Tuesday, October 20, 2020

FAIR WARNING (USA, Ohio) - ST (1981) + demos


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

Ohio's band LaFlavour were formed by twin brothers Pete and Steve Nervo (guitar and drums) - still in college - at the end of the sixties, enrolled in the Motown-Soul style. By the end of the seventies the band released their debut 'Mandolay' scoring two moderate singles in the Dance/Disco chart.
With certified success under their belts, La Flavour was signed to MCA records, who thought it wise change their musical approach to the raising radio rock which started to dominate the airwaves.

In 1981 MCA changed the band's name to FAIR WARNING and bring producer Mark Avsec (of Breathless and Donnie Iris fame) to record the band's debut album under this new moniker. Actually, Avsec wrote all the tracks and conducted the arrangements very much in the Donnie Iris style.
"Fair Warning" included a potential hit single penned by Avsec titled "She Don't Know Me". However, an upcoming band from New Jersey called Bon Jovi were recording their first album for Mercury Records at this time and needed a strong debut single, so "She Don't Know Me" was selected for them. This label executive move ruined the chances of the song being pushed as a single for Fair Warning.

Additionally, 1981 also saw the recording and release of a new album by Van Halen coincidentally titled 'Fair Warning', creating even more problems regarding the chosen new band's name and musical format change.
MCA eventually shelved the "Fair Warning" album and it was never properly released beyond the initial promo copies which now are rare and really hard to find.



"Fair Warning" is a good recording, as said, in the Donnie Iris style with some very early Toto / REO Speedwagon touches, good harmony vocals and tight rhythm.
To be honest, this album does not much for me, but it was requested by a reader and is tough to find, that's why it is presented here.
It's a mixed bag, featuring good early '80s AOR tunes and just correct rock&pop songs with a twist including some horns here and there. I added a bunch of demos stored in my archives as "the same Ohio band who recorded the song "She Don't Know Me". I don't know if this is correct... anyway, it's a more rocking material.
Rare.


01 - She Don't Know Me
02 - I Wanna Be Your Lover
03 - Night And Day
04 - South Of The Border
05 - He's So Bad
06 - Watchin' Katie Dance
07 - The Shadows Of Your Mind
08 - Just Send An S.O.S.
09 - Goodnight My Dear
10 - Jealous Fool (demo)
11 - I Need Your Love (demo)
12 - Help Me (demo)
13 - Strangers (demo)
14 - Runaway (demo)

Craig DeBock - Vocals, Guitar, Horns
Peter Nervo - Guitar
Steve Nervo - Drums, Vocals
Gino Milchak - Bass, Vocals
Rick Dotin - Keyboards, Vocals
Rusty Bretz - Guitar







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Monday, September 21, 2020

DIRTYWORKS - ST (1992)

DIRTYWORKS ST 1992
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

DIRTYWORKS is a little known Canadian band that made some great music before getting swept under the rug by the (sorry for the word) grunge invasion.
Their one and only self-tiled album is a commercial melodic hard rock album with some sleaze hints, clearly influenced by early Skid Row.

That's evident on the catchy opener "One Child", "Road To Pain" and "Little Sister", being the latter a good example of melody and hooky refrains. A very good track.
"Heart Of Stone" is a really nice ballad in the vein of the best Slaughter, the guitar progression enhances this tune above the typical standard mellow song.
"Shame" isn't far to their country fellas Dirty Rhythm, while "Shot Down" has some razor guitar riffs without effects, just amp distortion. Both good hard rockers.
The intimate "Blinded" -a full acoustic piece- is a good one, strangely reminds me Alice In Chains (and that isn't a bad thing).
"Day By Day" is the kind of song that I like a lot: a 'road style' song. Very nice.
The melodic rock style of "Hard Luck" fits very well to this band, the guitar solo is very much SkidRow-esque.
Last track is the piano-mix of "Heart Of Stone". A cool addition, but I prefer the full band version.

