Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EMERGENCY - Boys Will Be Boys (1993)

EMERGENCY - Boys Will Be Boys (1993) HQ
EMERGENCY arrived a bit too late to the European Melodic Hard Rock scene as their rockin' "Boys Will Be Boys" CD saw the light in 1993, but well worth the wait considering the quality on offer here.
Things were delayed because the band leaded by guitarist Pierre Bordén didn't found the proper singer until they met talented Spanish-born Jose Antonio Manzano (Banzai, Niagara, Zero), a terrific shouter in the vein of David Coverdale.
Though the band come from Basilea, Switzerland, the album was developed, recorded and produced in Germany, so it's not surprise that "Boys Will Be Boys" has a strong Teutonic MHR sound with sharp guitar flurries, a punchy rhythm section, profuse keyboard injections and catchy choruses also akin some Scandinavian acts like Treat.

EMERGENCY - Boys Will Be Boys (1993) back cover

We have top class Melodic Hard Rock cuts here as "Give It Up", "Tell Me", "Walk In My Shadow" and "Talkin' Bout Love", the Scandi-AOR influenced "Don't Look Back" (a personal favorite), "Movin´", "Tell Me" and the synth driven "Love Shot", a semi-midtempo anthem in title track "Boys Will Be Boys", and of course a fantastic piano-ballad in the form of "Nights Are So Long". Production is excellent, shiny, crystal clear.
Long time out of print, "Boys Will Be Boys" was resurrected some years ago in a limited 1000 copies reissue -apparently remixed and remastered- but this is a rip at maximum quality from the original CD edition shared with us by a friend of mine: NitdeRock, so thank you in spades mate.
A must have in any serious MHR/AOR collection.

01 - Boys Will Be Boys
02 - Movin'
03 - Don't Look Back
04 - Nights Are So Long
05 - Give It Up
06 - Blackeyed Jennie
07 - Tell Me
08 - Talkin' Bout Love
09 - Never Stop Lovin´ You
10 - Love Shot
11 - Walk In My Shadow

Jose Antonio Manzano - lead & backing vocals
Pierre Borden - guitars
Tommy Patrick - keyboards, backing vocals
Andy C. Vale - bass
Ronny O'Riot - drums

EMERGENCY Boys Will Be Boys HQ

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ALEX LIGERTWOOD METRO - The Metro Project (1995)

ALEX LIGERTWOOD METRO - The Metro Project (1995)
Scottish Alex Ligertwood recorded twelve albums as lead vocalist in the Santana band, but the man has been involved in many groups like Average White Band, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express or Jeff Beck Group, also recording for other artists (Glenn Hughes, Jeff Lorber, Steve Morse, etc.).
However, his solo discography is quite short, and one of them is "METRO" a project assembled together with teacher & session guitar player Carl Verheyen and keyboardist Richard Baker, also ex Santana but who has recently provided ivory to hard rock bands such as Warrant, Skin or Lynch Mob.

But "Metro" does not go for the rockin' sounds, this is smooth Westcoast AOR oriented stuff with a strong soul influence. The musical style here isn't so easy to classify anyway, as these musicians blend many flavors into their delivery. Perhaps the closest description to "Metro" is the Narada Michael Walden Band (with whom Ligertwood has worked in the past).
The midtempo "Feel The Spirit" features a nice vocal line and recalling musically some '80s British acts, while in "Whenever You're Ready" the early '80s US westcoast emerges, especially through these 'classic Rhodes' keys and the soulful chorus.
"All The Way" is a good, atmospheric croon-like ballad, then "A'kwa'gala (I Love You)", as the title suggests, adds more tribal percussions to the proceedings with a hint to Ligertwood's Santana years.
Last track "One & Only Love" is another slow tune dominated by smooth vocals, nice pianos and subtle synths in the background. A good one that reminds me a soundtrack tune of the '80s featured in the movie The Falcon and the Snowman.

Alex Ligertwood's Metro was very well produced by legend Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Foreigner) and although is not essential, provides an enjoyable easy listening.
Not my favorite stuff, but it was so insistently requested here that I decided to post it for all of you. Released in limited quantities, it's impossible to find a copy of "Metro" nowadays.
Rare and out of print.

01 - Feel The Spirit
02 - Whenever You're Ready
03 - All The Way
04 - A'kwa'gala (I Love You)
05 - One & Only Love

Alex Ligertwood: Vocals, Percussion, Programming
Richard Baker: Synths, Piano
Carl Verheyen: Guitars


Sunday, June 09, 2013

DONNIE MILLER - One Of The Boys (1989)

DONNIE MILLER - One Of The Boys (1989)
DONNIE MILLER is some kind of mystery. This very good singer, guitarist & compser released "One Of The Boys" in 1989 and then disappeared without notice.
Judging the quality of the album, easily he could have been a star in the American melodic rock scene at the end of the eighties / early nineties.
Some big names appear contributing on the recording; Lance Quinn producing (Danger Danger) and playing guitar, former Shooting Star bassist Norm Dahlor, and the great Tommy Shaw co-writing and singing some backing vocals. Even pop-star Cyndi Lauper provides some harmonies.
Talking about Shaw, the overall sound, style and feeling on "One Of The Boys" strongly reminds me his superb solo album "Ambition", so expect a polished and melodic delivery here.

DONNIE MILLER - One Of The Boys (1989)  back cover

Catchy '80s Melodic Rock rhythms are the motto in such numbers as "Normal Guy [I Want Sex]", the chorus-heaven of "I Can't Stop Flying" and the Tommy Shaw meets John Parr "Blind Man's Bluff". More straight radio friendly / soundtrack-like rockers can be heard on title track "One Of The Boys", "The Man Said No" and the anthemic "You Can't Stop Emotion" (some Damn Yankees feel here).
On the AOR side of things, "Me And You" is a great midtempo-ballad full of '80s magic, "The Devil Wears Lingerie" has that stylized sound typical of the era with that particular beat and mysterious atmosphere, "No Time For Running" offers a steady, lovable synth line, while closer "Welcome Home" is one of the highest points on the album.
Compelling, underrated Melodic Rock / AOR album in the best American tradition.

01. One Of The Boys
02. Normal Guy [I Want Sex]
03. I Can't Stop Flying (feat. Cyndi Lauper)
04. Me And You
05. The Devil Wears Lingerie
06. The Man Said No
07. Blind Man's Bluff
08. No Time For Running
09. You Can't Stop Emotion
10. Welcome Home (feat. Tommy Shaw)

Donnie Miller - vocals, guitar
Lance Quinn (Danger Danger, ArcAngel) - guitar
Kurt Carow - keyboards
Norman Dahlor (Shooting Star) - bass
Tim Kix Kelly - drums
Lane Brock, Vince Kirk - additional guitars
S.M.K. Quinn - additional keyboards
Cyndi Lauper - guest backing vocals
Tommy Shaw - songwriting, guest backing vocals