Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RICHARD PAGE - Acoustic EP (1996)

RICHARD PAGE - Acoustic EP (1996)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

The talented Richard Page was the soul (and founder member) of 80's favorites Mr. Mister.

Earlier, he was part of the now classic Westcoast AOR duo Pages, and wrote & backed up vocals for REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Rick Springfield, to name a few.
After Mr. Mister, Page even where offered to be lead singer in Toto and Chicago, but decided to pursue a solo career, releasing his first solo recording in 1996, the critically acclaimed 'Shelter Me', which contains terrific elegant AOR songs.

As promotion for the release, a limited edition free CD including a bunch of acoustic versions from the album (plus a new, personal version of Mr. Mister's classic "Broken "Wings") was given to customers who bought 'Shelter Me'.
The recording company put a scratch mark thru the barcode, to note which ones were to be given away. Customers were allowed to purchase copies which weren't marked.

RICHARD PAGE - Acoustic EP (1996) back cover

Over the years, this "Acoustic EP" has become a collector's item.
But apart from its rarity status, the good thing about these acoustic versions is their quality.
Trust me, Richard Page's velvety vocals never sounded better than here. All tracks are pure AOR heaven, perfectly performed & recorded.
Uber Rare, and of course, A Must Have.

01 - Broken Wings (Acoustic)
02 - The Best Thing (Acoustic)
03 - A Simple Life (Acoustic)
04 - Even The Pain (Acoustic)
05 - Shelter Me (Acoustic)

Richard Page: vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, lyrics
James Harrah: guitar
John Pierce: bass
Denny Fongheiser: drums, percussion
Kim Bullard: producer / engineer
Steve George, John Lang: lyrics (1)
Marc Jordan: lyrics (2)
Jon Lind: lyrics (3)
GRP Records - BTDM-3095
Packaging: Paper Sleeve

RICHARD PAGE - Acoustic EP 1996

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 2; Fast Stuff (1995)

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 2; Fast Stuff (1995)

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 2; Fast Stuff (1995) notes
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Venice is a band comprised of two sets of brothers, Michael and Mark Lennon and Pat and Kipp Lennon. They are cousins who were born and raised in Venice Beach, California and they have been a staple on the California Club scene for years.

They are known for their incredible 4 part harmonies and live shows.
For more info about the band check the previous post of them HERE

"Garage Demos" are two CD's released by the band independently, including songs recorded between 1989-1995.
These aren't demo-sounding tracks at all, the band just picked the "Garage Demos" name for the double set to aware their fans that these songs/takes were previously unreleased.

The band's more rockin' side full of melody is what you will find here. Not easy to see CD.
Highly Recommended

01 - The Water
02 - Bleeding (live)
03 - Circus In Town
04 - Time On My Hands (live)
05 - Get Out
06 - World Upon My Back
07 - In July
08 - Twenty Words Or Less
09 - My Woman
10 - I'll Be Drivin' (live)
11 - My Own House
12 - Hard Life
13 - If I Were You

Kipp Lennon - Vocals
Mark Lennon - Vocals
Michael Lennon - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Pat Lennon - Vocals, Guitars
Monroe Jones, Paul Mirkovich - Keyboards
Mark Harris - Bass
Scott Crago - Drums & Percussion

VENICE Garage Demos 2 Fast Stuff

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 1; Slow Stuff (1995)

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 1; Slow Stuff (1995)

VENICE - Garage Demos Part 1; Slow Stuff (1995) notes
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Venice is a band comprised of two sets of brothers, Michael and Mark Lennon and Pat and Kipp Lennon. They are cousins who were born and raised in Venice Beach, California and they have been a staple on the California Club scene for years.

They are known for their incredible 4 part harmonies and live shows.
For more info about the band check the previous post of them HERE

"Garage Demos" are two CD's released by the band independently, including songs recorded between 1989-1995.
These aren't demo-sounding tracks at all, the band just picked the "Garage Demos" name for the double set to aware their fans that these songs/takes were previously unreleased.

Beautiful harmonies on songs full of melody is what you will find here. Not easy to see CD.
Highly Recommended

01 - Bad Timing Song
02 - Rivers Never Run
03 - Circle of Life
04 - The Girl in 204 (Live)
05 - The Only Love I Had
06 - Charm You
07 - Shy Moon
08 - Washington & Lincoln
09 - Again
10 - Long Fall
11 - Comes It Now
12 - Very Real

Kipp Lennon - Vocals
Mark Lennon - Vocals
Michael Lennon - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Pat Lennon - Vocals, Guitars
Monroe Jones, Paul Mirkovich - Keyboards
Mark Harris - Bass
Scott Crago - Drums & Percussion

VENICE Garage Demos 1 Slow Stuff

Monday, December 19, 2011

ICON - Night Of The Crime [Rock Candy 2005 remaster] (1985)

ICON - Night Of The Crime [Rock Candy 2005 remaster] (1985)

ICON - Night Of The Crime [Rock Candy 2005 remaster] back
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

ICON's "Night Of The Crime" is a cult classic album, rated as one of the best rockin' AOR / Melodic Hard Rock albums of all time in an early Kerrang Magazine survey.
And I can only agree. In fact, this is my favourite album of ALL times.
Yes, there's many magnificent and/or groundbreaking recordings in rock history, but being myself particularly fan of the AOR/MR/HR genres, "Night Of The Crime" is a goldmine, in all aspects.

First of all, comprises like-no-other in one single disc all these 80's musical styles with class. Icon were many steps above than the rest in their songwriting abilities, helped here by the talented Bob Halligan Jr. who co-wrote no less than six of the ten songs on the album.
You have stunning AOR rockers with massive keyboards such as "Naked Eyes", "Missing" or the awesome mid-tempo "Frozen Tears".
If you want lush melodic rockers check out the irresistible "Danger Calling", "Shot At My Heart" or "Raise The Hammer".
And there's more; "Hungry For Love" is a melodic+hard gem, "Out For Blood" is pure double-lead guitar American eighties Hard Rock, the 'hair' style is covered on "Hungry For Love" and on the superb (just perfect) "The Whites Of Their Eyes". Even the 'arena rock anthem' is represented with "Rock My Radio".
"Night Of The Crime" is a perfect compendium of all these sub-genres that ruled the middle of the glorious decade.

