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album from this brilliant Florida based band, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview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
THERE’S NO GETTING away from it, during the early 90s there were an enormous amount of hard rock bands that, although extremely talented, failed to connect with an audience. This was primarily due to the shifting sands of time and taste, with the media almost exclusively focussed on the sounds of Seattle, and, in particular, the emerging grunge movement. It was this obsession with a new trend that resulted in a number of perfectly serviceable groups being consciously sidelined. Saigon Kick was one such example. Formed in Florida during the late 80s, this storming four man unit, led by vocalist Matt Kramer and guitarist Jason Bieler, crafted a particularly potent brand of hard rock that relied as much on power pop as it did on heavy riffs. It was an interesting twist on traditional rock and much edgier, leading to valid comparisons with other similar groups such as Love/Hate, the Wildhearts, Redd Kross, Cheap Trick and Kings X. There was also a perceptible psychedelic tinge to the arrangements helping the band to rise above the standard competition by a considerable margin. Produced by Michael Wagener (Skid Row, Extreme, Ozzy Osbourne), and released on Atlantic records (via Michael Douglas’s Third Stone imprint), the record had been taped at a frantic pace in Los Angeles. Released in 1991 it sold well and quickly established the band as exciting contenders. The album contains a number of instantly catchy tracks, including ‘What You Say’, ‘Down By The Ocean’, ‘Love Of God’ and ‘Coming Home’. It was an impressive enough debut to warrant Atlantic records making a commitment to album number two.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, two bonus tracks, one of the best early 90s hard rock albums, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. NEW WORLD 2. WHAT YOU SAY 3. WHAT DO YOU DO 4. SUZY 5. COLORS 6. COMING HOME 7. LOVE OF GOD 8. DOWN BY THE OCEAN 9. ACID RAIN 10. MY LIFE 11. MONTH OF SUNDAYS 12. UGLY 13. COME TAKE ME NOW 14. I.C.U. BONUS TRACKS: 15. HEY HEY HEY 16. COLOURS (Accoustic)
THREE Y&T ALBUMS: 'EARTHSHAKER', 'BLACK TIGER' & 'MEAN STREAK'
WHEN Y&T, THE hard rockin’ San Francisco quartet, signed to A&M records in 1980, it signalled a golden era for the band, revealing a fan base in the UK, and Europe in general, that they were utterly unaware of. Their debut major label album, Earthshaker, was more successful in Europe than in their own country, building an audience that was hearing much in common with the NWOBHM and welcoming their hard edged sound as if they were homecoming heroes. The bond was further cemented when the band elected to record their Black Tiger album in the UK, and also attracted an impressive reaction when they toured, which included a special guest performance at the coveted Reading Festival.
It came as no surprise, then, to find that their next album continued the British connection, with the band securing respected studio wizard Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne) to produce Mean Streak, another molten slice of face melting hard rock in the finest Y&T tradition. Recorded in their native San Francisco, the record continued to enhance the band’s reputation as one of the most potent outfits of the era, delivering great songs and incredible performances. They refused to sweeten their sound or kowtow to ill informed suggestions, stated or implied, to become more accessible.
Produced with pin-point accuracy, the album (issued in 1983) resonates with explosive authority, harnessing razor sharp guitar riffs and impressive songs. Tracks such as ‘Midnight In Tokyo’, ‘Hang ‘Em High’, ‘Down And Dirty’ and the title track itself are all Y&T classics, allowing vocalist Dave Meniketti to ride the tiger with all his might.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, FULLY REMASTERED AUDIO, ONE BONUS TRACK. 16 PAGE FULL COLOUR BOOKLET, PRODUCED BY CHRIS TSANGARIDES (THIN LIZZY, JUDAS PRIEST), 4,000 WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM INCLUDING NEW INTERVIEW WITH DAVE MENIKETTI, ENHANCED ARTWORK AND RARE PHOTOS
TRACK LISTING: 1. MEAN STREAK 2. STRAIGHT THRU THE HEART 3. LONELY SIDE OF TOWN 4. MIDNIGHT IN TOKYO 5. BREAKING AWAY 6. HANG ‘EM HIGH 7. TAKE YOU TO THE LIMIT 8. SENTIMENTAL FOOL 9. DOWN AND DIRTY. BONUS TRACK:10. I’M NOT SORRY
Y&T’S PREVIOUS album Earthshaker had revitalised this highly respected San Francisco based quartet’s fortunes, appearing almost by stealth after years of what appeared to be complete inactivity. Signed to a new label and attracting fresh interest from various corners, Y&T quickly capitalised on their fortunes by moving their base of operation to the UK for the follow-up album Black Tiger. Almost unbeknownst to the band, the UK and Europe had earlier on embraced them as one of their own. It was an appreciation born out of a revived interest in hard rock, fuelled by the emergence of the NWOBHM.
