Wednesday, March 29, 2017

TOM DE LUCA - Captured [The Sessions]

TOM DE LUCA - Captured [The Sessions] front
Requested by many...

TOM DE LUCA had success as songwriter during the '80s, unfortunately not the same happened with his recording artist career. Tom got a contract with major label Epic and his debut album Down To The Wire was ready to be released in 1986, but due to some record company troubles only the initial, limited batch of the album hit the stores.

Many tracks for a supposed second album were already taped, some in a pre-production form, but of course, the sophomore opus never materialized.
Some kind of myth among AOR fans is that already there's a second Tom De Luca album released under the title "Captured", but in fact it's a collection of the aforementioned demos, more or less.
Less I'd say, because De Luca demoed more songs later, where the great Mike Slamer (Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key) was involved.

I have compiled here all these songs under the title "Captured / The Sessions", all finished tracks with pre-production quality, all unreleased. Well, 3 were included as bonus tracks in the Down To The Wire reissue (featured here on the blog), but the demos are slightly different, especially the mix.

TOM DE LUCA - Captured [The Sessions] back

The overall sound quality is excellent - I've cleaned some noises, studio clicks, etc, plus myself-made artwork - and the material is highly enjoyable stuff for all melodic rockers out there.
A collectors item.

01 - Strongest Heart
02 - Take It Like A Man
03 - Don't Need Your Kind Of Love
04 - Only The Young
05 - Love Train
06 - Let Me Know
07 - Shotgun Wedding
08 - Suicide City
09 - Can't Stop Love, Can't Stop Money
10 - You're My Religion
11 - Still I Want To Fall
12 - Captured
13 - Guilty
14 - Kickstart My Heart
15 - Tragedy
16 - Searching For That Something
17 - Raised On Love

TOM DE LUCA - Captured [The Sessions]

TOM DE LUCA - Down To The Wire (1986) + bonus

TOM DE LUCA - Down To The Wire (1986) + bonus
TOM DE LUCA started his career basically as songwriter, established in Nashville at the end of the Seventies. He co-wrote the Jennifer Rush hit 'Heart Over Mind', songs for Aldo Nova, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and most of the tracks in Molly Hatchet's 1984 album 'Deed Is Done'.
This successful work with the Hatchet attracted Epic / CBS Records to sign Tom as solo artist, and send him to England to record his debut with James Guthrie (Pink Floyd, Judas Priest).

After a year and a half of hard work, "Down To The Wire" was ready to be out at the beginning of 1986. Unfortunately, the same week of the release there was an unexpected executive staff change at Epic, and the new crew decided to not promote De Luca's album.
Few cassette and vinyl LP copies (already pressed) reached selected stores, and the album become a collectors item instantly.

Much sought after for years, fans had to wait more than twenty years to see "Down To The Wire" released for the first time on CD.
This album is a lovable slab of Midwest American AOR / Melodic Rock with a sharp guitar sound and catchy choruses akin John Waite, Stan Bush, Kane Roberts early solo works, Aldo Nova, Jeff Paris and Steve Plunkett's projects - check the Autograph-like (minus the bombast) "Chasing Shadows".

TOM DE LUCA - Down To The Wire (1986) + bonus remastered

Finally available with a superb sound, this "Down To The Wire" reissue includes three bonus tracks, two of them co-penned with the mighty Mike Slamer (Steelhouse Lane, Seventh Key) composed in the late '80s and much more Melodic Rock oriented.
A must have for any '80s American AOR / Melodic Rock fan.

01 - 57 Chevy
02 - Runaway Hearts
03 - Chasing Shadows
04 - Dirty Fingers
05 - Fire In The Night
06 - Down To The Wire
07 - Going The Distance
08 - Stone In Your Heart
09 - Betrayed
10 - Reunion
11 - Don't Need Your Kind Of Love (bonus track)
12 - Can't Stop Love Can't Stop Money (bonus track)
13 - Love Train (bonus track)

Tom De Luca - Vocals, Guitar
Derek O'Neil - Guitar
Mickey Feat - Bass, Backing Vocals
Jamie Lane - Drums
Danny Schogger - Keyboards
Taylor Rhodes - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Gary Barnacle - Sax
Martin Ditcham - Percussion

TOM DE LUCA Down To The Wire

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Updated March 29, 2017


Thursday, March 02, 2017

TERRY REID - The Driver (1991)

TERRY REID - The Driver (1991)
Requested by one of you...

