Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BOSS - Step On It (1984) restored audio

BOSS - Step On It (1984) restored audio
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Founded at the end of the seventies in Adelaide, Australia, by Kevin Pratt (guitar) and Craig Csongrady (vocals), BOSS moved to Sydney in 1980. The band released their only album "Step On It" with RCA in 1984 which was quite successful in Germany and Japan, but the label didn't supported the guys.
Pratt & Csongrady later formed BB Steal (Beg, Borrow or Steal), a really good act produced by Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen.

BOSS were focused in catchy Hard Rock songs with a touch of rockin' AOR sporting an unmistakable British sound not far from the first Def Leppard, Led Zepp and Bad Company, also adorned with some Ratt / Krokus like crunchy riffs.
Strong vocals, sharp solos and a pounding rhythm section drive anthemic numbers like "Kick Ass (Rock N' Roll)", the fist rising "Hard N' Fast" or the groovy "That Woman". There's more melodic numbers such as "Strange Games", "Take It Or Leave It" (which reminds me Bronz), and the enjoyable midtempo "Cry Cry".

BOSS - Step On It (1984) restored audio back cover

"Step On It" never was officially released on CD, and the bootlegs floating around are crap.
As requested, I did a quick clean-up of this pretty good vinyl-rip (not mine) de-clicking the whole thing for your listening pleasure.
Good stuff!

01 - Kick Ass (Rock N' Roll)
02 - That Woman
03 - Dancin' Queen
04 - Strange Games
05 - Hard N' Fast
06 - Escapee
07 - Take It Or Leave It
08 - Free Wheelin'
09 - Cry Cry
10 - Shake It

Craig Csongrady - Vocals
Kevin Pratt - Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Peter Sucliff - Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Scott Ginn - Bass
Peter Heckenburg - Drums

BOSS Step On It restored audio

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BILOXI - Checkmate... The Game's Over (1993-94) re-worked

WHAT IF 1987 Tommy Funderburk
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

BILOXI was a short-lived melodic hard rock band from the city of the same name in Mississippi, not exactly the Rock capital for this kind of music. Anyway, commanded by talented singer and bass player Clyde Holly (RIP), the group made some impact in the L.A. area during the last agonizing months of the genre (before the grunge ruined all) with their debut 'Let The Games Begin' in 1993.

But Clyde & Co. started to work together in the second half of the '80s and managed to record a professional demo in 1989.
The good sales of 'Let The Games Begin' attracted Japanese label Zero Corp Records (EMI-Toshiba) to sign Biloxi and release in Asia not only the album, but also the earlier '89 six-track recording, entitled "Checkmate... The Game's Over".

BILOXI - Checkmate... The Game's Over (1993-94) re-worked by Camelblue - poster

Although their full length debut is a really good melodic hard rock album with some pomp overtones, I largely prefer this "Checkmate... The Game's Over", because it owns the real US Melodic Rock / AOR sound and style from the second half of the eighties.
Somehow Biloxi reminds me here US wonders White Sister, perhaps because Clyde Holly's vocal timbre recalling Dennis Churchill. There's also some Firehouse touches in few melodies, but what steals the show are their AOR delivery in tunes like the wonderful "Listen To Your Heart". A gem if you ask me.

BILOXI - Checkmate... The Game's Over (1993-94) re-worked by Camelblue back cover

Despite being demos, as said, all the tracks in "Checkmate... The Game's Over" were professionally recorded, but Zero Corp Records transferred the tapes without any remastering.
Well, I did mine.
I have enhanced the overall sound, attenuated the hiss, and properly (for a home studio) mastered the chunks. I doubt you'll find a better version of "Checkmate... The Game's Over" out there.
This is pure '80s stuff, very recommended indeed.

