucky This Time [Japan version]

Friday, January 21, 2011

IF ONLY (Jackie Bodimead) - Destiny (1989-2004)


Once described as 'one of the greatest unknown gems in the UK's AOR crown' IF ONLY was the british answer to Vixen or Heart.
Formed from the ashes of the superb band Moritz by guitarist Greg Hart and bass player Ian Edwards, the band released their official debut 'No Bed Of Roses' in 1992 -Japan only- , with its subsequential european edition in '94.
The vocalist was the fiery Tina Egan which joined the band around '91.

Before they recorded the version that eventually came out, IF ONLY had recorded a complete take of the album in between '89 / '90 with their original singer Jackie Bodimead who sang in GIRLSCHOOL for a while.
That version was finally released as "Destiny" in 2004 by an indie label, with the addition of 5 songs that can't even be found in the re-recorded version on 'No Bed Of Roses', plus 2 Live Radio Session tracks.

I prefer these earlier versions, as Bodimead is one of the best and most underrated female vocalists ever, her tone, expression and charm fits perfectly to this Melodic Rock / AOR style.
Also to note is the excellent lead guitar work by Martin Chaisson.
Both Jackie and Martin left the band when this original take of the album was nearly complete.
It was a devastating blow to the band when she quit at the eleventh hour. To be fair, Tina Egan was a quality replacement, but she was no Jackie Bodimead.

Alongside Greg Hart, Bodimead forged a songwriting partnership that should have gone far.
Just listen to the likes of "Rock And A Hard Place", the old Moritz song "Hearts On The Line", "If Love Could Last Forever" or the simply perfect "Ghost Of You".
It's almost unbelievable they didn't had their breakthrough in the USA back then, because the music was just so perfect classy '80s Melodic Rock / AOR.
Recommended.


01 - Destiny (prev. unreleased)
02 - Voices Of The Heart (prev. unreleased)
03 - Ain't Nobody (prev. unreleased)
04 - Hearts On The Line (prev. unreleased)
05 - Change Of Heart (prev. unreleased)
06 - Rock And A Hard Place
07 - Tumblin' Dice
08 - If Love Could Last Forever
09 - No Bed Of Roses
10 - Forever My Love
11 - Loaded Gun
12 - Ghost Of You
13 - Red Hot Heaven
14 - All Over
15 - Man Against The World
16 - All Over (Live Radio Session)
17 - Ghost Of You (Live Radio Session)


Jackie Bodimead : Vocals
Martin Chaisson : Guitars
Ian Edwards : Bass
Greg Hart : Guitars
Andy Stewarton : Keyboards
Andy Elphick : Drums


RE-POSTED HERE
.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BIG CITY - pre Harlan Cage demos (1992-93)

BIG CITY Harlan Cage demos
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Harlan Cage started its activity in the summer of 1994, based around former Fortune (US) singer L. A. Greene and keyboardman Roger Scott Craig.

The band was originally known in the Los Angeles area as BIG CITY, and included Richie Onori on drums, Brian Peters on bass and Michael Langlan on guitar.
The group parted ways at the end of '93.

An european label executive heard these Big City demos tracked down circa 1992/93 and contacted Larry Greene through a publicist in California to offer him a contract. The first Harlan Cage album found its way...
Most of the tracks (except "Restless Hearts") ended up on the debut album, re-worked and re-recorded.
But the Big City demo versions (although pretty similar) contains much better guitar work in my opinion.

The sound quality of the tape isn't the best, I've enhanced the levels and fixed the intros/outros.
Myself made artwork included.


1 - Too Much
2 - Sweet Salvation
3 - 98º In The Shade
4 - Pay The Devil His Due
5 - One Naked Kiss
6 - Run Rebel Run
7 - Restless Hearts

L.A. Greene : Lead Vocals, Guitars
Roger Scott Craig : Keyboards, Vocals
Michael Langlan : Guitars
Brian Peters : Bass
Richie Onori : Drums


BIG CITY demos

Sunday, January 09, 2011

BAD NEWS



My external drive and sound file processor workstation PC caught fire yesterday.
Some stuff was backed up, but more than 600 GB of rare and hard to find music are lost forever.
Please be patient with the site update...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

HUSH (Robert Berry) - Hot Tonight (1983)


Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Robert 'Bob' Berry is a musician with a serious pedigree, apart from leading great bands like Alliance and a prolific solo career, he has been part of legendary groups GTR or Ambrosia and recorded with Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer, Sammy Hagar, etc.


After high school, Berry entered San Jose State University as a music major and carefully balanced his academic and professional interests.
Together with members from several recently disbanded outfits from the Bay area, formed HUSH, his first band.
The group toured the bars and college circuit, and after some line-up changes they recorded a self financed single, which was also used as their entry in a 'battle of the bands' contest. HUSH won.
With the distinction as 'Northern California's best unsigned band', Berry and the boys realized that this was the time to make their move.

