Tuesday, October 25, 2016

EARL VALENTINE - Night Blindness (1987)

EARL VALENTINE - Night Blindness (1987) front
Today let's take a listen to this obscure yet quite awesome private LP.  Established in Stamford, Connecticut, EARL VALENTINE was founded by Earl M. Valentine at the end of the Seventies with the group releasing their debut in 1980, a really nice Pomp-rock effort.
Earl Valentine (the band) continued active touring the East Coast and after several line-up changes over the years the band started the recording of this "Night Blindness" in 1986.

With another CT native producing, engineering & mixing - the then young Earl Cohen now famous for his work with Lady Gaga - "Night Blindness" was released in 1987 via EMV Records (Earl M. Valentine own label).
Since the first bits of opener "These Kids Yesterday / These Kids Today" you can tell EARL VALENTINE not only showcases an impressive musicianship but also a quite original sound.
This is melodic hard rock with a clear American vibe, but Earl & Co. inject a wonderful Pomp AOR dose to the proceedings.

There's some Beau Coup on "Rock And Roll Star", some Bryan Hughes Group "You're The One I'm Dreaming Of" or some Brian McDonald in "Can't Keep A Good Man Down", but overall, EARL VALENTINE remind me of Giuffria.
The strong use of keyboards, that 'harmonic' guitar and Earl's vocal timbre reminiscent of David Glen Eisley makes the band and this album very Giuffria-esque. Just listen "Looking Out My Window"...

Earl Valentine released a final album in 1990 but more Adult Contemporary oriented, however there's various demos / unreleased tracks in an awesome AOR style that perhaps I will present here someday.

EARL VALENTINE - Night Blindness (1987)

A very rare '80s private press, EARL VALENTINE's "Night Blindness" is an AOR collectors piece.
There's a poor sounding file floating the web obviously copied from cassette, but this is a pretty good vinyl-LP rip cleaned / restored by me.
Rarities not always guarantee quality, but this is a little unknown gem that turns better and better with each listen.
You'll love it.

01 - These Kids Yesterday / These Kids Today
02 - Rock And Roll Star
03 - You're The One I'm Dreaming Of
04 - See The Man He's On The Run Again
05 - Night Blindness
06 - Looking Out My Window
07 - Stop
08 - Can't Keep A Good Man Down
09 - Power Surge

EARL VALENTINE - Night Blindness

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

PUSH (Denmark) - On The Run [Japanese Edition +2] (2000)

PUSH (Denmark) - On The Run [Japanese Edition +2] (2000) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Formed during the mid-Nineties in Copenhagen, Denmark, and cooking an '80s melodic hard rock recipe when all were opting for alternative, dreary grunge sounds, that decade PUSH was one of best exponents from the genre.
Fronted by vocalist and songwriter Martie Peters the aim was to bring back the good 'ol days of feeling-good rock ‘n roll. And Push succeeded.

The band toured all over Europe, and after two solid albums Push recorded this "On The Run" at the end of '99, to me, their best album. Here the band mix their more hard rockin' approach from the previous albums with a strong dose of melody.
'Waitin' In Line' should be one of the best melodic hard rock tunes appeared in the '90s, there's a happy urgency on the title track, the punchy 'Too Late' is one of my favorites, and 'Believe In Love' with its soaring chorus is another winner.

Push sound & style always has been compared with White Lion, and it's true mostly due to Martie Peters' vocal tone very similar to Mike Tramp and their subtle Danish accents.
It's no secret that Tramp has been a big influence as well as a friend to Peters. In fact, Peters even contributed background vocals on the 'Remembering White Lion' album.

But "On The Run" has its own identity, and is plenty of highly enjoyable songs.
This Japanese Edition features not one but two bonus tracks; the extremely melodic 'Just A Man' and the more hard rocking, guitar driven 'Black Candles'.

PUSH (Denmark) - On The Run [Japanese Edition +2] (2000) back

This one was that kind of records that put a smile on everyone's melodic hard rock faces again in an era when people were claiming for fun rock 'n roll again. Push could've been huge if this album would have been released twelve years earlier.
It's catchy, melodic and really well produced. And Rocks.

01 - On The Run
02 - Waitin' In Line
03 - Too Late
04 - Broken Down
05 - One Reason
06 - Believe In Love
07 - Jokerman
08 - Changes
09 - Never Too Loud
10 - Better Late Than Never
11 - Miracles
12 - Just A Man (Japan Bonus Track)
13 - Black Candles (Japan Bonus Track)

Martie Peters: vocals, acoustic guitar
Kasper Sogreen: bass
Martin DaRic: guitars
Tommy Adler: drums, percussion
Martin Slott: additional guitars
Morten Plenge: additional drums
Stevi Tee: backing vocals
Anthony Lledo: strings, synthesizers

PUSH - On The Run [Japanese Edition +2] (2000)

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES - Aces (1983) / Orange (1982-2001)

JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES - Aces (1983) front
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

"Aces", the only official LP by JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES is a delicious album plenty of ditty melodic tunes quite unknown by the Melodic Rock fans out there.
Koslen was part of the original Michael Stanley Band and later formed another interesting group named Breathless, releasing two strong albums which unfortunately went unnoticed. The band broke-up in 1981 and Koslen decided to create his own band, an take the total control song-wise / musically.

Koslen assembled a band - The Heroes - featuring very good musicians including future Michael Stanley Band guitarist Danny Powers, and keyboardist Dennis Lewin who later would create the cult AOR band Beau Coup.
Koslen & The Heroes taped a bunch of songs for a debut release. But in the early '80s ain't was easy to get a record contract in the overcrowded US scene, and the recorded songs were shelved.
All this material was released in 2001 by Koslen himself under the title 'Orange' (featured here as bonus).

JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES Orange (1982-2001) back

But the point of interest here is "Aces", the album recorded in 1983 by Jonah Koslen & The Heroes after a deal with the small indie label Ransom.
There was a slightly line-up change but what remained intact was Koslen's penchant for instant, short melodic songs with the poppy, light AOR / FM Radio oriented sound so typical from the first half of the '80s.

JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES - Aces (1983) back

There's nothing revolutionary here, just fun, melodic tunes ready for the Summer.
None of the two Jonah Koslen & The Heroes albums were released on CD, so this is a vinyl-rip with audio restored by me.

Aces (1983)
01 - Say I'm The One
02 - Wanted
03 - Try Baby Try
04 - Aces
05 - Sundown
06 - Lost Without Her Love
07 - Do It All Again
08 - Worthy Of Your Love
09 - No Way To Know

Jonah Koslen - vocals, guitars
Dennis Lewin - keyboards
Bill March - bass, backing vocals
Don Krueger - drums

Orange (recorded 1982 / released 2001)
01 - Hunting The Dragon
02 - Dreaming My Life Away
03 - Here Comes The Hurt
04 - Here In My Baby's Arms
05 - Radio Heart
06 - Love Made The Difference
07 - Love You For Who You Are
08 - Working The Night Shift
09 - Do It All Again
10 - Face The Morning
11 - Dr. Rock (bonus track)

Jonah Koslen - lead vocals, guitar
Danny Powers - lead guitar, vocals
Eddie Pecchio - bass, vocals
Dennis Lewin - keyboards, vocals
Don Krueger - drums, vocals
Jennifer Lee - additional vocals

JONAH KOSLEN & THE HEROES - Aces (1983) / Orange (1982-2001)