Thursday, April 28, 2016

MARILYN MARTIN - Marilyn Martin [Japan release +2] (1986) + bonus

MARILYN MARTIN - Marilyn Martin [Japan release +2] (1986) + bonus
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

A blonde bombshell in her own right but owner of a really good set of pipes, in the mid-Eighies vocalist MARILYN MARTIN was ready to be the next rock&pop star.
After doing backing vocals for many big names including Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Tom Petty and Kenny Loggins, Marilyn got the chance to record the song 'Sorcerer' for the soundtrack of the '84 movie Streets Of Fire.
Next, she did a duet with Phil Collins on 'Separate Lives', the love theme from another film, 'White Nights'. The single was #1 the USA and Marilyn Martin got a record contract with Atlantic Records.

"Marilyn Martin", her self-titled debut was a glossy, big budget production with many renowned names in this matter involved including Phil Ramone, Arif Mardin, Jon Astley and even John Parr in one track.
Despite the slick, at times high-tech sonic approach, this album has a 'rocking' background with strong arrangements and superb session musicians participating.
Although none is mentioned into the credits, a young Reb Beach and Dann Huff among other talented cats recorded here. So expect excellent musicianship.

Alongside the commercial tunes with a synth-pop direction, you have really great songs like the AORish 'Beauty And The Beast' (the John Parr produced track), midtempo 'Too Much Too Soon', 'Wildest Dreams' or the pumping 'Night Moves'.
Despite the record got good sales - as her second, appeared in 1988 - Marilyn Martin's success turned out to be short-lived, being dropped by Atlantic and never recording another album.

MARILYN MARTIN - Marilyn Martin [Japan release +2] (1986) back

"Marilyn Martin" only was released on CD in Japan. There is a Wounded Bird Records reissue from some years ago, but only features the original LP 10 tracks. This Japanese Edition features 2 bonus tracks, including the 1985 duet 'Separate Lives'.
Additionally, I added two extras; the really nice Streets Of Fire OST song 'Sorcerer' and a quite rare track recorded by Marilyn Martin for one of Tatsuro Yamashita's projects.
A true '80s album.

01 - Body And The Beat
02 - Night Moves
03 - Too Much Too Soon
04 - Turn It On
05 - Thank You*
06 - One Step Closer
07 - Beauty And The Beast
08 - Move Closer
09 - The Dream Is Always The Same
10 - Here Is The News
11 - Wildest Dreams
12 - Separate Lives (Love Theme From White Nights)*
13 - Sorcerer +
14 - Your Eyes #

* Japanese bonus tracks
+ from Streets Of Fire OST 1984
# from Tatsuro Covers From Coast;The Nexus 1990

MARILYN MARTIN - ST [Japan release +2] (1986)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

HOUSE OF SPIRITS - Turn Of The Tide (1994)

HOUSE OF SPIRITS - Turn Of The Tide (1994) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

HOUSE OF SPIRITS was founded in 1993 by vocalist Olaf Bilic and bass player Martin Hirsch from the ashes of their previous band Jester’s March, looking for a more elaborated sound. The pair recruited ex- Mekong Delta guitarist Uwe Baltrusch and colossal drummer Jörg Michael (Laos, Axel Rudi Pell, Saxon and recently Devil's Train) to complete the line-up and immediately started to pre-produce their first album.

Titled "Turn Of The Tide", House Of Spirits' debut album blends elements from traditional German metal / hard rock with an accessible progressive feel plenty of melody.
This album is often compared to Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime and Empire highlights, but House Of Spirits' feel is less dramatic and much more melodic.
With most of tracks in a mid-tempo vein built around elaborated, clean guitar arrangements and greatly crafted choruses, "Turn Of The Tide" is a truly remarkable record.

Songs like the pumping 'Keep Me From Dreaming' or the quite melodic 'In My Heart' (including keyboard layers and acoustics into the mix) are quite memorable with an indubitable Queensryche's Empire-era feeling: a huge bass line, grandiose vocals, 'floating' drums - you get the picture.
The sizzling guitars on title track 'Turn The Tide', the broken riff of 'Wasteland' and the almost AOR atmospheres in 'He Waited' (superb guitar solo) are some of the other notable moments on this CD.

HOUSE OF SPIRITS - Turn Of The Tide (1994) back

House Of Spirits and this "Turn Of The Tide" (the group recorded another album before disbanding) are pretty unknown, which is a shame as this is a truly awesome band / CD. Production is top notch, crystal clear and powerful.
Certainly not the usual kind of records featured here on this blog, but believe me, it's a terrific album.

01 - Dawn
02 - Turn The Tide
03 - Wasteland
04 - Keep Me From Dreaming
05 - Close To The Edge
06 - He Waited
07 - In My Heart
08 - The Eye Of The Storm
09 - In A Daze
10 - Final Mistake
11 - Time Has Come

Olaf Bilic: vocals
Uwe Baltrusch: guitars
Martin Hirsch: bass, keyboards, vocals
Jörg Michael: drums, percussion


Friday, April 08, 2016

CRASH (Mikael Erlandsson) - Crash (1993)

CRASH (Mikael Erlandsson) - Crash (1993) front
Requested by a reader

Swedish vocalist Mikael Erlandsson achieved fame & fortune with Last Autumn's Dream, and more recently as well with Lover Under Cover, Heartbreak Radio, Salute and several projects. He also enjoyed considerable popularity in Scandinavia as solo artist during the '90s (some of his albums posted here on the blog), but his career started in the late Seventies.

