Friday, December 28, 2012

VENGEANCE - Arabia [Remastered + bonus CD] (1989)

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

VENGEANCE is one of the finest rocking bands from the Netherlands, the vehicle for Arjen Lucassen to become famous before went solo.
"Arabia" is my favorite album from them, a superb slice of late '80s polished Hard Rock with crystal clear production courtesy of John Sonneveld.
However, one year before of Arabia's recording and release, Vengeance taped the pre-production demos for the album after intense reharsals. These takes have an exceptional energy, rough diamonds with a quite different approach than the polished result heard in the final, official recording.

By the end of the nineties "Arabia" was reissued in a very limited edition by an European label, remastered and with updated artwork.
To make it more interesting, the release includes a bonus CD with these initial takes, which sound rougher but with an excellent audio quality A+.
Highly Recommended.

Leon Goewie: Lead and Backing Vocals
Arjen Anthony Lucassen: Guitars, Banjo
Jan Bijlsma: Bass
John Snels: Drums
Jan Somers: add. Guitars
Peer Verschuren: Guitars on bonus CD

VENGEANCE Arabia + bonus CD HERE



Saturday, December 22, 2012

JOHN WARREN - Private Motion (1989) + bonus

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

JOHN WARREN started as studio vocalist based in Los Angeles at the beginning of the eighties. His debut as solo artist, the very good EP 'Take Me Back' in 1988 was quite successful in Japan.
So Warren's Japanese small label decided to release his full length CD "Private Motion" only in Asia, though it was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles with skilled session musicians.

Warren's style reminds you Chris Eaton, Michael Breen, Richard Marx, that's it Lite AOR with some Westcoast and Hi-Tech flashes.
All is arranged and played with finesse, while the warm voice of Warren adds a velvety touch to the softer tunes, and a cool punch to the rockin' ones. Just check the title track video below. Pure '80s AOR.
"Private Motion" is out of print, and as all John Warren albums, hard to find.
But this blog always gives you something extra; as bonus are included one of the tracks recorded by Warren for the television medical drama 'General Hospital', plus "Amazing Grace", a private recording of the religious song that has become quite popular in secular music.
Really Good CD, and Warren's following album is even better (coming up soon as it was requested as well).
Stay tuned.

01 - Watching Maria Dance
02 - Private Motion
03 - Higher Power
04 - Quiet Time
05 - Turn On The Light
06 - Away So Long
07 - I'll Take You In My Arms
08 - She Is A Friend Of Mine
09 - Any Day Now
10 - Not A Day Goes By [GH OST unreleased]
11 - Amazing Grace [unreleased]

John Warren - Lead & Backing Vocals
Ron Komie, Nick Moroch - Guitars
Tsuyoshi Kon - Acoustic Guitars
Mark Davis - Keyboards, Synthesizer
Phil Upchurch - Bass
Satoshi Nakamura - Programming, Synths
Paulinho DaCosta - Percussion
David Woodford, Satoshi Nakamura - Sax
Beth Anderson - duet Lead Vocal on 5
Chuck Wansley, Debrah Neal - Backing Vocals

JOHN WARREN Private Motion

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SOJOURN - Lookin' For More ['07 reissue+bonus] (1985)

Re-post as requested, Out Of Print album

Coming from Utah, a US state that scarcely makes a blip on the melodic rock radar, SOJOURN was formed in the earlier '80s by guitarist Doug Robinson.
The band soon built up a strong local following, even winning a radio station sponsored 'Battle of the Bands' contest, and quickly set about recording a serie of demos.
By the end of 1984 they sign a deal with a regional label. The recording of their debut "Lookin' For More" speedily took place on a local studio.
Initially the album was released solely on tape in November 1985, but with provincial sales under their belts a vinyl version followed in March of the next year.

Sojourn in many ways sounded like a development of the classic major bands of that era, playing friendly melodic rock with strong AOR / Pomp influences.
"Lookin' For More" is full of good riffs, high doses of keyboards and cool songwriting. Ranging from crisp rockers like "We Were So Young" or the opening title track, pomp anthems as "Healing Wings" and the midtempo "Holding On To You" to classy AOR gems like "I've Been Runnin' " and the absolute winner "Lives Upon The Shore", this short album is a delight to the ears.

In 2007 "Lookin' For More" was remastered & reissued in small quantities by AOR Heaven label with the addition of the previously unreleased demo recordings '82-'84 and some extra tracks from the debut sessions. The demo's sound and style is a bit more hard edged, featuring more guitar solos.

This album is highly rated amongst classic AOR collectors and was much sought after for many years, so not surprisingly this reissue went out of print soon.
Here it is for you in all its glory at maximum quality including artwork.
Recommended - Out Of Print.

01 - Lookin' for more
02 - Blame it on MTV
03 - Healing wings
04 - Lives upon the shore
05 - The sun back home
06 - Holding on to you
07 - We were so young
08 - I've been runnin'
09 - Heartache runaway
10 - Pick up the pieces
11 - I could love you more
12 - Ceilo bay
13 - When my ship comes in
14 - I'll be there
15 - Lost you in the wind
16 - I still need you
17 - Straight on
18 - Two strikes

Kevin Bullock - Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Doug Robinson - Guitar
Sam Cardon - Keyboards
Dane Spencer - Bass
Doug Pectol - Drums

SOJOURN - Lookin' For More


Monday, December 17, 2012

JOHN KILZER - Memory In The Making (1988)

The other day I was browsing some items on Amazon and found the CD version of this album being sold for $395.91!
After a little web search discovered there's not much info about JOHN KILZER as well, and "Memory In The Making" never surfaced the blogosphere. Judging this price I can see why...
Well, it happens that this out of print album is a very good one, and although spawned two minor hit singles, it has been largely forgotten.