"DirtyWorks" it's a good late '80s style disc.
Not glossy or sophisticated, but very melodic and catchy with good songwriting. The self production is a bit thin (specially on the drums) but more than acceptable for an indie.
Pretty hard to find, this CD fetch ridiculous prices on auction sites.


01 - One Child
02 - Road To Pain
03 - Heart Of Stone
04 - Shame
05 - Shot Down
06 - Blinded
07 - Little Sister
08 - Day By Day
09 - Tickled Pink
10 - Hard Luck
11 - Heart Of Stone -Piano Mix- (Bonus Track)

Steve Bennett : vocals, backing vocals
Todd Graham : guitar, backing vocals
Rick Nagy : bass, backing vocals
Lorne Eoyle : drums, backing vocals
Eric Geddis : piano on 'Heart Of Stone'



DIRTYWORKS - ST .

Dave Clark's TIME : The Musical (1986)

Dave Clark's TIME : The Musical (1986)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...Read comments for alternatives

"TIME" was an eighties musical developed by English musician, songwriter and record producer Dave Clark, leader and drummer of the group The Dave Clark Five who scored several hits alongside The Beatles.
With a massive production and modern stage production including a big steel set with hydraulic lift and filmed holographics, "Time" debuted in april of 1986 at London’s Dominion Theatre with great success.
However, "Time" never received an original London Cast Recording with Clark opting instead to release the show’s score as a star-filled, two-LP studio concept album prior to the London opening. The 'who’s who' from the rock&pop field of those years were enlisted; Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Leo Sayer, Julian Lennon, Chris Thompson and Dionne Warwick among others.

"Time" tells the story of the Rock Star named Chris Wilder (Cliff Richard) who has been transported with his band from one of their concerts on Earth to the 'High Court of the Universe' in the Andromeda Galaxy. There they face three judges to defend the Earth in the case of the 'Time Lord vs. the people of the planet Earth', to demonstrate why the Earth should be allowed to continue it's existence. But in fact, it's a beautiful, deep philosophical understanding of life told through a Rock fable.
Apart from the interesting story, the music and performances are truly great. Ranging from rockers to commercial rock&pop tunes, you'll be surprised by these artists showing a different side from what they are mostly known. There's really good vocal appearances by Richard, Mercury, Julian Lennon but also less famous names as Leo Sayer, Jimmy Helms or John Christie, all delivering a superb output.
The tracks are constructed in a 'song format', while some spoken parts in between by actor Sir Laurence Olivier (excellent) carries the concept of the story. Production is top notch, with a typical mid-eighties glossy treatment.

Dave Clark's TIME : The Musical (1986) vinyl back
Unfortunately, "Time" never was released on CD. Apparently Dave Clark hates compact disc having refused every offer to bring this monster project to the format over the years. Anyway, celebrating the musical's 25th anniversary last year, he put a reissue in digital format exclusively on iTunes featuring new edits and several alternate mixes.
This in NOT that version, this is my own rip from the original analog release which has come out pretty decent.
Added as bonuses are Freddie Mercury's main theme "Time" and "In My Defence" (both top 40 in the UK Singles Chart) in two different versions appeared later on CD in 'The Freddie Mercury Album' and 'The Very Best Of Freddie Mercury Solo'. Very close friends, Dave Clark was the only person present aside his bed when Freddie died in 1991.
"TIME" is a fantastic piece of music suitable for all audiences. I'm sure all the lovers of the good sounds following this blog will enjoy this music with infinite pleasure.


