Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993)

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

This Austin band one and only rare album (Private Release) has fetched ridiculous prices at auction sites in the past.

I have mixed feelings about this one. Sometimes gets me bored, sometimes I enjoy most the tracks.
They sound like a mix between FIREHOUSE, WORRALL and TALL STORIES to give you an idea, but not so 'commercial'.

The good thing about this band is the interesting structure of the songs, based on rock of course, but not the typically that you expect.
"Living In A Black And White Movie" has an articulated bridge sounding dangerously grunge, but it's very melodic and the song works.
I don't like "She's Got The Love".
But "Julia" is a great tune, one of the highlights here, melodic with tight vocal harmonies and strong guitar parts. A very very good song.
"People" is better than you might think at first listen. Acoustically layered, sounds a lot like NELSON. Good one.
"Mistake" is a simple rocker, but skillfully arranged, again, different from the usual in this genre.
"So Many Roads" is a slow-motion tune with very nice guitar solos and a sax part that fits the tune perfectly, complementing the 6 strings. I like this one, to listen with a bottle of bourbon in hand.

Very good and accurate production for an indie, the band took almost a year to record this disc, and everything sounds polished, good mixing as well.
"So Many Roads" was re-issued not so long ago, but ironically the transfer sounds flat compared to the original press by BillPaso Records.
This is a rip from the original 1993 release (not 1997 incorrectly announced in the reissue), including artwork.

01 - Intro
02 - Living In A Black And White Movie
03 - She's Got The Love
04 - Julia
05 - People
06 - She's Hopin'
07 - The Call
08 - Mistake
09 - I Can't See Tomorrow
10 - Night Games
11 - Don't Wanna Dance Alone
12 - So Many Roads

Brett Axelson - Lead vocals, bkg vocals, guitar
Mark Russell - Guitars, keyboards, bkg vocals
Brent Samperi - Bass, percussion, bkg vocals
Paul Schulz - Drums, percussion, bkg vocals

Guest Musicians:
Joe Morales - sax on 'So Many Roads'
Chip Bolan - keyboards
Theresa Tyll - girl on phone
John Viehweg - percussion, bkg vocals

DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993)

BIG TALK - Goin' Back (1993)

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

BIG TALK (not to be confused with the Swedes of the same name who released the album "Time Of Dreams") was a trio, also from Sweden.

They only published this rare single in 1993, with a limited release of 500 copies.
Actually, it was lead singer Rasmus Uhlin's vehicle to be known in his own country.
Then he starts a solo career with his band 'Rasmus and the Reckless', getting substantial acceptance as a Bryan Adams clone.

This 3 track single sounds, indeed, like Bryan, with a Scandi touch.
Straight-forward melodic rock with good vibe.
Very rare and hard to find.
Cool stuff.

1 - Goin' Back
2 - I Will Always Be Your Friend
3 - Down The Road

Rasmus Uhlin - Lead vocals, guitar, bkg vocals
Christer Johansson - Bass, bkg vocals
Robert Gustavsson - Drums, bkg vocals


Friday, August 27, 2010

DA VINCI - Unreleased 3rd (1987 - 1990)

DA VINCI - Unreleased
DA VINCI was one of the best Scandi AOR bands of all time.
Only 2 albums released, both filled with scorching tunes.
The group entered into studio and recorded the 3rd album in 1990.
But never was released... What happens in the middle?... A complete mystery.
They even put out a single as advance (tracks "Ain't No Goodbyes / "Blame It On The Radio", featured in my 'Most Wanted Scandi AOR Singles Ever Vol.2').

There's a compilation of these unreleased recordings, known as "The Lost Demos" or "Unfinished Business", shared here not so long ago by one of the greatest contributors of this blog: homer64.
But 5 tracks were missing.
Now, I made my own version including ALL the Da Vinci files.

The first 8 songs are taken from what should have been their 3rd album. Pre-production tracks with A+ quality sound.
The last 8 tracks are leftover demo material from their 2 first albums. Sadly, most of them are cut at the intros.
I've fixed all of them;
Intro fixed: tracks 9, 12, 13, 14, 15
Cracks: tracks 13, 15
Minor db jump fixed: track 10
Unbalanced channels: track 2
Besides, reduced the hiss and enhanced the sound a bit using my new toy; 'Analog Vitalizer MK2', a real cool vintage processor, totally 'eighty'.

All these songs are great IMHO, catchy keyboard-driven uptempo AOR tunes, just check "Breathless", "One Of A Kind" or "Where Eagles Die".
Beauty ballads, my favorites: "Won't Be The One", a late 80's Toto - style diamond. "You're The Only One" is in a David Foster style.
This band deserves a podium amongst the champions, on par with EUROPE, TREAT, BAD HABIT, SKAGARACK.
A must for scandi - AOR fans [like me].
Myself made art work.
Highly Recommended

01 - Blame It On The Radio
02 - Every Highway
03 - Breathless
04 - Ain't No Goodbyes
05 - How Many Miles
06 - Wait For You
07 - Won't Be The One
08 - Last Generations
09 - One Of A Kind
10 - Where Eagles Die
11 - Shadow Dance
12 - Close To The Edge Of A Brokenheart
13 - Electric Lady
14 - You're The Only One (The Light)
15 - Stand Up
16 - Action

Lars Aass - Vocals
Gunnar Westlie - Guitar
Bjørn Boge - Bass
Jarle Maaloy - Drums
Dag Selboskar - Keyboards


Monday, August 23, 2010

STEVE VAI - Alien Love Secrets [Japan release] (1997)

STEVE VAI -  Alien Love Secrets Japan release
Being a big instrumental album fan (especially guitar wizards), do not know why I've posted here only a couple of albums so far.
Well, this is one of my favorites. Of course "Passion & Warfare" is still his best in my opinion.
But this one is a killer, stripped-down, in your face recording. It was wrote and recorded in less than 6 weeks during the "Fire Garden" sessions.
On his own words: "The approach was to make it simple with no overdubs, just guitar on a silver platter, with bass, drums and minimal keyboards to fill out some sections. The songs were written and recorded without any deep rhyme or reason but each tune holds a significant aura. It was one of the easiest, most rewarding records I've made."

