Friday, March 28, 2014

FACE DANCER - Midnite Raid (1990)

FACE DANCER - Midnite Raid (1990)

Hailing from the U.S. state of Maryland, FACE DANCER released their debut This World through major label Capitol at the end of the seventies, a wonderful slice of Pomp AOR / Melodic Rock.
There was a 2nd offering musically more 'middle of the road' (MOR) oriented, then the band practically disappeared although they continued occasionally playing gigs.

"Midnite Raid" is Face Dancer's third album, and quite unknown because it was released by themselves and mostly sold at their shows. This copy is from the 2003 re-release (with different artwork) sold at their website and now deleted. The CD was not silver pressed, but officially released by Face Dancer and is sought after by collectors.
Through the years Face Dancer's sound changed according to times, and in "Midnite Raid", recorded between 1989-90, most of the Pomp is gone giving room for a more Melodic Hard Rock style.

FACE DANCER - Midnite Raid (1990) back cover

All tracks - except the midtempo ballad "I Hope You Know What You Want" - are punchy uptempo rockers driven by a very good guitar work, heavy handed drums and catchy choruses.
We have as well a re-work of two songs from Face Dancer's first album; "Red Shoes" and the fun "Time Bomb", updated to the early '90s standards.
Despite the indie production, everything in "Midnite Raid" sounds fine and well mixed.
It's an enjoyable listen and a one to treasure as it's extremely rare.

1 - Can't Let Go
2 - Don't Get Me Wrong
3 - Gotta Find Love
4 - Shakin' Again
5 - Bad Luck With Money
6 - River Of Love
7 - Red Shoes
8 - I Hope You Know What You Want
9 - Time Bomb

Carey Kress - vocals
David Bell - guitars
Scott McGinn - bass, keyboards, vocals
Billy Trainor - drums
add. musicians:
Kris Fath - backing vocals
Stephen Hatfield - keyboards on 1, 8
Kenny F - sax on 8

FACE DANCER Midnite Raid

Saturday, March 22, 2014

KYLE VINCENT - Trust (1993) bonus tracks

KYLE VINCENT - Trust (1993) bonus tracks
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

This really good album was posted on this blog in 2008 HERE. Go to the original post and read comments by Kyle himself.
The old link is broken, so as requested here it is again with a couple of bonus tracks added by Kyle Vincent on his own release of the CD few years ago.

Unknown to the big audiences but not for AOR lovers and collectors, this is the first Kyle Vincent album, recorded in 1992 and never officially released due to his recording label bankrupt (some sources mention it was released in limited press only in Japan, 1993). Also exists a '99 bootleg edition with different name.

Kyle's subsequent albums turned more into soul/pop territory, but this one is a real gem of melodic rock / light AOR tunes in the vein of Mitch Malloy, Rick Springfield, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx or even the earlier Bryan Adams.

"Trust" is rich in beautiful melodies sung by Kyle with a sweet and warm tone, including a song co-written with AOR icon Steve Kipner and top class session musicians such as Tim Pierce, Gilby Clarke, Freddie Washington (Kenny Loggins band), Gerry Beckley (America), JR Johnson (M. Jackson band) and more.
Even more, production is terrific, handled by AOR legend Clif Magness alongside Steve Levine and Kyle himself.
GREAT one.

01 - A Night Like This
02 - Never Say Die
03 - Trust
04 - Something To Remember Me By
05 - Maybe It's Better this Way
06 - What Am I Gonna Do
07 - Change the World
08 - For All the Wrong Reasons
09 - Wherever You Are Tonight
10 - Now I Know
11 - One Ticket Home [bonus track]
12 - Never Say Die (feat. G. Clarke) [bonus track]

Kyle Vincent: vocals, keyboards
Tim Pierce, Gerry Beckley, Clif Magness, Gilby Clarke: guitars
Louis Johnson, Freddie Washington: bass
Michael Eqizi, Gerry Beckley: keyboards
Johnathan Moffett, JR Robinson: drums
Produced by Clif Magness, Steve Levine & Kyle Vincent

KYLE VINCENT Trust _ bonus tracks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

STEPHEN CRANE - Kicks (1984) restored audio

STEPHEN CRANE - Kicks (1984) restored audio
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

STEPHEN CRANE used to play in a band called Baby at the end of the seventies but his opportunity as solo artist arrived in 1984 by the hand of the major MCA label.
Stephen's debut "Kicks" was produced by Jai Winding (Le Roux) who also played keys, and no-other than the great Steve Lukather. In fact, all TOTO guys were involved in the recording including groove master Jeff Porcaro on drums.
We also find Richard Page (Mr. Mister, Pages) and AOR guru Tom Kelly (I-Ten, Van Stephenson, Survivor) doing backing vocals, together with brilliant session guitar players such as Duane Sciacqua, Joey Brasler and Ray Pannell.

