Monday, December 22, 2014

DAN SEALS - Harbinger [Japan edition] (1982)

DAN SEALS - Harbinger [Japan edition] (1982) AOR
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

American singer DAN SEALS achieved enormous success in America as Melodic Country artist during the second half of the '80s, but the talented musician previously had a prominent background in Soft Rock music. Under the moniker 'England Dan' he was part of the duo England Dan & John Ford Coley which charted nine Adult Contemporary singles between 1976-79.
After the duo disbanded, Seals recorded his first solo LP still retaining the 'England Dan' name. It was an album intended to launch Seals in the mainstream rock&pop market and adult radio.
But it's this second release "Harbinger" which attracts our interest, as it was created during the golden age of seminal American AOR / Westcoast; between 1981-82.

For "Harbinger", Atlantic Records put a big budget at Dan Seal's service. Dan penned three songs, but one of the strengths of this release is the contribution of external songwriters, the cream of the cream around those years including Rick Bowles, David Foster, Jay Graydon and Glen Ballard just to name few.
Add to this the L.A. 'big guys' Dann Huff, Randy Mccormick, David Hungate (Toto) and you get the picture.
Just listen opener "Can't Get You Out Of My Mind". While Seals' verses are the less remarkable thing of the song (because are mostly spoken) the chorus and the music is awesome. In the best early Toto feeling, this is a classy Westcoast tune crowned by a terrific lead guitar work all over the song.

"I Could Be Loving You Right Now" is a breezy, elegant Light AOR beauty, same with superb "It's Not Gonna Be That Easy", prime '82 Westcoast of the highest order. Seal's vocal part here is first class, with a sweet melodic harmony ruling the tune.
Then the Bowles' co-written "In My Heart" is a catchy, melodic little gem, followed by the Airplay cover "It Will Be Alright (written David Foster & Jay Graydon) done with a nice vibe.

If you wanna check how a radio-ready song was crafted in the first half of the '80s, put "Once In A While" in your player. The chorus is pure AOR heaven, a melodic bliss to die for. As a movie soundtrack maniac, I always thought this track should have been part of a major film of the era. This song alone worth this disc.
"Up To Me" blends - like few tracks recorded during this golden period of American music - AOR, pop and Westcoast in a magnificent way. This is feel-good music guys, the kind they never made anymore. Great vocal performance by Dan, and one of his best on the record. Is that master Huff on the guitar? What a tone man.

Another gem arrives with "Not Every Heart Succeeds", AOR in the classic US way with a Player / Peter Beckett feel adorned with lovely keys and highly melodic verses. Wow.
Midtempo "Bad News" has a little country smell - a style on which Seals will move after this record - but the guitar solo is rocking and punchy, while "Harbinger, Sage or Fool" adds acoustics to its soft rock atmospheres.
These last two tracks, although good, are not in the same league of the previous, but that's almost an impossible task judging the high level of what we have listened so far. This is already a stupendous album.

DAN SEALS - Harbinger [Japan edition] (1982) back

"Harbinger" is a terrific US AOR / Westcoast album rarely mentioned as one of the best recorded during the first half of the '80s. Perhaps because Dan Seals turned a Country artist after this, but believe me, there's lots of high quality stuff here. At least half of the record is a must have material for fans of the genre.
"Harbinger" was released in the US for the first time on CD only ten years ago, but this is a rip from the highly priced, much sought after original Japanese release.
A Must.

01 - Can't Get You Out Of My Mind
02 - I Could Be Lovin’ You Right Now
03 - It's Not Gonna Be That Easy
04 - In My Heart
05 - It Will Be Alright
06 - I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Again
07 - Once In A While
08 - Up To Me
09 - Not Every Heart Succeeds
10 - Bad News
11 - Harbinger, Sage Or Fool

Vocals: Dan Seals
Guitars: Dann Huff, Bobby Thompson, Duncan Cameron, Jon Goin, Larry Byrom, Rafe VanHoy, Steve Gibson
Keyboards: Kelly Wilson, Bobby Ogden, Randy McCormick, Shane Keister, Farrell Morris
Bass: David Hungate, Jack Williams, Tom Robb, Bob Wray
Drums: James Stroud, Larne Landin
Percussion: Farrell Morris
Backing Vocals: Lisa Silver, Sherri Huffman, Dan Seals

DAN SEALS - Harbinger HQ

Thursday, December 18, 2014

JAY GRAYDON with K-A-Z - Blazin (2003)

JAY GRAYDON with K-A-Z - Blazin (2003) full
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

This a fun request. Super talented L.A. Session god JAY GRAYDON wrote some years ago the theme song for a Japanese popular wrestler, Kenta Kobashi.
The song titled "Blazin" was recorded by Asian guitar wizard K-A-Z, but also by Graydon in California, accompanied by some other luminaries often linked with AOR sounds; keyboard player Bill Cantos, bassist Jimmy Johnson and John Keane on drums.

Used when Kobashi entered into the Pro-Wrestling NOAH arena, the various versions of the song were pressed on CD.
K-A-Z takes are really hard rocking in a Marty Friedman style, while Graydon's and his cats, as you suppose, deliver a very melodic breeze. Jay Graydon shines with a clean yet powerful valvular guitar performance, while Cantos add some synths as embellishment.

The "Blazin" EP is a cool release, many versions of the same song yes, but fun. It's almost like a 'soundtrack type' release.
The CD is a rarity, as far I know out of print and a collectors item.

01 - K-A-Z - Blazin
02 - Ryu Nakata - Ring Announce
03 - K-A-Z - Blazin (Victory Version)
04 - Kenta Kobash - Message
05 - Jay Graydon - Blazin (Original Version)
06 - Jay Graydon - Blazin (Original Long Version)

Tracks 1, 3:
K-A-Z: Guitars, Bass & Programming
Go: Drums
Tracks 5, 6:
Jay Graydon: Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
Bill Cantos: Keyboards
Jimmy Johnson : Bass
John Keane: Drums

JAY GRAYDON with K-A-Z - Blazin

Monday, December 15, 2014

RUSS IRWIN - Russ Irwin (1991)

RUSS IRWIN - Russ Irwin (1991) HQ
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

The name RUSS IRWIN may ring a bell for few people, but chances are if you've seen Aerosmith live in concert in the last two decades, you've heard him playing keyboards and doing backing vocals. 
Indeed, New Yorker Russ Irwin has been been part of Aerosmith's touring band since the '90s, performing keyboards, guitars and backing vocals. Also, in the meantime, toured with Sting, Bryan Adams, John Fogerty, and recorded with Paul Stanley, Jeff Beck, etc.
But he's more than this.

