Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CASANOVA - Secretly Yours [unreleased] (199_)

Germans CASANOVA - the brainchild of talented Michael Voss - was one of the best Melodic Rock bands of the nineties. Their self titled debut still ranks as one of my favorites in the genre, and the subsequent albums are equally good.

Casanovas's discography, as many other bands playing this kind of music, suffered continuity because of the changes in the musical trends during the decade.
Around 1995 Casanova got a series of pre-produced demos ready to enter the studio, but contractual troubles happened with their label and between the band members.
The tapes were shelved and Voss started another project; Demon Drive.

On parallel, Casanova continued working as band, and new composed songs were recorded to be released as 'Heroes', a CD only published in Japan in 1999.
After that Voss wanted to release the album in Germany as well, but at that time Casanova as unit was not a band anymore. Voss' bandmates didn't like the idea and said they'll file a lawsuit if 'Heroes' was published under the Casanova moniker in Germany.
Voss made it short; simply re-recorded most of the songs of 'Heroes' and published the material with his other band Demon Drive, entitled... yes, 'Heroes', in 2000. Demon Drive's 'Heroes' also included fresh and re-worked versions of some tracks from the 'lost & shelved' Casanova album, such as "Sex Is An Alien".

Well, that's a nice story, but what concerns us now is precisely the 'lost album'.
Although pre-production stuff, this material has very good sound and mix, and the songs are really interesting as well.
For years this recording circulated between MR / AOR fans entitled as "Secretly Yours". As requested by a reader, I have compiled all the tracks (only corrected in my workstation the fade-outs that ended a bit abruptly) together with a couple or very rare demos of the same era (around 1995).

Also designed a cool artwork - at least I think it is - just tell me what you think...

01 - The Writer
02 - Sex Is An Alien (Part.1)
03 - In The Heart Of A Woman
04 - Lowrider
05 - The Writer (Extended Mix)
06 - Come Into You
07 - Flesh
08 - Hustler
09 - Sex Is An Alien (Part. 2)
10 - Testify
11 - Wild & Young
12 - Without Your Love

Michael Voss: vocals, guitar, keyboards
Stephan Neumeier: guitar
Jochen Mayer? : bass, backing vocals
Michael Eurich? : drums, percussion, backing vocals

CASANOVA Secretly Yours [unreleased]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TERI DeSARIO - Caught (1980)

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

TERI DeSARIO started her recording career after Barry Gibb (Bee Gees) saw her performing in a club in 1977 and was impressed by her voice.
Signed by Casablanca Records, Teri released two disco / soul LP's with minor success.
Then the label and her new management (including producer Bill Purse, later her husband) decided to completely change Teri's musical direction, turning to the raising female fronted melodic rock movement led by the likes of Pat Benatar and Heart.

DeSario's 'debut' in the genre was meticulously thought, hiring the most renowned names in the genre for the occasion.
They secured Humberto Gatica as engineer, top songwriters such as Joey Carbone, Desmond Child, Richie Zito, Tom Keane, and the best L.A. session players.
The list is impressive, including Mike Landau, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, Ritchie Zito, David Foster, Mike Baird, James Newton Howard and more...
So you know what to expect here: quality.
The songs in "Caught" range from melodic rockers (some with a real edge, specially the guitars) to ballads and radio pop-rock, all crowned by Teri's phenomenal vocal range. The only track that looks unnecessary is the Lennon / McCartney penned "I Should Have Known Better", but it isn't a bad version at all.

"Caught" was really hard to find for many years. This is good vinyl-rip with audio restored by me. If want a CD copy, it has been recently re-issued by Rock Candy records.
Really Good stuff.

