Thursday, September 24, 2015

KERRI ANDERSON - Labyrinth (1991)

KERRI ANDERSON - Labyrinth (1991) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Canadian singer / songwriter KERRI ANDERSON released her debut album "Labyrinth" in 1991, a 10-track record pretty varied in style yet always revolving around the melodic rock / pop-rock sound typical of the late '80s. And when I say typical, it means 'typical Canadian'.
Indeed, although there's a clear USA target in the overall production, "Labyrinth" has that unmistakable Canuck feel.

Kerri Anderson not only can sing really fine - she's like a mix of Chrissie Hynde, Robin Beck and Stevie Nicks - but also compose very good, catchy songs.
"Labyrinth" is quite diverse, as heard on the first 4 tracks from the record spanning a meaty melodic rocker ("In The Night"), a radio-ready rock&pop ("Corner Of Life"), an atmospheric ballad ("I Will Disappear") and an elegant FM Rock number in the great opener "Ghosts".

"Without Me" and the haunting title track (not exactly a ballad which starts as a hidden track) blend acoustic and electric guitars cleverly arranged to obtain a nice, warm contrast. Talking about guitars, special mention go to Spencer Sercombe (Shark Island, Michael Schenker) for his, at places, hot six-string work ("Day By Day").

KERRI ANDERSON - Labyrinth (1991) back

Distributed by MCA, "Labyrinth" did well in the US and garnered Kerri Anderson a Canadian Juno nomination in 1992. As far I know, this is Anderson's only major album, but she still performs occasional acoustic shows in his native country.
This is the kind of albums that grows in you with each listen thanks to the strong songwriting, melodic arrangements and solid performances. Production is bright & open, courtesy of expert Randy Nicklaus (Vixen, Shark Island).
Quite Rare.

01 - Ghosts
02 - In The Night
03 - Corner Of Life
04 - I Will Disappear
05 - Angel Says
06 - One Day
07 - Where David Sleeps
08 - Without Me
09 - Day By Day
10 - Labyrinth

Kerri Anderson - vocals, guitar
Spencer Sercombe - lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Morrow - keyboards
Don Schiff - bass, chapman stick
Gregg Ellis - drums
Mark Levang, Jim Lang - programming
Lenny Castro - percussion


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

FAR CRY - The More Things Change... [Japanese CD edition] (1980-2001)

FAR CRY - The More Things Change... [Japanese CD edition] (1980-2001) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

FAR CRY was the studio project of New Yorker Phil Galdston and Canadian Peter Thom who worked together during the Seventies when recording companies used to hire 'songwriter artists'. Some of their penned tunes were pretty successful, and they got an album deal releasing the LP American Gypsies as Galdston & Thom in the second half of that decade.
The album passed without notice, however the music industry does not lose the faith in the duo's potential.

Giant executive Phil Ramone called his alumni Elliot Scheiner (later involved in Michael Bolton's Everybody's Crazy, Toto's IV, et all) to produce Galdston & Thom second effort, now under the Far Cry moniker.
This time all would be under the 'high profile production standards', with a big budget at hand and top session musicians contributing, including guitarists Mark Doyle, Elliott Randall, shuffle master Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie on drums, Donald Fagen on backing vocals & more.

Far Cry's one and only album was entitled "The More Things Change...", and basically comprises the early '80s smooth melodies of those years rising West Coast style: FM ready, melodic, poppy at times and plenty of sweet harmonies.
This is the kind of records from that time where all was done clinically and with extreme attention to detail: arrangements, playing, production.
Session guitarist Mark Doyle recalls; "Producer Elliot Scheiner had four different guitar players in for a solo, punching in each note, even using combinations of different players for the same solo. I couldn't get more than two bars into it before I would be stopped, hummed some phrase, punched in, hummed some other phrase, etc." Well, Mutt Lange later perfected this with Def Leppard, but that's another story.
This example provide you an idea of how "The More Things Change..." sounds: perfect.

FAR CRY - The More Things Change... [Japanese CD edition] (1980-2001) back

Musically, Far Cry's "The More Things Change..." never turned me crazy about it. It's a very nice record with some really cool songs and melodies, but not a classic at all.
The album was pressed on CD for the first time in 2001, only released in Japan and now out of print. This is a HQ rip from the CD including artwork. A collectors item.

