During the past 30 years, guitar player Scott Rolaf has been influenced by quite a few Classic Rock artists, particularly Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore. He has written and performed with various bands and artists such as the legendary Leslie West and two-time Grammy winner Muzz Skillings (Living Colour founder), to name a few.
Scott has written various music scores for film and TV and produced over 100 commercials viewed on national television for top-named companies such as Coors Light, Remi Martin, Perrier Water, and Comp USA. During the late 1990's, he had a successful Radio Show heard on WNTV, The Scott Rolaf Show, which had over one million listeners.
Today, we are here talking about him because a new super group has formed around Rolaf.
The band consists of Scott Rolaf on guitars, Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, Muzz Skillings on bass, splitting the snapping of the skins are Thom Suntag and Paul Ciraolo, and rounding it up with the Hammond Organ and Synths we have Jack Ciraolo.
Rolaf says; " This line-up is absolutely incredible! And it's a dream come true to have Joe Lynn Turner as the singer. I was growing up listening to Deep Purple and Rainbow and sharing stories about him with my friends as a kid.
And now, to co-write and headline with him, one of the top vocalists of all time and a true legend, is just a dream come true. "
" With Muzz Skillings, I've been writing, recording and playing with for the last 14 years. He is the best bass player I have ever played with. He has a very unique style in and of his own. He is very versatile as well.
Muzz plays a great acoustic guitar, and is an excellent vocalist. I love the uniqueness of this group of guys. "
The result is "Light Of Day", also known as Rolaf-Turner Project, a really fantastic collection of songs in the best '80s tradition, MR / AOR rockin' tunes full of magic.
This is among the best material performed by Turner since the eighties. Truly.
The vintage hard rock flavor of "Spinnin' Round", the awesome melodic rocker "Break The Chains", or the classy, acoustically driven "Don't Tell Me Goodbye" are real gems.
But there's much, much more.
The brilliant ballad "Lost In Love" is a highlight, the bluesy-AOR of "Broken" has tons of emotion, the melodic mid-tempo ballady of "Find My Way" shows class and emotion and "My Life" is pure melodic rock bliss.
All these tracks were finished around 2009/2010, but here is also a new 2011 track sung by David Cagle, "Throwing It All Away", a top class modern melodic rock diamond, and an instrumental; "Northern Lights" where Rolaf shows how good is with the 6 strings, clearly influenced by Leslie West and Jimmy Page.
Mr. Scott Rolaf, is a perfect example of the many smaller rungs it takes to climb that ladder of recognition. Almost a silent resource for the major leagues, the dictionary will spell out the definition of endurance, patience and technical skills as only Scott Rolaf can.
With the force of Joe Lynn Turner and Muzz Skillings, they are threatening to break Scott Rolaf wide open into the deserved house hold name of arena rock. This is a band of musician's musicians.
The "Light Of Day" is starting to shine, and I can't you recommend enough this very, very good CD. It's like a 'lost' Joe Lynn Turner album, and a statement of Scott Rolaf's talent.
Scott is offering this album for promotion, in fact, it was sent to me by himself.
Enjoy And Share With Everybody !!!
01 - Spinnin' Round
02 - Broken
03 - My Life
04 - Break The Chains
05 - Northern Lights (instrumental)
06 - Throwing It All Away
07 - Find My Way
08 - Don't Tell Me Goodbye
09 - Lay It On The Line
10 - Lost In Love
Joe Lynn Turner : Lead Vocals
Scott Rolaf : Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Muzz Skillings : 5 String Bass
Jack Ciraolo : Keybords, Hammond Organ
Thom Suntag, Paul Ciraolo : Drums
David Cagle : Vocals (6)
SCOTT ROLAF / JOE LYNN TURNER - Light Of Day
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Two rare vinyl miniLP's into one file, with restored audio as requested.
XERON - Does Anybody Hear... (1985)
XERON was one of those LA scene bands from the mid-'80s that albeit sounding very professional, never make it big.
A shame, because their excellent indie miniLP "Does Anybody Hear..." features great songwriting and tight musicianship.
The really interesting point of this recording is the successful blend of the typical Bay Area hard rock with heavy pompy AOR due the massive use of keyboards.
