Friday, May 30, 2014

AL BARTON - Precious (1991)

AL BARTON - Precious (1991) cd edition
Requested in the Chat box...

ALAN BARTON born in Great Britain and during the seventies was part of the successful pop act Black Lace, representing the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979.
In the middle '80s, Al replaced singer Chris Norman in Smokie recording six albums with them, including the awesome 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' and 'All Fired Up' (I don't know why I didn't posted these very good albums here yet).
In the middle, Barton released his one and only solo album, this "Precious", in 1991.

As you can listen in the video-song below, "Precious" is Melodic Rock with an European sound and some rock&pop in between, driven by melodious guitars, nice keyboards and Al's velvety vocals.
All songs are good and easy to the ears with polished arrangements, wrapped by a pristine, crystal clear production.
Two singles were taken from "Precious"; "July 69" in 1990 as advance, and "Carry Your Heart" in 1991, a duet with Norwegian female singer Kristine Pettersen which obtained some airplay in Scandinavia. In fact, as far I know, this CD edition of "Precious" only was released in Norway.

AL BARTON - Precious (1991) back cover

Sadly, Barton died in '95 at the age of 41 from injuries incurred when Smokie's tour bus crashed during a storm in Germany.
"Precious" is one of these rare little gems unheard by most Melodic Rock fans and collectors, quite hard to find on CD (out of print).

01 - Being With You
02 - White Dust
03 - Precious
04 - Carry Your Heart
05 - Soakin' Up The Sun
06 - Drive, Drive, Drive
07 - These Feellings For You
08 - July '69
09 - Running Away From Heaven
10 - All Fall Down

Al Barton: Lead Vocals, Guitars
Andy Wheelan: Guitar, Mandolin, 6 string Bass
Neil Ferguson: Guitar, Keyboards
Marin Bullard: Keyboards
Marcus Cliffe: Bass
Steve Pinell: Drums
Neil Hardcastle: Percussion
Jackie Ross, Kath Parker: Backing Vocals
Kristine Pettersen: guest Lead Vocals on 4

AL BARTON Precious (1991)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

STRESS - Killing Me Night And Day (1984-86)

STRESS - Killing Me Night And Day (1984-86) front
Seems during the '80s STRESS was one of the most popular Hard Rock acts from San Diego, California .
Founded in 1983 by bassist Josquin des Pres and vocalist / guitarist Mike Thomas the group build a strong following, and played the L.A. club circuit in venues like Madame Wong’s, FM Station and The Troubadour.

Stress recorded and released by themselves the album "Killing Me Night And Day" (1984, vinyl LP), not only very well produced but also sporting a fine songwriting and great level of musicianship. Occurs that many members of the band had a jazz rock background, and you can hear their skills on the instruments and a tight performance throughout the album.
But fear not, "Killing Me Night And Day" is US Melodic Hard Rock with the typical sound & style of the mid-Eighties but much more elaborated and enhanced by original arrangements. There's a touch of Radio-AOR of course, resulting in a mix sounding like Dokken meets Icon with some Preview in between.

Stress put out a 12'' maxi the following year, and started to tape the second album in 1986 with the addition of Jimmy Crespo (Aerosmith, Rough Cutt) on guitar. But in late 1987, frustrated by not attracting major label attention, Stress disbanded.

STRESS - Killing Me Night And Day (1984-86) back

All the recordings from band were reissued on this CD in 2001, including the "Killing Me Night And Day", two outtakes from the original sessions, the two-sided 12'' maxi, and 3 tracks from the unreleased / unfinished second full length.
Nice '80s stuff.

01 - Burning In Your Fire
02 - Never Should Have Turned Around
03 - Don't Need No Education
04 - Killing Me Night And Day
05 - Prime Time To Party
06 - Save Me
07 - I Can't Get Over You
08 - It's Too Bad
09 - Search For The Fool (bonus track from 12'')
10 - You're So Critical (bonus track from 12'')
11 - It Makes Me Mad (outtake)
12 - Friday On My Mind (outtake)
13 - Let Me Make It Alright ('86 unreleased recording) *
14 - Don't Let Go ('86 unreleased recording) *
15 - Key To Your Heart ('86 unreleased recording) *

Josquin Des Pres - Bass, Vocals, Keyboards
Mike Thomas, Tim Nicholson - Vocals, Guitars
Leroy Vega, John Shearer, Jeff Gabaldon - Drums
Bill Van Wulven - Backing Vocals

STRESS Killing Me Night And Day

Monday, May 19, 2014

TIME GALLERY - Kaleidoscope (1992)

TIME GALLERY - Kaleidoscope (1992) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

TIME GALLERY probably was the best Lite AOR coming out from Sweden. This "Kaleidoscope" is their second and last album released in 1992.
If one word define these guy's style is finesse.

TIME GALLERY - Kaleidoscope (1992) inside cover

Combining AOR melodies ("The Feeling Is Gone") with power pop guitar chords ala Richard Marx ("Closer To Love", "Y.B.B." -great guitar solo), heavenly harmony vocals ("Like Summerrain"), smooth WestCoast touches (the very TOTO-esque "You") and a dash of '80s Hi-Tech ("Lovesmash"), there's something for everyone here.

