Monday, July 26, 2010

AOR TREASURES Vol.4 - The Blasting Years 84 - 85

Closing the circle.
Great songs from 1984 to 1985, when the genre exploded and you could turn on the radio to listen good music.
As usual in this series, no bands belonging to major labels and mass distribution (SURVIVOR, LOVERBOY), and not subgenres like scandi, westcoast, etc.

Perhaps many feel that I've left out lots of good bands / tracks, I have tried to select the most representative of those years.
Or maybe consider that some actually belong to the Melodic Rock area, in my book, all these songs are AOR-Rock monsters.
The premise here is; tons of keyboards, huge choruses and big guitars.

Mostly ripped from remastered CD's.
REFUGEE's first album was transferred from vinyl (not from the master tapes) by the reissue label. Has a good sound anyway.
This '85 version of CRYSTAL's "Piece Of My Heart" never was released on CD, it is the only track ripped from vinyl here, but sounds million bucks.
Get your AOR dose now...

01 - Van Zant : 2 + 2 (1985)
02 - Fortune : Thrill Of It All (1985)
03 - Urgent (USA) : Running Back (1984)
04 - Giuffria : Lonely In Love (1984)
05 - Refugee : Exiles In The Dark (1985)
06 - Franke & The Knockouts : So Cool (1984)
07 - Coney Hatch : Fantasy (1985)
08 - Little River Band : Playing To Win (1984)
09 - Strangeways : Power Play (1984)
10 - Dakota : Runaway (1984)
11 - Orion The Hunter : So You Ran (1984)
12 - Sharx : Maybe [We Lost Our Love] (1985)
13 - Crystal : Piece Of My Heart (1985)
14 - Urgent (Canada) : Killer Love (1984)
15 - Honeymoon Suite : Words In The Wind (1985)
16 - White Sister : Can't Say No (1984)
17 - Duke Jupiter : Dancin' On The Ice (1985)
18 - Shooting Star : Don't Walk Away (1985)

Back Tray preview, CLICK HERE:

Vol.4 - The Blasting Years 84 / 85 - NEW LINK

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

RALPH GRAHAM And DAY III - No Alternative (1996)

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

This christian (California based) band one and only album is a very rare and unknown indie that deserved to be listened by AOR fans.
Most of these songs are thoughtful and warm, with loads of harmonies, with the typical christian theme / edge.
The music has it's roots set firmly in the eighties, so obviously the album title not only refers to religion.

Opener 'Through The Fire' is a simply beautiful, catchy tune.
'Blinded' bristle with energy, with a killer chorus to die for. A highlight for sure.
I really like the moody approach of 'Love And War', and the low paced tempo of 'Help Me' which has westcoast leanings.
'Slippin' Away' rocks good again (although I don't like some vocoder parts) with a melting guitar solo.
The AOR drama of 'Cry Of The Children' is another album high point, as it is the smooth appeal of 'It's Your Love'.
End track 'I Want To Know' is a personal favorite, I don't know why, but reminds me a STRANGEWAYS song. Excellent.

A very nice slab of christian rock, a well put together collection of songs, and for the most part, they are all strong that I'm scratching my head trying to find a weak one.
Don't miss this one. BIG thanks to my friend totalaor !
Highly Recommended

01 - Intro
02 - Through The Fire
03 - Blinded
04 - Love And War
05 - Help Me
06 - No Tomorrow
07 - Slippin' Away
08 - Cry Of The Children
09 - It's Your Love
10 - Right
11 - I Want To Know



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

DVC - DVC (1981)

DVC DVC 1981
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Formed in the USA in 1980, D V C's main attention was focused on the fact that drummer John Bolin is the younger brother of the late Tommy Bolin (DEEP PURPLE).
This brought substantial press coverage and the band got a deal with Alfa Records (a CBS subsidiary).
The group's 1981 self-titled debut also included a Tommy Bolin's 'Teaser' cover version, heavily played by radio stations across the country. I like D V C's version of 'Teaser' much more than the original from T. Bolin's LP, and it tops Motley Crue's 1989 version too.
But the winner here is opener 'Let Me Be Your Fantasy', a really good early '80s AOR tune, highly radiable and contagious.
The rest of the disc is more midwestern AOR-Rock / radio-poppy oriented, featuring an interesting dual guitar interplay between Forest and Bartle, and accurate vocal performances.

D V C toured extensively supporting VAN HALEN, JOHN 'COUGAR' MELLENCAMP and DARE FORCE, recording in-between their second LP, but abruptly the label deal and the upcoming '82 tour fell apart.
The group disbanded shortly after, and Johnnie Bolin joined DARE FORCE (Makin' Our Own Rules).
This is a cool album, sounds a little bit outdated, but it's a clear example of the seminal AOR scene.
Hard to find, ripped from the 2007 bootleg CD edition.

01 - Let Me Be Your Fantasy
02 - Goosebumps
03 - Turning
04 - Ain't That The Way It Goes
05 - Teaser
06 - Go For It
07 - Now I See It
08 - Stop Foolin' Around
09 - Baby Wants More
10 - Terrified

Bob Forest : guitar, vocals
John Bartle : guitar, vocals
Max Padilla : bass
John "Johnnie" Bolin : drums

DVC - DVC (1981)


Monday, July 12, 2010

JOHN VERITY - Interrupted Journey (1983)

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

John Verity's info can be found on a previous post (his 2nd solo album) HERE
This is his first album, a guitar oriented collection of songs, some new, some unfinished from other projects.
UK artist, but this music is commercial and melodic specifically oriented to the US market: big arena guitars, anthemic choruses and good doses of keyboards.
A great blend of powerful guitar hard rockers with American AOR.