Only six tracks onboard, but they don't let the side down one iota.
Opener "Visions" is pretty heavy indeed, but texturized with awesome vocal harmonies and wonderful keys. It's a powerful track with chuggy guitars and adrenaline on top but has tons of melodies. This track somehow reminds me Duke Jupiter on steroids (a high dose).
Swaggering guitars and pompous keyboards are the motto of the retro "Changes Calling" inspired on some early eighties acts as Starz. Vocals are high pitched here still controlled and harmonic.
"Breathless" is indeed, breath taking. This is an absolute winner. Synth cascades to die for and thrilling guitars with an AOR stamp of approval on the chorus. Killer tune.
Title track "Does Anybody Hear" is a completely different beast. It's a really interesting, unusual semi-midtempo with some acoustic / clean electric guitars, but the real main character here are the pomp, almost prog vintage keyboards which carries the song. Also notable are the thought-provoking lyrics.
"Would You Belong To Me?" is the more commercial track on this vinyl, carrying an uptempo catchy pace that grabs your attention. With a song structure as a hard version of Franke & The Knockouts, at first glance sounds simple and elemental, but it's very well arranged adding nice touches here and there.
Final track "Lonely Street" has a strong riff and an epic LA hard melody specially in the chorus where the six string progression rocks.
"Does Anybody Hear..." is a fantastic album, even if it is only 24 minutes. Not a dud to be found here. Solid, always interesting and properly produced.
Vocalist Larry Leon years later showed his quality in Big Mouth, another Los Angeles band who released a very good album, 'Hands Of Time', more Melodic Rock / AOR oriented.
Exciting miniLP, only vinyl, rip cleaned & restored by me.
1 - Visions
2 - Changes Calling
3 - Breathless
4 - Does Anybody Hear
5 - Would You Belong To Me?
6 - Lonely Street
Larry Leon - Vocals
Trevor Jay - Guitars
Paul McPhee - Guitars
Geoffrey Bowlick - Bass
Jeff Wolfe - Drums
PEROUX - Wheels Keep Turnin' (1988)
PEROUX were a British band trying to etch out a career in the wimpwire / melodic hard rock scene during the late 80's.
Promoted and recommended by Shy (Tony Mills band), along with the likes of After Hours, Briar, Midnight Blue, Moritz, etc, were among a bunch of bands hovering in the 2nd division without getting the big break.
From London, the band no doubt saw the success of other British exports all signed to major labels at the time, as Virginia Wolf, FM or Shy itself.
A crime, because "Wheels Keep Turnin´" is a great miniLP.
Talking about FM, Peroux's style / sound is a mixture of them with some american AOR rock acts.
Starting out with "Summertime Memories", this one is very American sounding, not unlike FM on their 'Indiscreet' album. Very nice fluffy keyboards and a feel-good vibe. Nick Simmons has warm vocals, very british.
"Midnight Princess" is an extremely melodic semi-midtempo where the guitars are noticeably down in the mix to give more room to the harmonies. This is a great tune with all the '80s atmosphere.
Just love the title track "Wheels Keep Turnin´". This is the kind of keyboard-driven AOR I die for. Killer pre-chorus (awesome) and dreamy main chorus on this one. The guitar/keys middle-section instrumentation is simply wonderful.
Last track "Susannah" is definitely americanized, in sound and style, reminding you great US bands of the mid eighties.
"Wheels Keep Turnin´" is a beautiful 4-track mini-LP from a band who deserved better luck.
Keyboards are really predominant on this recording, not strange because it is produced by Procul Harum keyboarder Mathew Fisher, and one of the founder members Matt Haslett used to play ivory on another UK group; Snowblind.
The vinyl-rip quality could be better, I tried to clean and restore the sound at maximum.
Really good one.
1 - Summertime Memories
2 - Midnight Princess
3 - Wheels Keep Turnin'
4 - Susannah
Nick Simmons - Vocals
Sprog - Guitars, Vocals
Nigel May - Bass
Matt Haslett - Keyboards, Vocals
Steve Mercer - Drums
XERON: Does Anybody Hear + PEROUX: Wheels Keep Turnin'
Friday, July 22, 2011
English singer/songwriter Robbie Patton received his break when he toured as a special guest of Fleetwood Mac.