1 - Someone To Love You
2 - Listen To Your Heart
3 - One In A Million
4 - I'll Meet You On The Other Side
5 - Love Prevails
6 - Out On The Streets Again

Clyde Holly - lead vocals, bass
Pat McNulty - guitar, backing vocals
Billy Orrico - drums, backing vocals
Rich Symons - guitar, backing vocals
Douglas R. Docker - keyboards, backing vocals

BILOXI - Checkmate... The Game's Over

Monday, August 12, 2013

WAR PIPES - Warpipes (1991-2000)

WAR PIPES - Warpipes (1991-2000) Holes In The Heavens
While playing alongside other artists such as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper during the late '70s and early '80s, underrated and terrific Scottish guitarist Davey Johnstone is mostly known for being Elton John's main six-string man.
Around 1990, Johnstone started his own band named WARPIPES together with singer & lyricist Billy Trudel (later in Public Domain featured HERE) who went on to sing backup for Elton as well, completing the line up with... two members of Elton John's band too; keyboardist Guy Babylon and bassist Bob Birch.

In 1991, WarPipes released their only album 'Holes In The Heavens' to much critical acclaim on Davey Johnstone's self-owned label Artful Balance Records. But the label folded not so long after, and the disc become almost impossible to find.
Fortunately, this great record was rescued in 2000 by Bridge Records in a revamped re-release simply entitled "War Pipes" (this time separated words). But it was really different from the original.
Three new tracks were added; "Little Persuader", "Dust On My Boots" and "One Love True", while the track "Satellite City" from the original edition was deleted. Also features a re-arranged tracklist and completely new artwork.

WAR PIPES - Warpipes (1991-2000) Holes In The Heavens back cover

'Holes In The Heavens' / 'War Pipes' was the vehicle for Davey Johnstone to rock, and rock intensively. Don't expect Elton-like poppy tunes here, this is a terrific melodic hard rock album with a bluesy foundation in the vein of Walk On Fire, YA YA or Walk The Wire, this meaning: high quality AORish Melodic Rock of the highest order.
Not only Billy Trudel vocals are pure gold in a Steve Perry / Moon Calhoun style (Trudel was booked by Michael Thompson in an earlier version of MTB), also Davey Johnstone's toneful, clean, killer sound & pickin' are to die for.
I can't find a weak song of this superbly produced album, ripped at maximum quality from the reissue but also including the discarded track "Satellite City" as bonus, to treasure WarPipes' complete recordings.
Great One.

01 - Rock & Roll Condition
02 - Little Persuader (reissue only)
03 - Dust On My Boots (reissue only)
04 - Duty To Dance
05 - Mr. 2 U
06 - One Love True (reissue only)
07 - Tear Jerker
08 - Son Of A Loaded Gun
09 - Good-Bye Kemosabe
10 - Holes In The Heavens
11 - Divided Heart
12 - Back A' Ma Buick
13 - Satellite City (original release only)

Billy Trudel: lead vocals
Davey Johnstone: guitars, mandolin, backing vocals
Guy Babylon: keyboards
Bob Birch: bass, sax
Nigel Olsson: drums, backing vocals


Monday, August 05, 2013

DEAD BEAT HONEYMOONERS (ex Orphan) - ST (1992)

DEAD BEAT HONEYMOONERS (ex Orphan) - ST (1992)
After the recent Orphan post, as promised, here it is the sole album from the short-lived band DEAD BEAT HONEYMOONERS formed by singer Chris Burke-Gaffney and drummer Terry Norman Taylor.
With Toronto guitarist Barry G. Player and Blair Depape on bass, they began playing the clubs throughout mid-western Canada at the beginning of the nineties. Rush's label Anthem Records soon signed the Deadbeat Honeymooners for a self-titled debut, released in 1992.

Time's changed since the Orphan years, and Burke-Gaffney & co. not only let their hair grow, also the musical approach for Deadbeat Honeymooners was obviously the melodic hard rock in vogue in North America.
With a polished production by Tom Treumuth (Honeymoon Suite, Helix), "Deadbeat Honeymooners" is a typical recording of the era; melodic riffs, soaring choruses / harmony vocals and big drums. The disc sounds quite American, still retaining the Canuck touch.
Burke-Gaffney vocals are the driving force, but I need to remark Barry Player's toneful, dazzling guitar work, unleashing some awesome solos as well.

