WHILST SUPERGROUPS WERE all the rage in the ‘70s and ‘80s, few of them actually delivered meaningful results. In the case of ‘90’s supergroup Damn Yankees this was not the case, as the combined explosive talents of guitar hero Ted Nugent, former Styx vocalist and guitarist Tommy Shaw, Night Ranger bassist and vocalist Jack Blades and drummer Michael Cartellone not only made an enticing proposition on paper but also actually delivered a hugely convincing musical statement. Their self-titled debut album was a massive commercial and creative success, achieving double platinum status in North America alone, elevating the band to a level that few would have confidently expected.
‘Don’t Tread’ the band’s second and final album was issued in September 1992 to huge anticipation. Sadly, however, the expectation of another blockbuster release was rudely frustrated when the album failed to connect with their fan base and the wider public. Despite the album’s obvious depth and quality it was clear that something was amiss, mainly because the musical climate was in a state of flux, switching allegiance from traditional melodic hard rock towards the raw sound of grunge. It was an erosion of belief that served to cripple a number of well-respected artists, not just Damn Yankees.
Despite seeing this cloud of doom on the horizon, the band remained on-message and recorded their second album in a positive spirit, crafting a record that was every inch a worthy successor to the debut. Produced once again by Ron Nevison (Heart, Led Zeppelin, UFO), and mixed superbly by Chris Lord-Alge, it was recorded in Los Angeles and showcases a magnificent selection of songs, including the title track, ‘Where You Goin’ Now’ (a top 20 US hit single), ‘Dirty Dog’ and ‘Firefly’. All tracks displaying grit, determination and a desire to impress.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features 2 bonus tracks, contains ‘Where You Goin’ Now’, ‘Dirty Dog’ and ‘Firefly’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: DON’T TREAD ON ME 2. FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME 3. WHERE YOU GOIN’ NOW 4. DIRTY DOG 5. MISTER PLEASE 6. SILENCE IS BROKEN 7. FIREFLY 8. SOMEONE TO BELIEVE 9. THIS SIDE OF HELL 10. DOUBLE COYOTE 11. UPRISING BONUS TRACKS: 12. WHERE YOU GOIN’ NOW (LIVE) 13. HIGH ENOUGH (LIVE)
LIKE CANADA, AUSTRALIA produced a number of superlative rock bands during the seventies and eighties many of which managed to exert their influence on a number of continents, particularly North America and Europe, that favoured their direct approach to music. Of course, the main hard rock assault was led by AC/DC and quickly followed by the likes of Rose Tattoo, Cold Chisel and Angel City. Heaven were natural successors to that crown and subsequently made quite a splash evoking comparisons to the well trodden Australian barroom boogie style. Formed in 1980 and based in Sydney, the band featured not only a stylised sound similar to AC/DC, but also their vocalist Allan Fryer had been in contention to replace Bon Scott after his tragic death in 1980. Furthermore, Heaven was handled by AC/DC’s former manager who relocated the band to Los Angeles where they signed to Columbia Records and set about touring the USA extensively. It was a smart move as the band were welcomed into a climate that was primed for the kind of in your face hard rock that was all the rage at the time. ‘Where Angels Fear To Tread’ was in fact the band’s second album, the debut having been recorded in their Native Australia, and upholds the fine foot stomping hard rock tradition. Recorded in Los Angeles it boasts a number of standout tracks and features backing vocals from the likes of Glen Hughes, Lita Ford, and Ronnie James Dio (under the non de plume of ‘Evil Eyes’). Driven by the frantic pace of the title track, the album includes a number of anthems including ‘Scream For Me’, ‘Madness’ and ‘Hard Life’.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, an Australian rock classic, 16 page full colour booklet, 4,000 word essay, enhanced artwork and new interviews.