Irwin is a skilled songwriter too, having penned songs for Meat Loaf, Foreigner, Scorpions and many, many more. As example, most recently Irwin co-wrote Aerosmith's top 20 hit 'What Could Have Been Love' on their album Music From Another Dimension.
However, Russ Irwin started his musical career as solo artist when he was singed at the beginning of the Nineties by major label Columbia. His self-titled debut appeared in 1991, produced by Westcoast guru Phil Ramone.
Despite of featuring as well session musicians also often related to Westcoast / AOR music like Vinnie Colaiuta, Jeff Bova or Steve Ferrone, "Russ Irwin" (the CD) is pretty Adult Contemporary, Rock&pop and Classic Rock oriented, with some melodic rock tracks in between as the beautiful "Sea Of Dreams".

RUSS IRWIN - Russ Irwin (1991) back cover

The album spawned a hit single - # 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 - with the ballad "My Heart Belongs to You", while "I Need You Now" hit No. 36 on the Radio Rock chart.
This is a very good record with cool tunes, of course top class musicianship & production, and Irwin's excellent vocals as a corollary.
It seriously grows in you with each listen.

01 - Don't Like The Way You Look At My Love
02 - All I Want
03 - Alison-Francis
04 - She's Part of Me
05 - Get Outta Town
06 - Can't Stop Lovin' You
07 - My Heart Belongs To You
08 - That's What Love Should Be
09 - I Need You Now
10 - Sea Of Dreams

Russ Irwin: Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Wurlitzer
Jeff Bova: Synthesizer
Jimmy Bralower: Programming, Synthesizer
Doug Katsaros: Synthesizer, Backing Vocals
Eric Rehl: Keyboards, Synthesizer
Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Ferrone, Gregg Gerson: Drums
Bashiri Johnson: Percussion
Joe Shepley, David Taylor, George Young: Horns
Phoebe Snow, Rachele Cappelli, Jill Dell'Abate, Karen Kamon: Backing Vocals


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FLAME (US) - Flame (1992)

FLAME (US) - Flame (1992)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

It's time for some rocking waves here... this FLAME from US recorded two nice albums between the late '80s / early '90s. Their first disc appeared via a small label, a hard rocking effort with some hair metal on it.
By 1990, Flame was signed by a major label and they contributed a song for Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead OST, while the band's second album was being recorded with producer Bill Wray, a movie soundtrack specialist many times featured on this blog.

Entitled as the band's name, "Flame" is much more melodic and accessible than the previous CD.
With a sound & style typical of the 1990-92 years - read Damn Yankees, Tesla and a bit of Night Ranger, at places Flame infuse some songs with a bluesy vibe akin Great White or Tangier.
My favorite cuts are the ones with the more melodic hard rock oriented melodies and choruses, such as the very good "Don't Look Down", the punchy "Ball and Chain", the pumping "If You Had A Heart" or the midtempo ballad "Desperate Heart".

FLAME (US) - Flame (1992) back cover

A nice, very melodious US Melodic Hard Rock album, "Flame" delivers a quite 'easy to the ears' sound that, despite at places pretty hard rocking, it's always pleasant with friendly verses and choruses.

01 - Razor Blade Road (Prelude)
02 - Rain
03 - Electraglide
04 - Wild One
05 - Don't Look Down
06 - Wonderland
07 - Shelter You
08 - If You Had A Heart
09 - Never Say Die
10 - Ball And Chain
11 - Blood For Blood
12 - Desperate Heart
13 - Automatic
14 - Razor Blade Road (Reprise)

Phillip Andrew - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Billy Harvey - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Smith - Bass, Vocals
Dennis Bostok - Drums

FLAME (US) - Flame (1992)

Friday, December 05, 2014

JACK WAGNER - Don't Give Up Your Day Job (1987) remastered

JACK WAGNER - Don't Give Up Your Day Job (1987) remastered
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

When actors become singers... usually close to disaster. However that was not the case with talented JACK WAGNER, from which I already posted here some of his albums. Occurs that the good Jack not only has a smooth voice but he was able (and his manager) to surround him with the best of the best.
For his 3rd LP "Don't Give Up Your Day Job" (1987), we have again the cream of the 'L.A. boys': Michael Landau, Dann Huff, Clif Magness, Robbie Buchanan, Glen Ballard, Nathan East... and the list never ends.

Although at the time of its release "Don't Give Up Your Day Job" was marketed as 'West Coast pop', the album is a pretty uptempo collection of AOR songs.
Of course there's a couple of suave, charming West Coast ballads, but this is a mid-'80s sounding record destined to radio. You can feel Glen Ballard's touch (one of the producers) and his hand for poppy, commercial radio-friendly sounds.
"Don't Give Up Your Day Job" is impeccably recorded and performed, and I like all the songs. Wagner co-penned half of the tracks, with outsider contributions from the likes of Diane Warren, Clif Magness, the mega-talented Billy Steinberg (on my favorite cut "Easy Way Out" also recorded by I-Ten) or Ballard itself.

JACK WAGNER - Don't Give Up Your Day Job (1987) remastered back cover

For years, "Don't Give Up Your Day Job" was really hard to find, and in fact it's a record rarely seen featured into the blogosphere.
Rarer is this 2009 remaster which adds even more splendor to these meticulously recorded & produced songs.

01 - Weatherman Says
02 - Island Fever
03 - Love… Find It
04 - It's What We Don't Say
05 - Easy Way Out
06 - Common Man
07 - Lovers In The Night
08 - Sneakin' Suspicions
09 - It's Been A Long Time
10 - Back Home Again

Vocals, Guitar: Jack Wagner
Guitars: Michael Landau, Dann Huff, Nick Kirgo, Clif Magness, Tony Peluso, Paul Warren
Bass: Nathan East, Joe Chemay, John Farrar, Abe Laboriel
Keyboards; Robbie Buchanan, Randy Kerber, John Farrar, Glen Ballard, John Hobbs, John Van Tongeren, Mike Egizi, Marcel East
Synths: Randy Kerber, John Farrar, Jim Lang, John Van Tongeren
Drums: Vinnie Colauita, Paul Leim, Tony Humecke, David Logeman, Jack Bruno
Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa
Guest Vocals: Siedah Garret (duet Track 4)
Sax: Joel Peskin
Backing Vocals: Joe Pizzulo, Gary Falcone, Roger Freeland, Maxine Waters, Julia & Oren Waters, Edie Lehman, Clif Magness, Glen Ballard, Joe Turano, John FarrarJohn Batdorf, Brie Howard, Paul Warren, Bryan McDonald, Robbie Buchanan

JACK WAGNER Don't Give Up Your Day Job - remastered

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

VAN STEPHENSON - Suspicious Heart (1986)

VAN STEPHENSON - Suspicious Heart (1986) HQ
Well, this is simple: "Suspicious Heart", VAN STEPHENSON's second album for MCA Records and his last as solo artist, is a must have in your collection too.
Despite of being recorded with almost the same personnel from the previous, including Dann Huff / Alan Pasqua and Richard Landis producing, the album - released in 1986 - has a pretty different sound.