The multitude of guitarists has an explanation; "Kicks" for the most part is a guitar driven AOR / Melodic Rock album with a 1984's radio friendly sound. And on most tracks, we found three different six-string axeman playing together in the same song.
Crane's pumping bass lines add even more muscle to the tunes, and his sometimes raspy but melodic vocals reminds you a cross of a young Brock Walsh, Van Stephenson on the calmer moments and Paul Sabu on the edgy.
There's not a single weak track here, going from hooky and catchy numbers like "Headed For A Heartbreak", "Joanne" or the urgent "Victims Of Love", to more AORish cuts such as the Toto-esque "Back On My Feet Again" (featuring a killer Lukather solo) and the Van Stephenson sounding "I'll Take Care Of You".

STEPHEN CRANE - Kicks (1984) restored audio back cover

Criminally ignored not only by MR / AOR fans in general - but also by the industry as it never was released on CD - "Kicks" is one of the best records in the genre from that era.
This is my own vinyl-rip with restored audio done by myself, including artwork. I humbly think you won't find a better rip of this one anywhere.

01 - Headed For A Heartbreak
02 - Joanne
03 - Kicks
04 - All My Love
05 - Victims Of Love
06 - I Can't Wait
07 - Back On My Feet Again
08 - I'll Take Care For You
09 - Sooner Or Later
10 - Crying Don't Look Good On You

Stephen Crane - Vocals, Bass
Steve Lukather - Guitar, Farfisa Organ, Backing Vocals
Duane Sciacqua, Joey Brasler, Ray Pannell - Guitar
Jeff Porcaro, David Crockett, Jody Cortez - Drums
Jai Winding, James Newton Howard - Keyboards
Steve Porcaro - Synthesizer, Programming
Tom Kelly, Richard Page - Backing Vocals
Produced by Jai Winding & Steve Lukather

STEPHEN CRANE Kicks - restored audio

Sunday, March 09, 2014

FACE FACE - Bridge To Nowhere (2006)

FACE FACE - Bridge To Nowhere (2006) front
Although based in Switzerland due their recording label / management, FACE FACE is an international outfit founded by multi-instrumentalist D.D. Matter and a guitarist with an American origin, George Miller. Both write, produce and engineer all the band's music.
The vocal slot is occupied by talented Irishman Mervyn Spence, known for his work in the Phenomena project, Wishbone Ash, Trapeze and specially for us, AOR fans, in his own band O'Ryan (featured on this blog HERE)

Face Face's debut 'Childhood Dreams' was, for me, the best AOR album that came out in 1994, and one of greats of that decade. D.D. Matter lost the rights of the band's name and the lot decided to release their second effort under the Purple Cross moniker in 2000.

FACE FACE - Bridge To Nowhere (2006) inside cover

But things returned to normal for this "Bridge To Nowhere", their third record again with the Face Face name at front.
Talking about the music, the band style remained faithful to the European sound of its origins, just a bit more Melodic Rock oriented than AOR.

There's hooky guitar-driven numbers in "Lights Of New York", "It's Not The End" and the energetic "Don't Stop", nice midtempos like the extremely melodic "Walking On Sunshine", AORish moments in "Close Your Eyes" (my favorite) and "White Rose", then balladry on "True Love".

FACE FACE - Bridge To Nowhere (2006) back cover

"Bridge To Nowhere" is typical Euro Melodic Rock by numbers but really enjoyable, specially Mervyn's vocal harmonies and the melodious guitar work of Miller. It's well produced and mixed with a bright sound.
Out of print.

01 - Lights Of New York
02 - Walking On Sunshine
03 - Don't Stop
04 - True Love
05 - Bridge To Nowhere
06 - Close Your Eyes
07 - Sin City
08 - White Rose
09 - It's Not The End
10 - Desire Burns Like Fire

Mervyn Spence - lead vocals
George Miller - guitars, keyboards, vocals
D.D. Matter - keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion
Marcel Ammann - drums
Tamara Meier - backing vocals
Pete Jefferson - drums on 1
Michael Hedderich - add. guitar

FACE FACE Bridge To Nowhere