TRACK LISTING: 1. WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD 2. LOVE CHILD 3. SCREAM FOR ME 4. DON’T MEAN NOTHIN’ 5. ROCK SCHOOL 6. MADNESS 7. HARD LIFE 8. SHE STOLE MY HEART 9. YOU 10. SLEEPING DOGS
CHER WAS ONE of the most famous singers in the 1960s and early ‘70s primarily as part of the hugely successful Sonny & Cher duo. She achieved massive celebrity status through a US television series and a string of hit records. However, by the mid 1970s, the hits dried up and her relationship with Sonny Bono also fell apart. A turbulent marriage to Gregg Allman during the 70s brought her more attention but very little musical activity of serious note. She was, it seems, searching for a direction, which came to fruition via a relationship with renowned guitarist Les Dudek, who had been feted with praise for his astonishing six string virtuosity. The pair not only had a romantic relationship, they also forged a musical partnership that resulted in the formation of Black Rose, a fully-fledged band operating in a, melodic, hard rock style. They were a cabal of seasoned players, including drummer Gary Ferguson (later to form Channel and play with Hughes/Thrall and Gary Moore), guitarist Ron Ritchotte (a top session player), bassist Trey Thompson (also a future member of Channel), keyboardist Mike Finnigan (who’d played with Jimi Hendrix) and former Bloodrock member Warren Ham provided backing vocals. Produced by James Newton Howard and released on the Casablanca label in 1980, it featured song contributions from a number of sources, including Toto’s David Paich, Bernie Taupin and Mike Chapman. The album is a solid example of hard rock, with Cher’s immediately identifiable vocals taking centre stage. Indeed, it is not that far removed from her late eighties chart topping heights. For further proof listen to tracks such as ‘Fast Company’, ‘Julie’, ‘You Know It’ and Take It From The Boys’.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, a melodic rock classic featuring Cher on lead vocals, full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. NEVER SHOULD’VE STARTED 2. JULIE 3. TAKE IT FROM THE BOYS 4. WE ALL FLY HOME 5. 88 DEGREES 6. YOU KNOW IT 7. YOUNG AND PRETTY 8. FAST COMPANY
THERE’S A LONG list of session players who came together and formed fully-functioning groups. Outfits such as Toto, Mr. Mister and Winger are strong cases in point, and Giant is no exception to that tradition. With roots in the west coast American session scene, the band was initially formed by two brothers, drummer David Huff and vocalist/guitarist Dann Huff. The two were not only respected and highly in demand session players but had previously been in the hugely successful Christian hard rock band White Heart. Combining their instrumental and compositional skills with other musicians and songwriters such as Alan Pasqua and Mark Spiro, the band quickly attracted the attention of major management and several labels, eventually signing an impressive deal with A&M. In an inspired move they selected Terry Thomas, a respected and hugely talented British studio wizard, to produce the record. Thomas who had been a member of 70s melodic rockers Charlie and had helped the reformed Bad Company achieve Platinum status with their ‘Dangerous Age’ album. Recording initially in Los Angeles and then moving to the UK to complete the record, the album was issued in 1989 to wide spread critical acclaim. Boasting a full complement of supremely crafted melodic rock songs, including the anthemic opening track ‘I’m A Believer’, ‘Innocent Days’, ‘Hold Back The Night’ and the top 20 US single ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ the album resonates with power and passion. It was also a tremendous showcase for the incredible guitar skills of Dann Huff, a true virtuoso in the finest tradition.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, an AOR rock classic album, 16 page full colour booklet, 4,000 word essay, enhanced artwork and new interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. I’m A Believer 2. Innocent Days 3. I Can’t Get Close Enough 4. I’ll See You In My Dreams 5. No Way Out 6. Shake Me Up 7. It Takes Two 8. Stranger To Me 9. Hold Back The Night 10. Love Welcome Home 11. The Big Pitch
GET ALL THREE JOHN NORUM ALBUMS FOR A DISCOUNTED PRICE - TOTAL CONTROL + FACE THE TRUTH + ANOTHER DESTINATION
THE FORMERlead guitarist for Europe, John Norum’s career had blossomed since his departure in 1986. With two well received solo albums under his belt, including ‘Face The Truth’ featuring Glenn Hughes on lead vocals, he set about recording his next album in Los Angeles using a template very much cast by a solid commitment to heavy, yet melodic hard rock embellished with soaring lead guitar and worldclass vocals. For John Norum, the emergence of grunge in the early ‘90s was an aberration that had virtually no impact on his personal musical vision.
‘Another Destination’, originally issued in 1995, was recorded in his adopted home of Los Angeles, and benefits hugely by the presence of vocalist Kelly Keeling, a classic gravel-throated blues based frontman who was previously a member of Baton Rouge. Norum also enlisted drummer Gary Fergusson who had played with Gary Moore and Hughes/Thrall. Again, like the previous albums, it was a dream team of talent that crafted a record of immense firepower, allowing John to unleash a tirade of hard riffs and blistering solos.