Kilzer is a singer-songwriter with Nashville origins and you can hear some country music hints in his music, but this album was entirely oriented to '80s rock radio.
With a major label back up, "Memory In The Making" was recorded by renowned producer Jack Holder (co-founder of Jimi Jamison's Cobra) who also plays everything here and brought Jamison to sing the background vocals on most of the songs.

Mastered at Sterling Sound by George Marino (the top at the moment), this is a rock record with the typical polished sound of the second half of the eighties, with Kilzer's vocals and style resembling Jude Cole, Jimmy Harnen, Bryan Adams, Tom Kimmel and even Bon Jovi on "Give Me A Highway".
Sharp guitars, crisp rhythm section and the slightly raspy vocals of Kilzer build very nice melodies through these twelve rockin' tunes spiced with a couple of ballads.
A truly enjoyable album.

01 - Green, Yellow And Red
02 - Heart And Soul
03 - Red Blue Jeans
04 - Memory In The Making
05 - Pick Me Up
06 - Give Me A Highway
07 - Loaded Dice
08 - Dream Queen
09 - If Sidewalks Talked
10 - When Fools Say Love
11 - Dirty Dishes
12 - I Love You

John Kilzer: vocals, acoustic guitar
Jack Holder: guitars, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Jimi Jamison: background vocals
Dave Smith, David Cochran: bass
Harry Peel: drums
John Hampton: drums, percussion
Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash: backing vocals

JOHN KILZER Memory In The Making CD


Saturday, December 15, 2012

TED POLEY & TONY HARNELL - Sonic Series Musical Performances

This is a revamped post from years ago, per request.

All of you should already know singers TED POLEY (Danger Danger) and former TNT TONY HARNELL.
Both, as many other rock artists lent their services to the always profitable Japanese Anime / Game market, recording several songs for the 'Sonic the Hedgehog' series some time ago.

Taken from diverse soundtracks and comprised in one single file, all are rockin' numbers featuring performances by these Hard Rock monster singers conducted by guitar wizard Jun Senoue.
Fun stuff.

1 - Ted Poley & Tony Harnell:
It Doesn't Matter (SA1)

2 - Ted Poley & Tony Harnell:
It Doesn't Matter (SA2) [different version]

3 - Ted Poley & Tony Harnell:
We Can (Team Sonic theme)

4 - Ted Poley & Tony Harnell:
Escape From The City (City Escape theme)

5 - Ted Poley:
Lazy Days ...Livin' In Paradise (Big The Cat theme)

6 - Ted Poley:
Race To Win (Sonic Rivals 2 theme)

Ted Poley: vocals
Tony Harnell: vocals
Jun Senoue: Guitar
Naoto Shibata: Bass
Hirotsugu Homma: Drums
and more...


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HAROLD FALTERMEYER - Top Gun unreleased score [Camelblue's version] (1986)

This is a revamped post from years ago, per request. The quality and the cult-status of this music deserves it.
Get it while it's hot...

As you may know, this is not a movie score music blog.
This will be the only one ever posted here, because it's special. It belongs to the # 1 icon movie of the '80s, and remains unpublished.

Harold Faltermeyer's score couldn't have complimented the film any better.
His work defined the '80s style of action scoring, heavily synthesized, tuneful and rhythmic. It was years ahead of everything in its genre for the time.
This music score was the first to be performed and recorded DDD on the polyphonic 16 bit stereo Synclavier Digital Music System.
All started jointly with Giorgio Moroder with the idea to also compose catchy AOR / arena rock songs to complement the incidental music. But Faltermeyer left the project (apparently due to differences with executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer) and the Top Gun score incomplete. That's why never was released.
Some tracks were re-recorded for the film, but Harold's takes are far better.

I made my own version of this score.
Sources vary; most of them from a very rare big Harold folder I own containing true gems like rock&pop songs used in different OST and never released on any format, rejected scores, amazing demos and this, the Top Gun unreleased score. Some tracks were ripped (not by me) from the 5.1 DVD version of the movie.
There's not included here any song / version present in the official V.A. soundtrack, just the unreleased stuff.
As bonus, you have Giorgio Moroder's "Radar Radio", the first song playing on the jukebox at the end of the film, track only appeared as b-side of the movie promo vinyl single 'Take My Breath Away' by the band Berlin.

There's a CD bootleg release of this score-soundtrack (German I think), but miss many tracks. Recently I've seen another double-boot on eBay including my 'Radar Radio' vinyl rip! And even a complete rip-off of this file sold as 'original CD'.
Hope you enjoy my version. I didn't followed the movie's sequence, my tracklist order is just according to my taste.
Some track names may differ from the bootlegs, like 'Flying Again' = 'Get Back In The Saddle', 'New Mission = Mission Briefing', etc.
That's how they are labeled in my archives.

All tracks are original 320 Kbps files.
Artwork designed by me included.

01 - Opening Theme (2:39)
02 - MIG 28's (1:42)
03 - Viper's Dog Fight (2:08)
04 - Flying Again (3:20)
05 - Duke Mitchell's Story (1:09)
06 - Goose's Death / Goodbye Goose (1:49)
07 - Negative G Pushover (3:22)
08 - Who's Side Are You On / Never Again (3:30)
09 - Top Gun Anthem [film version] (3:45)
10 - Dog Fight #3 (2:38)
11 - Mighty Wings [instrumental] (1:40)
12 - Still Awake / Can't Sleep (2:07)
13 - Take My Breath Away [instrumental] (1:40)
14 - MIG's Dead Ahead (3:00)
15 - Flat Spin (4:26)
16 - New Mission (2:28)
17 - Memories (2:50)
18 - Great Balls Of Fire [demo] (2:33)
19 - Radar Radio [G. Moroder feat. Joe Pizzulo] (3:38)



Monday, December 10, 2012

GENEVA (Canterbury,UK): Temptation EP '88 + Geneva (Mansfield,UK): Demos '87

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

In the second half of the '80s there was in UK two bands under the same moniker: GENEVA.
Quite confusing, as both played the same Melodic Rock / AOR style so profuse in the islands at the time.