Actually, "Suspicious Heart" is pure '80s too, but less 'rocking' than its predecessor and more AOR according to times. It's more 'elegant' I'd say.
Smooth, delicate tunes like "We're Doing Alright", the dreamy "(We Should Be) Together Tonight", the atmospheric title track or the ballad "Never Enough Night" are among the best AOR produced in the mid-Eighties.
But don't be fooled, the second half of the disc features uptempo Melodic Rock gems such as "Fist Full Of Heat" driven by Dann Huff impressive riffs and Pasqua stabbing synths, while the fun rockers "Make It Glamorous" (The Wild Life OST) and "No Secrets" (Secret Admirer OST) end the LP on uptempo form.

VAN STEPHENSON - Suspicious Heart (1986) back cover

Sumptuous, at places more energetic, but always refined, "Suspicious Heart" is a great record made by great musicians.
Yes, another essential piece in your collection.

01 - We're Doing Alright
02 - (We Should Be) Together Tonight
03 - Suspicious Heart
04 - Never Enough Night
05 - Confidentially Yours
06 - Desperate Hours
07 - Dancing With Danger
08 - Fist Full Of Heat
09 - Make It Glamourous
10 - No Secrets

Van Stephenson - vocals
Mike Baird - drums
Dennis Belfield - bass
Dann Huff - guitars
Alan Pasqua - keyboards, synthesizers
Michael Fisher - percussion
Richard Landis - percussion, keyboards, producer
Mike Landau, Waddy Wachtel, Stan Lasiter - add. guitars
Craig Krampf, Mark Hammond - add. drums
Michael Rhodes - add. bass
Richard Gibbs, Reed Nielsen, Dave Innis - add. keyboards
Tom Kelly, Tommy Funderburk - backing vocals

VAN STEPHENSON - Suspicious Heart HQ

Sunday, November 30, 2014

VAN STEPHENSON - Righteous Anger (1984)

VAN STEPHENSON - Righteous Anger (1984) HQ
After the re-post of VAN STEPHENSON's first LP, a reader asked for the other albums recorded by the talented singer / songwriter. Then I figured out that I shared here all his rare unreleased stuff, but never presented the great, official two albums produced by Van Stephenson for major label MCA.

Prolific and skilled songwriter for various types of artists, Van Stephenson's chance as 'international solo artist' arrived in 1983. MCA signed him and "Righteous Anger" was published next year.
Some of the L.A. Session cream appear here; future Giant creators Dann Huff (guitars) and Alan Pasqua (keys), Mike Baird, Tom Kelly, Bill Champlin, etc.
What can I say about "Righteous Anger"... this is what '80s AOR / Melodic Rock / Radio Rock is all about. A little Bible to learn why we love this genre so much.

The smooth, exquisite vocals of Van Stephenson are just the ice on the cake on these fabulously penned and performed songs.
Minor MTV hit "Modern Day Delilah", the AOR heaven of "What The Big Girls Do", the excellent title track, or the pure Eighties "I Know Who You Are" are just fine examples of Van's craft. Despite the commercial, 'radio hook' approach of these songs, there's some muscular, awesome guitar work by Huff.
Of course we have two supreme ballads in "Others Only Dream" and the midtempo AOR of "Heart Over Mind", the latter - for me - a truly definition of the genre.

VAN STEPHENSON - Righteous Anger (1984) back cover

With an 'intense', crisp production by master Richard Landis (Nielsen/Pearson, Glen Burtnik) this is a gem of an album. It wasn't until 1996 when it was pressed on CD for the first time, in Germany.
This is a HQ rip to enjoy, but I suggest to buy the original if you find it at decent price. It's pure gold.
Needless to say; Van Stephenson's "Righteous Anger" is a Must Have.

01 - Modern Day Delilah
02 - I Know Who You Are (And I Saw What You Did)
03 - What The Big Girls Do
04 - Don't Do That
05 - Others Only Dream
06 - Righteous Anger
07 - The Cure Will Kill You
08 - You've Been Lied To Before
09 - Heart Over Mind
10 - All American Boy

Van Stephenson - lead vocals
Dann Huff - guitars
Alan Pasqua - keyboards, synthesizers
Dennis Belfield - bass
Mike Baird - drums
Richard Landis - percussion, producer
Ken Mims, George Doering - add. guitars
Mike Hanna - add. keyboards
Tom Kelly, Bill Champlin, Phil Brown - backing vocals

VAN STEPHENSON - Righteous Anger HQ

Thursday, November 20, 2014

VAN STEPHENSON - China Girl (1981)

VAN STEPHENSON - China Girl (1981) front
Re-posted as requested

The rare and hard to find first album by VAN STEPHENSON...
Released through the small label Handshake Records in 1981, "China Girl" was Stephenson's entry into the music business as solo artist.
At the time Van was writing hit songs for artists from the Nashville scene (e.g. Restless Heart) and the songwriting for "China Girl" follow these musical roots.
Originally songwriters becoming producers, Bob Montgomery & Jeff Silbar provided to "China Girl" a warm, melodic Mid-WestCoast sound, with some late '70s / early '80s AOR feel.

There's many gems here such as the radio-friendly "Looks Like A Loser", the climatic "Looks Like A Loser", the awesome title track (with some Eagles on it), the dynamic "Lion In The Night" or the WestCoast midtempo "I Would If I Could".
Van Stephenson's voice is like an elegant lady velvet dress, just check his incredible performance on the exquisitely orchestrated "New York, Hold Her Tight". It still gives me chills on my spine after dozens of listenings.

VAN STEPHENSON - China Girl (1981) back cover

Absurdly never pressed on CD, had to be the Asians who did it last year (2013), but I still haven't managed to get a copy.
Anyway, for the moment I am happy with this nicely done vinyl rip, cleaned and de-noised from scratches.

