The end seventies were the golden days for pomp rock in the USA. At this time, a lot of bands played this kinda music but most of them operated in the underground scene.
One of the best groups playing this style in the Pacific Northwest area (Seattle) was BIGHORN.
After many line-up changes (some early members join another pomp act; Aviary) the band toured extensively the western states with great success, being signed by a Vancouver major label subsidiary. That's why some people think this band is from Canada.
Basically, Bighorn plays pomp-AOR, but blended with commercial light prog and some vintage classic hard rock.
One of the remarkable aspects of their sound are the stupendous vocal harmonies arrangements (3 people sharing the lead vocals). That's evident on the first pompous track "Penny For Your Dreams", really really classic ala STYX, a very well orchestrated tune.
One of my favorites is the proto-power ballad - this category didn't exist at that time - "(I Love You) I'm Not Afraid Anymore", again with excellent vocal parts, a melodic great guitar solo and good lyrics.
Next, the Grand piano based "Star Rocker" is a cool commercial melodic rocker with KANSAS scent, featuring very nice backing vocals at the end.
Track 4 "Mary-Anne" is another highlight. Believe or not, this commercial light-prog / pop tune sounds a lot like ALAN PARSONS PROJECT earlier works. The synth - piano - orchestra arrangement is first class. Love it.
But Bighorn also rocks. "Tried Every Trick" and "Helen Betty" can be compared to the late LED ZEPPELIN, both are sophisticated anthemic hard rockers, very polished but strong.
"Stand Up" has a commercial poppy melodic rock sound with a bit of pomp, while "Sparrow" returns to classic pomp reminding me AVALON (USA) or again, STYX.
The hot rocker "I Know" closes the disc in great form, this guitar driven track displays the skills of Steve Adamek (one of the founder members) on drums and the transcendent chops of Shikany on the six strings.
"BIGHORN" is a very classy, varied collection of songs outstandingly engineered and produced by british producer Martin Shaer who worked with Sweeney Todd and Bryan Adams among others. Still sounds great today.
This is a rip from the very hard to find '90s Japan-only CD edition (terrific mastering job), fetching today ridiculous $ 125 on auction sites.
01 - Penny For Your Dreams
02 - (I Love You) I'm Not Afraid Anymore
03 - Star Rocker
04 - Mary-Anne
05 - Tried Every Trick
06 - Stand Up
07 - Sparrow
08 - Helen Betty
09 - Sunday Boy
10 - I Know
Bob Marcy: Lead and backing vocals, woodwinds
Joe Shikany: Guitars, Lead and backing vocals
Peter Davis: Keyboards, grand piano, Lead and backing vocals
Michael Ipsen: Bass, backing vocals
Steve Adamek: Drums, backing vocals
BIGHORN - ST (1978) CD-320