Well, one of them, from Canterbury, was lucky enough to release a 3-song EP in 1988 entitled "Temptation".
The title track is a punchy melodic rocker with a cool refrain, while the others are keyboard driven AOR numbers with "She's Got Everything" sporting a catchy chorus and the midtempo "Everytime" carrying a superb melody.
A very good EP with all the eighties magic. Despite critical acclaim from Kerrang magazine amongst others, the band split in 1991.

The 'other' Geneva - from Mansfield - were in the same league. These excellent demos (both in quality & sound) are all strong material.
A little more Melodic Hard Rock oriented yet filled with keyboard layers all over, this act would record three years after a mini-LP although with a change in style, close to NWOBHM.

So you have here some rare and good stuff from the golden decade with the usual audio treatment as you expect from this blog.
Pure '80s AOR/MR.
Update: Steve Moody himself confirmed here that these demos are from his own band, the Canterbury based Geneva .

Geneva (Canterbury, UK) - Temptation EP:
01 - Temptation
02 - She's Got Everything
03 - Everytime


Geneva (Canterbury, UK) - Demos '87:
01 - All Over Town
02 - Liar
03 - Broken Heart

Steve Moody: guitar, vocals
Nick Bray: guitar
Tom Organ: keyboards
Lee Polden: bass, backing vocals
Paul East: drums

GENEVA (Canterbury)


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

BILL CHAMPLIN - No Wasted Moments (1990)

This is a revamped post from years ago, per request. Very rare and almost impossible to find.

The man needs no introduction.
After the CHICAGO hiatus, BILL CHAMPLIN restarts his solo career releasing albums in Japan and Europe since 1990.
This is his first, also known as 'Comeback Album', a wonderful EP.

You can be sure of one thing before listening any Champlin album: Perfect Production. He's a studio wizard, and this time with the help of maestro Joey Carbone has rounded one of the best produced AOR recording ever. The sound is incredibly pristine.
Impeccable musicianship as usual and very good songs, being my favorite "The City".

If you love (as I do) 'CHICAGO 19', the most '80s AOR sounding album from this legendary band, don't miss this. Very rare Japan-only release.
High Class Music.

1. Lovers Tonight
2. No Wasted Moments
3. Sticky Situation
4. Before You Go
5. The City

Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars: Bill Champlin
Guitars: Kevin Dukes, John Goux
Drums & Percussion: Carlos Vega
Bass: Dennis Belfield
Keyboards: Joey Carbone, Gordon Goodwin
Horns: Rick Baptist, Bill Armstrong, Danny Pelfrey
Background Vocals: Jason Scheff, Bobby Caldwell, Tamara Champlin

Produced by Joey Carbone & Bill Champlin

CHAMPLIN No Wasted Moments

Monday, December 03, 2012

PARADISE - Do Or Die (1992)

PARADISE was a short lived L.A. band that arrived too late to the hair metal scene but at least they had the chance to release one album, and a really good one it its.
Paradise went through many lineup changes including Robbie Crane (Ratt) or Danny Wilder (Tuff). At the end of the eighties the band played every Sunset Blvd venue while their fan base grewn considerably, but the musical climate was changing and labels said 'no' to sign new bands of the genre.

So Paradise contacted a small German label and they agreed to record and release the band's debut. Renowned producer Jay Baumgardner (Ugly Kid Joe) was hired and they spent almost a year to give the recording the final touches.
There was too late in 1992 for "Do Or Die" in the US, but the band moved to Europe and presented the album live on many gigs, even being the opening act for the first leg of the Bon Jovi and Extreme tours that year.
Paradise was still in a position to make some waves in the old continent but due unspecified internal troubles they decided to part ways. The last two shows were in front of a big crowd at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany.

Paradise's style is like a crunchier version of Danger Danger, some Warrant, XYZ, etc, with catchy melodies and flashy guitar work.
The long year spent to record the album paid its dividends, at least sonically. "Do Or Die" has a brilliant sound and the band really feels vital all over the album. Production is crisp with all the sharpness needed for this American melodic hard rock / hair metal material.
Only released in Germany and never reissued, "Do Or Die" is quite unknown to fans of the genre, specially Americans.
And it's a very good one, believe me.

01 - Nightmares
02 - Voices
03 - Firin' Line
04 - Fever
05 - Need A Little Love
06 - Ghost Town
07 - When You're Gone
08 - I Want More
09 - Undercover
10 - You're 16

Adam Gifford: vocals
Matt Shumway: guitars, backing vocals
John Heller: bass, backing vocals
Michael March: drums, backing vocals
Josh Seigal, Adam Marsland: keyboards

PARADISE Do Or Die '92


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

KAREN BLAKE - Just One Heart [2000 Japanese CD edition] (1984)

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

KAREN BLAKE is one of those 'career singers' that has done everything.
Since the late seventies she has sung on US national jingles, TV shows and movie soundtracks, wrote songs for publishing companies, arranged and recorded for many major artists like Michael McDonald or Christopher Cross, and also pursued a solo career.

Producer Philip Giffin not only fell in love with Karen's gifted voice, he became her husband as well. Giffin got a label contract, the cream of the L.A. session musicians and co-produced Karen's debut "Just One Heart".
This is that kind of albums with pristine production and refined arrangements
that only could have been crafted during the '80s.
You have pop-rockers, lite AOR tunes, westcoast ballads and mid-eighties soundtrack-like songs played by terrific musicians (check personnel), penned by monsters such as Glen Ballard, Clif Magness & Jay Gruska among others, and sung by Karen's velvety vocals.