1. You′ve Got A Good Love Coming
2. Looks Like A Loser
3. Seeing Is Believing
4. China Girl
5. Weekend Warrior
6. I Would If I Could
7. Tonight The Love's On Me
8. Hotter In The Night
9. New York, Hold Her Tight
10. Lion In The Night

Van Stephenson: Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar
Wayne Perkins, Kenny Mims: Guitars
Larry Baxton: Bass
Mike Hanna: Keyboards
Shane Keister: Synthesizers
Joe English: Drums
Bob Montgomery: Wind Chimes, Production

VAN STEPHENSON - China Girl (1981)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

JAY FERGUSON - White Noise (1982) + extras

JAY FERGUSON - White Noise (1982) + extras - front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

American singer JAY FERGUSON achieved respectable success both in US & Europe as frontman for the bands Spirit (alongside talented guitarist Randy California) and later Jo Jo Gunne. After the latter split in the mid-seventies, Ferguson was signed by Asylum Records as solo artist.
Jay recorded 4 LP with the label (scoring a US Top 10 hit in 1978) and then moved to Capitol to deliver two more during the '80s.
But perhaps Jay Ferguson is more known by AOR fans for his contributions to some cult movie soundtracks, such as Crystal Heart and Terminator.

"White Noise" was his last solo LP as 'recording artist', appeared in 1982.
Despite of being regarded as a 'L.A. Session' album typical of the era including first class musicians often linked to West Coast / AOR projects, "White Noise" is a pretty rocking album.
Indeed, there's great drummer Tris Imboden (Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, David Foster, and later Chicago), Tom Kelly (Player, Airplay) providing harmony vocals / arrangements and guitarist Mike Hamilton (Robbie Patton) among others.
However, a prove of White Noise's rocking edge is the inclusion as guests of Joe Walsh and long time friend Randy California dropping six-string solos.

Produced by Michael Verdick (David Pack) "White Noise" delivers an eclectic mix of styles all revolving around the radio-rock, melodic rock sound from the US first half of the '80s. There's no surprise to find a song in the tracklist co-penned with Gerard McMahon (another movie soundtrack specialist) as musically "White Noise" has very much in common with McMahon's solo album 'No Looking Back' released at the same time frame.
Good rockers like title track, "She's Mine Tonite", "Inside Out", "Million$", "Tonite (Fallin' For Ya)" are mixed with the AORish bluesy midtempo "In The Heat Of The Night" and fine ballads in "I Come Alive" and "Empty Sky".

After this record, Jay Ferguson focused his career as soundtrack composer for movies and television shows like The Office, NCIS: Los Angeles, and many more. Jay wrote 'Prologue / Elm Street Kids', the main theme from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, and several of the incidental music to The Terminator alongside Brad Fiedel.
Precisely to The Terminator, Jay Ferguson apported as well a song entitled "Pictures Of You", which I've included here - with his two tracks for Crystal Heart OST - as bonuses.

JAY FERGUSON - White Noise (1982) back cover

"White Noise" was re-issued on CD some years ago together with his previous Capitol album (2-in-1 CD), but this rip is taken from a rare 2000's French edition featuring "White Noise" alone. It's a good sounding CD although I think the source is taken from vinyl.
A quite rare, unknown and fun addition to your collection.

01 - White Noise
02 - I'm Down
03 - I Come Alive
04 - Inside Out
05 - Empty Sky
06 - Tonite (Fallin' for Ya')
07 - Baby Come Back
08 - The Heat of the Night
09 - Million $
10 - She's Mine Tonight
11 - Let Me Believe In You [Crystal Heart OST]
12 - Brave New World [Crystal Heart OST]
13 - Pictures Of You [Terminator OST]

Jay Ferguson: vocals, keyboards
Tom Kelly: harmony vocals
Mike Hamilton, Bob Webb: guitars
Mark Andes: bass
Tris Imboden: drums
Tom Ferguson: strings
David Tolegian: horns
Joe Walsh, Randy California: guest guitar

JAY FERGUSON - White Noise (1982) + extras

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RALPH VAN MANEN - Language Of Love (1996)

RALPH VAN MANEN - Language Of Love (1996) HQ
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Dutch singer RALPH VAN MANEN started his career in the early '90s, releasing a bunch of delicate AOR albums. I still prefer his slightly more rocking first CD, but this requested "Language Of Love" - his 4th studio album recorded in the USA - is another fine slab of Lite AOR / melodic WestCoast sounds.
Ralph's vocals are really smooth and melodious with some Canadian influences such as Michael Breen or Tim Feehan. Although with a root in the CCM territory, you vaguely discover in Van Manen's lyrics religious themes.

Musically, all is polished to the limit with excellent session musicians doing their best, including talented Chris Eaton providing harmony vocals.
There's a mix of lite AOR tunes like "Walk Tall" (very Mr. Mister) and "All Embracing Love", poppier in "Miracles", WestCoast ("Forever Yours") and more melodic rock oriented in the great "You Better Believe It" and title track.

RALPH VAN MANEN - Language Of Love (1996) back cover

If you like these genres in the vein of the already featured in this blog David Pack, Time Gallery and Fingerprints, but also West Of Sunset, Richard Page, Mr. Mister, Martin Stenmarck, etc, then Ralph Van Manen's "Language Of Love" is a necessary addition to your collection.

01 - Testify to Love
02 - Walk Tall
03 - Come Live in Me
04 - Language of Love
05 - Empty Page
06 - Miracles
07 - You Better Believe It
08 - All Embracing Love
09 - All I Need
10 - Faces at the Window
11 - Forever Yours

Lead Vocals: Ralph Van Manen
Harmony Vocals: Chris Eaton
Bass: Jackie Street
Drums, Percussion: Steve Brewster
Guitar: Jerry McPherson, Robert Riekerk
Acoustic Guitar: Tom Hemby
Strings: Luca Genta
Keyboards, Synths, Piano, Hammond: Henk Pool
Backing Vocals: Chris Rodriguez, Hans Sigmond, Michael Mellett, Ralph Van Manen, Robert Riekerk, Tommy Riekerk

RALPH VAN MANEN - Language Of Love HQ

Monday, October 27, 2014

HAYWIRE : Bad Boys +1 (1986)

HAYWIRE : Bad Boys +1 (1986) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Easily one the best Melodic (Hard) Rock bands produced by Canada during the '80s, HAYWIRE is rarely mentioned as among the best exponents from the genre when you ask someone. You get as an answer Loverboy, Honeymoon Suite, Triumph, etc. but this 5-piece from Charlottetown were second to none, and even better than many of their contemporaries.
After entering in a Toronto radio station 'battle of the bands' contest in 1985, Haywire recorded by themselves an EP and eventually got signed by the now legendary Canadian label Attic Records (Triumph).

