Saturday, May 30, 2015

MAMMOTH - Mammoth (1989) HQ + bonus

MAMMOTH - Mammoth (1989) HQ + bonus
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

British MAMMOTH was a curious band, not only for their name chosen with a great sense of humour by the members due their voluminous body size, but also musically. Founded by vocalist Nicky Moore (Samson, Tiger) and ex-Gillan Band bassist John McCoy, the band released their self-titled debut in 1987, appeared in America in 1989.
Despite Moore / McCoy NWOBHM origins, the intention with "Mammoth" was not only appeal to hard rock related listeners, but also commercial rock&pop audiences. Not strangely the album was released by Jive, a recording label specialized in pop music.
According to the era, there's a strong Melodic Rock sound with AOR touches throughout the record, with a couple of tracks with radio-ready choruses.

Just listen the catchy opener "All The Days", the soaring "30 Pieces Of Silver", the quite AORish "Can't take the Hurt", or the funny single "Fatman". The latter was released with different mixes and maxi versions.
But Mammoth also blends melodic rock with some power-funk bass lines in "Bet You Wish" (including keys all over), while "Long Time Coming" fuse Moore's bluesy classic rock vocals with a rock&pop musical foundation resulting in an original sound. Anyway, sharp, rocking guitar riffs are ever present on all tracks.
Showing even more variation, Mammoth delivers a classic rock sounding track on "Home from the Storm", a mid-tempo with great atmospheres.

MAMMOTH - Mammoth (1989) HQ + bonus back cover

With a bright polished production, "Mammoth" is a pretty unknown and underrated album that really deserves a slot in your Melodic Rock collection. It isn't easy to find a HQ version on the blogosphere, so here it is.
As proof of Jive Records commercial faith in Mammoth, there were several singles / remixes from this album, some included here by me as bonuses.
Very enjoyable.

01 - All the Days
02 - Fatman
03 - Can't Take the Hurt
04 - 30 Pieces of Silver
05 - Dark Star
06 - Bet you Wish
07 - Long time Coming
08 - Bad Times
09 - Home from the Storm
10 - Fatman [Admiral Amour Mix] (bonus track)
11 - All The Days [alt. version] (bonus track)
12 - Can't Take The Hurt [alt. version] (bonus track)
13 - Fatman [12'' Mix] (bonus track)

Nicky Moore - vocals, keyboards
John McCoy - bass, guitar, synth guitars
Mac Baker - guitar
Vinnie Reed - drums, percussion
Bernie Torme (Gillian) - add. guitars
Rob Fisher - add. keyboards
Kenny Cox - add. guitars
Dave Lloyd, Mark Williamson - backing vocals

MAMMOTH (1989) HQ + bonus


Saturday, May 23, 2015

CRYSTAL - Collection (2000) + bonus tracks

CRYSTAL - Collection (2000) + bonus tracks
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

This one was requested by a reader but I was thinking to post it soon because CRYSTAL, a Californian outfit from the Bay Area was one of the bands that defined the indie US Melodic Rock / AOR sound of the mid-Eighties.
Crystal was active between 1982-95 and released three mini-LP, a format used by the unsigned bands of the era.
In 2000, AOR Heaven Records put out this "Collection", comprising material from all Crystal recordings.

Crystal's sound & style is pure pumping AOR, catchy Melodic Rock, blending pompous elements with infectious hooks. Think Prophet, ArcAngel, Hybrid Ice, Honeymoon Suite, BootCamp, Urgent, etc, and a touch of Survivor and Loverboy.
Tracks like the action movie ready "Always Be There", "Point of View", "One Life", the pompy "I'm a Dreamer" or the rocking "The One For You" are must haves for any fan of the genre.
Production, handled by John and Dino Elefante (Kansas, Halo, Mastedon) is punchy and... crystal clear.

CRYSTAL - Collection (2000) + bonus tracks - back cover

The last two songs mentioned are taken from Crystal's first 5-track miniLP: 'The One For You', and it's a shame this "Collection" does not include it in its entirety, because never were released on CD or digitally, and all are great.
Well, I have cleaned the vinyl-rip and all the 3 remaining tracks are featured here as bonus tracks.
You NEED this one in your collection.

01 - In the Night
02 - Point of View
03 - I'm a Dreamer
04 - Time Keeps Runnin'
05 - Always Be There
06 - Right Before My Eyes
07 - One Life
08 - The One for You
09 - All The Right Girls (bonus track)
10 - Piece Of My Heart (bonus track)
11 - Shadows In The Night (bonus track)

Andy Nossal - Lead Vocals, Bass
Grady McGrew - Guitars, Vocals
Bill Cornish - Keyboards, Vocals
Rick Williams - Drums, Vocals
John Elefante, Ron Gollner, Jeff Gunn - Backing Vocals
Raymond Cameron - Guitars, Vocals (on bonus)
Bill Anderson - Drums, Vocals (on bonus)
Produced by John and Dino Elefante

CRYSTAL Collection (2000) + bonus tracks

Friday, May 15, 2015

V.A. - Voices (1987) [Japanese CD reissue COOL-089]

V.A. - Voices (1987) [Japanese CD reissue COOL-089]
Re-posted as requested, impossible to find album

Christian (CCM) albums / artists sometimes overwhelm secular listeners with their religious lyrics. But many of them have released wonderful albums musically speaking, especially in the during the '80s and early '90s.
In the case of this Various Artists compilation called "Voices", the result is excellent.

