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