Requested by my friend Juba...
The group KING OF HEARTS born during Richard Marx's "Repeat Offender" recording sessions in 1988.
In fact, this is a duo comprising the talents of multi-platinum songwriter, guitarist, producer, engineer Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago, Michael Bolton) and Tommy 'the-angels-voice-like-no-other-on-the-face-of-earth' Funderburk, supported by a dream team: Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) on drums and vocals, George Hawkins (Kenny Loggins band) on bass, Bill Champlin (need to say!) on keyboards and vocals and more.
KING OF HEARTS has released 4 albums, all in Japan, Sweden and Germany only.
Particularly this one, their debut, recorded for a major US label in 1989 but rejected, never was published until 1999 by a japanese small company.
And what a gem it is.
Marketed erroneously as a westcoast album (although contains some tracks in this style and vibe), this is pure AOR guys.
Not the swirling-keyboard type, just pure American AOR. And rocks.
I can't highlight one track, all are really good. But 'Remember Me' ... OMG... super-duper first class AOR tune.
Tommy shines everywhere and Gaitsch guitar work is perfect (there's rumors that master Jay Graydon also play guitar, uncredited).
Attention Nigh Ranger fans, many of you do not know the fact that Kelly Keagy did lead vocals here on 'Smack Dab', 'Under The Gun' and 'Was It Good For You', and in 'Everyday' with Funderburk.
No fillers in sight, great song after great song, superb musicianship, terrific songwriting and top notch production.
This request was easy to fill because KING OF HEARTS is one of my favorites AOR acts ever. Yes, it's that GOOD.
High quality rip with scans.
A MUST HAVE, no self-respecting AOR fan should be without it.
01 - Working Man
02 - In So Many Words
03 - Don't Call My Name
04 - Smack Dab
05 - Remember When
06 - Hold On To Love
07 - Under The Gun
08 - Lovin' Arms
09 - Was It Good For You
10 - Everyday
11 - King Of Hearts
Tommy Funderburk: Vocals
Bruce Gaitsch: Guitars
Kelly Keagy: Drums, Vocals
George Hawkins: Bass, Vocals
CJ Vanston: Keyboards
Bill Champlin: Hammond B3, Vocals
Timothy Schmit and Randy Meisner: Backing Vocals
Produced by David Cole & Bruce Gaitsch
A MUST HAVE
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
What can I say about ICON?
One of my Top 25 bands of the '80s, and their fantastic 2nd album "Night Of The Crime", The Greatest Melodic Hard AOR Album Of All Time ever, my #1 favourite.
When the awesome lead vocalist Steve Clifford quit the band after the recording of NOTC, the group auditioned hundreds of potential singers looking for the right replacement.
Jerry Harrison was chosen, the new ICON then showcased for their label in an effort to persuade them that they were ready to continue. But the company drop the band.
Without a deal, ICON set about resurrecting their career.
Choosing a different musical approach, the group then took it upon themselves to self finance their third album.
Recorded in their native Arizona and produced by leader Dan Wexler, "More Perfect Union" was self released locally on cassette only, containing 10 tracks.
Its intention was introduce the new members and melodic style to the fans and re-establish them for hopes of being signed with a new label.
Thanks to the action of a rabid fan group, this 'lost' ICON album was properly released on CD for the first time in 1995, re-entitled "An Even More Perfect Union" including 7 previously unreleased tracks: 4 songs from the same recording sessions not included in the cassette, 2 songs written in preparation for their third major label release ("Right Between The Eyes" 1989) and a melodic rocking version of the classic christmas song "Little Drummer Boy" recorded around 1988.
"More Perfect Union" was the natural evolution of this kind of bands circa '86-'88: melodic rock / AOR, radio-friendly tunes, with great catchy melodies and polished sound. You may like ICON or not but you can't argue that they have done the same record twice.
Full of persistent keys courtesy of the new keyboardist Kevin Stroller, this album has a really good production for an indie, and the '95 remaster job from the old tapes by Steve Escallier (who originally produced and engineered the album with Wexler) is more than satisfactory.
I can't recommend one track, all are good, I am a sucker for this style and for this band.
"An Even More Perfect Union" was pressed in limited quantities, each one signed and numbered, and now fetches extremely high prices at auction sites.
There's also an unauthorized 2 on 1 CD (together with "Night Of The Crime") but due to the lack of physical CD space only features 12 tracks.