The first full length album simply titled HUSH was released in 1978. Everything went great; airplay was growing, sales were strong, and the band was on a cross country tour in support of the album. There was even a hit song in Japan.
Then their label broke up and left the band without contract and promotion.
The group continue touring regionally and recording demos for a possible 2nd album, but a legal litigation with the ex-label prevented the album from being released.

But by that time Berry opened his own recording facility studios, and as all the members of HUSH were songwriters and highly proficient musicians, they never stopped to write and record demos.
Next year, San Jose's FM powerhouse KSJO was sponsoring a 'Best of the Bay' album contest. HUSH's song written by Berry, "Gotta Get Back To You", was the winner and became one of the station's most requested cuts.
The band wasted no time and released "Hot Tonight" on their own label in 1983.
Good fortune shined again as "Hot Tonight" was nominated and won the Bay Area music Archive's Bammie Award for the year's Best Independent Album in March of 1984.
After a year touring and "Hot Tonight" still selling well, Robert Berry decided to release his first solo album and pursue a solo career.
HUSH did his two final concerts in june of 1985 dedicated to the local Bay Area fans that helped make them a success.

"Hot Tonight" is the typical commercial poppy / AOR album from that era, but featuring really good songs.
The title theme is a pompy AOR with gentle keyboards and a catchy rhythm.
Strangely, the second track "You Hold The Key" is a ballad, and the only one in this short LP. It's a beautiful one with an ELO and Queen flavor.
"Out On The Street" is extremely poppy, and "Money" sounds a bit prog, a Berry's trademark.

But the real winner here is "Gotta Get Back To You". One of my favorite AOR tracks of all time. A keyboard driven commercial poppy AOR, featuring a great melodic guitar solo and... that chorus. A simple song, but killer.
In the vein of the upcoming Berry's solo albums, "Runaway" is a catchy, melodic and contagious tune.
"It's All Too Much" is a mid-tempo running more than 6 min. but never boring, beautifully orchestrated and arranged. The most complex song on offer here and another highlight. I love this kind of stuff.

If you like 1981/84 radio oriented commercial rock don't miss this one.
Vinyl rip restored by me (not with today's standards) many years ago.
320 + art


01 - Hot Tonight
02 - You Hold The Key
03 - Out On The Street
04 - Money
05 - Gotta Get Back To You
06 - Runaway
07 - Let Me Live
08 - It's All Too Much

Robert Berry : Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Paul Keller : Guitars, Backing Vocals
Gene Perrault : Bass, Backing Vocals
Peter Adams : Drums, Backing Vocals



HUSH (Robert Berry) - Hot Tonight

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

REFUGEE - Affairs In Babylon [vinyl rip] (1985)

REFUGEE - Affairs In Babylon [vinyl rip]
REFUGEE, the brainchild of canadian songwriter / vocalist Myles Hunter, released "Affairs In Babylon" in 1985 after an initial indie release under the moniker MICHAEL FURY. You can read the story and get the album HERE

REFUGEE's "Affairs In Babylon" wasn't released on CD until 2005 by a german label.
Sadly, they didn't take as a source the original master tapes, just a wasted & scratched vinyl, and also gently destroyed the original signal noise peaks with a cheap processor.
That CD sounds terrible, a classic album like this deserves a better edition.

From a pretty good vinyl rip (courtesy of troynew, thanks my friend), I've tried to get the best audio quality possible, de-crackling, de-clicking and de-noising the full album.
To my ears, it sounds far better than the aforementioned german CD.
Tracks 1 & 2 are chained on the vinyl, I have left them as a single track to preserve continuity and avoid the typical mp3 gaps.
Anyway, included into the file, are both as separated tracks as well, you choose.

320K including re-worked artwork.


01 - Affairs In Babylon
02 - Thunder Of Another Night
03 - Listen To Your Heart
04 - Hot Words *
05 - Dream On Anastasia
06 - Exiles In The Dark
07 - No Survivors, No Way Out
08 - Body To Body
09 - Here We Go Again *
10 - These Are The Good Times


Myles Hunter : Lead Vocals, Guitar
Rob Kennedy : Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Howard Helm : Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Martyn Jones : Bass, Backing Vocals
Brian Doerner : Drums
Greg Bociek : add. Keyboards *



CLASSIC AOR

Saturday, January 01, 2011

ONE MILLION



hardrockaorheaven has reached 1 MILLION unique visitors since its creation.
That means 1 Million times you, you, and you have pointed your browser to this humble site.
BIG THANKS to you, HR / AOR lover, to be part of this everyday.