ACT I
01 - Cliff Richard - Born To Rock 'n' Roll
02 - Ashford & Simpson - Time Talkin'
03 - Freddie Mercury - Time
04 - Laurence Olivier - Music Of The Spheres
05 - The Judges - Law Of The Universe
06 - John Christie - Time Lord Theme
07 - John Christie - The Charge
08 - Leo Sayer - One Human Family
09 - Dionne Warwick - What On Earth
10 - Leo Sayer - I Know, I Know
11 - Jimmy Helms - Your Brother In Soul
12 - John Christie - Case For The Prosecution
13 - Ashford & Simpson - Star Maker
14 - Julian Lennon - Time Will Teach Us All (feat. Stevie Wonder)
15 - John Christie - I Object
16 - Freddie Mercury - In My Defense

TIME - ACT I



ACT II
01 - Dionne Warwick - Within My World
02 - Julian Lennon - Because
03 - Jimmy Helms - Move The Judge
04 - Cliff Richard - She's So Beautiful (feat. Stevie Wonder)
05 - Laurence Olivier - Beauty, Truth, Love, Freedom, Peace
06 - Julian Lennon - If You Only Knew
07 - Murray Head - We're The UFO
08 - Laurence Olivier - The Theme From "Time"
09 - John Christie - Harmony
10 - Freddie Mercury - The Return (Time reprise)
11 - Cliff Richard - It's In Every One Of Us
EXTRAS:
Freddie Mercury - Time (acoustic guitar single version)
Freddie Mercury - In My Defence (single version)
Freddie Mercury - Time (original single version)
Freddie Mercury - In My Defence (2000 Remix)

TIME - ACT II


The Earth Group: Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Julian Lennon, Leo Sayer, Jimmy Helms, Ashford & Simpson
Louise: Dionne Warwick
Akash, the Ultimate Word in Truth: Laurence Olivier
Melchisedic, The Time Lord: John Christie
The Judges: Murray Head, Ashford & Simpson, Chris Thompson, Miriam Stockley, Michael Mullins



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Sunday, August 23, 2020

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987)

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

HUNTER was the moniker adopted by Down Under cult legends Dragon when in the second half of the '80s their record company bet on the band's international success. Originated in New Zealand during the Seventies, Dragon moved to Australia gaining great success.
After several albums and a move to more commercial sounds, in 1985 Polydor flew the band to New York to work with Todd Rundgren as producer for their new album "Dreams Of Ordinary Men".
With a big budget at hand, the result was a glossy recording which enhanced the already melodic, light AOR essence of most the songs. The album was released in 1986 as Dragon on the cover.

But Dragon's label & management decided to launch the band as the new 'Aussie phenomenon', and not only switched the name to HUNTER (last name of founder Todd Hunter and his bro, iconic vocalist Marc), but also ordered the remix of the whole thing to turning it more appealing worldwide.
This entire move in Dragon's direction resulted in two interesting sides: some of the songs ended with a wonderful, elegant light AOR sound, some others with an insipid pop taste.
Then "Dreams Of Ordinary Men", the Hunter version, is a mixed bag.

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987) back

I don't care about the weak songs, because the good ones are really, really good.
Opener and title track "Dreams Of Ordinary Men" is one of these, driven by a pumping bass line, catchy guitars - at charge of talented Tommy Emmanuel, and truly great vocals by Marc Hunter, with the characteristic tone that made him famous. At places, on this track Hunter evoke Scottish masters Strangeways.
"Speak No Evil" has that 'movie soundtrack' feel so '80s, with heavily processed drums and synth stabs. I love this one. "Nothing To Lose" is a fine poppy ballad, as it is the acoustically filled "Smoke".
Another favorite is the TOTO-ish gem "Western Girls", plenty of terrific melodies, an increscendo pre-chorus and a bright, wonderful main chorus. It's a very first half of the '80s AOR tune, and a very good one indeed.

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987) US cover

American cover

As you see, the first 4 tracks in a row, plus some in the middle are a true enjoyment for classic AOR fans, and these alone worth the disc.
The rest (mostly the second half of the CD) are pretty weak pop songs in my opinion, but there's 'something' on "Temptation" choruses, and the cold yet good riffs of "Midnight Sun".
"Dreams Of Ordinary Men" as 'Hunter' appeared one year later (1987) and was released in Europe / USA with different cover artwork each.