The only reference I had from TERRY REID years ago was his contribution to the Days Of Thunder soundtrack. But this English gentleman began his career in the late Sixties, shared stages with the likes of Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and even Jimmy Page wanted Reid for his proposed new group, The New Yardbirds, which was to become Led Zeppelin.
Later, it was offered a slot as lead vocalist of Deep Purple, but again, Reid declined, decided to concentrate in his solo career. Wrong decision indeed...

Anyway, after some moderate success all over the Seventies, at the beginning of the '80s Reid located in the US and worked as session musician recording for Don Henley, Jackson Browne, UFO, and many more.
Then came the opportunity to record a song for the Days Of Thunder movie, a cover version of the Spencer Davis Group classic 'Gimme Some Lovin'. Due to the film & soundtrack success, Reid was offered to record a new solo album, 12 years after his last LP.

The result was this "The Driver", mostly produced by renowned producer Trevor Horn with a pristine, bright late '80s sound. Also some serious musicians were part of the sessions (check below).
It opens with the beautiful midtempo light AOR 'Fifth Of July', followed by my favorite 'There's Nothing Wrong' which seems recorded in 1986, and still send chills down my spine with each listen. What a killer tune.

Then there's the exquisite ballad 'Right To The End' composed and produced by talented Gerard McMann, charming and very atmospheric.
Another highlight is the closing song: 'The Driver', which is no-other than the original version (written by Reid with film composer Hans Zimmer) of 'Last Note Of Freedom' performed by David Coverdale on Days Of Thunder OST. Lyrics were changed (and title song) to conform what happens in the movie story.

TERRY REID - The Driver (1991) back

"The Driver" is a true piece of '80s (despite of being released in 1991) with that classy clinical production taking advantage of Reid's slightly raspy, unique smooth vocals.
This is taken from the original edition CD long time out of print. A couple years ago appeared an Original Album Series box featuring 5 Terry Reid career albums including "The Driver", but not remastered. And if you ask me (I've listened to it) this one sounds much better.

01 - Fifth Of July
02 - There's Nothing Wrong
03 - Right To The End
04 - The Whole Of The Moon
05 - Hand Of Dimes
06 - The Driver (Part I)
07 - If You Let Her
08 - Turn Around
09 - Gimme Some Lovin'
10 - Laugh At Life
11 - The Driver (Part II)

Terry Reid - vocals, guitar
Jackie Lomax - guitars
Brian Auger - keyboards, programming
Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles) - bass
Alan White (Yes) - drums
Stewart Copeland (The Police) - drums
Jack Lancaster - sax
Joe Walsh (The Eagles) - guest guitar solo
Howard Jones - keyboards, programming
Enya - backing vocals

TERRY REID - The Driver (1991)

Monday, February 27, 2017

JERRY G. HLUDZIK - Just Letting It All Go (2009)

JERRY G. HLUDZIK - Just Letting It All Go (2009)
Maybe the name JERRY G. HLUDZIK doesn't ring a bell to you, but the man has created some of the greatest AOR tunes ever wrote. He's one of the founder members of classic AOR outfit Dakota, and as well has been releasing solo albums from time to time via his own, small recording label.

This "Just Letting It All Go", his last solo album, offers many points in common with Dakota, but the overall style is classic American classic rock with a MidWestern AOR flavor.
"Hole In My Pocket" sounds a lot like Dakota, "On A Day Like Today" is like a Nelson song in the 21st century, and "One From The Heart" is a fantastic AOR ballad (and maybe the best song on offer here) much in the vein of Night Ranger's acoustic '80s songs.


"Just Letting It All Go" is a solid piece of music, very well homemade produced & engineered featuring some of finest songwriting heard in a long time. Jerry G. Hludzik is a talented craftsman, and this album oozes quality from every corner.
Thanx rockland for this one, I miss you my frined.

01 - Hole in my pocket
02 - What's in this kiss
03 - What if
04 - Try
05 - On a day like today
06 - One from the heart
07 - Letting it all go
08 - All for the better
09 - These 50 years
10 - Right where I belong
11 - Better man
12 - Wind on my whiskers

Jerry G Hludzik - vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin
Jon Lorrance (Dakota) - guitars
Lenny Mecca - bass
Eli Hludzik (Dakota) - drums
Tom Borthwick - keyboards
Joe Andes - keyboards
Wes Styles - keyboards
Joe Taco - persussion (11)
Bill Kelly - backing vocals (5)

JERRY G. HLUDZIK - Just Letting It All Go

Saturday, February 18, 2017

STONEWALL / WEEKEND - Stonewall / Weekend (1990)

STONEWALL / WEEKEND - Stonewall / Weekend (1990)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Based in Indianapolis, hard rock act STONEWALL / WEEKEND was founded in the late '80s by guitarists Jason Stonewall and Joe Joe Weekend, both veterans from the local Rock scene after sharing countless gigs as part of different bands all over the decade.
The project born from the ashes of Why On Earth, a metallic outfit where both musicians played together. Aiming for a more commercial sound at the time ruling the US Rock charts, they started to write songs and meanwhile completing the line-up.