"Just One Heart" was originally published in 1984 only in Japan, while the American edition was put on hold until 1986. Both were LP-vinyl releases only.
My file is taken from the very rare, first ever CD Japanese editon (year:2000) by the specialized Cool Sound label.
It's out of print (around $90 on eBay), so if you like this kind of stuff, get it pronto...

01 - I Want You Back
02 - I'm Only Here For You
03 - Anything At All
04 - Just One Heart
05 - Come Hell Or Waters High
06 - Chain Reaction
07 - I'm Not A Loser
08 - Someone To Love
09 - Time Heals The Wounds
10 - I'll Shine My Light On You

Karen Blake: Lead & Backing vocals
Phillip Griffin: Arrangements, Bass & Backing vocals
Steve Lukather, Dann Huff, Michael Landau: Guitars
Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus: Bass
Alan Pasqua, Shane Keister, Kyle Lehning, Peter Wolf: Synths
Robbie Buchanan: Electric Piano & Rhodes Synth
Larrie Londin, Carlos Vega: Drums
Pat Mastelotto: Simmons Drums
Lenny Castro: Percussion
Billy Puet, Ernie Watts: Horns
James Newton Howard: Clavinet
Karla Bonoff, Christopher Cross, Kenny Edwards, Andrew Gold, Dave Loggins & Wendy Waldman: Backing vocals

KAREN BLAKE Just One Heart

Friday, November 23, 2012

ROXANNE - Burning Through The Night [remaster + bonus] (1988)

Now this is a real treat.
ROXANNE hails from Riverside, California, founded in the mid-eighties by vocalist Jamie Brown and bass player Joe Infante.
Roxanne plays partying American melodic hard rock music at it's finest with cleverly well written songs and excellent musicianship. The difference with other bands in the genre is their sense of fun, adding to their hard rockin' tunes some kind of 'go to the dancefloor' vibe that makes you tap your foot.

They played extensively the local club circuit, and in one gig a Scotti Bros executive saw their potential and quickly signed them.
The debut was finely produced by Geoff Workman (Journey, Foreigner) in 1986 but the album was not released immediately.
First it was published only in Japan at the beginning of 1988 entitled "Burning Through The Night". The first 2 tracks are from a different, early recording session and are exclusive to this Asian edition which has become very rare.

Then several months later the CD was released in the other side of the globe (pressed in Germany as Scotti Bros used to do) simply as "Roxanne", with different artwork, tracklist order and discarding the Asian opening tracks being replaced by "Not The Same" and a rockin' cover of the disco/soul song "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)".
The CD back cover presents several print errors such as first track name "Nothing To Loose" instead of "Lose" or stating the release year as 1986.

The band and specially singer Jamie Brown have a story that deserves to be told. Jamie born to be an entertainer.
Roxanne played mostly original material, with a few choice dance covers ("Play That Funky Music" amongst them). Then during one gig presenting the album, for a Halloween prank the band donned elastic stretch Afro wigs, platform shoes and polyester pants, dubbed itself the Boogie Knights, and played nothing but KC and the Sunshine Band hits.
The disco show was an instant smash, and the prank quickly turned into serious business. The phone does not stop ringing asking for Boogie Knights presentations, dozen times more than Roxanne shows.
Soon Jamie dissolved Roxanne and set up an entertainment franchise called Perfect World which started managing the Knights, and nowadays is a successful company of look-alike/sound-alike disco, classic rock and metal tribute acts.
Perhaps you have heard about Metal Shop, a kistch Glam Metal band also known as Danger Kitty. Well, Jamie Brown-Perfect World are behind them, with 8 different line-ups spread all throughout the US performing hundreds of shows annually.
One of these ended up being the act now known as Steel Panther.

Stories aside, after more than twenty years from Roxanne's recording, most of these tracks were remastered by Brown via his Sunnymead Records and available for fans in a short period of time.
This was not just 'another remaster', there's a really improvement in sound. I can tell you because I have all 3 editions.
So you have here the best "Roxanne" collection available; I have been faithful to the original Asian tracklist, so the album starts with the very good numbers - Japan only - "Burning Through The Night" and "My Way", but the rest of the tracks are taken from the remastered version. They really sound fantastic.
Added as well are the two tracks from the Western edition (remastered as well) and some bonuses specially added by Brown, all previously unreleased.
Great stuff. Very Recommended.

01 - Burning Through The Night [Japan only]
02 - My Way [Japan only]
03 - Nothin' To Lose (remastered)
04 - Over You (remastered)
05 - Stay With Me (remastered)
06 - Cherry Bay (remastered)
07 - Sweet Maria (remastered)
08 - Coming For You (remastered)
09 - Do It All (remastered)
10 - Can't Stop Thinking (remastered)
11 - Not The Same (remastered) [America only]
12 - Play That Funky Music (remastered) [America only]
13 - Can't Stop Thinking (Remix) [prev. unreleased]
14 - Looks Like Rain (Live) [prev. unreleased]
15 - Man In The Moon (demo) [prev. unreleased]
16 - Days Like Today (demo) [prev. unreleased]

Jamie Brown - Lead & Backing Vocals
Jon Butler - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Joe Infante - Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Landry - Drums & Percussion

ROXANNE Burning Through The Night

Monday, November 19, 2012

MASON - Big Illusion (1992)

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

Germans MASON started as a band in the mid-eighties but their recording debut arrived in 1992 with this "Big Illusion".
Their style is late eighties oriented Euro Melodic Rock infused with AOR sounds and good doses of keyboards.