First, Erlandsson was part of a punk (!) band playing drums, later he switched to keyboards for the group The Studs while perfected his songwriting skills. In the mid-80s joined pop band N'Gang for the first time as frontman / vocalist, with a hit single in Swedish radio and an Eurovision Song Contest participation.
Then in 1991 formed CRASH with brothers Eliasson (drummer Lars and guitarist Jan, who later was part of Danish rockers Push).

Crash released their debut "Crash" in 1993 with the aim to capitalize the American Melodic Rock success at that time, so expect here a collection of tunes in that vein.
"Do The Dance Dirty" opens with an urgent riff and a catchy chorus, followed by 'Close At Hand', a pure melodic rock track with a delicious multi-part harmony vocal work. The ethereal ballad 'Eyes Don't Lie' is perhaps the more 'Scandi sounding' song on the CD, and it's a really good one.

Then on tracks like 'Angina' you can hear Crush replicating the USA sound of the genre being this one akin White Lion (check the guitar swirls), same with 'Through The Shadows' (very Extreme), or the acoustically filled 'October 18' much in the vein of Mr. Big's More Than Words. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as many groups were doing the same, and Crush are pretty good at it.

CRASH (Mikael Erlandsson) - Crash (1993) back

Only released in Sweden, this is perhaps the lesser known work of Mikael Erlandsson's career. He never recorded a bad album - solo or with a band - and "Crash" is a quite solid melodic hard rock CD as well.
Well produced, composed and executed, "Crash" is a worthwhile addition to your Melodic Hard Rock collection.

01. Do The Dance Dirty
02. Close at Hand
03. Eyes Don't Lie
04. Save The World
05. Angina
06. Through The Shadows
07. Stranger's Kiss
08. Six String and a Highway
09. October 18
10. Livin' On Lovin'
11. Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)

Mikael 'Micke' Erlandsson - vocals, keyboards, percussion
John Melander - bass, percussion, backing vocals
Jan Eliasson - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Lars Eliasson - drums, backing vocals
Micke Oijwall - keyboards, backing vocals
Ulrik Arturen - backing vocals

CRASH (Mikael Erlandsson) - Crash (1993)

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

PETER CUPPLES - Half The Effort Twice The Effect (1984) CD version

PETER CUPPLES - Half The Effort Twice The Effect (1984) CD version - front
Requested by a reader

A highly respected singer / composer in his native Australia, PETER CUPPLES is still active today but his career started in the Seventies with various bands / projects along the way. During the '80s Peter fronted his own band, and after a successful locally released LP, Cupples was signed by major label Mercury.
The idea was to launch Peter Cupples in the American market, so for this second album "Half The Effort, Twice The Effect", Musician’s Hall Of Fame inductee Louie Shelton (legendary guitar player for many stars) was brought to produce.

"Half The Effort, Twice The Effect" resulted a really American sounding album, with a lovely, polished and extremely melodic feel combining the best of the radio-rock from the era (1984) with poppy AOR waves and slashes of keyboards.
'Don't You Leave Me Know' is plenty of synths and an infectious chorus ready for an '80s Action-Movie soundtrack, same with the festive 'Party Lights' and the elaborated 'Never Mind'.

The sweet midtempo 'Love Of Another World' is a little gem, 'Let Me Crawl' has a LA Session fragrance with some Player on it, then 'Just Can't Live' is a great, elegant ballad full of '80s magic. Cupples deliver even more variation on the acoustically based 'Sitting Here', mixing the best Eagles' atmospheres / three-part harmonies.

PETER CUPPLES - Half The Effort Twice The Effect (1984) CD version - back

At the end, ironically, "Half The Effort, Twice The Effect" never was released in America, nor on CD anywhere.
Fortunately, with the help of some Aussie specialists Peter Cupples himself remastered the album and put it on CD for the first time in 2006, in limited quantities.
Only available in Australia, this "Half The Effort, Twice The Effect" CD version has become a collectors piece (very expensive) for all Melodic Rock / AOR aficionados.
You'll love this...

01 - Don't You Leave Me Know
02 - Let Me Crawl
03 - Love of Another World
04 - Just Can't Live
05 - Never Mind
06 - Party Lights
07 - In The Pitts
08 - Sitting Here
09 - Do You Still Remember Me
10 - On The Run

Lead Vocals - Peter Cupples
Guitars, Backing Vocals - Ross Inglis
Keyboards - David Hirschfelder
Bass, Fretless Bass - Brian Hamilton
Drums, Percussion - Virgil Donati
Percussion – Mike Fisher
Sax - Bill Reichenbach, Larry Williams, Dan Higgins
Horns - Chuck Findley, Jerry Hey
Synthesizer - Christopher Bogan
Synthesizer, Backing Vocals - Cory Fite
Add. Guitar, Producer - Louie Shelton
Harmony Vocals - Dario D'Angelo Bidino
Backing Vocals - Adrian Campbell, Dani Micormick, Nancy Bouche, Petsye Powell

PETER CUPPLES Half The Effort Twice The Effect (1984)