Second reason; the musicianship is out of this world.
Vocalist Stephen Clifford has a dynamic, powerful range reaching impossible octaves, the bass is fat, round and precise, Pat Dixon's drumming agile & smashing (both contribute to the excellent harmony vocal arrangements) and John Aquilino's lead guitars are melodic yet punchy, with a rich tone.
But the 'brain' of this exciting band is the skillful Dan Wexler. This underrated musician is the orchestrator here; his guitar riffs, sublime keyboards and the great use of the synth guitar (unusual in this kind of material) are the foundation of the band's style.
Discovered by Alice Cooper (who helped to get Icon's signed by Capitol Rec.) while he was still in high school in Arizona and playing in the first incarnation of the band (The Schoolboys), Dan has played, written and arranged songs anonymously for many major acts during the 80's & 90's.

An then you have another remarkable aspect: this is how a rock album SHOULD SOUND.
Produced by legend Eddie Kramer (Kiss, Hendrix, Beatles) who has provided a polished, glazed, brilliant sound, and mixed & engineered by the best of all times: Mr. Ron Nevison (Survivor, Led Zeppelin, Heart, Damn Yankees), "Night Of The Crime" is sound-wise, one of the best representation of the eighties (again).

Still remember when I bought the cassette at the end of '85. Incredibly, it was released in my country (at a time when anything metal-related was ignored here) attracted by the cover artwork.
After the first listen I was in Heaven with my jaw hanging. Immediately bought the vinyl, then the CD a couple years after. Of course the Axe Killer (a small French label) 2000's re-edition as well and finally the superb Rock Candy remaster.
That's why I am posting this diamond here, as many people are asking if this final edition worth the purchase. The answer is definitively Yes!
The Rock Candy edition was 'really' remastered from the master tapes with a sharper, perfectly balanced sound, really close to the warm vinyl harmonics.
Seems it has become pretty scarce now, so if you find it at a fair price go and get it with your eyes closed.

I never rate an album or the artistic talent of a band/musician (who I am to do it), just like it or not.
This time, I'll take a little license; "Night Of The Crime" is a 10/10.

01 - Naked Eyes
02 - Missing
03 - Danger Calling
04 - Shot At My Heart
05 - Out For Blood
06 - Raise The Hammer
07 - Frozen Tears
08 - The Whites Of Their Eyes
09 - Hungry For Love
10 - Rock My Radio

Stephen Clifford - Vocals
John Aquilino - Guitars
Dan Wexler - Guitars, Keyboards, Synth Guitar
Tracy Wallach - Bass, Backing Vocals
Pat Dixon - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SHARP EDGES - Slice Of Life (1983)

SHARP EDGES - Slice Of Life (1983)
SHARP EDGES were a Canadian AOR band that sadly only released this miniLP in 1983. Only 6 tracks but all good, contagious tunes with the unmistakable 80's sound.
Mixing commercial radio friendly choruses with rockin' AOR, these guys were really, really good.

"On The Edge" is a semi-midtempo with and action-movie cadence, filled with stabbing keyboards and solid percussion. Dave Filchak's vocals are perfect, reminding me Larry Greene (Fortune), while Tom Lang plays a short but sharp guitar solo.
"Too Young" has a pure AOR-rock attack. Here Lang takes the mic and he is really good singing too! His guitar lines and specially the swirling keyboards are a must.
"Runaway" is a catchy version of Del Shannon classic (well done), and follower "Girl On The Airwaves" has a radio-rock approach wrapped with great harmony vocals. The slightly Hi-Tech style of "Schizophrenia" definitely has the typical Canadian AOR sound with 'that' drums.
"City Boy" is a another winner, an uptempo rockin' AOR with a great refrain and constant catchiness.

Crisply produced by Canadian guru Ed Stasium (Vixen, Ratt), "Slice Of Life" is a great CanCon AOR representation of the first half of the eighties. It's catchy, melodic and fun.
This file was taken from the CD edition by a small Dutch label, transferred with a truly good sound quality. Seems there's a newly CD re-issue, including an extra track and a couple of remixes.
Highly Recommended to any AOR fan.

01 - On The Edge
02 - Too Young
03 - Runaway
04 - Girl On The Airwaves
05 - Schizophrenia
06 - City Boy

Dave Filchak - Guitar, Vocals
Tom Lang - Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Dan Zimmerman - Bass
George Klimow - Drums
John Webster - guest Keyboards

SHARP EDGES - Slice Of Life (1983)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

AOR TREASURES - Demo Projekt Vol.2 (2011)

Second 'Demo Projekt' installment, including some tracks already known by many collectors, some others not.
A2A has recorded an interesting collection of instrumental demos based on oodles of keyboards. The rare edit version of "No Return" is really cool.
Swedish session vocalist Andy Eklund joined wizard Tommy Denander during the nineties for a melodic rock project that never saw the light, but their demos were shared hand to hand by Scandinavian fans.
Swedes Alyson Avenue had better luck, as they recorded their debut in 2000, but were fighting in the underground for years. This good demo was recorded around '92.
I don't know what happened with the band Room Service, as their track "Running Away From It All" is excellent. It even appeared in a demo compilation released by an indie label, but then vanished without a trace.