HAYWIRE : Bad Boys +1 (1986) back

The label secured the expert hands & ears of Brian Allen (Toronto, Lee Aaron, Santers) to produce Haywire's debut, and the result was "Bad Boys" released in 1986. The title track, chosen as single, exploded at local radio stations, and soon conquered America and MTV.
This is the kind of Melodic Rock with poppy AOR melodies that ruled the mid-'80s, with catchy choruses all over. The other singles "Standin' In Line" and "Shot In The Dark" (all also video-clips) were typical of the album; slick production, clean instrumentation and lots of keyboard-oriented tunes.

HAYWIRE : Bad Boys +1 (1986) reissue back

The CD was reissued years ago with different artwork (included into the file), but strangely, never received a remaster treatment. This is a HQ rip from the original plus a remix / extended version of a hit from the band's second album.
"Bad Boys" is prime Canuck Melodic Rock / AOR from the golden era, and a must have in your collection if you are fan of the genre.

01 - Bad Bad Boy
02 - Standin' In Line
03 - She's Not (The Kind Of Girl)
04 - Holding You
05 - Out Of My Head
06 - When You Fall Out Of Love
07 - 3 Wishes
08 - Girl In Love
09 - Shot In The Dark
10 - Crazy
11 - Dance Desire (Basuchi Mix) [bonus]

Paul MacAusland - vocals
Dave Rashed - keyboards, backing vocals
Marvin Birt - guitars, backing vocals
Ronnie Switzer - bass
Sean Kilbride - drums

HAYWIRE Bad Boys +1

Saturday, October 25, 2014

TWENTY TWENTY : Twenty Twenty (1985) + Altered (1987)

Twenty Twenty (1985)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

TWENTY TWENTY was a band from the mid-Eighties CCM field that somehow managed to be appreciated by secular listeners. Around those years there was a change in consideration to Christian acts, as they were musically really good despite the religious themes. But there isn't too much preachiness in their lyrics which is good.

Twenty Twenty's self-titled debut from 1985 was produced by WhiteHeart's Billy Smiley, so expect pristine sound. The band mixed an interesting blend of pomp AOR with cool new wave melodies, all wrapped by a very Eighties arsenal of keyboards, synthesizers, synclavier and electronic drums.

Twenty Twenty (1985)  back cover

Some tracks come out pretty Hi-Tech but with substance. There's a really fine guitar work by Roscoe Meek, especially creating a sustained, clean rythmic riffs, and we have excellent vocalist Ron Collins who released a stupendous AOR solo album in the Nineties.
To my ears, "Twenty Twenty" resulted a successful mix of Styx, Rick Springfield and Allies.

Two yeas after, the band changed their name to 20/Twenty and slighlty their sound as well.

20/Twenty Altered 1987 front

"Altered", appeared in 1987 delivered a more straight AOR style and 'regular' instrumentation. Almost the complete White Heart line up also play here as guests.
The stylings on this new LP are more mature with many tracks bringing to my mind Jay Graydon's Planet 3, that say a mix of poppy AOR with delicate melodies and a touch of West Coast. The Hi-Tech from the debut is still present in a couple of tracks as well as the synth effects, but mostly this second album is a smooth AOR affair.

20/Twenty Altered 1987  back

Both Twenty Twenty - 20/Twenty albums are really hard to find, the second even since its original release back in 1987.
There's some poor vinyl rips floating around (if you have both check them out because some tracks are missing), and I think this pair are, if not the best in the world, far better. Both audio cleaned by myself, including artwork.

Twenty Twenty (1985)
01 - You Are So True
02 - Security Code
03 - War Games
04 - His Fame
05 - Second Mile
06 - Love To Go
07 - He's Still Here
08 - Danger Zone
09 - You Can Know Them All
10 - World Premier

Ron Collins - vocals
Roscoe Meek - guitars
Earnie Chaney - keyboards
Gary MacAnally - bass
Greg Herrington - drums
Mark Gersmehl, John Slick, Billy Smiley - synths
Richard Head - Synclavier Programming
Dennis Holt - Simmons Drums
Gary Lunn - Linn Drum Programming
Marty McCall - Background Vocals

Altered (1987)
01 - Fine Line
02 - Get Altered
03 - Can't Run From You
04 - For Heaven's Sake
05 - Eternity In Every Heart
06 - Hold Your Head Up
07 - Caught Up In Heaven
08 - Find Your Way Back
09 - Material Things
10 - The Tears You've Cried

Ron Collins - lead vocals
Roscoe Meek - guitars
Earnie Chaney - keyboards
Gary McAnelly, Tommy Sims - bass
Greg Herrington - drums
Billy Smiley - synths
Rick Florian - backing vocals

20/Twenty, Twenty Twenty + Altered

Friday, October 17, 2014

MARTEE LeBOW - Crimes Of The Heart '86 + Love's A Liar '87 + EP '93

MARTEE LeBOW - Crimes Of The Heart front
Restored from vinyl by me, MARTEE LeBOW's records "Crimes Of The Heart" and "Love's A Liar" were featured here some years ago. Requested again, I made a pack including both plus a rare self-titled EP from 1993 and as bonus a song recorded for a soundtrack.

Martee LeBow is a recording artist, singer/songwriter and keyboardist born in NY state.
At her teens, as Martee Lebous, the girl released her first album 'The Lady Wants To Be A Star' in the mid of the seventies. While playing with her band, LeBow has maintained a successful career as live & studio back-up vocalist, singing commercial jingles / soundtrack songs, and collaborating with many songwriters.
By 1985, a major label singed Martee as solo artist.
Her debut "Crimes Of The Heart" was a mini-LP with only five songs, but what songs! This is without a doubt one of the best female AOR albums from the '80s.
Opener, title track "Crimes Of The Heart" (penned by maestro Jeff Silverman) is a terrific semi-midtempo rockin' AOR gem. From the first note you will be amazed by LeBow's trained and powerful pipes.
"Stranded In The Moonlight" is pure AOR bliss. Check the songwriting quality (Michael Smith). This isn't an ordinary song by any means.

MARTEE LeBOW - Crimes Of The Heart back cover

"Love Just Ain't Enough" is a perfect ballad, with a soulful performance (reminds you Fiona but thousand times better). The guitar solo (the unmistakable master Dan Huff) is simply perfect. Why this song isn't became a hit on par with, let's say, Heart, it's a total mystery.
"One Down" is a marching melodic rocker with a great riff / keyboards. Maybe the best example of Martee's quality vocals. Awesome tune.
What? "Hearts Of Stone" is a Bruce Springsteen cover? Well, the result is magical. A fantastic midtempo with a bluesy touch yes, but beautifully AOR-arranged. Martee shines again here.
This mini album is pure gold.
Fantastic vocalist, excellent songwriting (Martee on 3,4), the best session royalty you could imagine (check personnel) and terrific production by the expertise Robbie Buchanan.