The self-titled debut "Stonewall / Weekend" was released in 1990 by themselves via their own label named Air Records, and the band toured the area with significant success.
The CD mix melodic hard rock tunes with the typical catchiness from the late '80s / early '90s and a more edgy approach on some tracks.

There's a juicy combination of muscular guitar riffs, a punchy rhythm section and harmony vocals - all spiced with keyboard touches - on effective rockers such as 'Is It Any Wonder', 'Stand It', 'Another Night in Hollywood' or 'Nothin's Gonna Stand in Our Way'.
Midtempo "Where My Life Leads Me" even adds an AORish feeling, while Jason Stonewall takes the lead vocals on the pumping 'Gotta Have Your Love'.
On 'Waiting For The Axe To Fall, PT.2' Stonewall / Weekend showcase their US metal origins, though the verses are pretty melodic.

STONEWALL / WEEKEND - Stonewall / Weekend (1990) back

"Stonewall / Weekend" is some kind of obscure collectors piece, and has become a rare piece rarely seen at auction sites. The band released another album - not consistent as this one - before disbanding in 1995.
This is a cool slice of US melodic hard rock stuff with an edge, very well executed and produced.

01 - Stand It
02 - Nothin's Gonna Stand In Our Way
03 - Another Night In Hollywood
04 - Is It Any Wonder
05 - L.A.X.
06 - Heads Will Roll
07 - Your Love Excites Me
08 - Where My Life Leads Me
09 - Turkish Tram Conductor Blues
10 - Gotta Have Your Love
11 - You And Me
12 - Waiting For The Axe To Fall, PT.2

Jason Stonewall - guitar, lead vocals on 10, backing vocals
Joe Joe Weekend - bass, guitar, backing vocals
Dwayne Kendall - lead and backing vocals, guitar
Denny Melman - drums, backing vocals
Troy Kinnett - keyboards, saxophone
Robert Sisk - lead vocals on 9


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

SIREN - All Is Forgiven (1989)

SIREN - All Is Forgiven (1989) full
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

SIREN was a short-lived band signed by Mercury Records to be the next answer to Heart. Fronted by goddess Kristin Massey and with a leather/glammy image, the music was in fact commercial rock&pop with a melodic hard rock sonic treatment.
"All Is Forgiven" is their debut appeared in 1989 and it's a solid product from the era. I know few remember Siren simply because that year was over-flooded by excellent releases for the genre, and basically, Mercury lost interest to promote the release. A shame.

But there was a reason; soon after the release of "All Is Forgiven" a lawsuit arrived... other band legally owned the name Siren, so they were forced to change it to 'Red Siren'.
Hence, Mercury had to re-print the LP, CD and cassettes, and label executives don't like that... Siren / Red Siren were put in a black list losing all potential promotion.

But it's music what matters and Siren's "All Is Forgiven" is plenty of good moments.
Title track is a highlight and the more muscular cut on the record, 'Master Of The Land' is another fine uptempo which brings to mind Saraya, and 'One Good Lover' add acoustics to the mix alongside lots of synths, resulting very catchy.
'Stand Up' is perhaps the most poppy track on the record, but one of my favs. It has 'something' that makes it special.
Another of my picks is closer, midtempo ballad 'So Far Away', which obviously was crafted with a Heart / Robin Beck hit-chart styling, a very sweet number with delicate vocals by Kristin, lots of keys and a solid guitar solo.

SIREN - All Is Forgiven (1989) back

Siren's (or Red Siren) "All Is Forgiven" is a forgotten but very solid release from the US melodic hard rock 1989 scene.
Needless to say, this first CD pressing sporting the original 'Siren' name on the cover / artwork quickly became a collectors item.

01 - All Is Forgiven
02 - One Good Lover
03 - Don't Let Go
04 - Master Of The Land
05 - Stand Up
06 - Good Kid
07 - How Dare A Woman
08 - Rock-A-Bye
09 - Love Shut Down
10 - So Far Away

Kristin Massey - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
Robert Haas - guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Jon Brant - bass
Gregg Potter - drums

SIREN - All Is Forgiven (here)