Recorded in the Surrey countryside and produced by acclaimed British producer Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Coney Hatch, Malice) Black Tiger was a triumphant statement of intent, complimenting and, in many respects, eclipsing the achievement of the previous year’s Earthshaker album. Having established a solid template the album saw them looking for more melodic possibilities but not compromising their muscular style. It was a successful manoeuvre and one not lost on their burgeoning European fan base. In fact, during the recording sessions, the band embarked on a sold out UK and European tour that included two nights at London’s Marquee club and a high ranking support slot at that year’s Reading Festival.
Black Tiger, Issued in 1982, is now regarded as one of, if not the definitive Y&T album, showcasing a number of tracks that are regarded as classics, such as ‘Open Fire’, ‘My Way Or The Highway’, ‘Hell Or High Water’, and the title track itself. It also contains the epic ‘Forever’, another gold standard ballad in the classic Y&T canon.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, FULLY REMASTERED AUDIO, ONE BONUS TRACK. 16 PAGE FULL COLOUR BOOKLET, PRODUCED BY MAX NORMAN (OZZY OSBOUNE, ARMORED SAINT), 4,000 WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM INCLUDING NEW INTERVIEW WITH DAVE MENIKETTI, ENHANCED ARTWORK AND RARE PHOTOS
TRACK LISTING: 1. FROM THE MOON 2. OPEN FIRE 3. DON’T WANNA LOSE 4. HELL OR HIGH WATER 5. FOREVER 6. BLACK TIGER 7. BARROOM BOOGIE 8. MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY 9. WINDS OF CHANGE. BONUS TRACK: 10. SOMEBODY FOR ME
WHEN Y&T reappeared in 1981 and released Earthshaker most hard rock fans were shocked that the band were still a functioning unit. Having made a name for themselves in the late seventies with two fine, but obscure, albums released on the decidedly unhip London label, very little was then heard of them. But when Earthshaker appeared on the rather more happening A&M label, brandishing a streamlined name change from the cumbersome Yesterday And Today to the far more manageable Y&T, fans could not have been happier.
Released in 1981, Earthshaker stunned the hard rock world with its aggressive songs and production. It was a double whammy that breathed new life into the band’s profile, helping to re-establish them as real contenders after years spent hiding in the shadows on a label that offered little in the way of promotion or career advancement. In Europe, where the band had already enjoyed a cult following through imports of their previous two records, the news was embraced with open arms and word soon spread that the band were not only back but sounding bigger and better than ever.
Recorded in their native San Francisco, the album harnessed a new raw energy, allowing songs such as ‘Hungry For Rock’, ‘Dirty Girl’, ‘Squeeze’ and ‘Hurricane’ to explode like molotov cocktails, whilst the epic and lengthy album closer ‘I Believe In You’ showed that the band could write anthems equal to the best of the genre. It also showed just how masterful they had developed as musicians, especially Dave Meniketti’s extraordinary vocals. Honestly, we can’t recommend this album highly enough.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, FULLY REMASTERED AUDIO, 16 PAGE FULL COLOUR BOOKLET, 4,000 WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM INCLUDING NEW INTERVIEW WITH DAVE MENIKETTI, ENHANCED ARTWORK AND RARE PHOTOS
TRACK LISTING: 1. HUNGRY FOR ROCK 2. DIRTY GIRL 3. SHAKE IT LOOSE 4. SQUEEZE 5. RESCUE ME 6. YOUNG AND TOUGH 7. HURRICANE 8. LET ME GO 9. KNOCK YOU OUT 10. I BELIEVE IN YOU
“ALTHOUGH LIVERPOOL quartet Nutz never achieved the huge success afforded to a handful of their rivals they did, however, establish a reputation for one of the most talented and hardworking bands that occupied the mid seventies British hard rock scene. With a coveted deal with A&M Records and three well received studio albums under their belt, their last studio album ‘Hard Nutz’ had promised so much but delivered little in the way of commercial gain. It was a frustrating set of circumstances especially when you consider the quality of their records. Faced with a lack of progress their label, having seen them play gigs, suggested that they try to reverse this situation by issuing a live album – something that would show the world how great and exciting they really were and what we were all missing. It had worked for Kiss and Peter Frampton so why not for Nutz? Enlisting the Island Mobile unit, the band booked two shows at Nottingham’s legendary Boat Club venue taping what, as it turned out, would be the final Nutz album. True to form, the album is a red hot slice of explosive hard rock documenting this great, but underappreciated, band in full flight. With a fully comprehensive selection of tracks from the bands career including classics as ‘Seeing Is Believing’ and ‘Wallbanger’ the gloves are well and truly off. They also included two new songs ‘You Better Watch Out’ and ‘Can Be Loved’. It’s easy to see why the band is now regarded as one of the forerunners of the NWOBHM.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, FULLY REMASTERED SOUND, 16 PAGE FULL COLOUR BOOKLET, 3,500 WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM WITH NEW INTERVIEW AND ENHANCED ARTWORK.
TRACK LIST: 1. SEEING IS BELIEVING 2. LOSER 3. PUSHED AROUND 4. YOU BETTER WATCH OUT 5. R.S.D. 6. JOKE 7. CAN BE LOVED 8. WALLBANGER 9. KNIFE EDGE