MARTEE LeBOW - Love's a Liar - front

"Love's A Liar" was the second Martee Lebow album, by then firmly established as a solo artist and after extensive touring presenting her mini-LP debut, she had the opportunity to record her full-length record.
And this is really her own. All songs are written and arranged by LeBow, supported by a solid live band including the great Bobby Messano (Lou Gramm, Benny Mardones, Joe Lynn Turner, Fiona).

First track "Where Do I Stand" is a commercial melodic American classic rocker much in the vein of Scandal. "Another Lonely Heart" sounds a lot like canadians Refugee, with a very nice piano line. The sax solo is good, but a guitar one would have been a better choice in my opinion. This song was later recorded by Bernie Shanahan (who does backing vocals here).
Title track "Love's A Liar" starts slow with an intimate guitar, then develops into a midwestern flavored classic rocker. "Maybe You'll Remember" is a high point, massive harmonies in the hook, pushing melody to the very brink, although the verses dominate the eventual chorus.

MARTEE LeBOW - Love's a Liar -  back

"Learning The Hard Way" is a midtempo rocker with an overall sense of drama and desperation through all melody lines. A Robin Beck-like tune but more stripped. "Hang On (To My Reckless Youth)" has a simple and fun rhythm. Messano here is allowed to let loose in his own understated way.
"Fallen Angel" is an affected semi-ballad propelled by Martee's great vocal performance. One of my favorite tracks. Some smooth keys lay the platform for the delicious "Forbidden". This is an outstanding tune with a vintage, classic feel.
The poignant "I Must Be In Love" has an organic flavor and moves fluidly along similar to the commercial moments of The Headpins for instance. "One Good Reason" has a bluesy-rock vibe where LeBow's vocal power comes to the fore.


And then we have the quite rare EP from 1993, only released in Canada.
"Roll Away" is a slow, sweet bluesy ballad plenty of magic, followed by soulful uptempo classic rocker "Gone" complete with vintage keyboards (organ), while "Sail On" is a solid midtempo where LeBow offer a varied spectre of her gifted pipes to enjoy.


The bonus is a song from the soundtrack "Pokemon 2.B.A. Master", from the series of the same name. Although recorded and published at the end of the nineties, this is a typical ballad heard on many mid-80s movies.
A complete Martee LeBow package, especially compiled for lovers of Eighties female fronted AOR.

Crimes Of The Heart 1986
1 - Crimes Of The Heart
2 - Stranded In The Moonlight
3 - Love Just Ain't Enough
4 - One Down
5 - Hearts Of Stone

Martee LeBow - Lead vocals
Dan Huff - Guitar
Neil Stubenhaus - Bass
Robbie Buchanan - Keyboards
Mike Baird - Drums
Tommy Funderburk, Steve Lively - Backing Vocals

Love's A Liar 1987
01 - Where Do I Stand
02 - Another Lonely Heart
03 - Love's A Liar
04 - Maybe You'll Remember
05 - Learning The Hard Way
06 - Hang On (To My Reckless Youth)
07 - Fallen Angel
08 - Forbidden
09 - I Must Be In Love
10 - One Good Reason

Lead Vocals: Martee LeBow
Guitars, Backing Vocals: Bobby Messano
Keyboards, Programming: Danny Stein
Bass: Dave Conrad
Drums: Yogi Morton, Jimmy Clark
Piano: Lloyd Landesman
Sax: Rick Bell, Lou Cortelezzi
Percussion: Bill Scheinman
Backing Vocals: Joel Krauss, Bernie Shanahan, Eric Troyer

Martee LeBow - 1993 EP
1 - Roll Away
2 - Gone
3 - Sail On
Bonus; The Time Has Come [from Pokemon 2.B.A. Master OST]

MARTEE LeBOW 3 albums

Thursday, October 16, 2014

LYNX (Sweden) - Caught In The Trap (1985)

LYNX (Sweden) - Caught In The Trap (1985)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

There were many bands called LYNX thru the rock 'n roll years, but this one requested hails from Sweden. "Caught In The Trap" was their sole album (only vinyl) appeared in 1985, and it's a really interesting release.
Lynx Sweden combines '80s Hard Rock and the mixture of NWOBHM which was heard in the middle of the decade, featuring lots of keyboards and synth arrangements akin Tobruk, Tygers Of Pang Tang and alike.
With a strong vocalist in Mats Eriksson, the music is tight, driven by crunchy riffs but always focused in melody.

Opener "My Own Way" is a hard rocker with a powerful groove that somehow recalls Alcatrazz, followed by the ultra catchy "Win Or Lose" where I hear some Rainbow-JLT era but also the first Europe. The latter influence is also present on the cool "Man Without a Face" (just listen the chorus and the scale progression).
Another solid track is the midtempo "Fingers Crossed" blending sharp riffs and keys in the background, while the vocals are airy, spaced out.

My favorite cut is the more AOR oriented "Don't Fool Me", a little hidden gem from the Scandi pit, but all songs are good.
Check the fightin' "Final Race" and its riffage - and especially the solo - bringing to mind Saxon, while the fast "Nothing In Return" gives you a dose of fine and listenable NWOBHM.
"Master Of Evil" is that kind of 'mysterious song' with a heavy riff and vintage keyboards / organs (very nice), and closer "Nightwalker" makes me think of last Rainbow again, though the riff is more 'British'.

LYNX (Sweden) - Caught In The Trap (1985) back cover

Lynx Sweden comprised very talented musicians, the playing & musicianship is top notch and, for a novel band playing this type of music in Sweden at the first half of the '80s, production is truly good.
A collectors item.

01 - My Own Way
02 - Win Or Lose
03 - Fingers Crossed
04 - Man Without A Face
05 - Don't Fool Me
06 - Final Race
07 - Nothing In Return
08 - Master Of Evil
09 - Nightwalker

Mats Eriksson - Vocals
Per Larsson - Guitars
Mats Hermasson - Keyboards
Kauno Vaattovaara - Bass
Carl Moser - Drums

LYNX (Sweden) - Caught In The Trap

Thursday, October 09, 2014

HOLY WATER - The Collected Sessions

HOLY WATER - The Collected Sessions
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

HOLY WATER was one of these studio projects highly praised by music industry insiders but fans never had the chance to enjoy their music because the band remained unsigned.
Several bootleg versions of the songs created by the project circulated for years, until some time ago all were compiled by a label and released as "The Collected Sessions".

Holy Water included members or sidemen of Doro Pesch (Warlock), Quite Riot, Widowmaker, Saraya, etc, and recorded original material during the '80s. One of the tapes came into the hands of Al Greenwood (Spys, Foreigner) who impressed by the quality, contacted the guys and invited them to work together.
"The Collected Sessions" features material ranging from various sessions, but the ice of the cake are those Greenwood-produced cuts known as 'The Green Machine Sessions' done around 1990-91.

