“THERE IS NO question that in 1986 Europe, almost out of nowhere, became undoubtedly the biggest hard rock band on the planet. Their all-conquering hit single ‘The Final Countdown’ shot the band not only to the top of the charts worldwide but also earned them a place in the hard rock pantheon as one of the few groups who managed to appeal to not only rock fans but also to the wider public. It was with this tremendous uplift and, by consequence, pressure, that the band set about recording their follow-up album, a record that cemented not only their position but also their reputation.
But, it wasn’t a straightforward process, as immediately after the release of their breakthrough album lead guitarist John Norum quit the band, forcing them to recruit a replacement. The man chosen was fellow Swedish musician Kee Marcello, a hugely talented player who joined the band on their ‘Final Countdown’ world tour and took a leading role in crafting this follow-up album, ‘Out Of This World’. It was a musical match made in heaven, helping the band to further focus their sound, injecting lashing of copious hard rock energy. Indeed, it sounded like the band had moved heaven and earth to secure their definitive stylistic foothold.
Produced by seasoned veteran Ron Nevison (Led Zeppelin, The Who, UFO), recorded in Olympic Studios London, and released in August 1988, the album thoughtfully condensed their 70s rock influences with catchy and contemporary songs, penned almost exclusively by frontman Joey Tempest. Tracks such as ‘Superstitious’, ‘More Than Meets The Eye’, ‘Ready Or Not’ and the superlative ballad ‘Coast To Coast’ elevated the band to previously un-scaled heights, never once taking their eye off prize.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, Europe’s classic follow up to ‘The Final Countdown’, 16 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new band interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. SUPERSTITIOUS 2. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROCK 3. OPEN YOUR HEART 4. MORE THEN MEETS THE EYE 5. COAST TO COAST 6. READY OR NOT 7. SIGN OF THE TIMES 8. JUST THE BEGINNING 9. NEVER SAY DIE 10. LIGHTS AND SHADOWS 11. TOWER’S CALLIN’ 12. TOMORROW
“WE HERE AT Rock Candy have an abiding respect for Southern Rock bands, and none more so than Stillwater. An impressive seven piece, hailing from Macon Georgia, the band first arrived on our radar back in the seventies when they were filmed by the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test programme playing in a local club as part of Capricorn record’s annual picnic. The track shown was ‘Sam’s Jam’ a masterful guitar-drenched epic that sent a shock wave through the ranks of Southern Rock aficionados. Some of us have yet to recover from that programme.
Formed in the early seventies and featuring a classic three man guitar line up, the band courted much attention eventually signing with the Macon-based Capricorn label, home to The Allman Brothers Band and Wet Willie, amongst many others. It was a fitting pairing, with the band attracting much attention, earning strong praise and delivering one of the finest albums of the period. Paired with Buddy Buie, songwriter and producer for the Atlanta Rhythm Section the band recorded their album at the legendary Studio One facility in Doraville.
Issued in 1977, the record contains a clutch of superb songs, including ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Loser’, ‘Out On A Limb’ and ‘Mindbender’ a single (featuring the use of a Talk Box) that reached the US top 50 chart. Naturally, the album also features the near ten minute centrepiece ‘Sam’s Jam’, showcasing a blazing guitar showdown in the finest Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers tradition. Frankly, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, One of the best ‘lost’ Southern Rock albums. Includes ‘Mindbender’ and the guitar blazing ‘Sam’s Jam’, two bonus tracks, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. ROCK-N-ROLL LOSER 2. OUT ON A LIMB 3. SUNSHINE BLUES 4. SAM’S JAM 5. MIND BENDER 6. UNIVERSAL FOOL 7. APRIL LOVE 8. FANTASY PARK. BONUS TRACKS: 9. OUT ON A LIMB (Live) 10. MIND BENDER (Live)
“BEING IN A band is a situation fraught with potential problems. If it’s not internal friction, stolen equipment or a clash of musical direction then insurmountable business problems often derail proceedings. For Stillwater their biggest hurdle came in the form of a career-ending incident, when their record label filed for bankruptcy just as this, their second album, was released. It was an impossible situation for them to overcome, despite the quality of this record and the band’s momentum from their acclaimed debut album and impressive live work.