The CD includes some really good uptempo tracks as the pumping opener "Rockin' Round The World" and the marching "The Eagles Cries".
Though, my favorites are the definitely AOR numbers "Someday" and the killer "Two Hearts" where they remind me Craaft, or the more stylized "If Looks Could Kill" featuring a nice set of mysterious keys and a fine chorus.
"Hard Life" is a nice ballad, followed by the melodic "Cool Woman". "Laurel 'N' Hardy" adds some hi-tech stylings to the album, before ending with the quite good midtempo AOR of "Can't Stop Loving You".

Mason released another album after "Big Illusion", but despite being distributed by a major company both become soon out of print and hard to find, specially this one.
Good AOR / Melodic Rock in the European style.

01 - Rockin' Round The World
02 - If Looks Could Kill
03 - Two Hearts
04 - Hard Life
05 - Cool Woman
06 - The Eagles Cries
07 - Someday
08 - Laurel 'N' Hardy
09 - Can't Stop Loving You

Thomas Zigann: lead & backing vocals, guitars
Marco Alvino: bass, backing vocals
Mike Parson: drums, backing vocals
Rick Sinoni: keyboards, backing vocals

MASON - Big Illusion

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


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...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PATRICK SIMMONS - Arcade [CD reissue] (1983)

Guitarist and vocalist PATRICK SIMMONS has been The Doobie Brothers' only consistent member throughout their career.
In 1983 Pat released his first solo album "Arcade", sonically pretty away from his main band, much more commercial with the typical eighties rhythms.

Co-produced by John Ryan (Styx) and Ted Templeman (Michael McDonald, Van Halen), "Arcade" counted with invaluable contribution of the great Chris Thompson co-writing four tracks and doing more than back-up vocals.
With top session musicians such as Mike Baird, Leland Sklar or John Elefante (just check personnel), "Arcade" includes lovable radio friendly tunes like the uptempo poppy AOR "Out On The Streets" and "Don't Make Me Do It".
Although the top-ten first single "So Wrong" is definitely pop (and a good one) and also had an extended dance version, this is the only track in this style on the album.

The beautiful Doobie Brothers influenced "Why You Givin' Up" is the first song in the tracklist leaning into Westcoast territory, as later the soft "Have You Seen Her" is in a true Michael McDonald style with good orchestrations, while "Sue Sad" has that classic L.A. Westcoast flavor.
The uptempo AOR "Knocking At Your Door" (penned by Andy Fraser) reminds us that Simmons can rock good, and the melodic "Dream About Me" sports a memorable refrain and melody.

I always loved the true '80s "Arcade" sound and style, and this remastered CD reissue really hits home (courtesy of my good friend Nitderock).
Funnily enough, this CD reissue by a US label came to avoid the expensive Japanese-only digital version of this album, but it was pressed in limited quantities and now fetches around $150 on auction sites.
Pure eighies sound. Guaranteed.

01 - Out On The Streets
02 - So Wrong
03 - Don't Make Me Do It
04 - Why You Givin' Up
05 - Too Long
06 - Knocking At Your Door
07 - If You Want A Little Love
08 - Have You Seen Her?
09 - Sue Sad
10 - Dream About Me

Patrick Simmons: Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars
Chris Thompson: Lead & Backing Vocals
Michael McDonald: Keyboards, Synths, Backing Vocals
John McFee, Jeff Baxter: Lead Guitar
Alan Pasqua: Keyboards
Patrick Henderson: Organ
Jude Cole: Guitars
Leland "Lee" Sklar, Dennis Belfield: Bass
Bill Payne: Fender Rhodes
David Campbell: Strings Arrangements
Victor Feldman: Percussion
Mike Baird, Rick Shlosser: Drums
John Elefante, David Pack, Jeff Wilson: Backing vocals
and many more...


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

CLIF MAGNESS - Solo [Japan release + bonus] (1994)

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

Mr. CLIF MAGNESS is one of the most accomplished songwriters from the last three decades in the rock&pop music business.
This Grammy award winner has been a successful producer as well, cooking hits for Jack Wagner, Sheena Easton, Cheap Trick and countless artists.
In 1994 Clif released his first (and sadly, the only) solo album, aptly entitled "Solo", regarded as one of the top AOR recordings of all time.

But for this timeless sounding AOR / Westcoast / AC gem, Magness wasn't 'solo' at all: co-writing with Clif there's the talents of Martin Page, Steve Kipner, Glen Ballard and Mark Mueller, all of them contibuting backing vocals as well.
And with exquisite musicians such as Jay Graydon and the same Glen Ballard helping tu build these beautiful sounds, we have a winner CD.

Originally released in Sweden, "Solo" was quicky picked up by Japanese label Toshiba to satisfiy the Asian market, avid for this kind of music.
This is a rip from the Japan CD edition, which those years used to deliver a noticeable better, pristine sound than the manufactured in other parts of the world.
Long time out of print, "Solo" was reissued by an European label not so long ago featuring two previously unreleased songs as bonus tracks.
A Must Have.

01 - Footprints in the Rain
02 - It's Only Love
03 - Hold Me Lee Anne
04 - One Way Out
05 - Khalela
06 - Jenny's Still in Love
07 - Only You
08 - If We Can't Do It
09 - Flower Girl
10 - What's a Heart to Do
11 - Solo
12 - Dreams Fade Away
13 - Ready or Not
14 - Black & White (bonus track)
15 - Running Forever (bonus track)

Clif Magness: vocals, guitars, programming, keyboards, synths
Glen Ballard: keyboards, backing vocals
Jay Graydon: guitar solos
Aina Olsen, Martin Page, Mark Mueller: backing vocals

CLIF MAGNESS - Solo + bonus

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CAPTIVE HEART - Home Of The Brave (1996)

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

CAPTIVE HEART was a pure American AOR Melodic Rock band from Chicago, one of the many that arrived too late into the scene but deserved the stardom.
They recorded this bunch of songs in 1991-92 to land a U.S. deal, but you already know what happened after those years.
Luckily a German label released the tapes in 1996 as "Home Of The Brave", and what an impressive material it is.