All songs are crazy, funny and jaw-dropping.
And includes the beautifully emotional "Tender Surrender", one of the best Vai's songs ever.

Unseen Japanese release (march, 1997), featuring the rare bonus track 'San-San-Nana-Byoushi' (translates to 'Three-Three-Seven-Rythm'). When you listen the song you'll understand the title.

01 - Bad Horsie
02 - Juice
03 - Die To Live *
04 - The Boy From Seattle *
05 - Ya-Yo Gakk #
06 - Kill The Guy With The Ball * / The God Eaters
07 - Tender Surrender +
08 - San-San-Nana-Byoushi (Japan bonus)

Steve Vai: All guitars, bass, keyboards, drum prog.
Deen Castronovo: drums on *, +
Tommy Mars: organ on +
Julian Vai: munchkin vocals on #


Saturday, August 21, 2010

LIAISON - Liaison (1989)

What 'Liaison' means? - Communication, co-operation, between two or more groups, working together.
And that's what the young Melby brothers (Tim & Lary) did here.
A great colection of superbly written songs.
They were born and raised in western North Dakota, and the Melby home was always filled with music, so Tim and Lary learned to play many musicial instruments at an early age.

A hallmark of this album is the top-notch production by Bill Baumgart (Idle cure, Chase), who also helped with the arrangements... and the hire of the monster session guys: musician's musician & teacher Michael Landau on guitars and the world-class drumming of Jeff Porcaro (TOTO).

The result is a glossy, harmony-filled album, to enjoy from start to finish.
Definitely a must for everybody who loves AOR/Westcoast music in the style of TOTO, White Heart, Giant, Richard Marx...
Sure, they are a christian band, but not praising all the time.

One of my '89 favorite albums, relatively easy to find on the web, but not @ this quality, including full artwork.
Highly Recommended

01 - When The Kingdom Comes Down
02 - You Are His Main Concern
03 - Go And Sin No More
04 - Man With A Mission
05 - The Way, The Truth, And Life
06 - Kick It Down
07 - The Light Is On
08 - He Lives
09 - Give Me One Day At A Time
10 - You've Got My Heart In Your Hands

Lary Melby: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards,
Tim Melby: Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Kelly Burns: Bass
Bill Baumgart: Producer, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Michael Landau: Guitars
Tim Heintz: Keyboards
David Koz: Sax
Jeff Porcaro: Drums

Liaison (1989)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

JOE PASQUALE - Prey (1991)

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

Who is this guy with a latin name?

Joe Pasquale is an accomplished producer and songwriter, and better than that, a terrific singer and keyboardist.
This complete musician of French origins has been playing and recording since the mid eighties as sessionist on various albums, in example; Mark Winkler works.
Prior to 'Prey', was the lead singer of "Boys Club", a great and unknown duo / band, releasing a wonderful album.

Seems Joe has some connections (and played for important names), as he managed to come up with an all star line-up to his debut (on a major label btw).
Teamed with master BRUCE GAITSCH in the songwriting of most of the songs (also a couple penned by Dianne Warren), we have here a bunch of terrific songs to boot.

Opener 'Circle Of Love' is pure Hi-Tech AOR heaven featuring awesome rhythm guitars by Gaitsch.
'Believin´ ' focuses on fantastic vocal harmonies ala NELSON's Because They Can era.
'Paint It Blue' ... what a song! Dianne Warren's trademark, top class chorus and unbelievable arrangements.
'Faith Of An Age' is another highlight, typical Gaitsch style. Great, Great one!
'On My Own' is a laid back acoustic, think the best EAGLES.
Title track is pretty atmospheric, TOTOished song with guitars by MICHAEL THOMPSON.
Balancing the album, 'Love And Medication' gets rockier, thanks to STEVE LUKATHER's impeccable guitar job.
'This Could Take All Night' goes to the poppy-westcoast style, great vocals.
And the last one... another gem. 'Deep In The Night' is a classic, classic, classic soft AOR tune. This is AOR guys, pure soft AOR.

Needless to say: Top notch production & recording job.
I love this album, a smooth, elegant, perfectly written and performed piece. Soft - AOR masterpiece if you ask me.
A Must Have in this style.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Circle Of Love
02 - Believin'
03 - Paint It Blue
04 - Faith Of An Age
05 - On My Own
06 - Prey
07 - Fool If You Think It's Over
08 - Love And Medication
09 - This Could Take All Night
10 - Deep In The Night

Joe Pasquale : vocals, bass, piano, synths, organ, drums
Bruce Gaitsch : guitars, songwriting
Steve Lukather : guitars
Michael Thompson : guitars
Vinnie Colauita, Art Wood : drums, percussion
Randy Waldman : bass
Randy Jackson : bass
Neil Stubenhaus : bass
Paulinho DaCosta : percussion
Dave Boruf : sax
Janey Clewer, Martika, Maxine Walters, Julia Waters, Susan Boyd, Lada Boder : backing vocals
... and many more ...