01 - The Hits Just Keep On Comin'
02 - Eldorado Escape
03 - The One And Lonely
04 - Because It's There
05 - It's Not As Simple As That
06 - Fight, Fight, Fight
07 - Ocean Eyes
08 - Suddenly Strings
09 - Tell Jack
10 - Some Things Will Never Change

Lead & Backing Vocals: Peter Thom
Lead & Backing Vocals, Piano: Phil Galdston
Guitars: Elliott Randall, Steve Khan, Mark Doyle, Jeff Mironov
Keyboards, Synths: Rob Mounsey
Bass: Tony Levin, Neil Jason, Will Lee, Doug Stegmeyer
Drums: Chris Parker, Bernard Purdie, Ed Greene, Liberty DeVitto
Percussion: Ralph MacDonald
Horns: Marvin Stamm, Randy Brecker, Timmy Cappello, Ronnie Cuber, David Tofani, Barry Rogers
Backing Vocals: Donald Fagen, Patti Austin, John Barranco, Zachary Sanders, Frank Floyd

FAR CRY The More Things Change [Japanese CD edition]



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Monday, September 07, 2015

KEVEN JORDAN - No Sign Of Rain (1991)

KEVEN JORDAN - No Sign Of Rain (1991) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

"No Sign Of Rain" is the debut album by Canadian KEVEN JORDAN, not only a smooth vocalist but also a complete musician & songwriter (he co-writes & arrange all songs here).
To put it in few words, this record is one of the best light AOR albums ever produced from the Canadian factory. It's really hard to find a weak track among the 10 little gems on offer.

Opener "There Is A Reason" recall the finest Stan Meissner moments, the happy melody of "Just Another Day" has all the quality akin this blog's favorite Paul Janz, while the elegant midtempo "Your Disguise" comes straight from the Marc Jordan (not related) book.
The atmospheric "Traces Of You" has some Richard Marx on it (and a West Coast feel), then awesome closer "The Path That Leads To You" breathes Mr. Mister / Richard Page from every pore.

KEVEN JORDAN - No Sign Of Rain (1991) cd

Those comparisons are only to give you an idea of the quality on display here, sometimes even better than the monster AOR artists mentioned.
Production is crystal clear, just perfect, bringing to your ears a magical aura plenty of melody.
As said, Jordan's vocals are really smooth but there's some underlying power on his pipes that I can imagine him singing rockin' AOR tunes with ease.

KEVEN JORDAN - No Sign Of Rain (1991) back

All session musicians involved are impecabble, special mention to Tim McAuley's clever keyboard arrangements (he co-writes all tracks as well) and the awesome bass playing of Peter Cardinali (very well enhanced by the production) resulting in a really bass 'guitar' work.
Keven Jordan's "No Sign Of Rain" is a must have in your AOR collection, believe me.

01 - There Is A Reason
02 - No Sign Of Rain
03 - I Look To You
04 - Just Another Day
05 - True Believers
06 - Your Disguise
07 - She Lives
08 - Traces of You
09 - How Can We Believe?
10 - The Path That Leads To You

Keven Jordan: vocals, guitars
Tim McAuley: keyboards, programming
Marty Walsh: guitars
Peter Cardinali: bass guitar
Matthew Mcauley: keyboards, vocals
Scott Humphrey: drums

KEVEN JORDAN No Sign Of Rain (1991)

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

CHRIS IRVINE - Chris Irvine (1992)

CHRIS IRVINE - Chris Irvine (1992) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Few things are known about this terrific British vocalist CHRIS IRVINE and his (only) self-titled album from 1992.
The 10 wonderful tracks on this CD were an integral production of talented musicians Peter Yellowstone and Phil Radford who worked for the small label / publishing agency Red Bus Music. Both were involved with many productions / artists from the same company.
All the songs were composed, arranged and produced by Yellowstone & Radford, and seems they needed a vocalist to sing them. The duo got Chris Irvine presumably from a demo tape, and what a great find it was.

Irvine's smooth vocal timbre perfectly fits the melodic, breezy essence of these songs.
With a style and a polished sound bringing to mind Canadians Boulevard / Blvd, cuts like 'Frozen rivers', the pulsating 'Vital signs', the superb mid-tempo 'Never listen to rumours' or the totally '80s 'Kicking up dust' (great guitar work) are a wet dream for any AOR aficionado.
You have more radio friendly numbers in the awesome 'Can you see me now?', the poppy 'Hypnotise' (with some John Warren on it) and the great ballad 'In need of an Angel' (remind me Brian Spence), all complete with catchy choruses and really nice keyboards.

CHRIS IRVINE - Chris Irvine (1992) back

Personnel is not listed, but top class musicians were used for the recording, and alongside Irvine's angelic voice the the result was stupendous. Sadly never recorded an album again, but he's still active as entertainer singing at corporate events, weddings, etc.
I assure you "Chris Irvine" is a must have album in your AOR collection.

01 - Frozen rivers
02 - Vital signs
03 - Never listen to rumours
04 - Hypnotise
05 - In need of an angel
06 - Really need to know
07 - You've got the right
08 - Kicking up dust
09 - Can you see me now?
10 - Get a grip

Chris Irvine: Vocals
Peter Yellowstone: Production
Phil Radford: Production

CHRIS IRVINE - Chris Irvine (1992)