My favorites are the AOR oriented tracks:
'Just Another Day (In The Life Of A Fool)', a mix of american / british sound.
The best song here; 'Love Is Blind' sounds like the americans BALANCE, pure AOR tune.
'It's Coming Right' is another classic mid-tempo AOR track with huge choruses.
A very melodic side can be heard on 'In The Arms Of Someone Else' (written by Mike Rutherford), nice harmonies and keyboard laden.
The sharper, hard rockin' songs: 'Are You Ready For This' (Y&T comes in mind), the urgent opener 'Rescue Me', 'You're The Loser' (a powerful guitar rocker with live audience overdubs in the mix) and the really cool 'Chippin' Away At The Stone'.
The album closes with a very good guitar power ballad: 'Fallin´'.

A perfectly balanced album, skillfully produced, and pretty unknown to the big audience.
Highly Recommended
Hard to find Remastered CD version only available at JV website.

01 - Rescue Me
02 - Just Another Day
03 - Stay With Me Baby
04 - Love Is Blind
05 - Are You Ready For This
06 - Your The Loser
07 - It's Coming Right
08 - Chippin' Away At The Stone
09 - In The Arms Of Someone Else
10 - Fallin'

Lead and Backing Vocals, Guitars : John Verity
Bass : Terry Uttley, David Wintour
Bass Pedals : Mike Rutherford
Drums : Bob Henrit, Steve Rodford
Keyboards : Rod Argent, Andy Clark, Richard Cottle
Backing Vocals : Rod Argent, Russ Ballard,
Chris Norman, Alan Silson, Terry Uttley

JOHN VERITY - Interrupted Journey CD

Thursday, July 08, 2010

ANDY FRASER - Fine Fine Line (1984)

ANDY FRASER - Fine Fine Line
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

ANDY FRASER was the bassist of the original line-up of British Classic Rock heroes FREE and is one of the co-writers of their smash hit "All Right Now".
After his departure from FREE in 1972, Fraser first founded SHARKS and then continued as session player for artists such as Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart and Paul Young amongst others.
Later, he released 2 albums with THE ANDY FRASER BAND.

"Fine, Fine Line" is his first 'real solo' album.
A real 'fine' recording, consistent song collection.
Ranging from stylized rock&pop tunes ("Danger", "Chinese Eyes") to mid-eighties AOR tracks like "Branded By The Fire" and the title track, both real gems.
Another highlights: "Night To Last Forever" and "Living This Eternal Dream".
Andy himself together with his partner Bob Marlette wrote and produced most of the songs. Top session monster Michael Thompson took over the guitar duties.

Remastered CD copy, don't miss this one.
A Recommended Listen.

01 - Fine Fine Line
02 - Branded By The Fire
03 - Chinese Eyes
04 - Knocking At Your Door
05 - Million Miles Away
06 - Do You Love Me
07 - Night To Last Forever
08 - Danger
09 - One Night Love Affair
10 - Living This Eternal Dream

Andy Fraser : Vocals, Bass
Bob Marlette : Keyboards
Michael Thompson : Guitars
Davey Faragher : Bass
Tony Braunagel : Drums


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

AOR TREASURES - The Seminal Years 80 - 83

Already it has been three years since I did my first compilations for this site.
The aim was to introduce some uncommon AOR / Melodic Rock bands and encourage readers to explore this genre.
But I'd only covered the years 1986 to 1993 across two volumes.

Well, I have taken up the idea and it's fair completing the circle with all those who 'started all' at the beginning of the glorious decade (1980-1983), also with a forthcoming volume covering the 84-85 period.
Again, no major acts like Survivor, Journey, etc.

Years have passed and today it's pretty easy to get material from these bands browsing the web.
But not always ripped at highest CD quality and most of them from remastered reissues.
DVC was never officially released on CD, but this rip is from the bootleg edition that sounds really good.
Other bands difficult to find on CD are CALL ME and VERITY's debut.

As said, absolute classics, 320K CD rips, the vast majority remastered.
Load your iPod or your car stereo with these wonderful songs and rock 'til you drop!

01 - Aldo Nova - Fantasy (1982)
02 - Balance - I'm Through Loving You (1981)
03 - ArcAngel - Tragedy (1983)
04 - Preview - Open Your Heart (1983)
05 - Prism - Wired (1982)
06 - Hughes-Thrall - The Look In Your Eye (1982)
07 - Call Me - Running Out Of Love (1981)
08 - Alliance - Make It Right (1982)
09 - Shelter - On The Line (1983)
10 - Le Roux - Lifeline (1983)
11 - Harlequin - Innocence (1980)
12 - Grand Prix - Give Me What's Mine (1982)
13 - i-TEN - Time To Say Goodbye (1983)
14 - Thrills - You Don't Remember Me (1981)
15 - D V C - Let Me Be Your Fantasy (1981)
16 - RPM - Firestarter (1982)
17 - Streets - So Far Away (1983)
18 - Verity - Love Is Blind (1983)

Back Tray preview, CLICK HERE:

AOR TREASURES - The Seminal Years - NEW LINK