Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CHAS SANDFORD - Parallax View (1982)

CHAS SANDFORD - Parallax View (1982)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Chas Sandford moved to Los Angeles at age 15 where he met Ike Turner, which led to his first recording session with the Ike & Tina Turner band. This was the beginning of Chas' professional career, which has included success as a session/live musician, producer, engineer, songwriter, recording artist, publisher and studio owner.

As a producer & engineer, Chas has worked with big names such as Chicago, Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Berlin, Jimmy Barnes and tons more.

But Chas Sandford is mainly known in AOR circles for his cooperation with John Waite co-writing the timeless classic hit 'Missing You'.
By 1982, Sandford got the opportunity to record his solo debut LP "Parallax View". The album included songs that were soon covered by Waite on his solo debut, Sammy Hagar, Rick Springfield and Sheila B. Devotion.
When three of the songs he was writing for a planned second album turned into a #1 hit for Waite ('Missing You') and Top 5 singles for both Stevie Nicks ('Talk to Me') and Chicago ('What Kind of Man Would I Be'), Sandford found himself one of the most in-demand producer/songwriters in the business, with other of his songs recorded by a list that includes Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Alison Krauss... But let's go back to "Parallax View".

The disc is full of radio friendly AOR flavored rock & pop tunes with the typical sound of the first half of the '80s.
Opener "Surrender" has an irresistible catchy melody and great harmony vocals. Sandford has an educated throat, owner of an expert modulation and a distinctive & sweet timbre.
Next track "Limelight" will remind you the good ol' Rick Springfield, followed by "Temptation", later popularized by John Waite on his solo debut 'Ignition'. Chas' take is more light-AOR but includes sparkling keyboards and an organic classic style.
"We've Said Enough" is a jumpin' rock with a quirky and interesting intro, while "Desperate Times" adds some studio tricks to its classic rock mould.

Side 'B' opens with the wonderful AORish "Still Crazy For You", covered by Rick Springfield in his album 'Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet'. I love how Chas builds the instrumental melody on this song, sustained by a deep bass and clean electric guitars.
"Real Man" is a simple rocker not particularly interesting, but follower "Julia" is a great track, starting slowly and intimate, and in the middle turns into an uptempo foot-tapping rocker.
"Waiting For The Night" is driven by a dry guitar riff, and after a cool bridge the chorus is powerful and rocking. It's a special song to be performed live.
The vinyl ends with one of the best tracks, the AOR midtempo "Hope Against Hope", decorated with nice keyboards and a great refrain. This is a cleverly composed tune that shows Sandford's ability as songwriter. Not an ordinary song for sure.

Very well produced, engineered and recorded by Sandford himself between France, England and USA with a warm and open sound, "Parallax View" was released by a major label (Elektra/Asylum), but strangely it wasn't re-issued on CD yet. According to Chas Sandford, there's negotiations for a re-release very soon.
Until then, enjoy this fine vinyl-rip with a restored audio by myself.

01 - Surrender
02 - Limelight
03 - Temptation
04 - We've Said Enough
05 - Desperate Times
06 - Still Crazy For You
07 - Real Man
08 - Julie
09 - Waiting For The Night
10 - Hope Against Hope

Chas Sandford: Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Tony The Doctor Braunagel: Drums & Percussion
Jamie Herndon: Keyboards, Guitar
Craig Nelson: Bass, Backing Vocals
Duncan MacKay: Synths
George Englund - Sax
James Hayman, Bill Champlin, Carmen Grillo: Backing Vocals

CHAS SANDFORD - Parallax View

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MEGHAN - ST [mini LP] (1987)

MEGHAN mini LP (1987)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

This miniLP (only vinyl) was requested many months ago, and finally I found the time to restore the audio.

There's not much info about Meghan, but this independently released vinyl speaks for itself: the gurl is a rocker, and a good one.

With a very good production & mix, "Meghan" offers 6 quality American Melodic Hard Rock songs with an edge.
Meghan has great voice with a timbre similar to earlier Ann Wilson, while the
guitar sound is enrolled in the style of '80s Vitto Bratta (White Lion) and alikes.
"Don't Think Twice" and "Suicidal Lover" are melodic yet powerful, the hardest side is represented on the stomping "Radio Man", "I Don't Want To Know" and the intense riffage of "Head Over Heels", while "Well Of Souls" (preceded by the beautiful intro "Pour Puits Des Ames") mixes a midtempo pace with rockin' moments.

Pretty unknown for most HR/MR fans, "Meghan" is a truly fabulous miniLP with a very good production & mix, offering 6 quality American Melodic Hard Rock songs with an edge.
Vinyl-rip cleaned & enhanced by me. Enjoy.