Amongst the melee of full-throttle melodic rock are two choice covers; ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, originally penned by Cream, and Humble Pie’s ‘Strange Days’, both tracks indicating his devotion to blues-based rock. Elsewhere the material is impressive and fully-formed, indicating that John’s original decision to leave Europe was well-founded and it also paved the way for him to rejoin his former compatriots in 2003, when their sound was re-engineered, reflecting their original harder rock ambition.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features ‘Whose Side Are You On’, ‘Inside’ and ‘Strange Days’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. INSIDE 2. RESURRECTION TIME 3. STRANGE DAYS 4. SPIRIT WORLD 5. SHIMMERING HIGHS 6. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? 7. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE 8. CATALINA SUNSET 9. HALF WAY HOME 10. HEALING RAYS 11. JILLANNA
THE SHOCK OF John Norum’s departure from Europe was a disappointment somewhat tempered by the release of his debut solo album, a work of real purpose and commitment to a heavy sound and style that suggested his tenure in Europe was not as musically harmonious as originally thought. Norum, it seems was somewhat aggrieved that too much pop was being woven into Europe’s sound and that the original intention of a hard rockin’ unit in the manner of Deep Purple and Rainbow had been sidelined.
It was a fair conclusion and one that sparked a well received solo career. Following his debut, John worked in Los Angeles joining forces with Don Dokken for Don’s debut solo album ‘Up From The Ashes’ and toured the USA extensively. It was a positive experience that also led John to enter into a stunning collaboration with Glenn Hughes, the wayward bassist/vocalist of Deep Purple and more recently in Hughes/Thrall.
John’s second solo album, titled ‘Face The Truth’, was a match made in heaven, with Norum and Hughes providing a number of high energy yet melodic hard rock tracks that stand proud as musical highlights in an era that was slowly succumbing to the emergence of grunge.
Originally issued in 1992, and recorded in Los Angeles, the album boasts a number of stunning tracks, including ‘Still The Night’ a re-recording of a Hughes/Thrall song originally released on the much praised Phenomena concept album. Also included is ‘Opium Trail’ a tribute to Norum’s enduring love for Thin Lizzy, and a well received co-write with Joey Tempest titled ‘We Will Be Strong’.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features ‘Still The Night’, ‘Opium Trail’ and ‘We Will Be String’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. FACE THE TRUTH 2. NIGHT BUZZ 3. IN YOUR EYES 4. OPIUM TRAIL 5. WE WILL BE STRONG 6. GOOD MAN SHINING 7. TIME WILL FIND THE ANSWER 8. COUNTING ON YOUR LOVE 9. ENDICA 10. STILL THE NIGHT 11. DISTANT VOICES
WHEN GUITARISTJohn Norum left Europe in 1986, at the very height of their popularity, the news was met with shock and incredulity. It was a stunning decision considering that he had been a founding member of the band (and its predecessor Force) for seven years and seemed so musically at ease with their exciting and successful brand of melodic rock. There was a lot of head scratching and amazement that someone with his fortitude and talent could turn his back on mass adoration and financial security by leaving Europe to follow his own muse. But all was not lost as John’s game plan was simple and deftly executed, setting course for a well received solo career.
Recruiting a new backing band of long-time musical friends (including Marcel Jacob, a former Europe member, on bass) and continuing his relationship with Swedish executives at the Sony label he redefined his ambitions away from the lighter pop rock path of Europe. This time around the music was harder, heavier and full of serious conviction, allowing John to unleash full on guitar work, woven within leaner and meaner songs. Whilst his soloing had always been impressive, this time around the playing was simply out of this world.