Captive Heart strongly reminds me Signal (Mark Free's band) and Survivor on some compositional structures. Rick Tratar is a really good, second-to-none singer, accompanied by very talented musicians.
We have classic sounding AOR wonders such as "Outlaw", the awesome "It's Too Late" or the smouldering "Over You Over Me".
Title track "Home Of The Brave" has that lovable pulsating midtempo we all love (hints of House Of Lords), while "Can't Stop" is a soaring melodic rocker plenty of harmony vocal layers.
On the softer side "Shattered Dreams" is really American with its anthemic refrain, the soulful "Just One Touch" fits in the good power ballad mould, and "´Til The End" is a compelling slow acoustic number.

"Home Of The Brave" is rarely seen in many AOR / MR favorite's list, but it largely deserves that honor.
I remember reading some members of Captive Heart stating this recording as pre-production demos, something that you won't notice at all. I can't imagine what they would have been able to deliver with a full-fledged production budget.
This is classic stuff really well composed and performed, with all the magic mojo from the golden years of the genre.

01 - Outlaw
02 - It's Too Late
03 - Home Of The Brave
04 - Shattered Dreams
05 - Over You - Over Me
06 - Helpless
07 - Just One Touch
08 - Can't Stop
09 - Heartache
10 - Ride Of Your Life
11 - 'Til The End

Rick Tratar - lead & backing vocals
Chuck Kawal - guitars, bass, backing vocals
Tim McGovern - guitar, backing vocals
Scott Bahry - keyboards, drums, backing vocals
Paul Balsamello - bass
Guy Dominick - bass, backing vocals
Steve Moss - drums, percussion, backing vocals


Monday, October 29, 2012

GHOST - The Other Side (1995)

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

Although the grunge advent around 1992 caused a severe injury in the Melodic Rock genre, this type of music survived considerably healthier in Europe.
One of the British bands which had the opportunity to record during those years was GHOST, though their singer is actually from Gibraltar (a good one by the way).

Ghost's debut "The Other Side" starts strongly with "Can't Stop", a dynamic melodic rocker plenty of Journey influences and why not some The Storm hints.
Follower track "Brand New Start" is a midtempo AOR definitely British both in sound and style. The song has similarities with FM circa Tough It Out, including synths and acoustic guitars.
Some tracks have that classic UK rock melodies such as the late '80 Bad Company sounding "Should have Been Me" and "Rescue Me", while on others Ghost is quite bluesy as heard on "Ten Years".

"Send Me Somebody" is a good ballad resembling Journey's Trial By Fire material, and then we have the American influenced rocker "Get On The Bus" in the Damn Yankees style.
Title track "The Other Side" starts slowly creating an intriguing atmosphere and then explodes with big drums and an anthemic rhythm kinda From The Fire.
As you read, a varied album and most the time hitting the mark.

Correctly produced by Mike Exeter (Jeff Beck, Crown of Thorns), well written and played, "Brand New Start" is a pleasant and pretty unknown Melodic Rock / AOR album with a classic British sound.
Out Of Print.

01 - Can't Stop
02 - Brand New Start
03 - Country Boy
04 - Ten Years
05 - Send Me Somebody
06 - Should Have Been Me
07 - Get On The Bus
08 - He'll Let You Down
09 - Rescue Me
10 - The Other Side

Giles Ramirez - vocals
Steve Reid - keyboards, guitar
Trevor Spinks - guitars, backing vocals
Joe Soiza - bass, backing vocals
Phil Ridden - drums, backing vocals

GHOST - The Other Side

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WALK ON FIRE - Blind Faith + bonus B-side (1989)

Easily ranked amongst my favorite top 100 best albums of all time, "Blind Faith" by UK melodic rockers WALK ON FIRE is a must have in any collection.
Founded by keyboardist Dave Cairns and with the majority of the music written by him, you can expect a marvelous collection of songs with delicate arrangements, excellent pristine production and of course, high doses of keys.

The album enjoyed a considerable success in Britain, but sadly their American subsidiary label was absorbed by other company at the time, and despite favourable reviews following the US release, the album was not properly promoted.
Perhaps due their origins (Scotland) I always found Walk On Fire's sound similar to Strangeways, yet stylistically they're related to Canadians Boulevard.
All songs are perfect imho, elegant and sophisticated, played with the typical British charm. Some major session musicians such as Richard Cottle and Steve Ferrone where hired to enhance the quality even more.

In Europe, "Blind Faith" sold well and the band toured extensively, spawning three singles in the way.
One of them includes as b-side the non-album track "Land Of The Holy", which I have included here as bonus, a very hard to find track that, of course, match the quality of the album.
"Blind Faith" is superb, Period.
A Must Have.

01 - Blind Faith
02 - Wastelands
03 - Crime Of Loving You
04 - Tell It Like It Is
05 - Caledonia
06 - Hearts Of Gold
07 - Hands Of Time
08 - Hungry For Heaven
09 - Miracle Of Life
10 - Close My Eyes
11 - Land Of The Holy [b-side] (Bonus)

Alan King: Vocals
Mike Casswell: Guitars
Dave Cairns: Keyboards, Additional Acoustic Guitar
John Henderson: Drums
Add. musicians:
Phil Williams: Bass & Backing Vocals
Keith Airey: guitar
Richard Cottle, Peter Vitesse, Tim Moore: Keyboards
Steve Ferrone: Drums
Graham Edwards, Tim Archibald: Bass
The Faithettes, Andy Caine, Gary Dyson: Backing Vocals

WALK ON FIRE Blind Faith

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BYSTANDER - Not So Innocent (1987)

Although coming from New Jersey, for the most part BYSTANDER had not the AOR style and sound typical from the States. They were more stylized, akin Canadian bands like Haywire or Honeymoon Suite, with two lead vocalists adding variation to the music.
Anyway, in their debut album "Not So Innocent" the keyboard infusion on some tracks recall American acts such as Dakota, while on more calmer numbers Mr.Mister and Stan Meissner come to mind.