Based in Macon, Georgia, Stillwater had developed a fine reputation before being snapped up by the premiere Southern Rock label Capricorn records, home to a myriad of home-grown talent such as The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, The Marshall Tucker Band and Grinderswitch, amongst many others. The addition of Stillwater to the roster worked well for both the band and the label. Their debut album (also available on Rock Candy) spawned a minor hit single, helping to tee the band up nicely for album #2.
Issued in 1979 and produced once again by Atlanta Rhythm Section producer/writer Buddy Buie, at Studio One in Doraville, this album found the band developing their style and swagger in no uncertain terms. Boasting a number of superb tracks, including ‘Kalifornia Kool‘, ‘Fair Warning’ and the seven minute long title track, featuring some blistering lead guitar work. It also contained a superb duet on the song ‘Ain’t We A Pair’ with fellow Capricorn artist, the legendary Bonnie Bramlett.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, Second and final album from this classic Southern Rock band, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new band interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. I RESERVE THE RIGHT 2. WOMEN (BEAUTIFUL WOMEN) 3. KEEPING MYSELF ALIVE 4. KALIFORNIA KOOL 5. SOMETIMES SUNSHINE 6. FAIR WARNING 7. ALONE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT 8. AIN’T WE A PAIR
“IT’S INEVITABLE THAT Brownsville Station will always be best remembered for their worldwide smash hit single ‘Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room’, a track recorded in 1973, and re-ignited twelve years later in 1985 by Mötley Crüe. It is without question their signature song and an all-time rock classic but it is also one of those creations that, like Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’, ham strung the artist to the point where they could never quite recover from or eclipse their main achievement.
By the late 70s Brownsville (having dispensed with the Station part) had reached a new level of confidence. Signing with label giant Epic records, and managed by long time confidant Al Nalli, the band appeared to have finally put their past behind them and were well placed to make a major offensive. Produced by Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Molly Hatchet), and recorded in their native Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the Record Plant mobile studio, the band’s level of confidence was sky high, supported by a brace of well-written tracks, sitting very much in the late seventies hard rock groove pioneered by the likes of Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Kiss.
‘Air Special’, issued in 1978 in a very distinctive album cover, delivered on all fronts. Their muscular rock was primed, toned and given a period stadium rock makeover, gifting them a new born sense of possibility. Tracks such as the anthemic Kiss-like ‘Taste Of Your Love’, with its massive power chords, the pop rock ‘Love Stealer’ and a crushing rendition of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’ elevate this album to classic status.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, One of the best North American mid 70s hard rock albums, bonus track, 12 page full colour booklet – 4,000 word essay, enhanced artwork with rarely seen photos and new interviews.