01 - Dreams Of Ordinary Men
02 - Speak No Evil
03 - Nothing To Lose
04 - Western Girls
05 - Rain
06 - Temptation
07 - Midnight Sun
08 - Intensive Care
09 - Forever And Ever
10 - Smoke
11 - Start It Up (bonus track)
12 - When I'm Gone (bonus track)
13 - Love Don't Stop (bonus track)

Vocals – Marc Hunter
Guitars – Tommy Emmanuel
Bass, Vocals – Todd Hunter
Drums – Doane Perry
Keyboards, Producer – Alan Mansfield
Guitar, Backing Vocals, Producer – Todd Rundgren




HUNTER (ex Dragon) Dreams Of Ordinary Men _ HERE
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Monday, July 20, 2020

HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' - Sudden Impact (1989)

HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' - Sudden Impact (1989) fornt
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

This one was requested several times, well it's time to be featured here. "Sudden Impact" is the debut album by Philadelphia quintet HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN'. The band and the album holds the title as being the most sought after indie CD at eBay with a copy scoring $1950.52. This is a really cool collection of songs, but not for paying that ridiculous price.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' made an arrangement with a small Canadian recording label, and "Sudden Impact" was released in 1989 in limited quantities. The album is really professionally recorded and mixed, above the average for an indie.
Musically, the band play clean, polished melodic rock, rock&pop and lite AOR here, with the typical sound of the era.
'Magic' has some Loverboy on it, and Blair Ramsey's vocal color reminds me of Kevin Cronin, so the REO Speedwagon comparison is accurate. There's a strong guitar work as on all songs on the CD, including quite imaginative and effective solos.

'Moment To Moment' recalls Starship, 'Slow Motion' some Scandal, and 'Don't You Look Back' has a that pristine Canadian sound from the era. 'Oh No!' is driven by stinging rhythm guitars and has fine harmony vocal arrangements, while the AOR synths of 'An Original' - a favorite - bring to mind Honeymoon Suite.
More poppy, power poppy I'd say is 'Too Late', with a touch of The Outfield, then 'While It Lasted' is a midtempo semi-ballad, again with very good harmony arrangements.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' - Sudden Impact (1989) back

Beyond its status of expensive rarity, "Sudden Impact" is a highly enjoyable '80s AOR product, more in common with the US sound of 1985 than '89. There's strong melodies, fine harmonies, solid guitar work and overall a feel good vibe that put a smile on your face with each song.
Very Recommended. RARE


01 - Magic
02 - Moment To Moment
03 - Slow Motion
04 - Don't You Look Back
05 - Oh No!
06 - An Original
07 - Over & Over
08 - Who's Walking You Home
09 - Too Late
10 - While It Lasted

Blair Ramsey – Lead vocals
Alan Auginnas – Guitar, vocals
Paul Piccaro – Bass, vocals
Jimmy Katone – Drums, vocals
Rob Kay – Keyboards, vocals




HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' - Sudden Impact
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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

UNITED NATIONS - The First Move (1985)

UNITED NATIONS - The First Move (1985) front

Stoke-on-Trent, UK, based band UNITED NATIONS were part of the '80s British AOR wave, formed at the beginning of the decade and developing a sound / style similar to their contemporaries Tobruk, Charlie, Monro, etc.
Their one and only album "The First Move" was released via small label Magnet in 1985, but unfortunately, soon after the group went their separate ways.

The opening song titled “Sound Of The Eighties” speaks for itself: indeed this is the mid-'80s melodic rock / AOR sound filled with catchy choruses and melodies.
"You Cheated" is another instant favorite, and more highlights appear with "We Will Live Forever" and "Black Heart", while on other songs United Nations explore some different sounds providing variation.

UNITED NATIONS - The First Move (1985) back

The core of United Nations recorded a comeback album some years ago, re-working some of the tunes from this LP along with new ones.
A very hard to find vinyl, "The First Move" never was reissued on CD or any other format.
This is a LP-rip cleaned to get the best sound quality possible.



