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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

FROZEN GHOST - Shake Your Spirit (1991)

FROZEN GHOST - Shake Your Spirit (1991)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

FROZEN GHOST is one of the essential bands from the Canadian '80s Melodic Rock / AOR scene, being their self-titled debut a must have in the collection of any fan of the genre (I wonder why it never was featured here on this blog...)
Anyway, their 3rd record "Shake Your Spirit" is another fine slice of superb tunes finding the band into a more Melodic Hard Rock lane, the sound dominating the very early '90s in America. The keyboards were pushed back a little, and axe man Phil X has a lot of room for his melodious riffs.
However, the trademark hooks from the band are still present on these melodic rockers.

Founded by ex- members of AORsters Sheriff, Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel, you only could expect quality from Frozen Ghost.
The catchy "Something To Say" is my favorite, with that unmistakable Canuck feel, but also the AORish "Cry (If You Want To)", the really melodic "Another Time And Place" and the elegant "Head Over Heels".
On the more rocking side we find title track "Shake Your Spirit" (nice background vocals), "So Strange" (with some Loverboy on it) and "Doin' That Thing".

FROZEN GHOST - Shake Your Spirit (1991)

"Shake Your Spirit" was the last Frozen Ghost album, as Lanni dedicated his time to produce, becoming a successful cat in this matter for acts such as Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven and Thousand Foot Krutch.
This is the hardest to find Frozen Ghost CD, as far I now, never reissued and out of print.

01 - Come Alive (Intro)
02 - Shake Your Spirit
03 - So Strange
04 - Cry (If You Want To)
05 - Shine On Me
06 - Another Time And Place
07 - Something To Say
08 - Revival (Intro)
09 - Stuck In A Groove
10 - Head Over Heels
11 - Swing To The Rythm
12 - Doin' That Thing

Arnold Lanni - lead vocals, keyboards, guitars
Wolf Hassel - bass, vocals
Phil X - guitars, vocals
John Bouvette - drums, percussion

FROZEN GHOST - Shake Your Spirit

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

THE KITE - The Kite (1991)

THE KITE - The Kite (1991) Canada
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Canadians from the Toronto area, THE KITE was one of those really interesting bands from the late '80s combining a musical recipe which included equal parts of Melodic Rock hooks, elegant AOR melodies and light proggy sounds.
With a typical pristine Canuck sound (produced by Rush collaborator Terry Brown) The Kite recorded their self-titled debut in 1991 released through the small local label Spy Records, distributed by A&M.

The sytle on the "The Kite" can be compared with Bricklin, Glass Tiger, Fozen Ghost, Gowan, Naked Eyes, but the band, as said, explores different paths occasionally adding little Hi-Tech touches in the vein of their underrated countrymen Eight Seconds, and neo prog arrangements akin Saga.
The melodic rock of opener "Breaking Point" and closer "Pages Turn", the rhythmically rich "Peculiar Donna" and "Raging Sea" and the Saga-type AOR of "Masquerading" (lots of keyboards) are amongst the best cuts here.
A personal favorite is "Breaking Point", the kind of AOR driven by synth stabs, a solid bass line and a light prog melody. Keyboardist Bryan Vamos plays real Mellotron here.

THE KITE - The Kite (1991) back cover

"The Kite" is a very recommended, enjoyable record where all the tracks are truly melodic, impeccably arranged and performed. Production is lush, crystal clear, with the traditional Canadian seal all over.
The CD was released in Europe a year after by a German label, but of course, "The Kite" never was reissued since then, and become out of print.

01 - Days Of Youth
02 - The Road Of Hope
03 - These Four Walls
04 - Peculiar Donna
05 - Raging Sea
06 - Breaking Point
07 - Diamonds To Dust
08 - World Of Lies
09 - Masquerading
10 - Pages Turn

Vocals, Guitar – Robbie Brennan
Keyboards, Mellotron – Bryan Vamos
Bass – Gregory Lewis
Drums – Robert Leader

THE KITE 1991 CDrip

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

CENTURY - Is It Red? (1988) bootleg CD

CENTURY - Is It Red? (1988) bootleg CD
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Amongst the most sought after rarities from my collectors days there was an album from a French band; CENTURY. It was their second and final effort titled "Is It Red?".
Founded by vocalist, keyboard player and composer Jean-Louis Milford in the middle '80s, Century scored a #1 hit in France, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil with their single "Lover Why", taken from their 1986 debut album.

Century toured Europe and supported major act gigs, then recorded the 2nd album "Is It Red?" in 1988 but they did not found a label to release it. Seems it only was published in Spain and Portugal in very limited copies.
As far I know, never was released on CD and different vinyl versions existed. Besides, seems the cassette version included extra tracks and re-arranged song sequence.
At the beginning of their career Century was a FM Rock oriented band with a poppy, commercial approach. So why the second album becomes a collectors item for AORsters? Well, between 87/88 they were influenced by the rising European AOR wave and this record features some pretty good keyboard driven tunes in this genre.

Just check opener "Colour Of The Wine" much in the vein of Germans Dominoe, Tokyo or Bonfire's melodic side, same with "High On The Beam", "Does She Love You To Mother You" or the poppy "O' Radio".
The rest of the material varies between light rockers such as "This Way To Heaven", the Scorpions-like ballad "Gemini" or the more classic "Blues On A Monday". All nice songs but nothing to die for.
Added by me there's a couple of B-sides not appeared in the first album, and a demo.

CENTURY - Is It Red? (1988) bootleg CD back cover

"Is It Red?" still is a rarity, though someone managed to rip a vinyl copy and release it on this bootleg CD. The sound is good and much better than some files floating around the net.

01 - Colour Of The Wine
02 - Gemini
03 - Does She Love You To Mother You
04 - England In The Sun
05 - This Way To Heaven
06 - O' Radio
07 - Blues On A Monday
08 - High On The Beam
09 - Colour Of The Wine (Slow Version)
10 - Is It Red?
Bonus Tracks (not present on the bootleg CD)
11 - Rainin' In The Park ['86 B-side]
12 - Help Me Help ['86 B-side]
13 - Mixed Amelia ['88 demo]

Jean-Louis Milford: vocals, keyboards
Jean-Dominique Sallaberry: guitar
Eric Traissard: guitar
Fred Payonne: bass
Jean-Jacques Grall: drums

CENTURY - Is It Red?