The relationship doen't end there, as many members of the Mac's contributed on Patton's debut album, and here, on his second "Orders From Headquarters" as well.
Recorded in America, the disc has a truly USA radio AOR sound.
Opener "Victim Of Your Love" is filled with catchy candy-floss keyboards and really good guitars. Patton's vocals reminds me Robert Berry here when he used to be the singer of Hush.
Follower "Louise" is another terrific commercial upbeat AOR tune with swirling keyboards and a melodic, contagious chorus. If you don't like this track you don't like AOR at all.
The midtempo "Lonely Nights" only could be recorded in the eighties, the atmosphere, the vibe, it's all there. All the songs on this album are firmly back-boned by an excellent guitar work by Joey Brasler (Cher), on this track and the next, the hot rocker "Feel The Flow", is particularly great.
Title track has interesting twists in the song structure. A fat bass line, cool keys and a sumptuous guitar solo.
"Tell Me Goodbye" includes some vintage keyboards and a strong rhythm guitar, again reminding me Robert Berry, and why not, Rick Springfield.
"Smiling Islands" was the single, co-written and performed together with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. Nice and slow melodic song.
"Orders From Headquarters" includes some very good and commercial AOR tracks, the kind I love and really enjoy. 'Side A' is stronger musically speaking, but all the disc is melodic end enjoyable.
Finally, this album was released for the first time on CD last year, but I am very happy with this vinyl rip, cleaned and restored by me.
01 - Victim Of Your Love
02 - Louise
03 - It's Your Heart
04 - Lonely Nights
05 - Feel The Flow
06 - Orders From Headquarters
07 - Tell Me Goodbye
08 - Smiling Islands (duet with Stevie Nicks)
09 - All Because Of You
10 - Look Away
Robbie Patton - lead vocals
Joey Brasler - guitars
David Adelstein - keyboards
Robin Sylvester - bass
Kirk Arthur - drums
Alex Acuna - percussion
Kurt Howell, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Timothy B Schmit - backing vocals
LOU PARDINI is a Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, keyboardist, and producer who has written and performed with such world renowned artists as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Santana, Robben Ford or Jay Graydon just to name a few.
Since Bill Champlin left CHICAGO in 2009, Lou take his place. So you have an idea of his style.
"Look The Other Way" is his 2nd solo album and it's a true WestCoast AOR recording, full of late '70s / early '80s atmosphere with a modern sound.
Pardini is a terrific vocalist, dynamic and versatile but also a complete musician specially on keyboards and electric piano, which he handles with class.
All tracks are simply delicious.
"Better Late Than Never", "Look The Other Way" or "Method To The Madness" are catchy and groovy pure L.A. scene pearls, while "We've Got So Far To Go" and "Place In My Heart" are incredible smooth AOR numbers.
On the ballads, Pardini's vocals really shines, as on the Chicago-like "Love Is A Hurtin' Thing" or the classy "Place In My Heart" where Airplay comes to mind.
The japanese release includes the bonus tracks "Take It Away" (a great ballad) and the awesome "What Might Have Been" much in the Joseph Williams style, who did backing vocals here by the way.
"Look The Other Way" oozes class and elegance on every note.
You will find here excellent songwriting and arrangements, with a clear and organic production by Pardini.
This CD has become very hard to find, specially this Japan edition.
01 - Better Late Than Never
02 - We've Got So Far To Go
03 - Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
04 - Time Out For Love
05 - I'll Always Be There
06 - Look The Other Way
07 - Place In My Heart
08 - Method To The Madness
09 - How Can I Stop Loving You
10 - I Just Had To Fall
11 - Take It Away (Japan bonus)
12 - What Might Have Been (Japan bonus)
Vocals, Keyboards: Lou Pardini
Guitar: Buzz Feiten, James Harrah
Bass: Vail Johnson, John Patitucci
Drums: Steve Dublin, Lou Pardini
Sax: Scott Mayo, Dave "Rev" Boruff
Backing Vocals: Sid Sham, Scott Mayo, Mindi Stein, Rose Stone, Alfie Silas, Howard McCarry, Olivia McCarkle, Bunny Hull, Bill Champlin, Joseph Williams
LOU PARDINI - Look The Other Way [Japan]
Friday, July 08, 2011
Speaking of music, when you think you have it all, there's always an unknown little gem hidden under the carpet.