One of my favorites here is "Don't Give Up" by Cold Heart. This is a great band with so good material that I am thinking to make an exclusive post with their mega rare unreleased pre-production album.
Not sure if "Make Me Baby" by Mariner was officially recorded and released by the band, but certainly this is a demo take. It doesn't matter, it's a very good 80's track and deserves to be here.
One of the gems in this compilation is the uber rare version of "Eye Of The Tiger" recorded by Survivor with former MSG frontman Robin McAuley when Jim Jamison left the band. This joint-venture lasted few months and this is one of the only 3 demos they recorded together.
And there's more interesting tracks, all with a restoring audio job by me to get the best of them.
More to come soon...

01 - A2A - No Return
02 - Andy Eklund & Tommy Denander - Don't You Know
03 - Room Service - Running Away From It All
04 - Alyson Avenue - Walk Away
05 - Cold Heart - Don't Give Up
06 - Sapphire Eyes - I Want You To See Me
07 - Craaft - Highway
08 - Jump - Dreamin'
09 - Mariner - Make Me Baby
10 - A.O.K. - Call Me
11 - House Of Lords - Angel Of The City
12 - Adrenalin - Heaven's A Crime
13 - Survivor (Robin McAuley vocals) - Eye Of The Tiger
14 - John Waite - Standing In The Shadow (demo version)
15 - Peter Yttergren - Emilie
16 - Vince DiCola & Stan Bush - No Risk, No Glory
17 - Bill Champlin - Leap Of Faith
18 - Garrison - Never Let It Go
19 - Shining Line - The Best Thing Inside Of Me
20 - Jaded Heart - Burst Into Tears

For a back cover preview, CLICK HERE:

AOR TREASURES - Demo Projekt Vol.2

Friday, December 02, 2011

BRUCE HIBBARD - Never Turnin' Back [CD re-edition] (1980)

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

A nice request to fulfill.

Bruce Hibbard's "Never Turnin' Back" sits easily amongst the best West Coast AOR albums in my collection, and undoubtedly it's one of the more purist recordings in the genre. Despite Hibbard's CCM origins, the lyrics are pretty straightforward.

This customer at Amazon describes perfectly what I think about this little gem:
"The CD starts out right out of the gate with the sprightly title cut, and doesn't let up until the final note of "We Are All His Children." If this CD were released in secular radio in its day, it would have sponsored Top 10 singles for three years.
This is one of my favorite CDs of a collection of hundreds, spanning 25 years or so of CCM and secular music!
I could try as I do with other CDs to mention three to five favorite cuts, but it is not possible with 'Never Turnin' Back'. It is THAT good!

Agree completely. All tracks are pure AOR breezin', exquisitely performed and produced. Bruce sings like an angel and the session musicians are top notch, including the great Hadley Hockensmith on guitars.
Reissued on CD by a specialized Japanese label not so long ago, it seems out of print right now. The digital transfer and mastering is first rate, with a warm sound.
Don't miss this delicatessen.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Never Turnin' Back
02 - Calling
03 - You'll Never Let Me Go
04 - It's A Shame
05 - You're So Good To Me
06 - Forgiven
07 - Straight And Narrow
08 - All Of Me
09 - Love Will Always Make A Way
10 - We Are All His Children

Bruce Hibbard: vocals, keyboards
Hadley Hockensmith: guitars
Dean Parks: guitars
Harlan Rogers: keyboards
Bill Maxwell: drums
Bryan Duncan, Randy Thomas, Kelly Willard: backing vocals


Sunday, November 27, 2011

HOBIN - Keepin' The Dream Alive (1982)

Todd HOBIN - Keepin' The Dream Alive (1982)
Todd Hobin, from Syracuse, New York, has been around for a a while. Singer, guitarist and songwriter of his own band, Todd's first self titled release date from 1978.
He still performs with the original Todd Hobin Band and as solo artist, but stopped recording since 1985 when 'Turn It On" (already featured HERE on this blog) hit the stores.
Prior to this one, 1982's "Keepin' The Dream Alive" - released under his last name - also includes some nice AOR radio friendly tunes typical of the era.

Opens with pompy title track "Keepin' The Dream Alive", a solid track with good guitars, keys and a wonderful refrain. The inclusion of searing sax lines enhances the track greatly.
Next song "I Ain't Got No Money" is a little and inoffensive rocker that reminds me Robert Berry's Hush, but follower "Lost Without Your Love" is a very good AOR track with awesome harmony vocals, a catchy song that also features an interesting and original middle section instrumentation.
"How Do I Kiss You?" is more poppy AOR oriented but with an irresistible catchiness, polished sound and a hooky chorus.

On the convincing "Talkin' Like A Fool" Hobin sounds like Rick Springfield circa Working Class Dog, whilst "Jealousy" has an early Loverboy vibe. Both fine tracks.
"Tonight (I Wanna Be Lonely)" is a melodic semi-ballad with tuneful vocals by Hobin and candy-floss keyboards ala Franke & The Knockouts. Certainly a goodie.
The ethereal instrumental "Aria For K.T." (mixed with the main title "Keepin' The Dream Alive" reprise) precedes the Le Roux's influenced AOR of "No Words". This is a classy sounding and arranged slow tune that grows on you vividly.

"Keepin' The Dream Alive" is a pretty obscure album released through the indie label Aries Records including really good AOR songs mixed with some fine rock&pop numbers. In short; a typical lovely early 80's American Rock record.
It's nicely produced and very well performed and arranged, a truly enjoyable record.
Vinyl rip restored by myself some years ago (not with my present quality standards but sounds really good) including artwork.

01 - Keepin' The Dream Alive
02 - I Ain't Got No Money
03 - Lost Without Your Love
04 - How Do I Kiss You
05 - Let It Roll
06 - Talkin' Like A Fool
07 - Jealousy
08 - Tonight (I Wanna Be Lonely)
09 - Keepin' The Dream Alive (Reprise) + Aria For K.T.
10 - No Words

Todd Hobin: lead vocals, synths, guitar, piano, percussion
Doug Moncrief: Piano, synths, bass, backing vocals
Bruce Fowler: guitars, backing vocals
Shawn Hobin: drums, backing vocals
John Kane: tenor sax
Peter Mack: string bass
Vince Taft: percussion
Mark Doyle: bass, synth bass, clavinet, guitar, backing vocals, producer

HOBIN - Keepin' The Dream Alive

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

VENICE - 2nd Album (1990)

VENICE - 2nd Album (1990)
Today it's time for a personal favorite: Venice 2nd album.
Not strictly AOR, nor strictly Melodic Rock, but all englobed at the same time, into a lush Classic Rock package.

Comprised of cousins Kipp and Michael Lennon and their respective brothers Pat and Mark Lennon, this quartet from Venice, California, spreads quality to the 4 cardinal points.
Often compared with The Eagles, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, this compliment is more than deserved.
Based on fantastic vocal harmonies and crisp and clean instrumentation without compromising rockin' consistency, their music is a bliss of musicality.

This is the best Venice album in my opinion, offering a varied section of tunes from bubbling rockers as the irresistible "All My Life" (which reminds me my loved Nelson), "Time" and "Kaylee" to the charming ballads "Change In The Season" or the perfect harmony-filled "Hideaway Hill", this band hasn't any single weak moment.
Known for their social consciousness, Venice also give us interesting lyrics on "People Laugh" (which draws attention to the subject of AIDS) and "Ocean", written about the polluted Santa Monica Bay.
If you don't know Venice the band, it's time to fill that gap.
Highly Recommended.

01 - All My Life
02 - Sacrifice The Fool
03 - Mr.Lonely
04 - Change In The Season
05 - Kaylee
06 - Pushed Her Too Far
07 - Time
08 - Ocean
09 - People Laugh
10 - Save The Legion
11 - Hideaway Hill
12 - Ball & Chain

Kipp Lennon - Lead Vocals
Mark Lennon - Lead Vocals
Michael Lennon - Guitars & Vocals
Pat Lennon - Guitars & Vocals
Monroe Jones - Keyboards
Mark Harris - Bass
Scott Crago - Drums & Percussion

VENICE 2nd Album 1990


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

VINCI - Vinci (1995)

VINCI - Vinci (1995) melodic hard rock aor
VINCI is a studio Melodic Hard Rock project devised by German multi-instrumentalist Tom Blendinger.
Session musician and producer, the first self-titled 'Vinci' album was Tom's culmination of three years working in his own studio. For the lead vocals Blendinger called singer Wolfgang Riegal who used to be part of the earlier encarnation of Victory.

"Vinci" is a surprisingly good Melodic Hard Rock album in the Euro style, musically in the line of other German acts such as Casanova or Javan, Swedes Amaze Me and to a lesser degree, mid-era MSG, partly due to the McAuley-esque vocals of Wolfgang.
"The Shooter", "One" and "Get Your Wings" are fine and melodic numbers, not exempt of many AOR harmonies, as the nice midtempo ballad "What About You".
Tom Blendinger is a very good performer particularly on his main instrument, the guitar, building the songs over strong riffs and melodic solos. Good use of the keyboards too, orchestrating the whole Vinci's sound.

Tom Blendinger has released independently an instrumental album under Vinci's moniker, but seems a new MHR oriented CD with a new vocalist is scheduled for 2012.
"Vinci" is a good, catchy album, released by the legendary and now defunct label Long Island Records.
Out of print.

1. The Shooter
2. Get Your Wings
3. Smell of Spring
4. Sixth Sense
5. Chance of Life
6. 1999
7. One
8. What About You
9. Good Times
10. Love's a Jailer
11. Welcome Home

Wolfgang Riegel - Lead & Backing Vocals
Tom Blendinger - All Instruments, Backing Vocals

VINCI 1995

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MARCEL McARTHUR - Don't Turn Around (1987)

MARCEL McARTHUR - Don't Turn Around (1987)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Marcel McArthur developed his initial artistic years in the Netherlands as frontman of the short-lived band 'Lose To Win'.

By '84 released his first solo album 'Face The Music' in Germany, while his 2nd and last "Don't Turn Around" (1987) was published not only in Europe, but in the USA one year later.

Christian artist as you may note from the song titles, on "Don't Turn Around" McArthur's style is typically eighties blending rock&pop and contemporary (CCM) with some smooth WestCoast and AOR.
The first tracks does not much for me, such as the poppy & gospel "Love Is Catching On", followed by the commercial sounding and light "I Rejoice" (good guitar solo) and then the boring "Sometimes They Call Me Father".
"Remember Who I Am" is a gentle midtempo rock&pop and things get better with the little rock of "Lost".

The good stuff here is on the 'Side B'.
"Don't Turn Around" is my favorite, a cheap action-movie lite AOR number with synth attack, marching rhythm and catchy refrain.
"He'll Be There" is a good commercial aorish ballad, one of the best vocally performed tracks here.
"Praise To The King" has a smooth westcoast sound, "Jesus Is The Way" is a nice uptempo pop/gospel tune with good arrangements, while last track is a powerful piano ballad very well composed and performed, again with a westcoast scent and some crooner touches.

"Don't Turn Around" - produced by McArthur's itself - it's a nice recording with some interesting and good songs, particularly on the second half. Marcel is preaching most the time, but his mellifluous voice is really pleasant to listen.
Not essential by any means, but obscure and rare as Hell (oops!).

Ripped from the even more rare CD copy. A collector's item for sure.

01 - Love Is Catching On
02 - I Rejoice
03 - Sometimes They Call Me Father
04 - Remember Who I Am
05 - Lost
06 - Don't Turn Around
07 - He'll Be There
08 - Praise To The King
09 - Jesus Is The Way
10 - Here I Am

Marcel McArthur : Vocals, production
Personnel : Unlisted / unknown


Monday, November 07, 2011

LOREN HARRIET - Round Up The Usual Suspects (1995)

LOREN HARRIET - Round Up The Usual Suspects (1995)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Loren Harriet is a name that doesn't ring a bell among general rock fans, but this executive producer and musician has been behind several major music projects.

By 1993, the man had the chance to set aside the concerning aspects of the business, and go for his guilty pleasure; his artistic side as musician.

"Round Up The Usual Suspects" is his one and only album, and as you could imagine, heavy weight musicians were part of the recording.
If Loren's name is unknown to you, I'm sure Bill Champlin, Michael Landau, Timothy B. Schmit or Leland Sklar are not.
This stellar line-up (check personnel below) really shine on these quality westcoast/AOR tunes. Some tracks are more classic rock&pop oriented, but with an aorish flavor all over.
Harriet's vocals aren't the strongest, but all the time he's cleverly supported by monsters like Champlin (on 3 tracks), Schmit, Nicolette Larson, Jay Winding, Vonda Shepard... you can't go wrong with these gorgeous throats.
Musically all the songs are impeccable, and even on the few weakest tracks the musicianship is really good, particularly Michael Landau's awesome guitars.

Originally released as promo in 1993, "Round Up The Usual Suspects" was finally published two years after in small quantities.

01 - What Do You Really
02 - Just A Matter Of Mind
03 - Native Son
04 - Be Strong
05 - Loyal Friend
06 - Do You Believe
07 - Stand And Fight
08 - Living A Lie
09 - Strange Man
10 - All The Way
11 - El Dorado
12 - Friends

LOREN HARRIET - Round Up The Usual Suspects (1995)tracks

LOREN HARRIET - Round Up The Usual Suspects

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

STINGRAY - Revisited Re-Mastered (1979-2009)

STINGRAY - Revisited Re-Mastered (1979-2009)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

From the atypical land for pompy AOR, Stingray was the first South African band to play this genre.

Their first self-titled album, heavily influenced by Boston, Journey, Queen and a bit of early Survivor, scored the local hit "Better The Devil You Know" reaching #4 in the South African radio charts, which was also played in several European countries, specially Germany.

Aside from the pomp keyboards and style, their music has a strong Melodic Rock feel on many tracks, as on the fabulous opener "Better The Devil You Know", a catchy tune with a fantastic chorus.
Follower "The Man In My Shoes" has an earlier Boston influence, from the vocal harmonies to the melodic line. A killer track.
If the previous song had some Boston scent, wait to hear "Same Old Party". Layers and layers of terrific harmony vocals, swirling keyboards and a monster contagious chorus makes this song a favorite.

"Breakdown" has a melodic Survivor feel, while "Devotion" is a Journey-esque midtempo with some proggy AOR elements.
"Where Do We Go From Here" is another favorite. Again influenced by Boston but essentially by Queen due the great vocal arrangements.
Another great one is the classy "Love Saver" where the guitar work resembles Brian May. On "Whole Lotta Fire" they rock a bit harder in the late '70s American style.
"Lucy" is a superb pure pomp AOR ballad based on electric keys, where the lead vocals really shine.

"Stingray" is a great and pretty unknown Pomp AOR / Melodic Rock album with infectious melodies and excellent harmonies, with a crisp and lush production typically American sounding (despite of being recorded in Johannesburg).
As a curious note, drummer Shaun Wright lost a leg in a shark attack in 1980 whilst surfing at Balito Bay. He carried on drumming, but was eventually replaced by Wally Cullis for the next and last album, from which the band was expecting an international success. Unfortunately it never happened, and the group split up soon.
A shame, because they were really good.

This is the CD reissue of the self titled debut with the addition of 2 single b-sides and different track order, re-entitled "Revisited Re-Mastered". I have my doubts if the 'remaster' was done from the master tapes, anyway, it sounds nice.
No fillers in sight, all tracks are really good.

01 - Better The Devil You Know
02 - The Man In My Shoes
03 - Same Old Party
04 - How Much
05 - Breakdown
06 - Devotion
07 - Where Do We Go From Here
08 - Gonna Keep My Head Together
09 - Love Saver
10 - Hard Headed Loner
11 - Whole Lotta Fire
12 - Lucy

Dennis East: Lead Vocals
Mike Pilot: Lead guitar & vocals
Danny Anthill: Keyboards, flute
Eddie Boyle: Bass
Allan Goldswain: Keyboards
Shaun Wright: Drums & percussion

STINGRAY - Revisited Re-Mastered

Saturday, October 29, 2011

GARNETT FORD - Postcard (1982) [1995 reissue]

GARNETT FORD - Postcard (1982) [1995 reissue]
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Garnett Ford is a Toronto singer who started his career in a band called Pinball during the '70s. Produced by Ian Thomas, Garnett released his first solo album 'Under The Influence' in 1978.

"Postcard" was his 2nd and last effort before disappearing as main artist from the music scene (he is now composing music for movies and television).

Many in-demand session musicians were part of this recording, such as the great Kim Mitchell, Bernie LaBarge or the late BB Gabor.
The overall musical style on "Postcard" is stylized Canadian rock&pop with some Lite AOR moments.
"Stay The Way" was the single (a minor hit), a really nice radiable tune.
Other goodies are the John O'Banion-like "Can't Do Without It", the aorish and catchy "Looking For You" and the Rick Springfield inspired "Live It Up".
On "When I'm Beside You" Garnett sounds as Ian Thomas (good guitars here), while the orchestrated ballad "You And I" has some westcoast touches.

Expertly produced by Paul Gross and Jack Richardson (Harlequin, Aerosmith), "Postcard" is a nice addition to any collection, specially if you like the Canadian style.
Ripped from the '95 CD reissue by the legendary German label Long Island Records, out of print.

01. Stay The Way
02. Can't Do Without You
03. Words Of Love
04. Looking For You
05. Time Won't Let Me
06. Live It Up
07. When I'm Beside You
08. Can't Slow Down
09. You And I
10. Something In Her
11. Second Chances

Vocals: Garnett Ford
Guitars: Kim Mitchell, Don Gaze, Bernie LaBarge, Sharon Lee Williams, Mike Frances
Keys: Grant Slator, Mike Konn, Dennis Keldi
Bass: Mike Konn, Dennis Finhorn
Drums: Jon Anderson, Paul Armstrong
Percussion: Leon Stevenson, Peter Appleyard
Sax: Earl Seymour
Strings: Allen MacMillan
Backing Vocals: Garnett Ford, BB Gabor, Doug Templeton, Leon Stevenson, Bernie LaBarge, Shawn Jackson, Colina Phillips,


Friday, October 28, 2011

JACK STARR's BURNING STARR - The Orange album (1989)

It's time to add some hard sounds to this blog.
Jack Starr is a guitarist and songwriter of French origin, who came to the rock and metal scene at the beginning of the '80s with the band Virgin Steele. I don't know you, but Virgin Steele was one of my favorite groups in my 'young metal years'.
By 1984 Jack formed his own project, 'Jack Starr's Burning Starr', enjoying limited success in the USA during the explosion of hair metal in the second half of the eighties, principally with their Ratt / Dokken oriented '85 release 'No Turning Back', featuring in the line-up future Danger Danger members Frank Vestry and Bruno Ravel.

But at the end of the decade, Starr recorded one of the most unknown American hard rock albums of the era, the self-titled "Jack Starr's Burning Starr", named by the fans as "The Orange album".
This album set a departure from the band's hard 'n heavy style into a more commercial sound, full of keyboards and catchiness.
"Send Me An Angel", "Love Can't Wait", "Fool For Love" or "Hold Back The Night" could have been huge hits on the radio. Sadly, it was a little too late when the album came out (almost 1990) and the labels started to drop artists playing this kind of stuff.
The album only was released in Japan and Germany, but with no promotion and poor distribution it went unnoticed to the major audience.

Well written and played, "The Orange album" is a solid melodic hard rockin' album with inspired guitar work, blasting compressed drums (including cowbells), heavy keyboards and more than competent vocals and choruses. The overall sound / style reminds me my loved Icon (the Phoenix, Arizona band), Keel and Dokken.
This CD version includes 2 tracks not present on the vinyl / cassette editions and has become impossible to find (a Japanese collector paid $300 for a copy, go figure).

01. Send Me An Angel
02. Bad Times
03. Fool For Love
04. Hold Back The Night
05. Love Can't Wait
06. Out Of The Blue
07. New York Woman
08. Tear Down The Wall
09. Break The Ice
10. Good Girls Gone Bad [CD bonus]
11. Remember Tomorrow [CD bonus]

Jack Starr - Guitars
Mike Tirelli - Vocals
William (aka Freebass) Fairchild - Bass
Jim Harris - Drums
Edward Spahn - Keyboards
Chris Collins - add. vocals

Get it HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HAROLD FALTERMEYER - The Ultimate Collection (2007)

HAROLD FALTERMEYER - The Ultimate Collection (2007)
Session musician, composer and producer Harold Faltermeyer redefined action film scoring in the '80s.
He is recognized as the man who introduced the typical synth rock&pop sound of the glorious decade into the movies, creating a new niche in the business.

Faltermeyer's career began in 1979, playing synthesizer on Donna Summers' "Bad Girls" album along with executive producer Giorgio Moroder.
Alternating his session work as musician and arranger, he started a parallel career composing incidental music for film studios.
Harold's first big smash hit was the electronic theme for Beverly Hills Cop ('Axel F') - one of the most successful soundtracks ever - followed by 1984 'Thief Of Hearts' and 1985 'Fletch' Original SoundTracks.
But Faltermeyer always will be remembered for his work on the eighties iconic movie 'Top Gun', the best selling soundtrak in history. With 'Top Gun Anthem', won his 2nd Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with guitarist Steve Stevens.

Often imitated but never surpassed in his game, Harold's heavy synthesized style combined with bombastic electronic drums (or subtle programming when needed) become a staple in the genre.
"The Ultimate Collection" comprises his most known eighties works altogether with some pretty rare, unreleased and hard to find material, such as "Didi Der Doppelganger" or "Wake Up Musical" scores, the rare Wimbledon's "The Challenge" instrumental versions, and even the never officially released movie version of "Restless Hearts" ('The Running Man' 1987) performed by John Parr.

Not for sale, this double CD was made for promotional use only.
A collector's item, a must have for any OST fan and any true '80s sound lover.

HAROLD FALTERMEYER - The Ultimate Collection (2007) vol.1

The Ultimate Collection Vol.1

HAROLD FALTERMEYER - The Ultimate Collection (2007) vol.2

The Ultimate Collection Vol.2


Monday, October 17, 2011


From now, all request & fills goes in this post Comments.

If you need an album or a single track, request it here, if you have it, be kind with other readers, upload the file and post the link here as well.
Access to this page will be placed at the right column →
("CLICK HERE" neon sign, or clicking here in Comments)-
It will be opened in a new window.

Check this section regularly.
You'll find many links uploaded by readers, not present in the main blog...

Help each other people!

and don't forget to check out ARCHIVES:









take a deep look at the end of each part...

805 - Stand In Line (1982)

805 - Stand In Line (1982) remastered
805 was founded in the NY area in 1977 by vocalist and guitar player Dave Porter.
While playing covers in the clubs circuit, the band wrote and recorded original songs tirelessly, and eventually was signed by RCA.
At the beginning of '82, at the mansion and studio of Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive) in Washington, 805 recorded their debut "Stand In Line".

"Stand In Line" includes really good songs in a lite-prog AOR style, with a brilliant and crisp production.
"Young Boys" and "Fools Parade" are commercial tunes with a typical eighties ambience, the title track reminds you Genesis Phil Collins-era, while "Making It All Seem True" is a beautifully spiced AOR track (love the keys on this one).
"Defense" has radio potential with very cool synths in the vein of AOR progsters Saga, and "Going Nowhere At All" has magical arrangements sounding pretty British to my ears.

Never released on CD, "Stand In Line" is one of the best commercial proggy AOR albums of the beginning of the '80s.

01 - Stand In Line
02 - Young Boys
03 - Fools Parade
04 - Making It All Seem True
05 - Defense
06 - Gimme Everything
07 - Keeping The Spark Alive
08 - Float Away
09 - Out In The Light
10 - Going Nowhere At All

Dave Porter - lead vocals, guitars
Ed Vivenzio - keyboards, backup vocals
Greg "Creamo" Liss - bass, chapman stick, backup vocals
Frank Briggs - drums, percussion

805 - Stand In Line (1982)

Friday, October 14, 2011

HERLAND Brothers - One Small Step (1994)

HERLAND Brothers - One Small Step (1994)
This five member band from the U.S. Northeast is made up of the three Herland brothers Frank, Scott and John, all with many years experience in the music world including radio, television and commercial recordings.
They have supported over the years many major acts as White Lion, LA Guns, Gary Cherone from Extreme, etc.

In the mid nineties the bros. released independently their self-produced debut “One Small Step” under the name HERLAND.
Their style has many influences, mostly American Melodic Rock, with a guitar driven sound and pretty good vocal arrangements.
It's a nice recording, but I don't understand the ridiculous prices (over $ 100) of this CD. Surely because it's rare and out of print.
This is a rip from a promo copy distributed before the official release.

01 - Sleepin' Beauty
02 - Swept Away
03 - Would You Be Mine Tonight
04 - Let Me Know
05 - Take Your Time
06 - Find Your Way
07 - Why 'o' Why

John Herland - Lead Vocals, back up vocals
Frank Herland - Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Back up vocals
Scott Herland - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Back up vocals
Mike Fazio - Bass
Scott Reboulet - Bass
Arthur Mambuca - Drums, Percussion

HERLAND bros. One Small Step

Thursday, October 13, 2011

V.A. - E35, Let's Sing J-Pop In English (2008)

In upcoming posts will be featured (and briefly reviewed) many albums originally requested and fulfilled into the "Request & Fill Corner" section, but not available anymore.

Let's start with the beautiful Japan-only 3CD compilation "E35, Let's Sing J-Pop In English".
As the title indicates, these are covers of Japanese Rock&Pop hits performed (all in English language) by well known AOR / Westcoast stars.
All these songs were recorded between 1991 / 1994, only appeared in Asian V.A. albums as the 'Love Stories' series, "Goody's" and many other rarities.
Some tracks are boring (particularly the ones sung by a few unknown vocalists), that's normal in huge compilations.

But who cares when you have awesome songs never published outside Japan and performed by such luminaries as Jason Scheff, Tommy Funderburk, Joseph Williams, Peter Beckett, Bobby Kimball, Jay Graydon and many more.
Remarkable is the inclusion of one of the few songs officially published/recorded as lead vocalist by the late Warren Wiebe, a gifted singer that never got the chance to release his own solo album.

"E35: Let's Sing J-Pop In English", compiled by the specialized Japanese label Avex fetch exorbitant prices, as all imports.
Do not miss this unique opportunity...

CD 1
01 - Jason Scheff - Say Yes
02 - Ned Doheny - Suddenly (Love Story)
03 - Tommy Funderburk - Imademo Anata ga Sukidakara
04 - Joseph Williams - Get Back In Love
05 - Peter Beckett - Ai Wo Tomenaide
06 - Stephen Bishop - Donna Tokimo
07 - Milini Khan - Sekaijuu no Dareyori Kitto
08 - Rachel Ham - Overnight Sensation
09 - El DeBarge - Kimigairudakede (KomeKome Club)
10 - Jessica Sheely - You're My Only Shinin' Star
11 - Tata Vega - Seasons

E35 - 1

CD 2
01 - Joseph Williams - Dear My Friend
02 - Adrian Peritore - Get Crazy! (Princess, Princess)
03 - Richard Page - Gloria
04 - Anna McMurphy - Break Out!
05 - Gigi Worth - Kiss Me
06 - Joseph Williams - Christmas Eve
07 - Jason Scheff - Yah Yah Yah
08 - Douglas Getschall - Kanashimi Ha Yuki no Youni
09 - Kelly Keagy - Yakusokunohashi
10 - Boddy Kimball - Red Nose Reindeer
11 - Douglas Getschall - Saboten no Hana
12 - Warren Wiebe - True Love

E35 - 2

CD 3
01 - Boddy Caldwell - Answer
02 - Marilyn Martin - Tooi Machi No Dokokade
03 - Jason Scheff - You're the Only...
04 - Natalia - Time Goes By
05 - Joseph Williams - Sayonara
06 - Jay Graydon - Oasis
07 - Marilyn Martin - Tatoe Tooku Ni Hanaretetemo
08 - Joseph Williams - Doushiyoumonai Bokuni
09 - Ronnie Spector - Kazetachinu
10 - Jason Scheff - Over And Over
11 - Frank Sinatra Jr. - Departures
12 - Gino Vannelli - Still, I'm In Love With You

E35 - 3


Thursday, September 29, 2011

AOR TREASURES - Demo Projekt Vol.1 (2011)

Got many quality demos in my collection, and some of them should have been ended in official releases by the respective artists.
So, why not start a Demo series?
If you like it, there will be more for sure.
All tracks in this first installment are really good songs in my opinion, mostly with A+ audio quality.
I have restored the files (enhance, de-hiss, channel correction, etc) for your listening pleasure.