"Voices" was a charity project that brought together the cream of the CCM AOR scene, performing songs specifically composed for this album released in 1987 via the legendary Christian label Myrrh and conducted & produced by Mike Mierau (Petra, Halo, Mastedon, Guardian, etc.).
Mierau's liner notes words:
"There are certain singers which voices are instantly recognizable. The minutes you hear them, you know they're one of your favorites. Here on this record are ten new songs by ten great singers. It's a collection of amazing talents."

The main focus of this album are, obviously, the voices. We have beautiful performances by the likes of the exquisite Tommy Funderburk, Bob Carlisle, John Elefante, Rick Riso, etc, all highly respected singers from the AOR / WestCoast golden age.
There's smooth arrangements, elegant instrumentation by renowned session musicians and well crafted songs. My favorite is John Elefante's track, penned with his bro Dino, and of course, the mighty Tommy Funderburk, one of the greatest AOR singers of all time, forever in my top five.

Fortunately reissued on CD for the first time some years ago by specialized Japanese label Cool Sounds (but largely out of print), "Voices" is a little gem, nowadays a true rarity.
Grab it while it's hot...

01 - Tata Vega - In Your Light
02 - Bob Carlisle - Heaven Is Waiting
03 - Bryan Duncan - Come as You Are
04 - Matthew Ward - Light of the World
05 - Howard McCrary - In Your Presence
06 - John Elefante & Kim Boyce - Helpless
07 - Rick Riso - Heaven Must Have Sent You
08 - Bob Carlisle - Teach Me How
09 - Benny Hester - Then You Call My Name
10 - Tommy Funderburk - Lift Up My Voice

Guitars: Michael Hodge, Terrance Elliot, Dino Elefante
Bass: John Pierce, Michael Hodg
Keyboards: J. Schreiner, James Raymond, John Elefante
Drums: Rick Thomson
Programming, Overdubs: Rick Thomson, Mike Mierau
Sax: David Hlebo, Warren Ham
Horn Section: The Martin Brothers
Orchestration: Bill Kilpatrick
Produced by Mike Mierau, Rick Thomson & John Elefante

V.A. Voices (1987) [Japanese CD reissue COOL-089]

Thursday, May 07, 2015

GIDEON'S ARMY - Grace (1990)

GIDEON'S ARMY - Grace (1990) rare
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

San Francisco Bay Area based rockers GIDEON'S ARMY was one of the first bands from the CCM movement starting its activities in the mid-Seventies. However their discographic debut had to wait until 1982, followed by the now cult classic Warriors Of Love appeared three years after.
This "Grace", Guideon's Army third album, was released in 1990 and as many Rock acts with a religious lyrical background, embraced the glossy Melodic Rock sound of the era.

Plenty of sharp guitar riffs, vintage & modern keyboards (including synths) and elaborated harmony vocals, all the songs in "Grace" bring to mind AOR-rock infused bands from America circa 1985-88.
The lead vocals are shared by bass player Mark Greeves and drummer Jerry Anderson, making you think about Night Ranger... well, there's something of them in "Grace".

GIDEON'S ARMY - Grace (1990) cd photo

Songs like "Knowing You", the really melodious "Lonely Lover", the atmospheric mid-tempo AOR of title track "Grace", the tuneful "Open Arms" (featuring female background vocals) and the retro-AOR of "With The One I Love" are among the best tracks.
There's nice ballads in "Christina" and "Sending You", the latter more up in tempo and featuring different guitarist / drummer as happens in a couple of tracks more.

GIDEON'S ARMY - Grace (1990) back

"Grace" was released through the small independent label Pan-Trax that did not lasted too much, so the CD went out of print soon and never was reissued. Original CD copies of "Grace" are some of the rarest and most sought after collectibles among AOR & CCM rock collectors, right now there's one at eBay for $185 !
This is a direct HQ rip from the original silver-pressed CD (there's bootlegs floating around) including full artwork.

01 - Knowing You
02 - Lonely Lover
03 - Christina
04 - Grace
05 - Make Up Your Mind
06 - Open Arms
07 - Tough Love
08 - With The One I Love
09 - Turn Up The Heat
10 - Sending You

Mark Greeves: bass, lead vocals
Jerry Anderson: drums, lead vocals
Doug Naruo: keyboards, vocals
Darin Warren: guitars
Brenda Perdue: vocals
Melody Lynn: vocals
Ron Davis: vocals
Dave Angeles: guitars on 7, 8, 10
Don Walker: drums on 7, 8, 10

GIDEON'S ARMY - Grace (1990) HQ