Rob Tro seems to come out of nowhere, there's no info about his origins or career. I've been looking deeply in the net, specialized magazines from my own collection, and asked some friends (real AOR collectors). Zero results.
Well, the important thing is the music, and Rob Tro's "Intro" is full a goodness.
Tro (curious last name) is on the wagon of the soloists from the first half of the eighties: a good vocalist backed up by expertise musicians. No one of them are credited on the artwork, but all are more than competent sessionists.
The aural and cheesy (but beautiful) "Let Me Be The Knight" reminds me John O'Banion circa his 'Dangerous' album. This is the kind of american AOR I love. Rob's vocals are sweet and velvety, with nice color.
"Who Do Ya Love" is another lovely commercial and melodic AOR with good vibe and jumpin' keyboards. This song is written by aussie Mark Holden and was recorded by him for his '83 self-titled album.
The enchanting Westcoast ballad "Kari's Eyes" floats into Michael McDonald's backyard looking for a place to land. Awesome, sweet tune.
On "I Just Wanted To Know" the production turns more poppy in the Bernie LaBarge style, while in "No One After You" Rob Tro somehow reminds me the earlier Brock Walsh in the way of singing, this is an 'action movie' AOR track, simple but effective.
"Heartbeat" is a commercial, FM radio oriented AOR song, linked with some Frank Stallone material.
One of my favorites is "Let Me Touch You", a relaxed and stylized pure Westcoast tune in the vein of Robbie Dupree. Tro shows here his ability to 'whisper' his lines without losing essence. He sounds like a very well trained singer indeed.
"There's Always A Little Smoke" is one of those AOR songs that I call 'uptempo westcoast', because it has a catchy pace but essentially is pure L.A. scene.
Talking about L.A., "It Only Hurts When I Breathe" has absolutely that vibe. This is one of the best arranged and produced songs of the album, with great harmonies and clean guitars, and the 'crooner' vocals of Rob shine. Love this one.
Last track "All Of My Life" is another favorite. Again sounding like O'Banion, this ballad has terrific arrangements, and Rob does a great performance.
It's a crime that "Intro" remains unknown even between AOR / Westcoast circles.
Private release via the obscure and domestic Californian label Jamex records, this album claims a reissue pronto.
This isn't my vinyl rip (could be better) because I don't own this rarity.
I have restored the audio, cleaning the clicks (several) and the turntable noises to get the best quality possible.
Mega Rare. Highly Recommended.
01 - Let Me Be The Knight
02 - Who Do Ya Love
03 - Kari's Eyes
04 - I Just Wanted To Know
05 - No One After You
06 - Heartbeat
07 - Let Me Touch You
08 - There's Always A Little Smoke
09 - It Only Hurts When I Breathe
10 - All Of My Life
Rob Tro: Vocals
ROB TRO - Intro
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Now we have here a super slice of female '80s AOR.
" ’Til My Heart Stops" is one of the best (if not the Best) produced records in this style ever.
Call it rock&pop, lite AOR, melodic synth rock, but definitively it's eighties AOR, classy, yes, but really modern production-wise and still sound magnificent today.
The distinctive and good thing about this album are the guitars upfront in the mix. And of course, Lisa's great vocals that reminds me Patty Smyth (Scandal).
We can hear as well similarities to Robin Beck, Liza Nemzo and why not, Heart.
Brilliantly produced by not other than Bill Wray (check his solo album posted few days ago in this blog), " ’Til My Heart Stops" has punch and a crisp sound.
The opening keyboard lines of the first track "Tempt Me (If You Want To)" are to die for. This is '80s people. You only can get a song like this on an album recorded in that era. The guitars (master Michael Landau) are from outer space. Killer chorus and power performance by Lisa. This single was included later on the 'Navy Seals' soundtrack.
"I Don't Need Love" is a terrific commercial midtempo followed by the radiable "Ooh, I'm Satisfied".
Then another gem; "I Can't Get You Out Of My System". In crescendo magical AOR with extra-compressed drums. Magical.
