Updated October 09 , 2015
Published by Camelblue on Friday, October 09, 2015
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...
Glass Tiger's singer ALAN FREW second solo album "Wonderland" arrived several years after his debut, six years exactly, in 2000. The previous years were dark ages for Alan's soft rock & poppy melodies, but here the man return with strong compositions.
"Wonderland" is perhaps musically more mature, reflective, and adds a touch of light West Coast AOR to the proceedings. You can hear this on the ethereal "That's Life" or "Everything Must Change", as example.
There's delicate melodious tunes in "Home", the title track or on the more classic rock oriented "I Could Never Lie To You" adorned with vintage organs, while "Colours Of Friends And Places" provides a poppy happiness.
I still remember finding opener "Open For A Friend" a bit insipid at first glance, but after repeated listens I discovered a wonderfully constructed song with a marvelous melody and a great vocal performance by Alan.
My favorite track, though, is "All I Ever Wanted", the cut which more brings to mind Glass Tiger's commercial AOR dynamics.
Alan Frew added to "Wonderland" 4 bonus tracks: two Glass Tiger hits (perhaps added for new listeners to remember him) and two cuts from his previous solo album.
Although Frew's first album Hold On recently featured here is regarded as his best solo, I enjoy "Wonderland" more because it's more varied and inspired - for the most part - in his '80s work with Glass Tiger.
An album that incredibly grows in you with repeated listening sessions.
01 - Open For A Friend
02 - Lipstick
03 - Home
04 - I Could Never Lie To You
05 - Mother
06 - Wonderland
07 - All I Ever Wanted
08 - Colors Of Friends And Places
09 - A Rose In My Book
10 - That's Life
11 - Everything Must Change
12 - Everybody Sing
13 - Someday (Glass Tiger)
14 - My Town (Glass Tiger)
15 - So Blind (Alan Frew '94)
16 - Falling At Your Feet (Alan Frew '94)
Alan Frew - vocals, guitars
Rick Tait - keyboards, percussion
Chris McNeil - drums
Steve Lucas - bass
Richard Evans - keyboards
Stuart Cameron, Kevin Breit, Neil Chapman, Tony Vanderburgh, Mike Francis - guitars
Lisa Dalbello, Michael Shotton - backing vocals
ALAN FREW (Glass Tiger) - Wonderland (2000)
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...
Canadian singer / songwriter ALAN FREW enjoyed worldwide success fronting Glass Tiger in the second half of the '80s, touring all over the world. When the band split at the beginning of the Nineties it was time for a solo career, and the first fruit was this "Hold On", recorded & released in 1994.
This is a pretty different affair than the guitar driven last Glass Tiger album, much more poppy with light AOR moments and some Hi-Tech in the Canadian style.
There was successful singles in the happy "Healing Hands" and the soft "So Blind". In fact, grand part of the record is pretty soft rock with a poppy, laid back feel.
"Hold On" was quite hard to find until the end of the past decade when it was reissued due fan's demand. It's a nice, gentle and relaxed album with cool melodies and pristine production.
Ripped at max quality including artwork, plus as bonus the remix version of "Healing Hands".
01 - You're The One
02 - Healing Hands
03 - It Always Feels The Same
04 - Hold On
05 - I am With You Tonight
06 - Learning To Fly
07 - So Blind
08 - Once Upon A Time
09 - Cloud
10 - If Only I Could Dream
11 - I Wonder Why
12 - Falling At Your Feet
13 - Healing Hands (Remix) [bonus track]
Alan Frew - lead & backing vocals, guitar
John Jones - bass, keyboards, guitars, backing vocals
Jim Cregan, Tony Vanderburgh, Al Connelly - guitars
Chistopher Garcia - bass
Steve Ferrone - drums
Mick Fleetwood - drums, percussion
Karen Hendrix, Lisa DalBello, Mickey Dolenz, Laura Harding - backing vocals
ALAN FREW Hold On [Canadian edition]
Re-posted as requested, not easy to find in good quality
Swedish superb vocalist Pete Sandberg is not a stranger to this blog as he has been featured as solo artist or as part of different bands, like this SNAKE CHARMER and their album "Smoke And Mirrors" (posted here in 2007!).
