Friday, September 27, 2013

BATTLECRY - Red White And Blue (1985) restored audio

BATTLECRY - Red White And Blue (1985) restored audio
Apart from being a Christian act playing mid-eighties AOR, the particularity of BATTLECRY is their origin: the most recent of the 50 U.S. States, Hawaii. Anyway, the band commanded by singer Doug Morris moved to California and not only made a strong following among religious circles but also from secular audiences.

Recorded and released independently, their now hard to find sole release "Red White And Blue" from 1985 incudes some lovable AOR tunes with a strong keyboard presence, nice melodies and good choruses.
You have marching tracks such as the Aviator-like title track "Red White And Blue" or the Journey-esque "Life With The Lord" plenty of synth fills and Neal Schon influenced guitar playing.
More Melodic Rock / radio oriented is the sweet hookline in "Power And Might", while the classic mid-tempo AOR styling of "You've Got To Know" somehow reminds me Steve Overland's Wildlife or early FM.
"When The Lord Comes Back" is the weakest track with some poppy Allies smell, but "Not Tough Enough" recaptures the melodic energy via cool guitar licks, swirling keys and easy choruses.

BATTLECRY - Red White And Blue (1985) restored audio back cover

As you can read in the song titles lyrics are clearly religiously focused, but that does not bother at all. Songwriting is little naive at places, however these guy's musicianship - and the gurl playing keyboards - is very good, as well production.
"Red White And Blue" only was released on MiniLP & cassette (which includes some unnecessary live tracks poorly recorded) and although a vinyl-rip is profusely spread in the blogosphere, it features lots of scratchs and clicks.
This is a fresh rip courtesy of my friend Robert P. (thanks mate), cleaned and restored by me.
A very nice slice of mid-'80s AOR.

01 - Red White And Blue
02 - When The Lord Comes Back
03 - Not Tough Enough
04 - Life With The Lord
05 - Power And Might
06 - You've Got To Know

Doug Morris - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Dave Chumchal - Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Robert Giverink - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mariko Martinez - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Ronald P. Simmons - Bass, Backing Vocals
Bret Kik Keys - Drums

BATTLECRY restored audio

Friday, September 20, 2013

TWO OF A KIND - ST [Japan release] (2007)

TWO OF A KIND - ST [Japan release] (2007) Fred Hendrix Terra Nova
The other day, eager to listen some good female fronted Melodic Rock, I went into my collection to pick up the long time not heard sole release by TWO OF A KIND, in my opinion, amongst the top 10 releases in 2007.
Centred around the velvety yet strong vocals of Dutch singers Esther Brouns and Anita Craenmehr (ex- Night Shade and Fast forward respectively), the mastermind behind this project is the talented Fred Hendrix, founder of two of my favorites bands from the fluffy side of the Melodic Rock / AOR genre; Terra Nova and Aquila.

Mr. Hendrix not only composed all the songs, produced and played bass, but also utilised as back-up band his partners in Terra Nova; Ron Hendrix (Fred’s brother) on keyboards and Gesuino Derosas on guitars, while Vengeance's Hans In't Zandt handled the drums.
So TWO OF A KIND is some kind of Terra Nova with female vocals at the helm, quite much in the Wilson sisters / Heart '80s style. This is a stunning, criminally ignored record when released six years ago.

TWO OF A KIND - ST [Japan release] (2007) back cover

Not sure about the European edition, but this King Records Japanese version (including a bonus track) is out of print and deleted right now.
Very Recommended, quality female fronted Melodic AORish Rock album.

01 - Light In The Dark
02 - The Longest Night
03 - Little By Little
04 - Give Me A Reason
05 - Heaven Can Wait
06 - Unbearable
07 - Into The Fire
08 - In Your Arms
09 - Whole Again
10 - To The Top
11 - I Die A Little More Everyday
12 - Now I'm Complete (Japan bonus track)

Esther Brouns - Vocals
Anita Craenmehr - Vocals
Gesuino Derosas - Guitar
Hans In't Zandt - Drums
Ron Hendrix - Keyboards
Fred Hendrix - Bass, Songwriting, Production


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

XYZ - Hungry [Axe Killer remaster 1999]

XYZ - Hungry [Axe Killer remaster 1999]
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Terry Ilous' eighties band XYZ never was considered by the press as a top act from the US Hard Rock movement of the era, however, most major, platinum-seller bands and musicians of the genre mentioned them as personal favorites.
In my opinion, XTZ self-titled debut produced by Don Dokken is one of the finest melodic hard albums produced by the American factory at the end of that decade.

