Friday, December 28, 2018

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987)

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

HUNTER was the moniker adopted by Down Under cult legends Dragon when in the second half of the '80s their record company bet on the band's international success. Originated in New Zealand during the Seventies, Dragon moved to Australia gaining great success.
After several albums and a move to more commercial sounds, in 1985 Polydor flew the band to New York to work with Todd Rundgren as producer for their new album "Dreams Of Ordinary Men".
With a big budget at hand, the result was a glossy recording which enhanced the already melodic, light AOR essence of most the songs. The album was released in 1986 as Dragon on the cover.

But Dragon's label & management decided to launch the band as the new 'Aussie phenomenon', and not only switched the name to HUNTER (last name of founder Todd Hunter and his bro, iconic vocalist Marc), but also ordered the remix of the whole thing to turning it more appealing worldwide.
This entire move in Dragon's direction resulted in two interesting sides: some of the songs ended with a wonderful, elegant light AOR sound, some others with an insipid pop taste.
Then "Dreams Of Ordinary Men", the Hunter version, is a mixed bag.

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987) back

I don't care about the weak songs, because the good ones are really, really good.
Opener and title track "Dreams Of Ordinary Men" is one of these, driven by a pumping bass line, catchy guitars - at charge of talented Tommy Emmanuel, and truly great vocals by Marc Hunter, with the characteristic tone that made him famous. At places, on this track Hunter evoke Scottish masters Strangeways.
"Speak No Evil" has that 'movie soundtrack' feel so '80s, with heavily processed drums and synth stabs. I love this one. "Nothing To Lose" is a fine poppy ballad, as it is the acoustically filled "Smoke".
Another favorite is the TOTO-ish gem "Western Girls", plenty of terrific melodies, an increscendo pre-chorus and a bright, wonderful main chorus. It's a very first half of the '80s AOR tune, and a very good one indeed.

HUNTER (ex Dragon) - Dreams Of Ordinary Men (1987) US cover

American cover

As you see, the first 4 tracks in a row, plus some in the middle are a true enjoyment for classic AOR fans, and these alone worth the disc.
The rest (mostly the second half of the CD) are pretty weak pop songs in my opinion, but there's 'something' on "Temptation" choruses, and the cold yet good riffs of "Midnight Sun".
"Dreams Of Ordinary Men" as 'Hunter' appeared one year later (1987) and was released in Europe / USA with different cover artwork each.


01 - Dreams Of Ordinary Men
02 - Speak No Evil
03 - Nothing To Lose
04 - Western Girls
05 - Rain
06 - Temptation
07 - Midnight Sun
08 - Intensive Care
09 - Forever And Ever
10 - Smoke
11 - Start It Up (bonus track)
12 - When I'm Gone (bonus track)
13 - Love Don't Stop (bonus track)

Vocals – Marc Hunter
Guitars – Tommy Emmanuel
Bass, Vocals – Todd Hunter
Drums – Doane Perry
Keyboards, Producer – Alan Mansfield
Guitar, Backing Vocals, Producer – Todd Rundgren




HUNTER (ex Dragon) Dreams Of Ordinary Men
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

ROBBIE PATTON - Orders From Headquarters (1982)

ROBBIE PATTON - Orders From Headquarters (1982) restored audio
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

English singer/songwriter ROBBIE PATTON got his career-break when he toured as a special guest of Fleetwood Mac. The relationship does not ended there, as many members from the Mac's contributed on Patton's debut album, and here, his second LP "Orders From Headquarters" as well.
Recorded in America, the record has the true US radio-friendly melodic sound the ruled the airwaves circa '82/'83.

Opener "Victim Of Your Love" is pumped by deep bass line, filled with catchy candy-floss keyboards and really good sustained guitars. Patton's vocals reminds me Robert Berry here when he used to be the singer of Hush around the same year.
Follower "Louise" is another terrific commercial upbeat AOR tune with swirling keyboards, 'that' rhythm guitars and a melodic, contagious chorus. If you don't like this track you don't like '80s AOR at all.
The midtempo "Lonely Nights" only could have been recorded in the Eighties, the atmosphere, the vibe, it's all there. All the songs on this album are firmly back-boned by an excellent guitar work by Joey Brasler (Cher). On this track and the next, the hot rocker "Feel The Flow", is particularly remarkable.

Title track has interesting twists in the song structure, again fueled by fat bass line, cool keys and a sumptuous guitar solo.
"Tell Me Goodbye" includes some vintage keyboards and a strong rhythm guitar which carries the song somehow reminding me AORsters Balance, while vocally, Rick Springfield.
"Smiling Islands" was the single, co-written and performed together with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. Nice and slow melodic song, not exactly the typical ballad.

ROBBIE PATTON - Orders From Headquarters (1982) back cover

"Orders From Headquarters" is one of those LP's that marked "the middle of the first half of the '80s sound"; that is radio-friendly, commercial poppy AOR melodies with a crystal clear production.
This is the kind of records that any fan of the decade love at first listen.
Robbie Patton's "Orders From Headquarters" was finally released for the first time on CD few years ago, but I am very happy with this excellent vinyl rip, cleaned and restored by me.


01 - Victim Of Your Love
02 - Louise
03 - It's Your Heart
04 - Lonely Nights
05 - Feel The Flow
06 - Orders From Headquarters
07 - Tell Me Goodbye
08 - Smiling Islands
09 - All Because Of You
10 - Look Away

Robbie Patton - lead vocals
Joey Brasler - guitars
David Adelstein - keyboards
Robin Sylvester - bass
Kirk Arthur - drums
Alex Acuna - percussion
Kurt Howell - keyboards on 5
Christine McVie - lead vocals on 10
Stevie Nicks - lead vocals on 8
Timothy B Schmit - vocals on 6




ROBBIE PATTON - Orders From Headquarters
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