Put together by bass player Per Stadin (Silver Mountain) in 1991 including terrific drummer Anders Johansson (Yngwie, Stratovarius), guitarist Sven Cirnski (Bad Habit) and with Sandberg (Alien, Madison, Midnight Sun) as frontman, this Scandinavian super-group recorded their debut "Smoke And Mirrors" in Malmo, Sweden.
The song melodies are pretty simple, but awesomely arranged and performed. The music goes in the Scandi AOR vein mixed with traditional Melodic Hard Rock, compared with bands like Alien, Madison, Bad Habit, etc.
Just check the quality of "Runnin' On Empty" (very Alien), the rocking "Teaser, Pleaser", the elegant midtempo "Like an Arrow" or the terrific ballads "Middle of Nowhere" and "Alone Without You" (this one alone worth the entire disc).
SNAKE CHARMER is an underrated and pretty unknown Swedish project and this "Smoke And Mirrors" ranks among the best Melodic Rock / AOR created in Sweden during the '90s.
This is the Japanese Edition (no bonus track) ripped at max quality including artwork.
01. Worlds Apart
02. Runnin' On Empty
03. Middle of Nowhere
04. Heart on Hold
05. Highway of Love
06. Teaser, Pleaser
07. Like an Arrow
08. Stone Cold
09. Alone Without You
10. Eleanor Rigby
Pete Sandberg - lead & backing vocals
Sven Cirnski - guitars
Per Stadin - bass
Anders Johansson - drums
Jens Johansson (Yngwie, Dio) - keyboards
Sonny Larsson (XT) - backing vocals
SNAKE CHARMER Smoke And Mirrors [Japan edition]
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and don't forget to check out ARCHIVES:
ARCHIVES PART 9
ARCHIVES PART 10
ARCHIVES PART 11
ARCHIVES PART 12
ARCHIVES PART 13
ARCHIVES PART 14
ARCHIVES PART 15
ARCHIVES PART 16
take a deep look at the end of each part...
CHRIS SUTTON may be a not well known name as solo artist, but this Scottish gentleman - working as multi-purpose musician hired by Polydor and other labels - has wrote and arranged music for major artists such as Starship ('Knee Deep in the Hoopla'), Paul McCartney and George Michael among others.
Primarily, at the mid-Eighties, Polydor UK intended to launch Sutton as solo artist together with Brian Spence and alike to capitalize the radio friendly melodic rock / rock&pop so 'in vogue' at the time.
Recorded in L.A., on his self-titled debut appeared in 1986 Sutton had the opportunity to show his own songs, arranged by masters Robbie Buchanan & Peter Wolf, a bunch of commercial and smooth lite AOR poppy tunes with the typical '80s atmosphere.
Chris Sutton's style is not far from the aforementioned Spence or Jack Wagner, with nuances of several other British / American artists as well. We have a sweet cover of Russ Ballard's classic "Voices", a nice ballad co-penned by Sutton with Starship's collaborator Martin Page (incorrectly credited in the booklet as 'Paige'), the lovely '80s-soundtrack-like "Don't Push Your Love", and a mix of up/midtempo tracks with different degrees of quality.
"Chris Sutton" is a very enjoyable '80s album with nice melodies, really good session musicians (genius Dann Huff plays guitar here), and a polished sound thanks to platinum awarded producer Dennis Lambert (Player, Peter Beckett and countless '80s soundtracks via TuneWorks Inc.).
This rare CD edition includes as bonus the track "The Money Ain't Worth It", originally featured as B-Side of the single "Prince Of Justice" (which extended version 'Justice Mix 7:21' I have been looking for years).
There's copies of this album floating around the web featuring many noises. This a pristine CD-rip made by my friend Alan (thanx mate!).