TIME GALLERY - Kaleidoscope (1992) back cover

With a superb, crystal-clear production, "Kaleidoscope" is chock full of memorable catchy hooks and choruses in the Scandinavian style.
The CD is out of print and it isn't easy to find a HQ rip of this beauty.

01 - Closer To Love
02 - Like Summerrain
03 - The Feeling Is Gone
04 - You
05 - Lovesmash
06 - Y.B.B.
07 - Merry-go-round
08 - Goodbye Molly's Angels
09 - Don't Say It's Love
10 - Julie Knows
11 - Like Summerrain (Sway mix) [bonus track]

Patrik De Vee - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Fredrik Bergengren - Guitar
Johan Stentorp - Keyboards, Vocals
Thomas Nyberg - Bass, Vocals
Carl Colt - Drums, Percussion

TIME GALLERY Kaleidoscope HQ

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SEVEN - Man With A Vision + extras (1990)

SEVEN - Man With A Vision + extras (1990)
Re-post from years ago, because it's very rare, and very good.

Another "Request & Fill Corner" request, John Parr related.
Don't be afraid by the 'boy-band' look of this guys.
Yes, they supposed to be a chart product, but unlike that kind of monstrosity, they wrote their own songs and really play all the instruments.
And what a beautiful AOR songs!
Produced by John Parr ("Man With A Vision" tune was recorded by himself in '92), they released 2 singles on the Polydor label the same year: "Inside Love" in january and "Man With A Vision" in june, 1990.

Seven went on to tour with The Monkees, Richard Marx and Jason Donovan, and the singles sold well, but some label / management problems dissolved the project.
A shame, they were very good. There's rumours that a full album was recorded, but shelved...
If you like Parr's music and style, well done poppy AOR with class, this is for you.
Man With A Vision maxi-single is complete (4 tracks), plus Inside Love 7'' version and 2 demos (supposed to be part of the unreleased album).

01. Man With A Vision [7'' version]
02. Just Close Your Eyes
03. Man With A Vision [extended version]
04. Stranger (In The Night)
05. Inside Love [7'' version]
06. Untill Then (demo)
07. Be That Girl (demo)

Mick Devine: Lead Vocals
Keith MacFarlane: Guitar, Vocals
Pat Davey: Bass, Vocals
Simon Lefevre: Keyboards, Vocals
Austin Lane: Drums
Produced by John Parr

SEVEN - Man With A Vision

Monday, May 05, 2014

PRINCESS PANG - Princess Pang (1989) American Edition

PRINCESS PANG - Princess Pang (1989)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Female fronted hard rockers PRINCESS PANG were labelled as an American group, but actually, the band born in Sweden and half of the members are from this origin.
Singer Jeni Foster met bassist Ronnie Roze Johansson in New York at the middle of the '80s, but both decided to fly to Sweden and start to work on a new band there. After assembling the group with guitarist Andy Tjernon and drummer Brian Keats, they wrote a bunch of songs, recorded some demos and returned to USA when Metal Blade Records showed interest.

The self titled "Princess Pang" was recorded with Ron St. Germain (Living Colour) behind the desk and the result was a kickin', energetic slice of American Hard Rock yet not in the typical glammy style from the end of the '80s.
Sure, there's some tracks in this vein like "Trouble In Paradise", the razor "Any Way You Want It" (a highlight on the disc) and "Scream & Shout" (which reminds me Lee Aaron) driven by sharp guitar riffs and Jeni Foster's strong pipes.

But Princess Pang was a different beast - and that's perhaps the reason for their lack of commercial success - because they added to their music a strong bluesy feel like on "Find My Heart A Home" (some kind of Tesla with female vocals), the honky "No Reason To Cry", the groovy "Sympathy" or the slow burner "Baby Blue" (title says all).
Additionally on numbers such as "China Doll" they are closer to Pat Benatar than the Californian glammy hard rock of the era. I mean, the overall sound on the album is edgy & rockin' and I like it a lot, but surely not what was in the major public's mind, eager to find the new Heart, Bon Jovi or Poison.

PRINCESS PANG - Princess Pang (1989) back cover

After presenting the album on tour together with the likes of Mr. Big and Ace Frehley, "Princess Pang" disbanded and this sole CD is their legacy. And a very good one. "Princess Pang" is an album that after the second spin gets stuck in your head, because is rich in great melodies and true Rock 'n Roll substance.
Quite unknown and pretty hard to find, this a rip from the American CD edition (sounds much better than the German) at maximum quality including artwork.

01. Trouble In Paradise
02. Find My Heart A Home
03. South St. Kids
04. No Reason To Cry
05. Sympathy
06. Scream & Shout
07. China Doll
08. Baby Blue
09. Too Much, Too Soon
10. Any Way You Want It
11. I'm Not Playin'

Jeni Foster - lead vocals
Andy Tjernon - guitar, background vocals
Jay Lewis - guitar, background vocals
Ronnie Roze Johansson - bass, background vocals
Brian Keats - drums, percussion, background vocals