HOLY WATER - The Collected Sessions back cover

You can't go wrong with the pure AOR / Melodic Rock huge hooklines and fantastic harmony vocals of tunes such as "If I Knew Then…", the more rocking "Some Things Have To Happen" and "Once Is Not Enough", but specially the outstanding AOR heaven of "I'm Not Worried Anymore".
The other songs are ok, but the aforementioned tracks are pure gold and all are must haves in your collection.
Brilliant stuff.

01 - I'm Not Worried Anymore
02 - If I Knew Then...
03 - Some Things Have to Happen
04 - Once Is Not Enough
05 - If I Knew Then... ('80s version)
06 - MonsteR Iff
07 - Crocodile Rock
08 - Living for the City
09 - All I Need

David Knight - vocals
Thomas Jude - guitar
Freddy Villano - bass
Tony Galtieri - drums
Al Greenwood - keyboards, production (1 - 4)
Kenny Hamberg - keyboards (5)
Jay Davidson - keyboards (8, 9)
Chuck Bonfante - drums (1 - 3)
Rich Ferrara - drums (4)
Charlie Ambrosia - drums (5, 6)
Tyrone Cannon - drums (7)
Bobby Marks - drums (8, 9)
Matthew Bradley - guitar, bass (7)
Michael Harmon - guitar and tambourine (8, 9)
Patrick Klein - rhythm guitar (8, 9)

HOLY WATER - The Collected Sessions

Monday, September 29, 2014

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Missing Shots [unreleased]

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Missing Shots [unreleased]
An ancient original bootleg compilation by me, 'refloated' per request:

Any Melodic Rock fan should know RICK SPRINGFIELD's career.
His '80s albums "TAO" (featured on this blog) or "Rock Of Life" remains amongst the best stylized hi-tech / Melodic Rock&Pop / AOR stuff of that time.
Grammy award winner and top-40 hitmaker still relevant today, Springfield is a prolific songwriter, and
many of his recordings are still shelved, some in demo mode, some virtually finished.

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Missing Shots [unreleased] back cover

I've compiled some time ago a bunch of these 'missing shots' (demos, unreleased tracks, alternate takes, plus a rare b-side) all songs with a very good sound.
Myself made artwork included.

01 - Monkey
(Sahara Snow unreleased)

02 - The Language Of Love
(Rock Of Life single B-side)

03 - Faithful
(unreleased version)

04 - Desperate Lives
(TV movie soundtrack / vinyl fan club only)

05 - Stand Up For Love
(demo - unreleased track)

06 - Veronica's Head
(demo version)

07 - In Her White Room
(demo version)

08 - My Depression
(demo version)

09 - This I Promise You For Life
(rare duet with Maggie Brandon)

10 - Superstition (Stevie Wonder/Jeff Beck cover)
(Live bootleg recording)


Friday, September 26, 2014

SEVEN WISHES - Seven Wishes (1999)

SEVEN WISHES - Seven Wishes (1999)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Swedes SEVEN WISHES were formed in the mid-nineties from the ashes of Love Child, a very good and unknown Scandi hard rock act. Indeed, the core of the band consists of guitarist and producer Anthony Cedargren, bass player Tony Westgard and Jens Perrsson on drums, all previously in Love Child, plus the addition of singer Pelle Anderson.

Seven Wishes self-titled debut was released by a British label, but their sound is typically Scandinavian.
The band was often compared with Dokken - just check "Life Goes On" - but to my ears their blend of sharp hard rock with melody and a touch of edgy metal waters from bands like TNT, 220 Volt, Treat, Talisman, the first Dalton, etc.
There are train-rolling fast hard rockers like "Confirm The Action" or "Caught By Surprise" mixed with more melodic hard numbers such as "Love Affection", "One To Blame" and "Set You On Fire".
All is balanced by two good ballads; the slightly '80s Queensryche sounding "Open Your Eyes (Don't Turn Away)" and the much more typical Scandinavian "Bring Me To Heaven".

SEVEN WISHES - Seven Wishes (1999) back cover

"Seven Wishes" is a quite solid rocking album well produced, plenty of razor guitar riffs and killer solos (there's contributions from Pontus Norgren of Talisman / The Poodles fame), and the band does a really good job on harmony vocals.
This is a hard rock oriented site too, and "Seven Wishes" is a nice slice from the genre to bang your head with joy.

01. Seven Wishes
02. We Want It All
03. One To Blame
04. Life Goes On
05. Confirm The Action
06. Bring Me To Heaven
07. Caught By Surprise
08. The Wasted
09. Love Affection
10. Set You On Fire
11. Open Your Eyes (Don't Turn Away)

Pelle Anderson - vocals
Anthony Cedargren - guitar, backing vocals
Tony Westgard - bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Jens Perrsson - drums
Additional Musicians:
Pontus Norgren - guitar
Kristoffer Gustofssen - keyboards
Linda Gustofssen - drums


Thursday, September 18, 2014

GARY MOON - Still Moon (2002) aka The Pack

GARY MOON - Still Moon (2002) aka The Pack
Re-posted from years ago as requested several times

This bunch of forgotten songs were recorded in the late '80s by a US combo known as THE PACK.
THE PACK consisted of singer and session bass player GARY MOON (later in NIGHT RANGER's "Feeding Off The Mojo" album), extraordinaire songwriter & musician JEFF PARIS, top guitarist BRAD GILLIS (NIGHT RANGER founder), and AUTOGRAPH keyboarder Steven Isham.

These songs are pure second half of the '80s American Melodic Hard Rock with a rocking AOR feeling at places. Gary has a great soulful voice and Gillis plays his heart out on the six-strings flying over the fretboard (trust your ears to discover in which tracks he's playin').
This is one of my favorite CD's in my collection, all songs are awesome, catchy and crammed with sticky choruses.
Production could be better, yes, most of this material are pre-production demos, but the sound is very, very good.

GARY MOON - Still Moon (2002) aka The Pack back cover

Luckily Gary Moon decided to self-release these lost recordings under his moniker not so long ago, but it's very hard (if not impossible) to put your hands on an original CD these days.
I'd dare to say that "Still Moon" is a Must Have in any Melodic Hard Rock / AOR collection.