Quirky keyboards ornament "Tender Kiss", a track with a monster rhythm guitar work and one of the most seasoned performances by Hartman.
"The Dress" is another winner. A charming soft melodic rocker penned by cult aorster James House.
"How Many Rivers" is slow and climatic. Here Lisa sound like Luba, that's not a surprise because this song is written by her together with Bill Wray. I love the bridge before the short guitar solo here.
"Imagination" is the only track that sounds pretty retro, circa 1983. Synth bass and programmed drums on a 'Flashdance' style tune.
"'Til My Heart Stops Beating" is 'one of those' ballads. Really good vocals and arrangements ready for FM stations.
You must have this album: great tunes, strong vocals and superb session musicians (check personnel). It's a perfect product of its time.
This is unfortunately her last recording before she got married and decided to quit the business.
But what a great one it is.
A Must Have Classic.
1 - Tempt Me (If You Want To)
2 - I Don't Need Love
3 - Ooh, I'm Satisfied
4 - I Can't Get You Out Of My System
5 - Tender Kiss
6 - The Dress
7 - How Many Rivers
8 - Imagination
9 - 'Till My Heart Stops Beating
Lisa Hartman - Lead & Background Vocals
Michael Landau - Guitar (1-4, 6, 8, 9)
Trevor Rabin - Acoustic Guitar Solo (2)
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar (6, 7); Guitar Solo (6)
Larry Klein - Bass, Keyboards, Fairlight
Phil Brown - Bass, Guitar, Background Vocals
Steve Goldstein - Linn Programming, Keyboards, Bass
Mick Guzauski, Manu Katche - Percussion
Craig Krampf - Drum over-dubs
Kevin Raleigh - Background Vocals (4)
Timothy Schmidt - Background Vocals (8)
The Waters - Background Vocals (7)
Bill Wray - Producer, Background vocals (5, 7)
After recording several albums with The Imperials, Russ Taff started a solo career in 1983.
Taff is one of the most recognizable voices in Christian music. His trademark rich, emotion-drenched vocals were formed since his teens.
"Medals" is his second album and the best. With this recording Russ entered in the secular charts, thanks to the quality of the material on offer and the neutral lyrics.
The 'who's who' of the L.A. top session musicians is here: Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Nathan East, Robbie Buchanan, Tommy Funderburk, Bill Champlin...
There's no weak song on this typically 'contemporary' eighties album.
The awesome "Vision" opens with a synth path which maintains the track until the great chorus arrives. This song was later recorded by Chris Eaton for his album of the same title.
The outstanding "I'm Not Alone" is penned by canadian songwriter genius Paul Janz (and later recorded by himself as a semi-ballad with the title 'Close My Eyes'). Ruff's version is typically mid '80s, being the single of this album. Love It.
Title track has a poppy AOR feel so '80s, with a climatic aura and synthetic sound, reinforced by the clean guitars and the keyboards.
There's a rockier approach on "Not Gonna Bow" (great guitars) and the melodic and catchy "Rock Solid".
We have room for emotional ballads with "Here I Am" and the beautiful mid-tempo "Silent Love".
On "I've Come Too Far" Ruff goes pop mixed with a bit of funk and gospel. Check the short but terrific guitar solo by Michael Landau.
"Medals" won the Contemporary Album of the Year Dove Award and was Grammy nominated.
Expect tons of great harmonies here, superb performances and top notch production.
This album is not so hard to find, but maybe yes this Japanese 2001 CD reissue ripped at maximum quality.
01 - Vision
02 - I'm Not Alone
03 - Medals
04 - Not Gonna Bow
05 - Here I Am
06 - I've Come Too Far
07 - Silent Love
08 - How Much it Hurts
09 - Rock Solid
10 - God Only Knows
Vocals: Russ Taff
Guitar: Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Paul Jackson Jr.
Keyboards: Robbie Buchanan
Bass: Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus
Drums: Paul Leim
Percussion: Lenny Castro
Saxophone: Larry Williams
Synths: James Newton Howard, Rhett Lawrence
Backing Vocals: Tommy Funderburk, Bill Champlin, Carmen Twitty, Tata Vega, Harry Browning, Lynn Nichols, Tamara Champlin
RUSS TAFF - Medals (1985) Japan reissue
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Michael Patto is a british musician, songwriter and producer. Born of Mike Patto snr. who was a highly respected rock musician (Spooky Tooth, Patto, Timebox, Boxer), Michael first approach was on bass guitar but switched to piano in his late teens and started writing songs.