Recently (2009) a second reissue was released by a small label, also a fairly limited edition, and has become pretty scarce too.
This is a copy at maximum quality of the original '95 numbered press CD, including FULL artwork.
More than Highly Recommended; Mandatory Download
01 - In Your Eyes
02 - Local Heroes
03 - One Step Behind
04 - Walk Away
05 - Forever Young
06 - Lost Love
07 - Eyes Of The Prisoner
08 - Better Left Unsaid
09 - Left To be Alone
10 - Hold On
11 - Way Back To My Heart (prev. unreleased)
12 - Stranger Things (prev. unreleased)
13 - Strong Love (prev. unreleased)
14 - Second Hand People (prev. unreleased)
15 - Sweet Young Sinner (bonus track)
16 - Gold Bullets (bonus track)
17 - Little Drummer Boy (bonus track)
JERRY HARRISON: Vocals
DAN WEXLER: Guitars
TRACY WALLACH: Bass
PAT DIXON: Drums
KEVIN STROLLER: Digital & Analog Syntesizers
JOHN AQUILINO: Additional Guitars
A MUST HAVE ICON
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...
RTZ (Return To Zero) began as collaboration between ex - Boston members Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau after the recording of the classic "Orion The Hunter" (Goudreau's project) album, where Delp did some vocals as guest.
Some demos were done (mostly with "Orion..." members as back up band) but shelved.
Around '88 Delp contacted Goudreau to work together again and RTZ was officially formed.
They had a lot of material and Barry's studio available, then dozens of tracks were demoed.
RTZ signed a contract but the debut album (Return To Zero) was delayed until 1991. As group, RTZ only performed a national tour and then disbanded.
Many of the songs discarded from the 1989-90 sessions were packaged into the 1998 release "Lost".
By 2003, an italian label ask the duo to release their recent album "Delp & Goudreau" in europe, and Goudreau compiled more demos from the very early sessions of RTZ to make a double offering.
That's it "Lost And Found": the '80s recordings on one CD, plus "Delp & Goudreau".
I've never been a big fan of their self titled debut, but these 'old tapes' are pretty good classy mid-eighties AOR.
The first 4 tracks are the best, obviously the ones recorded circa 1985-6, good good stuff. Also 'Winners And Losers' has an eighties strong scent (reminds me FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS).
There's also some pleasant songs more 80-83 rocking oriented, and a couple from the late '80s sessions, being 'Power Of Love' the highlight.
As for the "Delp & Goudreau" disc, well, this album was relentlessly destroyed by the critics.
The truth is it ain't half bad, just not their finest moment. A 'personal' album, including a couple a good tracks, but mostly for BOSTON die-hard fans.
This collection of '80s tunes was reissued later in the U.S. as "Lost in America", but the european double pack has become very hard to find nowadays.
In my opinion, "Lost And Found" is a very nice slice of upbeat american rockin' AOR, and worth a place in your collection.
I've added a bonus; 'Dangerous', originally the japanese bonus track for the debut album '91.
"Lost and Found" :
01 - One Step Away
02 - Fool For Love
03 - Such A Fool
04 - Rise Above It All
05 - Social Disease
06 - I'm On A Roll
07 - Rock The Night
08 - Winners And Losers
09 - Power Of Love
10 - Show Me
11 - Better And Better
12 - Dangerous (bonus track)
"Delp & Goudreau" :
01 - What You Leave Behind
02 - Hands Of Time
03 - Let It Roll
04 - Out Of My Hands
05 - Keep On Runnin'
06 - Everyday
07 - I Need Your Love
08 - The Rhythm Won't Stop
09 - Reconciliation
10 - My One True Love
Brad Delp : Vocals
Barry Goudreau : Guitar
Brian Maes : Keyboards
Tim Archibald : Bass
David Stefanelli : Drums
... and many more
Lost and Found HERE
Dangerous (bonus track) HERE
Saturday, October 16, 2010
TYCOON... UNKNOWN AND GOOD
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Jan Parber: Vocals, Background Vocals, Keyboards
Kenny Lübcke: Vocals +
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
GOTTHARD - Dream Ballads
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Tommy Funderburk has been one of the most hired main / background singers since the early 80's ; Airplay, Boston, Stan Bush, The Cult, Tim Feehan, Richard Marx, Van Stephenson, John Waite, Whitesnake and more and more...
thanks Lostryder for the re-up