1 - Don't Think Twice
2 - I Don't Want To Know
3 - Head Over Heels
4 - Suicidal Lover
5 - Pour Puits Des Ames / Well Of Souls
6 - Radio Man

Meghan: vocals, synths
Rowland McDaniel: guitars
Jacques Moriaring: guitars
Rick Eagle: bass
Scott Sherman: drums
Jack Gleason: bass on 4
Raine & Jenny Wallace: vocals on 5

MEGHAN mini LP - 1987

Friday, March 16, 2012

THINK OUT LOUD - ST [Japan release] (1988)

THINK OUT LOUD - ST [Japan release] (1988)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

THINK OUT LOUD was an '80s studio AOR project featuring awesome singers, songwriters, producers Peter Beckett & Steve Kipner.

At this point I consider needless to describe the leafy pedigree of both monster Multi Platinum-selling musicians... they have written & produced songs for Heart, Survivor, Player, countless pop artists, soundtracks, etc.

On Think Out Loud's self-titled debut, both share lead vocals through out the album, Peter credited with lead guitar and programming, while Steve handled the bass, keyboards and some programming also, and of course, they're the producers together with another eminence in this matter; Humberto Gatica (Chicago, Tina Turner).
The who-is-who of the L.A. cream session musicians play here as well; Michael Landau, Paul Jackson, Jr., Steve Lukather, Bob Marlette, Bobby Caldwell and more.

THINK OUT LOUD - ST [Japan release] (1988) back

Rabid AOR collectors already got this one, if you don't, wait no more.
Requested by a friend, this is taken from the Japanese press of the CD, at maximum quality including artwork.

01 - In A Perfect World
02 - Stranger Things Have Happened
03 - Original Sin (Jumpin' In)
04 - The Deep End
05 - Raise You Up
06 - After All This Time
07 - Faithful Love
08 - Body And Soul (Lost In The Rhythm)
09 - In No Uncertain Terms
10 - Talk To Yourself

Peter Beckett: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Programming
Steve Kipner: Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Programming
Tris Imboden: Drums
Michael Landau, Paul Jackson Jr, Steve Lukather: Guitar
Jimmy Johnson: Bass [Fretless]
John Capek: Bass, Keyboards
Bob Marlette, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Goodrum: Keyboards
Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
Brandon Fields: Horns
Renee Geyer: Backing Vocals


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ANDY QUNTA - Legend In A Loungeroom + bonus [remaster 2004]

ANDY QUNTA - Legend In A Loungeroom + bonus [remaster 2004]
Andy Qunta (pronounced 'Kunta', with the 'u' sounding like in 'book') is a British keyboard player, songwriter, vocalist and part-time guitarist.
He has played with many successful artists in England, then moved to Australia in 1982 to join the popular band Icehouse, co-writing one of their biggest hits; 'Crazy'.

Qunta is a respected songwriter providing services for many major artists. In example, he co-wrote 'You're The Voice', which has since become something of an anthem since John Farnham had a worldwide #1 hit with it, and songs for the Manfred Mann's Earth Band (penned together with Chris Thompson).
By 1988, Andy ink a contract for a solo album, "Legend In A Loungeroom", recorded in Los Angeles with renowned session musicians.

The first single (and video) "Thing About You" got massive airplay in Australia, but legal wrangles with Executive Producers caused the project to be shelved. Without Qunta's approval, the album was finally released in Germany.
"Legend In A Loungeroom" is a really good album plenty of light AOR moments and classy rock & pop tunes, alternating uptempo tracks with breezy midtempos & ballads, all very well composed, played and produced with a shiny '80s sound.
The style reminds me Tom Kimmel, Brian Spence and eighties Glen Burtnick, with a touch of his former band Icehouse on the more radio-rock oriented tunes. Qunta may not have the strongest voice in the world, but his melodic timbre is warm and pleasant.

ANDY QUNTA - Legend In A Loungeroom original cover
original release cover

"Legend In A Loungeroom" isn't hard to find in the blogosphere, but I never seen this remastered 2004 version (by himself) including as bonus two tracks not present in the original release. Also features a different artwork, and all the CD copies were sold autographed.
Truly enjoyable.

01 - Take Me Home
02 - Come Back Baby
03 - Thing About You
04 - Waiting For The Storm
05 - Tightrope
06 - Sooner Or Later
07 - Empty Words
08 - Free The Bird
09 - Take This Heart
10 - Legend In A Loungeroom
11 - These Are The Days (bonus track)
12 - Midnight (bonus track)

Andy Qunta: Lead & Background Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Tim Pierce: Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Tony Qunta: Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Jeff Skunk Baxter (Doobie Bros, Steely Dan): Guitar
Guy Pratt (Icehouse, Pink Floyd): Bass, Fretless
Denny Fongheiser (Heart, Eric Martin): Drums
Scott Page (Robert Tepper, Marilyn Martin): Sax
Steve Milbacher: Keyboards, String arrangements
Paulinho da Costa: Percussion
Gary Falcone (Jason Scheff, Stan Bush): Background Vocals
Joe Pizzulo: Background Vocals

ANDY QUNTA: Legend In A Loungeroom + bonus