Originally released in 1987 by an US indie label, "Not So Innocent" was rescued years after by the great German label Long Island Records with the addition of 3 bonuses.
"Not So Innocent" is impossible to find on CD, but it was widely posted through the blogosphere. However, I have never seen a copy at maximum quality of this little jewel, so here it is - in all its glory.
A necessary item in any reputable AOR collection.

01 - Welcome To The Real World
02 - Running In Circles
03 - Prelude
04 - Desiree
05 - Love Games
06 - Let Me In
07 - I Can't Stop
08 - Out Of The Night
09 - Someway Somehow
10 - You're History
11 - Momma Lao
12 - Real World [Dance Mix] (Bonus)
13 - What Do All The People Know (Bonus)
14 - All The Time In The World (Bonus)

Andy Kiely: lead vocals, bass
Bucky Naughton: lead vocals, drums, percussion
Mike Weaver: keyboards, vocals
Stanley Steele: guitar, vocals

BYSTANDER Not So Innocent 320

Friday, October 19, 2012

SWEET CRYSTAL - Power-N-Glory [Resurrected Masters] (1985)

SWEET CRYSTAL has been playing for more than 30 years releasing their material independently. "Power-N-Glory" was their 6-track first official recording from 1985, but remained lost for many years.
Although the style of the band has changed through the years, this particular set of songs well worth a listen for AOR collectors.

Sweet Crystal is a band with Christian origins but their lyrics are not directly preaching at all, and their musical style here can be compared with mid-eighties era Christian AOR acts like Allies or Idle Cure, and somehow they remind me other groups such as After Hours.
Title track "Power And The Glory" is a pure delight for Pomp AOR lovers, starting with some awesome synths and developing onto a wonderful typical '80s AOR marching tune.
"Lead Me To The Rock" continues with a pompster festival, sporting a catchy chorus recalling AOR-Pomp masters New England.

"Now Or Never" goes more commercial and poppy radio friendly, with a musical background which brings to mind another good Christian band of the era; Twenty Twenty.
"For Once In Your Lifetime" rocks harder in the Idle Cure vein, followed by the atmospheric midtempo / ballad "Now And Then", not so far from some Angel material.
For the end, Sweet Crystal decided to turn off the synths and rocks (hard) with "Come On Over", a guitar driven piece with a catchy rhythm.

Although recorded by themselves with a low budget, "Power-N-Glory" sounds good, well produced for an indie.
This is not the demo version floating around the web incorrectly titled as the Resurrected Masters, it's taken from the real 'Resurrected Masters' found by the band not so long ago, which is the real deal.
'80s rule.

01 - Power And The Glory
02 - Lead Me To The Rock
03 - Now Or Never
04 - For Once In Your Lifetime
05 - Here, Now And Then
06 - Come On Over

Marq Andrew Speck - vocals, bass, keyboards
Bill Blatter - guitars, vocals
Steve Wieser - drums


Saturday, October 13, 2012

CHRIS ANDREW - Hit And Run (1987)

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

This one was requested by a reader, and is a pleasure to post as it's a good '80s collectible.
There's not much info about CHRIS ANDREW or his "Hit And Run" album recorded in L.A. around 1986 and released one year later through the indie label Roadside Records.
The well known and always expressive Amy Holland is credited on backing vocals.

Andrew sings and play all the instruments helped in the production duties by Ross Pallone (Bryan Duncan, David Pack).
As you would expect, this is a pure mid-eighties sounding album with glowing guitars, candy-floss synths and compressed drums.
Andrew's vocals are good and polished for this style, which in many places reminds you Brian Spence, Billy Satellite, John Cafferty (Rocky IV soundtrack) and US Urgent. That's say: rockin' + poppy AOR with some hi-tech elements.

"Hit And Run" is totally '80s.
Mega Rare and good.

01 - Holdin' On
02 - Go Back
03 - Back Seat Lover
04 - Shake
05 - Gotta Get Away
06 - Hit And Run
07 - Fantasy
08 - Ticket To Ride

Chris Andrew: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and whatever else you happen to hear
Amy Holland: Background vocals
Ross Pallone: Cymbals on 'Go Back'


Thursday, October 11, 2012


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

US rockers DUKE JUPITER started as band in the second half of the seventies.
After three southern rock influenced albums, at the beginning of the '80s and with a recording label change, the Dukes decided to switch the direction in favor to the rising radio rock / AOR style.
There's no surprise then this album was entitled "Duke Jupiter 1", as indicates their new musical path.

Although still retaining their southern bluesy roots, "Duke Jupiter 1" reflects some of the sumptuous AOR sounds the band would develop later in the mid-eighties. This LP has the sound and style extensively used by .38 Special in years to come.
First track and single "I'll Drink To You" was an instant radio hit, becoming a Billboard Top 20 hit, with the video heavily broadcasted on MTV as well. Great hooky AOR track with an anthemic chorus.
Followers "Rockin' In A Motel Room" and "(You Gotta Love) The Wrong Ones" are more rocking oriented adding the typically crispy '80s-radio production.
"Don't You Look At Me Like That" is a beautiful rock ballad where early REO Speedwagon comes to mind, while the melodic yet rocking "Don't You Walk That Way" features a great guitar work with the sharp sound that ZZ Top would evolve for their 'Eliminator' two years after.

"Duke Jupiter 1" is a goodie not easy to find. Vinyl rip restored and cleaned by me.