TRACK LISTING: 1. TASTE OF YOUR LOVE 2. WAITIN’ FOR THE WEEKEND 3. WHO DO YOU LOVE 4. TEARS OF A FOOL 5. COODA CRAWLIN’ 6. AIRMAIL SPECIAL 7. NEVER SAY DIE 8. FEVER 9. LOVE STEALER 10. LET IT ROLL 11. DOWN THE ROAD APIECE. BONUS TRACK: 12. LOVE STEALER (SINGLE VERSION)
Three SAIGON KICK Albums: " SAIGON", "KICK" and "WATER"
SAIGON KICK’S FORTUNES were radically reshaped with the release of their second album, ‘The Lizard’ and it contained the hit single ‘Love Is On The Way’. It was a track that made them MTV stars, helping to achieve a gold album. This was a major coup for this much-loved Florida four piece that had been signed to Atlantic Records via the imprint Third Stone, a company owned by Hollywood A-Lister Michael Douglas. However, despite these achievements, all was not well within the band’s ranks. Bassist Tom DeFile and vocalist Matt Kramer had left the band. Kramer had clashed with main songwriter Jason Bieler and it was mutually agreed that the only way to solve the problem was for Matt to depart. Not surprisingly this move left the label somewhat confused as the project was set to move to another level of success. As with the previous record, it was agreed that Bieler could not only self-produce and record mainly in Sweden, but also take on the role as lead vocalist. It was a brave move and not one without reservations from various interested parties. Issued in 1993, ‘Water’ was actually another comprehensive statement of intent. It signalled a move towards experimentation but the original framework was still intact. Hard riffing but melodic tracks, such as ‘One Step Closer’ and ‘Torture’ nestled comfortably with such wide screen pop psych fare as ‘Sgt. Steve’, ‘Close To You’ and ‘Fields Of Rape’. Oh, and look out for a superb version of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, bonus track, Third and final major label album from this brilliant Florida based band, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. ONE STEP CLOSER 2. SPACE ODDITY 3. WATER 4. TORTURE 5. FIELDS OF RAPE 6. I LOVE YOU 7. SGT. STEVE 8. MY HEART 9. ON AND ON 10. THE WAY 11. SENTIMENTAL GIRL 12. CLOSE TO YOU 13. WHEN YOU WERE MINE 14. REPRISE BONUS TRACK: 15. NOT ENOUGH
IT’S ALWAYS VERY uplifting when a band originally tipped for better things actually fulfils their inherent musical potential. In the case of Hotel, a little known outfit from Birmingham Alabama, their self-titled debut album hinted at a somewhat suppressed melodic AOR talent that was itching to fully blossom. Fortunately that embryonic promise was perfectly realised with this, their second album, a record that has almost become a touchstone for fans of the AOR obscure. ‘Half Moon Silver’ is quite rightly regarded as a minor classic amongst AOR aficionados. Issued in 1980 and produced, once again, by their mentor Dain Eric, the album lunges purposely towards a harder rock edge. The vibe is very much one of waking up the neighbours, but not in a chest thumping sense, more in a measured and intense way. The guitars are far more prominent and the rhythm section is out to impress, but they leave room for vocalist Marc Phillips to inject passion and excitement into songs that have been meticulously constructed. There’s plenty to highlight, but it’s the double whammy of ‘A Place In Time (Refugee)’ and ‘Now That She Loves You’ that really sets the pace. Elsewhere, there are some particularly delightful ballads, including ‘Talk To Me’ and the sublime title track. Once again, their label failed to maximise the potential of the record and, despite the band touring with Hall & Oates, the record sadly fell through the gaps, leaving them deserted in a world that, sadly, failed to recognise a seriously talented outfit.”
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, one of the best obscure AOR classics, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. A PLACE IN TIME (REFUGEE) 2. COLD BLOODED RED HOT LOVE 3. NOW THAT SHE LOVES YOU 4. NED & MARY 5. HALF MOON SILVER 6. BLIND SIDE OF LOVE 7. I CAN’T BELIEVE 8. WANTING YOU TOO MY LOVE 9. HOW IT FEELS 10. TALK TO ME
WE OFTEN RECEIVE requests for obscure and now hard to find releases, but the amount of demand for the Hotel albums has been decidedly overwhelming, surprising when considering that the act barely made a blip on the radar back in the early 1980s when they were first issued. It appears that there is something of an insatiable appetite for music from that era, especially by melodic rock acts such as this, with a penchant for melody and strong hooks. Originating from Birmingham, Alabama, Hotel evolved through a number of line-ups, based around the central duo of Marc Phillips and Tommy Calton. They were originally signed to the Mercury label in 1977 but, after releasing one solitary single, found themselves cast adrift. In a fortuitous meeting on a plane journey, the