There's very effective, motorin' melodic hard rockers where Damn Yankees, Night Ranger, Hardline and alikes come to mind, like my favorite "Dial L.O.V.E" (also single and video), the kickin' "Mystery", "Temptation", the tongue-in-cheek "Hard To Be Humble", "Blind Faith" and the very fun vocal/guitar interplay in "Money, Money, Money".
We have bluesy midtempos on "Queen of the Renaissance" and "When The Rain Comes", acoustics in "King Of The World" and of course a very good power ballad; "Can't Live With - Can't Live Without".
Deadbeat Honeymooners toured with Kim Mitchell and Robin Trower, shared stages with Bryan Adams, Steve Miller, Extreme, etc, but the musical climate changed soon and the group broke-up. Everyone continued working in the music world in one way or another, Burke-Gaffney as producer and manager, while Barry G. Player became a highly sought-after studio musician - his is truly great on the six-strings.

DEAD BEAT HONEYMOONERS (ex Orphan) - ST (1992) back cover

"Deadbeat Honeymooners" is a quite unknown release but a really, really good album in the style of the aforementioned bands, plenty of scintillating melodious rockers perfectly executed and produced.
Very Recommended.

01 - Hard To Be Humble
02 - When The Rain Comes
03 - King Of The World
04 - Queen Of The Renaissance
05 - Foreign Legion
06 - Dial L.O.V.E.
07 - Temptation
08 - Money, Money, Money
09 - Blind Faith
10 - Can't Live With - Can't Live Without
11 - Yo Mama
12 - Mystery

Christopher Burke-Gaffney – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Strings
Terry Norman Taylor – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Barry G. Player – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Blair Depape – Bass, Backing Vocals


Thursday, August 01, 2013

BLACK RAIN (USA) - Black Rain (1993/2003)

BLACK RAIN (USA) - Black Rain (1993/2003) melodic rock
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

BLACK RAIN was (or are?) a Melodic Rock band with some Hard edge originating from Connecticut and not from California as many 'historians' assure. The band recorded several songs between 1990-93 before the grunge Dark Age phagocytosed them. Anyway, the group managed to release by themselves an EP in 1993 while the rest of the tracks were shelved.
Ten years after, Metal Mayhem Music rescued the tapes and finally put out the disc as it was originally intended, including 12 tracks.

"Black Rain" is very late eighties / early nineties styled, both in composition and style, influenced by the Californian sound where they used to play a lot, you know - The Roxy in Hollywood, Dream Street in San Diego and alikes.
You can hear some Warrant on "Don't Turn Away", Poison-esque midtempos in "One Chance" and "Yesterday", early Bon Jovi for "All Alone" and a little Danger Danger on the main melody of "To Live On".
Many of the tracks are really mellow, adding acoustics as on the very well arranged "I Never Wanted" (one of the highlights), but there's also uptempo rockers like "Crazy Questions", the bluesy "Sculptured Love" and the slightly Damn Yankees-like "Time", another favorite of mine.

BLACK RAIN (USA) - Black Rain (1993/2003) back cover
Rather obscure and unknown, there's not a bad moment in "Black Rain", a disc featuring good songwriting, musicianship, melodies, and whilst production is
very indie (different sessions) this is a fine Melodic Rock album which gets better and better with each listen.

01 - Run
02 - Don't Turn Away
03 - One Chance
04 - To Live On
05 - Time
06 - I Never Wanted
07 - Sculptured Love
08 - Drift Away
09 - Crazy Questions
10 - All Alone
11 - Dyin' For The Cause
12 - Yesterday

Ty Christensen: vocals
Galvan Steele: guitars
Shawn Logan: guitars
Jay Linthicum: bass
Joe Bonzi: drums