01 - Still
02 - Heart Of Stone
03 - State Of The Heart
04 - Alayna
05 - Music Box
06 - Call Of The Wild
07 - Queen Of The Damned
08 - Can't Help Falling In Love
09 - Angels Don't Lie
10 - One Love
11 - Love In A Wicked World

Gary Moon - vocals, bass
Brad Gillis - guitars, backing vocals
Gaylin Walker - guitars
Jeff Paris - bass, backing vocals
Pete Comita - bass, guitars
Steve Isham - keyboards
Curley Smith - drums, percussion

GARY MOON Still Moon 2002 The Pack

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ROD McINNES - Best Kept Secret (1997)

ROD McINNES - Best Kept Secret (1997)
The '90s was a gloomy decade for the light, delicate AOR sounds, and many very good albums in the genre were released through small record labels, hence, turning out of print soon and hard to find in years to come.
One of these is "Best Kept Secret", by Canadian singer & songwriter ROD McINNES.
Produced by the same talented knob twiddler as the recent featured here The Kite (and Rush among others) Terry Brown, expect a crystal clear sound on this CD.

McInnes' style is elegant, melodic Light AOR / Westcoast with a touch of melodic rock in the vein of Paul Janz, Kurt Howell, Tim Feehan and alike. His vocals are sweet and quite harmonized, while the back up band is excellent featuring Zappacosta / The Bushdoctors keyboardist Marco Luciani and Keven Jordan / Gowan drummer Greg Critchley.
Highlights include the extremely melodic opener "When You Fall" mixing relaxing poppy AOR keys with a Westcoast feel, the elegant "Someday" with its lovely little chorus, the Journey-like "It's OK, It's Alright" and the pristine ballad "Trials Of The Heart" that sounds taken from an '80s movie soundtrack.
Then "Last Night Of My Life" is quite weak, but Rod raises the bar again with the excellent uptempo AOR (again, very '80s) of "Piece Of Your Heart".

ROD McINNES - Best Kept Secret (1997) back cover

Rod McInnes and this CD are indeed one of Canada's "Best Kept Secret", his one and only album as far I know.
It's a must for fans of this breezy AOR sub-genre, with the songs & production definitely focused in the late '80s - early '90s.

01 - When you fall
02 - Someday
03 - Trials of the heart
04 - It's ok, it's alright
05 - Last night of my life
06 - Piece of your heart
07 - While you were sleeping
08 - Find the love
09 - Road of love
10 - Price to pay

Rod McInnes - lead & backing vocals, keyboards
Craig Skala - guitars
Marco Luciani - keyboards
Jeff Saakot, Mark Shannon, Matthew Gerard - bass
Greg Critchley - drums
Lis Soderberg, Maddie Willis - backing vocals

ROD McINNES - Best Kept Secret

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ALAN FRIEDMAN - The Test Of Time (2002)

WHAT IF 1987 Tommy Funderburk
Re-post from years ago as requested, good and rare indie CD

I usually try to give you my own impressions of each album posted.
But this time I'll let the Album Notes do the job, as describes this great CD better than anyone:

" Alan Friedman is neither your typical guitarist nor your typical Certified Public Accountant.
Having grown up listening to groups like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and TOTO, and guitarists like Jimi, Clapton, Beck, Bolin and (his bar-none favorite) Steve Lukather, he's fused his love of guitar and passion for hook & groove vocals tunes into this 1st CD entitled "The Test of Time."

Alan and his CPA firm are immersed in the music industry, which has allowed Alan to recruit some close friends (and clients) on this CD.
Bobby Kimball (lead singer of TOTO), Robbie LeBlanc (BLANC FACES), bassist Doug Wimbish, drummer Will Calhoun and vocalist Corey Glover (all of Living Colour fame), drummer Jonathan Mover (Alice Cooper, Joe Satriani), keyboard maestro Vince DiCola, singer Bernard Fowler (background vocalist of The Rolling Stones, Living Colour), bassist Dave Stoltz (Dickey Betts Band), guitarist Jeff Pevar (David Crosby, Graham Nash, Joe Cocker, etc.) and many others have contributed their musical talents to this varied CD of classic rock, funk-rock, rock&pop, and power ballads.

The tunes on this CD were all written by Alan, with a few collaborations with keyboardist / songwriter Jeff Batter and one tune with singer Bobby Kimball.
Amazingly, this CD was recorded during non-tax-season months over the past 7 years in Alan's basement studio, and mixed at NYC's Skyline Studios by ace-engineers Fran Flannery (Fuel, Aerosmith, Creed) and Danny Bernini (NRBQ, The Power Station, Mary J. Blige).

This CD has already created a "buzz" in Japan and Europe (due mostly to Alan's relationship with members of Toto), with the U.S. fans following right behind.
Check out this CD; you'll think twice about accountants ".

WHAT IF 1987 Tommy Funderburk

Alan's homage to DEEP PURPLE career on "Who Do You Think We Are?" is awesome, with astonishing vocals by Robbie LaBlanc.
Do you like LIVING COLOUR? (I love them) ... well, "Voodoo Love" sounds like a 'Vivid' album outtake.
"Lakelear Meltdown" must be listen with headphones, a lovely tribute to the Rock N' Roll history.
And more... it's always a pleasure to listen BOBBY KIMBALL singing good songs. Check "Nearly Down The Road"... WOW! rocks!

Indie release, unknown and too good to be true...
Highly Recommended

1 - Side By Side
2 - Who Do You Think We Are?
3 - Voodoo Love
4 - Someone To Blame
5 - Real Bad News
6 - The Test Of Time
7 - Land Of Hate
8 - That Dress
9 - Nearly Down The Road
10 - Love Won't Take You Down
11 - Grinding
12 - Back In My Arms
13 - The Prognosis
14 - Lakelear Meltdown

Lead Vocals:
Bobby Kimball (Track 1, 9)
Robbie LaBlanc (Track 2, 6, 8, 13,14)
Bernard Fowler (Track 3, 7)
Sallt Eckels (Track 4)
Paul Lombardo (Track 5, 10)
Corey Glover (Track 11)
Jeff Batter (Track 12)
Guitars, Production & Direction: Alan Friedman
Additional Guitars: Jeff Pevar, Bryan LeMar
Drums: Jonathan Mover, Will Calhoun, Chris Ryan
Keyboards: Vince DiCola, Jeff Batter, Mark Tannenbaum
Bass: David Stoltz, Doug Wimbish, Ron Bienstock
Percussion: Jennifer Lowe, Tony Genevive, Chri Ryan
Sax: Jimmy Biggins
Background Vocals: Bobby Kimball, Robbie LaBlanc, Brian LaBlanc, Gail Schiro, Nancy Battistini, Jeff Batter, Sally Eckels, Joel Eckels, John Hopkins, Tommy Russo, Paul Kombardo
and many, many more...

ALAN FRIEDMAN - The Test Of Time