01 - Sound Of The Eighties
02 - The Night That Last Forever
03 - The First Move
04 - You Cheated
05 - Common Denominator
06 - Violation Of A Freedom
07 - We Will Live Forever
08 - Blackheart
09 - Speak After The Tone
10 - Paying The Price Of Love

Paul Cafferty – Lead and Backing Vocals
Gary Davis – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Peter Hankey – Bass
Chris Mooney – Drums, Backing Vocals
Chris Stonier – Keyboards


UNITED NATIONS - The First Move HERE

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

SURRENDER - Surrender '79 / No Surrender '82 + bonus (2004)

SURRENDER - Surrender '79 / No Surrender '82 + bonus (2004) front
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Alfie Zappacosta become one of the most distinctive solo rock&pop vocalists from the Canadian scene during the Eighties / Nineties, many times flirting with traditional AOR and West Coast.
His first band SURRENDER is a fine example of how his career began, delivering some stylized tunes throwing in a bit of Pomp-AOR.

A few years ago all Surrender material was released for the first time on a digital disc, now deleted, out of print.
The CD comprises the first self titled LP "Surrender" (tracks 1-8), the second and final miniLP "No Surrender" (tracks 9-12) and 8 songs previously unreleased.
The first tracks obviously are the most pomp-influenced; late seventies AOR style with good guitar solos and nice arrangements.
These songs were usually underrated in favor to the more instant and commercial sound of the following miniLP "No Surrender", but we can find very nice melodies like on "Some People", the proggy ballad "Nicole" or the classy "Alone Too Often".
My pick is "Turn Down The Mission" a full keyboard driven track with great instrumentation, including a killer guitar solo.

Of course, tracks 9-12 are more catchy and appealing to the '80s AOR listener, being "It's All Been Done Before" the winner of the bunch, a really great radio-friendly typical AOR tune. I love this one.
The bonuses are material recorded after the band dissolved and become just Zappacosta. All are more mid-80s oriented, interesting and well recorded - although a few display a pre-production sound. My favorite is the emotional "I Don't Want To Talk Tonight", a song with a special aura.

SURRENDER - Surrender '79 / No Surrender '82 + bonus (2004) back

"Surrender  / No Surrender" is a really good compilation, songs with sweet melodies and solid performances. Not a classic, but a real pleasant listen.
As said, this CD is out of print and I seriously doubt it will be reissued again.


01 - Anyway You Want
02 - Some People
03 - Nicole
04 - Turn Down The Mission
05 - Buddy
06 - Alone Too Often
07 - Big City Streets
08 - Young Seaman
09 - It's All Been Done Before
10 - Start Again
11 - Hold Tight
12 - Strange Strange Way!
13 - Find Your Way
14 - Hold Me Close
15 - Your Love Is Blind
16 - Melody
17 - You're The Only One That Matters
18 - The Light In Your Eyes
19 - Polo Bar
20 - I Don't Want To Talk Tonight

Alfie Zappacosta - Vocals, Guitar
Steve Jensen - Guitars
Paul Delaney - Drums (1-12)
Peter Curry - Keyboards (1-8)
Geoff Waddington - Bass (1-8)
Mitch Starkman - Bass (9-12)
Gerald O'Brien, Steve Sexton, Peter Goodale, Calvin Sauro, Gerry Mosby - Keyboards (9-12)




SURRENDER - Surrender '79 [remastered]

SURRENDER - No Surrender '82 + bonus [remastered]
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ADRIAN GURVITZ - No Compromise [recorded 1983 / released 2000] Japan only

ADRIAN GURVITZ - No Compromise [recorded 1983 / released 2000] Japan only
Requested, hard to find

Melomaniacs around the globe must known ADRIAN GURVITZ's worldwide number 1 hit single 'Classic'. A classic song indeed and a staple at FM radio.
Gurvitz was part of English bands like THREE MAN ARMY and The BAKER GURVITZ ARMY (with legend Ginger Baker). Then he becomes solo artist at the late '70s, with his earlier LP being Westcoast-pop oriented, supported by monsters like Jeff Porcaro, David Paich, etc.