Centre stage on three tracks was vocalist Goran Edman whose forceful and melodic voice is delightfully mature, lending the material a worldclass sheen. Indeed, Norum’s own voice was just as impressive. Songs such as ‘Let Me Love You’, the Whitesnake-influenced ‘Blind’ and ‘Someone Else Here’, set an impressive standard. Oh, and look out for the choice cover of the Vinnie Vincent penned ‘Back On The Streets’.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features 6 bonus tracks, contains ‘Let Me Love You’, ‘Blind’ and ‘Someone Else Here’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. LET ME LOVE YOU 2. LOVE IS MEANT TO LAST FOREVER 3. TOO MANY HEARTS 4. SOMEONE ELSE HERE 5. ETERNAL FLAME 6. BACK ON THE STREETS 7. BLIND 8. LAW OF LIFE 9. WE’LL DO WHAT IT TAKES TOGETHER 10. IN CHASE OF THE WIND BONUS TRACKS: 11. WILD ONE. LIVE IN STOCKHOLM EP: 12. FREE BIRDS IN FLIGHT 13. ETERNAL FLAME 14. DON’T BELIEVE A WORD 15. BLIND 16. BAD REPUTATION
UNIVERSALLY ACCLAIMED on release, the Only Child album was handed an extraordinary accolade by Kerrang! magazine, with an ‘L’ rating - one letter more than the 5K’s previously awarded to exceptional albums, going on to proclaim it as one ‘L’ of a record. It was rightly given as most rock fans who heard it were gobsmacked by its musical sophistication. The songwriting was off the hook and Paul Sabu’s majestic voice (a breathy mixture of Lou Gramm and Joe Lynn Turner) positioned him as one of the most talented melodic rock performers on the scene, outclassing the competition by a country mile.
Paul’s previous album, ‘Heartbreak’, was a valiant attempt to raise awareness of his talent, but with limited promotion it failed to connect with the wider public. Yet, with typical drive and commitment, Paul returned to the recording studio to craft one of the greatest records of the era. His resolve paid handsome dividends when Rampage Records, a division of Capitol Records, leapt at the chance to sign him, under the handle of Only Child. It was a wise move as the record became a bench mark in the development of melodic hard rock.
Paul’s songwriting had always been superlative but the Only Child album moved his craft to another level. Tracks such as ‘Save A Place In Your Heart’, ‘I Believe In You’, ‘Rebel Eyes’ and ‘Just Ask’ took no prisoners in a space normally reserved for superstar acts. Sadly the project was hamstrung when the president of the label departed and all promotional momentum was lost, leaving us with a record that should have been an enormous success story.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features 4 bonus tracks, contains ‘Save A Place In Your Heart’, ‘I Believe In You’ and ‘Just Ask’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. JUST ASK 2. ALWAYS 3. I WANNA TOUCH 4. I REMEMBER THE NIGHT 5. LOVE TO THE LIMIT 6. I BELIEVE IN YOU 7. SAVE A PLACE IN YOUR HEART 8. REBEL EYES 9. SCREAM UNTIL YOU LIKE IT 10. SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD - BONUS TRACKS - 11. MAYBE A LIFETIME 12. RUNNIN’ ON LOVE 13. YOUNG GUNS 14. VICE VERSA
WITH AN IMPRESSIVE musical CV and two lauded albums of melodic hard rock behind him, Paul Sabu was very much on the minds of most clued-in music fans. Whilst his previous project, Kidd Glove, had suffered at the hands of a record label that failed to support his ambitions, all eyes were still on Paul as a man to watch. Not one for kicking his heels or even apportioning blame to others, he immediately commenced writing songs for a new album. Indeed, Paul’s musical activity at this time was almost overwhelming, what with his colossal studio workload as a session musician and mixing, overdubbing and guesting on various projects, that it seemed remarkable that he could devote so much time to the writing and recording of this his, technically, third solo album. It was a record that he financed himself, utilising a backing band of hand-picked players. An independent British label heard the recordings and promptly offered him a deal, issuing the album in 1985 to entirely positive acclaim, further cementing Paul’s status in a world where melodic hard rock was now at the forefront of the mainstream. With tracks such as ‘Angeline’, ‘Hot Flash’, ‘New Girl In Town’ and the title track ‘Heartbreak’, it was clear that this was a record that would set standards. The only disappointment being a lack of significant paid for promotion, and live shows in the UK, but it’s a record of class and quality that further enhanced his status and reputation.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, features 9 bonus tracks, contains ‘Angeline’, ‘Hot Flash’ and ‘Heartbreak’, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay and enhanced artwork
TRACK LISTING: 1. ANGELINE 2. HOT FLASH 3. BREAKIN’ OUT 4. HEARTBREAK 5. NEW GIRL IN TOWN 6. TUFF STUFF 7. JUST FOR THE MOMENT 8. SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL - BONUS TRACKS - 9. CALL OF THE WILD 10. STILL ALIVE 11. CASSIE 12. SHAKE IT OUT 13. STREET ANGEL 14. ASHES OF WRONG 15. DREAM BURNIN’ DOWN 16. COUNTDOWN TO LOVE 17. DOWN THE DRAIN