01 - Trouble
02 - Tell It Like It Is
03 - Prince Of Justice
04 - Voices
05 - (You Just Can't) Tear It From A Heart
06 - Don't Get Me Wrong
07 - You Worry Me
08 - Know It All
09 - That One Love Feeling
10 - Don't Push Your Love
11 - The Money Ain't Worth It [CD only bonus track]
Chris Sutton - Lead & Backing Vocals
Peter Wolf - Keys, Bass, Guitar, Programming
Dann Huff - Guitar
Neil Stubenhaus, Alphonso Johnson - Bass
Mike Baird, Chester Thompson - Drums
Larry Williams - Sax
Robbie Buchanan - Arranger
Gabe Katona - Keyboards
Dennis Lambert - Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Producer
CHRIS SUTTON 1986 HQ
A curious album this one. Not only for its rarity (as far I know only released in Japan) but for the mixture of styles, yet turning out a consistent and homogeneous piece.
LEE Z is the brainchild of German multi-instrumentalist Thomas Zink, and has been active since 1988 with several line-up changes though. "Time Line" is the band's 2nd album appeared in 1995 (but I think it was recorded in the early '90s), and as said, featuring a captivating mix of Melodic Rock, Hard Rock, AOR and some light progressive arrangements here and there.
But their prog pedigree isn't in the classical vein, the approach is more melodic and personal, with emphasis into the songs structures rather than going all over the place with jam sessions and solos, where the staccato riffs and key changes are encompassed with the tune and the use of keyboard layers add color and substance.
Don't be fooled by the slightly neoclassical style of opener "Up To The Sky". This is the only track in this vein here, and a good one by the way. The double drum attack is in your face, the guitars trepidating and the swirling keys are all over. Think classic '80s Yngwie. Then "Way Of Live" is a syncopated and melodic midtempo rocker in the Queensryche style circa 'Rage For Order'.
The orchestral keyboard intro of "Fancy Dress Ball" turns into a climatic European melodic hard rocker plenty of key changes and big keyboards. "Hands Of Touch" is a moody slow paced AOR track with a nice, catchy refrain. Great vocal arrangement too.
The programmed drums of "Try To Find My Way" don't bother at all, as this is a very commercial 'let's sing together' tune with clean guitars that sounds very 'British'.
"Hold On" is a keyboard driven melodic rock, with lots, lots of keys. Maybe the chorus is a bit weak, but the pace of the track rocks. Now the band offers, again, something different. "Getting Older" is an instrumental featuring a really good guitar work.
Are you waiting for a ballad? "Sad Paradise" arrives... but not your typical one. Starts with a long, climatic keyboard/vocal passage and a 8/8 drum pattern (really uncommon) and then explodes into a passionate legitimate power ballad with a guitar solo inspired by Gary Moore.
"Don't Wanna Loose My Mind" returns to the melodic rock territory. The catchy, hooky chorus is the 'leitmotiv' of this track. But the band, again, is far to wrote-by-numbers. The middle section features a pace change that reminds me the group Fates Warning, and then returns to the chorus. This kind of arrangements is not easy to do warmly, but on Lee Z's hands this comes flawlessly.
Final track "One Night Love Affair" is another winner. A very British AOR midtempo similar to SHY featuring a superb guitar solo and keyboards.
"Time Line" is a great, pretty unknown album, much better than you can appreciate at first listen. It's clever, varied, well written. You have first rate musicianship, original arrangements and a slick production its indie origin.
Try Lee Z. Try something different. Japan only and out of print.
01 - Up To The Sky
02 - Way Of Live
03 - Fancy Dress Ball
04 - Hands Of Touch
05 - Try To Find My Way
06 - Hold On
07 - Getting Older
08 - Sad Paradise
09 - Don't Wanna Loose My Mind
10 - One Night Love Affair
Peter Pauliks: Vocals
Thomas Zink: Guitars, Keyboards, Synths, Piano
Matthias 'Rethi' Rethmann: Bass, Programming
Andreas Guth: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Gerald Voss: Drums
LEE Z - Time Line