But in 1983, together with his brother Paul, Adrian Gurvitz recorded this album in London, practically alone, playing all instruments, turning into commercial FM rock / AOR. This material was rejected by his label, expecting more Soft Rock / Westcoast songs.
The tape was shelved, fortunately resurrected and released in 2000 by specialized, prestigious Japanese label Cool Sound some years ago, released under the name "No Compromise".

ADRIAN GURVITZ - No Compromise [recorded 1983 / released 2000] back

These 'lost recordings' have a modern sound (seems recorded 3 years after), with strong guitars, and a typically stylized British AOR songwriting from the early '80s, with some American influences as well.
Maybe the Japanese should have done a remastering to enhance the final product, but surely they wanted to preserve the original as it is. And believe me, it sounds very good.
Good album, rarely seen and unknown. Collector's item now out of print.


01 - Ain't It Always The Same
02 - No Compromise
03 - I'm Not Cryin' Over You
04 - The Price You Pay
05 - Punch
06 - No One's In Love
07 - Can't Buy Time
08 - High Point Of Love
09 - The Last Laugh

Adrian Gurvitz: Vocals, Guitars, Drums, Keyboards on all tracks
Paul Gurvitz: Bass, Producer
Recorded at Tower Studios Hampsted, London



ADRIAN GURVITZ - No Compromise
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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

AL DENSON - Be The One (1990)

AL DENSON - Be The One (1990)
Requested in a comment by one of you...

Al Denson is one of those CCM (Contemporary Christian) solo artists who flourished at the end of the eighties, beginning of the nineties.

He is still today a well-known name in the music business, with seven songs that reached the #1 position on the Christian radio charts through his career.

After his nice '89 self-titled debut album, this singer-songwriter published "Be The One" in 1990.
Denson style is catchy & Hi-Tech Rock&Pop with some adult, typically Contemporary Christian AOR moments, and as usually in this genre releases, with a superb production.
Opener "I've Got Something To Say" has an anthemic structure with sing-along potential and bombastic compressed drums.
Here's some poppy oriented tracks that do not interest me as "It's One Thing To Say It" or the weak "Fall Into Place", but the good thing in this kind of of material are the ballads and the AORish tunes.
Title track "Be The One" is one of these solid ballads, also the WestCoast vibes on "No Love Lost" accompanied by a female singer for good effect.

The value tracks on this album are the AOR numbers, as the personal favorite midtempo "Nothing Can Separate Us", with really good guitars and background keys, organic drums and consistent vocals by Al.
"Tested By Fire" is another song full of class, an elegant tune sustained by great clean guitars and an ethereal AOR production.
"Never Out Of His Love" has a slow pace but it's long track with in crescendo moments and a well rounded climax.

Out Of Print and pretty hard to find, "Be The One" includes some nice, immaculately recorded and produced songs in the refined side of the AOR spectre, that well worth a listen.
Ripped at maximum quality by my friend totalaor (thanks mate!), plus artwork.


01 - I've Got Something To Say
02 - It's One Thing To Say It
03 - Nothing Can Separate Us
04 - Be The One
05 - Tested By Fire
06 - Higher Call
07 - Fall Into Place
08 - See Ya At The Party
09 - No Love Lost
10 - Never Out Of His Love

Al Denson - vocals
Brian Tankersley - keyboards, bass, drums
Joe Hogue - keyboards, bass, programming
Michael Hodge - guitars, backing vocals
Mark Baldwin, Jerry McPherson, Tom Hemby - guitars
Jackie Street - bass
Mark Hammond - drums
Phil Naish - keyboards
Jeff Gunn, Bonnie Keen, Gary Janney, Chris Rodriguez - backing vocals









AL DENSON - Be The One (1990)
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