head of the Scotti Brothers records was handed a tape which led to a new record deal. Recorded in Nashville and produced by their mentor Dain Eric, this album was issued in 1981, but despite good intentions failed to gain traction with the paying public at the time. The album itself is a measured example of carefully crafted AOR, drinking from the same goblet as Player, Air Supply, Le Roux and the Little River Band. The musicianship is first class in all respects, with careful attention paid to arrangements and execution. From the harder rock of ‘City Lights’ and ‘Not Wise To Say’ to the beautifully crafted ‘Right On Time’ and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’, the material is a fine example of the era’s signature slick sound.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, an obscure AOR classic, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER THING COMING 2. YOU’LL LOVE AGAIN 3. RIGHT ON TIME 4. ONE TIME TOO MANY 5. OLD SILVER 6. NOT WISE TO SAY 7. LOSING MY MIND 8. CITY LIGHTS 9. HOLD ON TO THE NIGHT 10. YOUR GREEN EYES
FOR MOST FANS of strident and forceful AOR Peter Cetera would not, under normal circumstances, be their first port of call. Having been a founder member and lead vocalist with horn rock band Chicago, his background was firmly in another musical world but this, his debut solo album, showcased a desire to break free of those chains and strike out in a new direction, a solo career that turned heads and eventually led to his departure from the mother ship. Times had been disappointing for Chicago, their fourteen album run at Columbia records was abruptly terminated in 1981 when they were perceived as being irrelevant to the current market. Cetera himself had actually begun to record a solo album and was half way through the project when news came of not only Chicago’s ill fortune, but also of the cancellation of his own project. Fortuitously Chicago were picked up by the Warner Brother’s label who also exercised the option on his solo album, which was completed and released by their Full Moon subsidiary. Issued in 1981 and produced by himself and Jim Boyer (Billy Joel, Steve Winwood) the album was quite a revelation to those who expected to hear a mellow example of his work with Chicago. The record, instead, was a punchy example of contemporary AOR, fuelled by crunchy guitar (featuring Steve Lukather and Chris Pinnick) and designed to fit in seamlessly with the work of say, Journey and Toto. Tracks such as ‘I Can Feel It’ and ‘Livin’ In The Limelight’ are classics of the genre.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, incredible AOR solo album from Chicago’s lead singer and front man, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with new photos.
TRACK LISTING: 1. LIVIN’ IN THE LIMELIGHT 2. I CAN FEEL IT 3. HOW MANY TIMES 4. HOLY MOLY 5. MONA MONA 6. ON THE LINE 7. NOT AFRAID TO CRY 8. EVIL EYE 9. PRACTICAL MAN 10. IVY COVERED WALLS
IN THE NOT too distant past, record companies would signs artists and let them develop over a period of time. A good case in point was the development of Saigon Kick. Their debut album was greeted with positive reviews and sold a healthy amount of copies, giving Atlantic records the confidence to push ahead and sanction a well-supported sophomore album, happy in the knowledge that the band was on an upwards trajectory. With this kind of support, the band relished the opportunity to craft another record, an album that would show a refinement of their sound and style. This time around the emphasis was on finely honed songs, with far more mature arrangements, and memorable hooks. The band was perceived as operating in the melodic rock zone, which was quickly becoming obsolete in the face of the developing grunge revolution. But, like such fellow comrades as Love/Hate, Skid Row and Extreme, they managed to inject a degree of excitement into their music that actually gave them an edge over the fading late-eighties hard rock scene. Originally issued in 1992, produced by band leader Jason Bieler, and recorded in Sweden, the contents easily eclipsed the quality of their debut album, showcasing a band with a much broader palate, focussing on sharp riffs and melodic hooks. This approach was emphasised by the surprise hit single ‘Love Is On The Way’, a track that not only upped the band’s profile but also helped the album achieve gold status.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, bonus track, Highly Regarded 2nd album featuring the hit single ‘Love Is On The Way’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. CRUELTY 2. HOSTILE YOUTH 3. FEEL THE SAME WAY 4. FREEDOM 5. GOD OF 42ND STREET 6. MY DOG 7. PEPPERMINT TRIBE 8. LOVE IS ON THE WAY 9. THE LIZARD 10. ALL ALRIGHT 11. SLEEP 12. ALL I WANT 13. BODY BAGS 14. MISS JONES 15. WORLD GOES AROUND 16. CHANEL BONUS TRACK: DEAR PRUDENCE