Aiming to rock harder still maintaining a polished sound, for the second record "Hungry" XYZ called guru Neil Kernon to co-produce together with George Tutko (Lita Ford, Eric Martin). This association resulted in a more straightforward, no-frills bluesy hard rock album plenty of energy, great vocals and sizzling guitar work.

XYZ - Hungry [Axe Killer remaster 1999] back cover

Requested by a reader, here's the now out of print and hard to find Axe Killer (French label) release of "Hungry", remastered and available in Europe for the first time in 1999, including the bonus track "Two Wrongs Can Make A Right". There's a noticeable improvement in sound and balance to enjoy this very good American Hard Rock CD.
Killer stuff.

01 - Face Down In The Guter
02 - Don't Say No
03 - Fire And Water
04 - When The Night Comes Down
05 - Off the Sun
06 - Feels Good
07 - Shake Down The Walls
08 - When I Find Love
09 - H.H. Boogie
10 - Sun Also Rises In Hell
11 - Roll Of The Dice
12 - Whiskey On A Heartache
13 - Two Wrongs Can Make A Right *

* Axe Killer remaster Bonus Track

Terry Ilous - vocals
Marc Diglio - guitar
Patt Fontaine - bass
Paul Monroe - drums

XYZ Hungry - Axe Killer

Thursday, September 05, 2013

DARIN SCHEFF - Demos feat. Warren Wiebe, Tim Feehan & more

DARIN SCHEFF - Demos feat. Warren Wiebe, Tim Feehan & more
The Scheff family is a musical one. Of course the most well known by us is the awesome Jason Scheff of the Chicago fame, but his brother DARIN SCHEFF is also a talented songwriter who has penned some beautiful tunes for many artists (including Chicago).

This is a collection of songs written / co-written and recorded by Darin Scheff during the '80s and '90s on a Fostex 8-track Machine, 'the personal home studio for the eighties' as it was known back in the day. These are some real Westcoast AOR gems never released or recorded by other artists.
We have the late, fantastic Warren Wiebe performing lead vocals on the terrific "Heart To Mend", and also "Safe Back In Your Arms" - song featured in the 1989 movie Under Crystal Lake, but the soundtrack never was released.

The great Tim Feehan sings the poppy "You Don't Know" and the super midtempo AOR "Why Did You Ever Let Me Go" which features as well a superb guitar work by Dawayne Bailey (Bob Seger, Chicago).
More luminaries are presented on lead vocals: John Keane, Sherwood Ball, Bill Cantos and of course bro Jason Scheff among others.
You can hear John Parr playing guitar on couple of cuts, Cantos on piano and strings, Jason on bass, keyboards and even offering a guitar solo on a track. And more...

Very good sound on these lovable demos, additionally enhanced, cleaned and restored by me.
You can find a complete line-up / story of each track inside the tag comments.
AOR suckers; enjoy.

01 - Heart To Mend (Warren Wiebe lead vocals)
02 - Why Did You Ever Let Me Go (Tim Feehan lead vocals)
03 - Looking Up At Heaven (Bill Cantos lead vocals)
04 - Driven (Sherwood Ball lead vocals, John Parr guitar)
05 - Safe Back In Your Arms (Warren Wiebe lead vocals)
06 - Secretly Loving You (Danny Mishkit lead vocals)
07 - Don't Let Love Come Between Us (John Keane lead vocals)
08 - You Don't Know (Tim Feehan lead vocals, John Parr guitar)
09 - Victoria (Jason Scheff lead vocals)
10 - If It Were You [demo version] (Chicago the band)
11 - Life Goes On (Donny Kerr lead vocals)
12 - Slow (unknown lead vocals)
13 - Down 'N Dirty (Mary Knox lead vocals)

Darin Scheff: guitar, background vocals
Tony Smith: keyboards, programming
Donny Kerr: guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
John Keane: keyboards, programming, vocals
Jason Scheff: bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals
Dawayne Bailey: guitar
Bill Cantos: piano, strings, pads, vocals
John Parr: guitar
Danny Mishkit: sax, vocals
Dean Gretch: guitar

DARIN SCHEFF Demos '80s / '90s