Patto was signed by a major label aged 20, but soon decided to move on and founded his own recording company, being involved with some of the finest talents on the UK music scene.
His one and only album as solo artist, "Time To Be Right", is a soft breeze of genres mixing stylized pop, soul and smooth westcoast.
There's several pieces of fine euro-pop on songs like "So Much For The Lovin´", "Few Good Moments" or "What Can I Do".
But also a strong westcoast feeling on "Calling", the smooth "The Very Thought Of You" and "Don't Say A Word". The ballad "Hold On" sounds pretty american L.A. style.
"Time To Be Right" includes genres not usually featured on this blog, but was requested by a reader and is extremely hard to find.
Also included as bonus are 2 different versions of the single "So Much For The Lovin` "
It's a nice, relaxing piece of music, very well performed, recorded and produced.
CDrip at maximum quality including artwork.
01. So Much For The Lovin'
03. Few Good Moments
04. Hold On
05. Paradise Has Gone
06. (I've Got) Love Enough For Two
07. Time To Be Right
08. The Very Thought Of You
09. What Can I Do
10. Don't Say A Word
11. So Much For The Lovin' (7'' version)
12. So Much For The Lovin' (Radical Mix)
Michael Patto: Vocals, various instruments
Session Musicians: unlisted
Friday, July 01, 2011
Vol. 4 featuring some rare Scandi AOR / classic artists remixes.
Domain used to play a catchy AOR at the beginning of their career. "I Don't Wanna Die" was released as a single only, including this remix version with a lot of punch.
The extended of "Heartbreaker" from de very first album of Dare is breathtaking. In my opinion, better than the album version. Only appeared into the single as b-side, this is rip from 12'' vinyl because it has much more harmonics than the CDs. Killer track.
Another winner is "I'm Alone" by scandi aorsters Skagarack. Awesome mix with big sound and reverb.
I am not completely convinced with the compressed drum / cymbal sound of Fate's "Summerlove", but worth a listen. This maxi-remix is included as bonus in the recent reissue of the band self-titled album, but sounds terrible (I mean; horribly transferred). This is a rip from the rare 12'' vinyl, much better.
Romeo's Daughter "Heaven In The Backseat" is a pleasure to listen, heavily processed into the studio.
The single "South Africa" off Ian Gillian's '82 album 'Magic' is a nice track co-written with Bernie Marsden who also play guitar. This 12'' version is cool and quite unknown.
Thanks to plattenpapst for sent me the extended version of the classic "Playing To Win" by Little River Band. Fantastic remix with percussion at front. Very Rare.
Russ Ballard is a qualified songwriter. "Dream On" is one of my favorite tunes from his pen, and this long & modified version rocks. This song was versioned later by King Kobra with Mark Free on the mic.
"Born To Rock 'N' Roll" isn't appeared into any Cliff Richard album. It was recorded for a musical ('Time') and released as single only. This special extended is rare and unknown. Maybe you're wondering if this is a retro-'50's song. Well, not at all, this is a marvellous AOR-rocker with a killer mid-eighties style. Love it.
Charlie Sexton's classic "Don't Look Back" has a strong dancefloor process in this maxi. But includes tons of guitars reverbered to the maximum. Really good version.
There's 2 official extended versions of John Waite's "These Time Are Hard For Lovers". The 'Jellybean' is more poppy oriented (I like it) but prefer the Extended Rock Mix, which, in fact, rocks more with emphasis on the guitars and a deep fat bass.
"Don't Mean Nothing" by Richard Marx become a FM hit, but this Extended Rock Mix is the less known version of all.
I am a sucker for ZZ Top remixes. Some people argue that they're cold and too synthetic, well, I love those monster drums. The Bill Ham Extended Mix of "Velcro Fly" is pretty hard to find.
Remember, all these tracks are officially released remixes, original material performed during the recording sessions, no third hand adds or DJ work.
FULL TRACKLIST, CLICK HERE: