Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BRETT WALKER - Person 2 Person [unreleased] (1989)

BRETT WALKER - Person 2 Person [unreleased] (1989)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Oklahoma native Brett Walker has recorded one of the most adorable pure AOR albums in history, the critically acclaimed 'Nevertheless' in 1994.

But he started his passion for this genre many years ago.
At his twenties, moved to L.A to play on Tahnee Cain's band and Nick Gilder amongst other well respected artists.
Besides, becoming a professional songwriter, Brett wrote two charting singles; one for Jimi Jamison ('Taste Of Love') and the other for Alias: the classic 'Waiting For Love', which entered the Top Ten chart.

At the end of the eighties formed together with drummer Tommy 'Mugs' Cain (Journey's Jonathan Cain brother) the "Person 2 Person" project.
In fact, this name was given to the demo tape of the band - looking forward to a record deal - distributed hand-to-hand, 'person-to-person'.

"Person 2 Person" demos have been circulating for years between AOR collectors. Some of these tracks ended (properly re-recorded) on Walker's debut, but the rest are awesome tunes that deserved to be heard.
The sound quality is fine, I have cleaned and enhanced all files for your listening pleasure.
Really good stuff.

Tracklist, CLICK HERE:

BRETT WALKER - Person 2 Person (1989)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

JAKATA - Light The Night (1984)

JAKATA - Light The Night (1984)

Note: NEW file added, some glitches on tracks 4 and 8 fixed

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

Nice request.

Searching the net for a current price of this rare vinyl on auction sites (U$S 40), found this review on GloryDaze website that accurately describes this goodie:

" Jakata's one-off LP for Tamla Motown offshoot Morocco Records is an album I've been playing for a few weeks now. Annoyed that I couldn't find a half decent rip of it out there in Blogspot land, I resorted to buying a pristine LP copy from Ebay instead, and boy was I glad I did, as this is a very special little album.
These boys hail from south Los Angeles, and deliver a sound that is Hi-tech, WestCoast and AOR all rolled into one.
The band had a number of different members pass through their ranks, and it seems these guys were regulars on the club circuit based around the Long Beach locale. Keyboardist Jimmy Felber was actually on Tamla Motown's books as a songwriter, no dobut that is how Jakata managed to land a deal.
Most of the songs are sung by Steve Kragan, of the ten he sings six, Chuck Coffey sings two, and Jimmy Felber sings one. There is one instrumental as well.
For this album, Jakata employed the talents of Robbie Nevil, a successful solo artist in his own right (remember his hit songs 'C'est La Vie' and 'Dominoes'). Robbie plays all the electric guitars on 'Light The Night'.

The light and poppy "Living Like There's No Tomorrow" is the LP's first track, some nice keys and smooth sax lines keeps things breezy, but for me it's the great voice that Steve Kragan that holds it altogether. "Hell Is On The Run" sounds as classic aorsters Dakota. Check it out for yourself. "Golden Girl" is primetime westcoast, smooth to the touch and easy on the ear.
Coffey handles the lead vocal on the Toto like "Can't Take Your Games Anymore", while Jimmy Felber's keyboard work takes the dominant position of side one closer "Tell Him You're Leaving". This one has some unusual characteristics, including the power-pop tempo changer through the middle. Kinda Jekyll and Hyde like, with The Tubes or Donnie Iris jumping into the song for a bit of fun!

Side two starts out with the instrumental "Racing For The Dawn", a very pomp laden affair which shows that these guys could lift it up a notch or two.
"Light At The End Of The Tunnel" is a groovy westcoast/smooth tune, imagine a white man's Al Jarreau hamming it up but without the scat vocals. Felber steps out front on the very funky and slightly bizarre "Jean Such A Scene". It's well suited to 1984, and perhaps best left there.. lol!
Jakata provide their first ballad 'Don't Ever Let Go' deep into the LP (nine tracks in) and it's a purist AOR sounding tune sung by Chuck Coffey, with Kragan delivering a sax solo for good measure.
The album finale 'Shadows Of The Night' is high on percussion and synth fills, the song itself moving along at a decent clip.

All in all, an enjoyable album, and I am highly surprised at just how obscure this album is... until now that is! It's a pity they never kicked on with a second album.
Criminally ignored, "Light The Night" should be sought out by all lovers of hi-tech AOR and West Coast.
Yes, it's that good! "

Well, now you can find 'a half decent rip of it out there in Blogspot land' here.
Vinyl rip cleaned and de-clicked by me. Artwork included.

01 - Living Like There's No Tomorrow
02 - Hell Is On The Run
03 - Golden Girl
04 - Can't Take Your Games Anymore
05 - Tell Him You're Leaving
06 - Racing For The Dawn
07 - Light At The End Of The Tunnel
08 - Jean Such A Scene
09 - Don't Ever Let Go
10 - Shadows Of The Night

Jimmy Felber - vocals, keyboards
Steve Kragan - vocals, horns
Chuck Coffey - vocals, bass
Chris Myers - drums, percussion, acoustic guitar
Robbie Nevil - guitars

JAKATA - Light The Night NEW FILE

Monday, August 22, 2011

IN REACH - Waterline (1992)

IN REACH - Waterline (1992)
Brett Williams began his career in Christian music in 1984 after he left a club band that he was performing with, and formed The Reach.
After some line-up changes they released independently 'Under The Same Sky' in 1989.
Approached by several executives, Williams eventually signed a deal with the Nashville label Star Song for a new album, changing the band's name to "IN REACH".

"Waterline", the debut under the new moniker, was critically acclaimed in CCM circles, but never reached a secular mainstream diffusion.
The style of Brett Williams and his combo is contemporary AOR in the '90s vein, pretty similar to Geoff More & The Distance, Phil Keaggy or Jude Cole.
Great melodies and harmony vocals abound, with clean guitars and keyboards complementing the songs.
Williams has one of those voices always pleasant to listen, melodious and warm, giving the songs a colorful palette.

"Waterline" was the first work of underrated guitarist David Zaffiro (Bloodgood, Whitecross, Solo) in his successful career as producer, contributing with additional six string work as well.
He has provided an organic and polished sound, with emphasis in the harmonies.
A nice and melodic CD, out of print and hard to find, ripped at maximum quality by my friend totalaor (thanks man!).
Good music my fellow readers, check below their one and only video.

01 - Waterline
02 - Faded Love
03 - My Heart
04 - The Other Fall of Cambrai
05 - God You Are
06 - River
07 - Giving Me Reasons
08 - In The In Beween
09 - Manner Of Man
10 - Not So Easy

Brett Williams - Vocals, Guitars
Scott Burell - Bass
Mike Bell - Keyboards
Vince Grant - Drums, Percussion
David Zaffiro - Add. Guitars, Producer

IN REACH - Waterline (1992)

Friday, August 12, 2011

JANI LANE - Jabberwocky [unreleased '93] & More

JANI LANE - Jabberwocky [unreleased '93] & More
Just a little tribute to this good songwriter & singer.
These are the demos from his unreleased "Jabberwocky" album, recorded in 1993.

Audio cleaned and enhanced by me to get the best quality possible. Also, some of his lesser known recordings included.
Seems there's a definitive version of "Jabberwocky", Jami was planning to release it soon.
R.I.P. Jani Lane (born John Kennedy Oswald, February 1, 1964 – August 11, 2011).

01 - Jabberwocky pre-production - Private Blue World
02 - Jabberwocky pre-production - Very Fine Line
03 - Jabberwocky demos - Pretty On The Inside
04 - Jabberwocky demos - The Deeper End
05 - Jabberwocky demos - House Of Cards
06 - Jabberwocky demos - Private Blue World
07 - Jabberwocky demos - Unrealistic
08 - Jabberwocky demos - One More For The Road
09 - Jabberwocky demos - All You Had To Say
10 - Jabberwocky demos - Washington Square
11 - Jabberwocky demos - This Town
12 - Jabberwocky demos - Stained
13 - Jabberwocky demos - Comfortable With Sad
14 - Back Down To One demos - Nothing
15 - Back Down To One demos - Back Down To One
16 - Back Down To One demos - Twilight
17 - Back Down To One demos - Better Than You
18 - Cherry Pie (new version, acoustic)
19 - Heaven (acoustic)
20 - I Saw Red (acoustic)
21 - The Power (Gladiator OST '92)
22 - Game Of War (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adv. OST pulled-off)
23 - Pure-hearted Feelings [1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou]
24 - That's Life [his last officially released track]

JANI LANE - Jabberwocky [unreleased '93] & More

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PRICE-SULTON - Lights On (1986) CD version

PRICE-SULTON - Lights On (1986) CD version
Revamped post per request.
New file at maximum quality

Good AOR-Rock, with great hooks and soaring choruses.
These guys used to be session players, colaborating in many albums of this genre.
Their colleagues returned the favor, and very well known artists play here uncredited (Steve Stevens amongst them).
Track 2 appears in The Allnighter's soundtrack (posted earlier in my AOR TREASURES - The Soundtracks Vol.3).

Very rare and hard to find album, only released in Japan on vinyl.
Per request, I am revamping this post with a very good rip from a rare bootleg CD (thanks totalaor!)

1. Shotgun Shy
2. No TV, No Phone
3. Lights On
4. Take Me Away
5. Shana
6. Something's Gonna Happen
7. Stories
8. Reckless And Wild
9. Heaven's Girl
10. Oh No

Kasim Sulton (ex-Utopian member):
Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Guitar
Thommy Price (ex-Joan Jett & The Blackhearts):
Drums, vocals, guitar
...and a bunch of well known uncredited musicians.

PRICE-SULTON - Lights On (1986) CD

Monday, August 08, 2011

JET - Empty Handed (1981)

JET - Empty Handed (1981)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

JET was a female fronted act founded by the Michael Smith / Barbara Barrow matrimony in the earlier '80s.

Their rather obscure one and only album "Empty Handed" is a catchy AOR-rock recording with a dash of pomp throwing in. The star of JET are Barbara Barrow powerhouse vocals, compared to Ann Wilson / Heart best days.

"Night Night Night" opens this 8-track LP in great form. This song has 'that kind' of toe-tapping catchy chorus impossible to resist. A commercial tune with twangy guitars where Canadians Holly Woods and Toronto comes to mind.
It's on next track "Love Slave" where JET sounds really pompy due the swirling keyboards and song skeleton. Excellent track which sound better and better after repeated listens. Barbara rocks here sounding a lot as Ann Wilson.
Next track "Stranded In The Moonlight", penned by guitarist Michael Smith was later recorded by Martee LeBow in her '86 album 'Crimes Of The Heart' (already posted here in this blog). JET version is more melodic and pompous.
"Car On Fire" starts with wonderful out-of-space synths, unfortunately the song derives into a simple rocker that lacks substance. Not bad at all, but promised more.

"Renegade" has a true early eighties sound, featuring in the chorus an original orchestration for this genre. Hot guitars (very good) throughout and passionate vocals by Barrow.
"Venus And Norma Jean" is another interesting pompy tune with a semi-midtempo pace. Strong vocals on a song not easy to sing.
On "Caribbean Snow" the band explores a new territory with a more stylized sound including a Spanish guitar, which adds more variation to this good album.
JET returns to pompy AOR on last track on "Barbed Wire", but the pomp sensation is given by the keyboard arrangement, basically it's a rocker very very '70s Heart. Rippin' guitar solo, power pipes by Barbara Barrow and great keyboard solo at the end.

"Empty Handed" is a rare and very good indie female AOR LP, including catchy and well composed tunes in this style, terrific vocals and high doses of pomp keyboards and guitars, correctly produced and mixed.
The vinyl-rip (not mine) could be better, but apart from some scratches and clicks, the resulting files (restored by me) sound more than decent.

01 - Night Night Night
02 - Love Slave
03 - Stranded In The Moonlight
04 - Car On Fire
05 - Renegade
06 - Venus And Norma Jean
07 - Caribbean Snow
08 - Barbed Wire

Barbara Barrow - Vocals
Michael Smith - Guitars
Danny Torroll - Guitars
Keith Montross - Keyboards
Ricky Niez - Bass
Billy Johnson - Drums

JET - Empty Handed (1981)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

BIGHORN - Bighorn [CD version] (1978)

BIGHORN - Bighorn [CD version] (1978)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

The end seventies were the golden days for pomp rock in the USA. At this time, a lot of bands played this kinda music but most of them operated in the underground scene.

One of the best groups playing this style in the Pacific Northwest area (Seattle) was BIGHORN.
After many line-up changes (some early members join another pomp act; Aviary) the band toured extensively the western states with great success, being signed by a Vancouver major label subsidiary. That's why some people think this band is from Canada.

Basically, Bighorn plays pomp-AOR, but blended with commercial light prog and some vintage classic hard rock.
One of the remarkable aspects of their sound are the stupendous vocal harmonies arrangements (3 people sharing the lead vocals). That's evident on the first pompous track "Penny For Your Dreams", really really classic ala STYX, a very well orchestrated tune.
One of my favorites is the proto-power ballad - this category didn't exist at that time - "(I Love You) I'm Not Afraid Anymore", again with excellent vocal parts, a melodic great guitar solo and good lyrics.
Next, the Grand piano based "Star Rocker" is a cool commercial melodic rocker with KANSAS scent, featuring very nice backing vocals at the end.

Track 4 "Mary-Anne" is another highlight. Believe or not, this commercial light-prog / pop tune sounds a lot like ALAN PARSONS PROJECT earlier works. The synth - piano - orchestra arrangement is first class. Love it.
But Bighorn also rocks. "Tried Every Trick" and "Helen Betty" can be compared to the late LED ZEPPELIN, both are sophisticated anthemic hard rockers, very polished but strong.
"Stand Up" has a commercial poppy melodic rock sound with a bit of pomp, while "Sparrow" returns to classic pomp reminding me AVALON (USA) or again, STYX.
The hot rocker "I Know" closes the disc in great form, this guitar driven track displays the skills of Steve Adamek (one of the founder members) on drums and the transcendent chops of Shikany on the six strings.

"BIGHORN" is a very classy, varied collection of songs outstandingly engineered and produced by british producer Martin Shaer who worked with Sweeney Todd and Bryan Adams among others. Still sounds great today.
This is a rip from the very hard to find '90s Japan-only CD edition (terrific mastering job), fetching today ridiculous $ 125 on auction sites.

01 - Penny For Your Dreams
02 - (I Love You) I'm Not Afraid Anymore
03 - Star Rocker
04 - Mary-Anne
05 - Tried Every Trick
06 - Stand Up
07 - Sparrow
08 - Helen Betty
09 - Sunday Boy
10 - I Know

Bob Marcy: Lead and backing vocals, woodwinds
Joe Shikany: Guitars, Lead and backing vocals
Peter Davis: Keyboards, grand piano, Lead and backing vocals
Michael Ipsen: Bass, backing vocals
Steve Adamek: Drums, backing vocals

BIGHORN - ST (1978) CD-320