01 - I'll Drink To You
02 - Rockin' In A Motel Room
03 - (You've Gotta Love) The Wrong Ones
04 - Don't You Look at Me Like That
05 - Sugar Blues
06 - Rock & Roll Band
07 - Slow, Loud And Dirty
08 - Don't You Walk That Way
09 - Baby, I Do

Marshall James Styler - vocals, keyboards
Greg Walker - guitars, vocals
George Barajas - bass, vocals
Rickey Ellis - bass
David Corcoran - drums, vocals


Monday, October 08, 2012

CHERRY PIE - Eye To Eye (1998)

CHERRY PIE born in Switzerland in the summer of 1995 primarily as a cover band, playing songs ranging from Bon Jovi to Metallica as opening act for major bands like Gotthard, Bonfire and Jaded Heart.

While recording their debut album of original songs, Cherry Pie had the opportunity to write a championship-song for the international boxer Stefan Angehrn from Switzerland.
The single “Eye To Eye” was produced by Tommy Newton (Victory, Ark, Gamma Ray) in Germany and released in September, 1998. This is the only official release by these musicians under the Cherry Pie moniker, as soon changed their name to Crystal Ball.
Indeed, Cherry Pie is Crystal Ball, the Melodic Hard Rock band still active today including great vocalist Mark Sweeney.

“Eye To Eye” is a fine, rocking and melodic anthem presented in this maxi-single CD in four versions, choose your best, all are good.
Extremely rare and hard to find.

1 - Eye To Eye (radio edit)
2 - Eye To Eye (long version)
3 - Eye To Eye (surround-mix version)
4 - Eye To Eye (instrumental)

Mark Sweeney; lead & backing vocals
Scott Leach: guitars
Tom Graber: guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Dany Schallibaum: bass, backing vocals
Marcel Sardella: drums, backing vocals
Kalle Bosel (V.A.N, Askari): guest backing vocals
Tommy Newton: backing vocals, producer


Monday, October 01, 2012

GRAND PRIX - There For None To See [Expanded Edition] (1982)

Without a doubt, GRAND PRIX was one of the finest UK acts of the eighties.
Commonly praised for their 3rd and final album (close to perfection) 'Samurai', the band's second effort "There For None To See" - often ignored in everyone's favorite lists - is a brilliant one too.
Robin McAuley (later to achieve international fame with Michael Schenker) replacing original vocalist Bernie Shaw and a label change (from RCA to Chrysalis) provided the catalyst for the band to something distinctly more melodic and polished.

"There For None To See" was a pivotal link between their early attempts at melodic hard in the self-titled debut and the glossy sound of Samurai, being for many Grand Prix's most complete album.
And indeed it's a superb Melodic Hard Rock / AOR disc plenty of memorable songs, in fact, I can't find a filler here. All are great.
Just to name a few; opener "Heaven And Hell" and its awesome chorus and synths, the terrific pomp-infused "Troubador", the tinkling "Runaway" or the splendid Americanized AOR in "Take A Chance".
The wonderful "Keep On Believing" is the British answer to Journey while the atmospheric ballad "Paradise" is nothing short than perfect.

This is not the horribly noisy 2006 2nd reissue including a bonus track, it's the much better original 2000 cleaned by me. I doubt you will find a better sounding copy than this one.
I have included the bonus of course, as it is another great song to treasure; "Life On The Line", originally appeared as b-side in the Keep On Believing single.
"There For None To See" is a Must Have in any serious AOR / Melodic Hard Rock collection.

01 - Heaven To Hell
02 - Troubadour
03 - Take A Chance
04 - Paradise
05 - Keep On Believing
06 - Taking Your Life Away
07 - Runaway
08 - Tough Of The Track
09 - Atlantis
10 - Relay
11 - Life On The Line [b-side] (Bonus Track)

Robin McAuley - vocals
Michael O'Donoghue - guitars
Phil Lanzon - keyboards
Ralph Hood - bass
Andy Beirne - drums

GRAND PRIX There For None To See

Friday, September 28, 2012

TUESDAY BLUE - Shibumi (1988)

Part of the new romantic movement when it was formed in their native Limerick, Ireland, TUESDAY BLUE were changing their musical style through the years between some line-up changes.
Around 1987 the group got signed by a major American label subsidiary, and their debut "Shibumi" was released at the end of 1988 in the USA and in March 1989 in Europe.

The music developed by Tuesday Blue here is a mixture of elegant lite AOR with some melodic new wave scent in its structures.
The sound in "Shibumi" is glossy and clean, courtesy of David Richards' production (Magnum's Vigilante, Virginia Wolf), recorded at the Mountain Studios in Montreux owned by the rock band Queen.

We have thumping drums, synths, round basslines and that kind of lovable over-processed (clean) guitars conforming a thick musical background for Michael Ryan's tenor vocals.
Opener "Tunnel Vision" is a good example of Tuesday's vigor (sporting a very good guitar solo) which is interspersed through the disc with calmer moments. "Love Me Simple" is another strong tune with lush synths, blistering riffs and a fine chorus.

Overall, in "Shibumi" Tuesday Blue reminds me Canadians Boulevard and Frozen Ghost, early It Bites, some Real Life. There's few tracks reminscent of The Outfield too. I would have wished more hooky choruses but these songs are sonically a pleasure to listen, with delicate arrangements.
Ripped at maximum quality including artwork. Out of print and hard to find.

01 - Tunnel Vision
02 - Tell The Boys
03 - Love Me Simple
04 - Between Smiles And Tears
05 - Open Your Eyes
06 - Cut And Dry
07 - I Believe In You
08 - Escape The Escape
09 - Something Wrong With Your World

Lead & Backing Vocals – Michael Ryan
Guitars – Dave Keary
Keyboards, Piano – Tom Jones
Bass – Ralf Lindheim
Drums, Percussion – Ray Fean

TUESDAY BLUE - Shibumi (1988)