A brief description on some of them:
House Of Lords' James Christian used to be the leader of Eyes (a group with countless members in its history) during the mid-eighties, recording flashing AOR demos, but sadly, never releasing any official material. The song featured here is awesome.
Greek AORsters Wild Rose will be finally releasing the 1st album soon. This demo is a good tune in the classic style.
The great short-lived UK band Seven only released 2 fantastic maxi-CD at the beginning of the nineties produced by John Parr, "America" is a song that never was released.
Kristina Nichols has one of those unique AOR voices. I never seen this rare demo ('88) surfacing the web. Lyrics by Nancy Krasn and Kristina Nichols. Music by Bettie Ross & Kristina Nichols. (Edwin, this is for you!)

Some years ago Swedish wiz Tommy Denander started a project that sadly never seen the light of day, with many top vocalists as guests. On this demo, the respected Joe Pasquale sings his first AOR / MR song in years (he is retired, producing country artists).
Another rarity is hear Robby Valentine performing a cover. "Go Your Own Way" (a Fleetwood Mac original) is professionally recorded but never released. A real rarity from Robby's vault.
"This Is Our Life" by Shining Line was scheduled to be featured into the non-european version of their last year's debut CD, but that's never happened. This track was included into a compilation not so long ago, but this is NOT the same mix.

How about some rare Zinatra? One of my favorite rockin' AOR bands recorded some demos with their last singer Ollie Oldenburg (Frozen Rain) in 1992/3. This track is a mega-rarity.
Another cool tune is "The Law" by Liddle-Rush-Thrall. As the name suggests the band was a collaboration between one-time Strangeways vocalist Tony Liddell, Billy Rush (Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes) and the legendary Pat Thrall (Meatloaf, Asia, Hughes/Thrall). Rockin' track never released.
Is it Fergie Frederiksen at the mic on the Mecca demo? Listen and answer the quiz.
Chicago's Peter Cetera has a songwriter brother, Kenny, who also sings like an angel. Check this mega-rare demo, great quality.
Also included is a great track of Geezer Butler Band from their '86 studio demos feat. Carl Sentance, a fine hi-tech '89 track (demo-only) by Bruce Turgon, and many more.

All these songs never have been released / appeared on official albums.
Good Stuff.

01 - Eyes (James Christian) - Fury Of A Woman
02 - Wild Rose - Another Shot
03 - Maxx - Love In Disguise
04 - Turbulence - Hold On
05 - Seven - America
06 - Kristina Nichols - In The Hands Of The Right Man
07 - Tommy Denander & Joe Pasquale - Run Away
08 - Robby Valentine - Go Your Own Way
09 - Shining Line - This Is Our Life
10 - Summers - Rock You
11 - BlackHeart - My Star
12 - Jacklyn - Straight From The Heart
13 - Zinatra (with Ollie Oldenburg) - Wings Of Gold
14 - Harem Scarem - Born To Be A Rebel
15 - Liddle/Rush/Thrall - The Law
16 - Hayate - Can't Wait On Love
17 - Galaxy - Free To Loose
18 - Geezer Butler Band - Computer God
19 - Bruce Turgon - The First Step
20 - Mecca - I Know
21 - Kenny Cetera - Could It Be You
22 - Warren Wiebe - Safe Back In Your Arms

AOR TREASURES - Demo Projekt Vol.1

Saturday, September 17, 2011

PETER FRAMPTON - When All The Pieces Fit (1989)

PETER FRAMPTON - When All The Pieces Fit (1989)
British Peter Frampton broke all the charts with the amazing double album 'Frampton Comes Alive'. I grew up listening this jewel, and followed his career since then.
During the '80s Peter released only four discs, being the 1986 'Premonition' my favorite, his more AOR oriented ever.

But the last of the bunch in that decade, "When All The Pieces Fit", comes close in my preferences.
This CD must be the more obscure and unknown of his discography, and strangely, unnoticed between the AOR community. Style-wise Contemporary 'adult' Rock & Pop yes, but definitively with an aorish flavor, it's a '89 album...
All this year's characteristics are here; top class session musicians, polished lush production, awesomely bright compressed drums, keyboards, 'that' Top Gun-like rhythm guitars and the obligatory melodic guitar solo.
And of course, tons of harmonic vocals.

One of my picks is the cliché (yes, cheesy, so what?) but wonderful AOR piece "Hold Tight", complete with punctuating keyboards and heavenly backing vocals. Why this track isn't listed between the best '89 songs of the genre is beyond me.
The catchy "More Ways Than One" has a great riff, the lite AORish "Holding On To You" has a commercial trademark Frampton sing-along chorus and on "My Heart Goes Out To You" Peter sounds as the good side of Steve Winwood.
"People All Over The World" reminds me Mr. Mister (don't ask me why), on "Back To The Start" Frampton rocks in his own way, playing his best guitar solo. Love the rhythm section on the latter.
"Now And Again" is another favorite, this semi-midtempo has a terrific chorus, while "This Time Around", the one and only ballad on the entire recording has a charming atmosphere.

I bet most of you never heard about this very good album awesomely produced by guru Chris Lord-Alge (one of my all time favorites).
As far I know, "When All The Pieces Fit" is not an easy CD to find, surely out of print.
Ripped at maximum quality including full artwork.

01 - More Ways Than One
02 - Holding On To You
03 - My Heart Goes Out To You
04 - Hold Tight
05 - People All Over The World
06 - Back To The Start
07 - Mind Over Matter
08 - Now And Again
09 - Hard Earned Love
10 - This Time Around

Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths: Peter Frampton
Bass: Nathan East
Percussion: Lenny Castro
Drums: Steve Ferrone, John "J.R." Robinson
Synthesizer: B.A. Robertson
Backing Vocals: Danny Wilde, Mark Williamson, Rick Willis

Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synths: Chris Lord-Alge
Mastering: Bob Ludwig

PETER FRAMPTON - When All The Pieces Fit