01 - Caught
02 - Time After Time
03 - I'm With You Now
04 - Standin' On The Edge
05 - Hittin' Below The Belt
06 - I've Got A Secret
07 - All I Wanna Do
08 - I Hate You
09 - I Should Have Known Better

Teri DeSario: Vocals
Mike Landau: Guitars
Richie Zito: Guitars
Steve Lukather: Guitars
John Pierce: Bass
Dennis Belfield: Bass
David Foster: Synthesizer, Keyboards
Michael Boddicker: Synthesizer
James Newton Howard: Synthesizer
Steve Porcaro: Synthesizer
Bill Purse: Keyboards
Mike Baird: Drums
Carlos Vega: Drums
Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
Backing Vocals: Bill Champlin, Tom Kelley, Jim Haas, Bruce Hornsby, John Joyce, Jeannie Campbell, Joey Carbone, Teri DeSario

TERI DeSARIO - Caught 1980

Monday, July 16, 2012

HERO (Denmark) - Hero (1986)

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

From Kalundborg, Denmark, HERO was founded in 1982. The band started to play the typical NWOBHM of the era, recording two demos distributed locally.
Circa the mid-eighties they changed their style to a more commercial hard 'n heavy / melodic rock adding a permanent keyboardist.

Signed by Vertigo, Hero released their self-titled debut in 1986.
We have here that unmistakable Scandinavian '80s sound focused on strong guitars and vocals peppered with AOR synths all over.
However, Hero's music is slightly more edgy than the bands of the same period, with more in common to Norwegians TNT. Their style also reminds you Pretty Maids on many places, not strangely drummer Michael Fast joined the Danish rock institution later in 1991.

"Race And Revel", "Illusions Of Yesterday", "Masquerade", "You're A Hero", "Land Of Tomorrow", all are good, rockin' exponents of the band's style, very well produced by Nils Henriksen with a crunchy and crisp sound.
Hero disbanded in '88, as said Michael Fast joined Pretty Maids and keyboardist Bo Brinck went to form Harlot (later Savage Affair).
Never released on CD, this is a really fine vinyl-rip cleaned by myself.

01 - You're A Hero
02 - Race And Revel
03 - Land Of Tomorrow
04 - We Came To Rock
05 - Masquerade
06 - Jealousy Kills
07 - Now We Play To Win
08 - Illusions Of Yesterday
09 - Turning Out A Star

Steen Larsen: Lead & backing vocals
Bo Brinck: Keyboards, backing vocals
Johnny Thomas: Guitars, backing vocals
Peter Fernando: Guitars, backing vocals
Rik Jensen: Bass & shout
Michael Fast: Drums, percussion & shout

HERO (Denmark) 1986

Thursday, July 05, 2012

FLAG - Across The Stars (1997)

American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Arthur Offen was the leader of Air Raid, a great Pompy / Proggy act who released in 1981 their sole self titled album much praised in Europe but ignored in the U.S.
Due the lack of support, Air Raid disbanded soon and Offen disappeared without a trace.
But the man never stopped to compose and record home demos. At the beginning of the nineties Arthur met the young Berklee student named Jon Sherman and started to work together.

The fruit of their collaboration is "Across The Stars", completed in 1994, calling themselves FLAG after the title of one of the songs.
Despite 13 years passed since Offen's Air Raid and the musical trend prevailing in the mid-nineties, the music in this album is pure Pomp AOR of the first degree.
Musically and lirically, this is a marvelous collection of tunes plenty of classic late '70s / early '80s sounds, of course, with modern production values.

Offen & Sherman are both stupendous musicians and have meticulously crafted each of these songs. I can't recommend a track over the others, all are terrific pieces of pure melodic Pomptastic grandeur.
This is a keyboard driven festival, adorned with sumptuous huge choruses and harmony vocals. Both sing, but Arthur Offen crystal clear leads take the center of the scene, delivering a passionate yet sometimes warm and rich performance.
The orchestrations are incredible, complemented with some killer guitar parts and a dynamic rhythm section, all played only by these talented guys.

I am posting this little gem 'cos "Across The Stars" (which was released three years later in 1997) is one of my favorite Pomp AOR albums ever, besides, Flag is criminally unknown and deserves to be listened.
The duo remains active and have released a couple of following albums completing some kind of trilogy, but aren't easy to find. E.g. "Across The Stars" fetched $500 in eBay.
Highly Recommended.

01 - Flag
02 - Starider
03 - Shadowland
04 - Counting Days
05 - I Have A Secret Dream
06 - Battle Songs
07 - Tigerhead
08 - My Fathers' House
09 - A Million Miles
10 - A Journey Long

FLAG - Across The Stars