Friday, September 10, 2010

THE JAMES PROJECT - Desert Bloom (1996)

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

James Lawrence Berk is a gifted songwriter and arranger who has worked for numerous artists, commercials and films.
This background helped to locate top-notch musicians to crystallize his ambition: "The James Project", the recording of his own songs under his direction.
Besides, this is almost an 'unknown' B.E. Taylor solo album, as he carries most of the lead vocals here.

If you don't know about B.E. Taylor, the man has released 4 close to classic AOR albums in the eighties.
His vocal style is an amazing cross of Michael Bolton and Steve Perry , a truly excellent voice, clear and smooth.
The personnel includes ex members of Jonah Koslen, Three Dog Night, American Noise, Michael Stanley Band, Beau Coup, etc. Quality guaranteed.

Opener 'Love Is Forever' is a cool commercial song, a bit poppy but with a catchy chorus.
"I Don't Know How" is a good mid-tempo, followed by the warming "Can You Feel It", with a very good performance by Taylor.
But the real first monster track arrives with "Take Me To The River". Sounds like a song off THE STORM's debut, and B.E. like STEVE PERRY. Awesome track.

"Sorrow In Diguise" seems -at first glance- out of place on this album, but it's a really, really good tune, performed by Anne Cochran. She has a deep voice, and the song involves you into a tremendous groove.
"Tell Her I'm Home" is a pretty obvious ballad, but the unkown (to me) Gary Grimes sings well, very nice vocal timbre.
"Mend My Broken Heart" is a Benny Mardones' type song. John Salamon remembers me BJ Thomas at the mick. Maybe John Klayman's sax is too much present on the song for my tastes.

The following tracks are the best part of this recording: "Sooner Or Later" is a great duet, B.E. sounds almost exactly like MICHAEL BOLTON! (the good one).
"Matter Of Time" is gracious and sweet (another top vocal performance).
"Everything About You" steals the show, brillant AOR track. One of the highlights here. Guys, this is AOR.
Now, another pearl; "Take Good Care Of Her Heart" performed by BEAU COUP's leader, Frank Amato. It's great to hear him again. A BEAU COUP lost song! Excellent.
"Promised Land" is gorgeous, tell me if it doesn't sounds like a PRIDE OF LIONS / JIM PETERIK tune.

This is a criminally unknown album, one of the best 'projects' out there, soulful, cohesive and with terrific songwriting and performances.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Love Is Forever [Long Version] (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
02 - I Don't Know How (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
03 - Can You Feel It (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
04 - Take Me To The River (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
05 - Sorrow In Diguise (lead vocals: Anne Cochran)
06 - Tell Her I'm Home (lead vocals: Gary Grimes)
07 - Mend My Broken Heart (lead vocals: John Salamon)
08 - Sooner Or Later (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor & Sasha)
09 - Matter Of Time (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
10 - Everything About You (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
11 - Take Good Care Of Her Heart (lead vocals: Frank Amato)
12 - Promised Land (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)
13 - Love Is Forever [Single Version] (lead vocals: B.E. Taylor)

B.E. Taylor: Lead and Background Vocals
John Salamon: Lead Vocals
Gary Grimes: Lead Vocals
Kevin Raleigh: Lead and Background Vocals
Anne Cochran: Lead and Background Vocals
Frank Amato (Beau Coup): Lead Vocals
Ed Sarley: Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Robert Fraser: Acoustic Guitars
George Sipl (American Noise): Keyboards and Bass
Andy Kubiszewski: Drums and Percussion
James L. Berk: Programming
John Klayman, Mike Lee: Sax
Oliver Hairston: Background Vocals
Donnie Iris: Background Vocals
Peter Hewlett: Background Vocals
Sasha: Background Vocals

Produced by James L. Berk



troynew said...

Very enjoyable album, though I would politely take issue with your assessment that 'Everything About You' is the standout track and a textbook example of classy AOR.
That honor is reserved for 'Take Me To The River' imho which reminds me of Kansas' 'Play The Game Tonight' while 'Promised Land' echoes Stan Meissner's 'I'll Wait For You' rather than Pride Of Lions. I have Gary Grimes' 'Starhand Visions' album on CD somewhere which also includes the song 'Take Good Care Of Her Heart' (same lead vocalist). I'll post it should I ever come across it.

Camelblue said...

@ troynew:
Please post 'Starhand Visions'.
Agree with 'Take Me To The River' (Kansas reference). You're right!

Julius said...

A great find
Thanx man