Tuesday, June 27, 2017

21 SUMMERS - 21 Summers [reissue original mix +3 bonus]

21 SUMMERS - 21 Summers [reissue original mix +3 bonus]
Requested in "REQUEST & FILL CORNER" section...

Chicago based 21 SUMMERS was a curious band for sure. Perhaps not for their music - a mix of melodic rock / power pop and AORish new wave - but for being the world's first 'video band'.
21 Summers was created by guitarist & composer Reid Brody who in the mid-80s worked at a post-production video studio in Chicago. Brody thought at the time that video-clips and MTV were the future in music industry, and he founded 21 Summers with this idea in mind.

Indeed, still unsigned and never having played live, 21 Summers put together a five-song video demo - not just 4-track tape like all bands - highly professionally made including computer effects, a must for the era. So Brody, instead of distributing an audio-cassette tape to all record companies, armed with his videos, went directly to MTV.
The band was selected for the MTV's "Basement Tapes" competition where new unsigned bands presented a video for a 'video battle'. Winner would get a record contract with Elektra and music equipment.

21 Summers qualified for the finals, but didn't won. However, a record label from Denmark 'MEGA Records' were very interested in the band and they secured the release of the self-titled LP "21 Summers" in Europe.
But the label wanted a more 'punchy' sound so the album was remixed and the guitar solos - performed by a soon to be famous player (more on this below) - were put higher in dynamics.

Anyway, this "21 Summers" featured here is the original 1985 mix, finally made available at the band's website some time ago. This is a little more 'sweet' than the Danish 1986 (LP only) release, delivering a strong new wave feel that many American bands were experimenting with in the mid-Eighties.
In one way or another, "21 Summers" never did much for me... it's a cool album with some good songs, nothing spectacular.

This "21 Summers original mix", apart from the different cover art, includes 3 tracks not present in the 1986 Danish LP: the poppy 'Let It Be Linda', and the dance mix / extended versions of 'Come Closer' and 'I Am the One', two of the best songs on the album.

21 Summers were an unlucky combo in all aspects. Reid Brody also designed an innovative guitar for the era: the 'dual mode guitar', consisting of two opposite necks (one 6-string, the other 12-string) at either end of the guitar body with a belt pivot to spin the instrument and change the neck. This created a great visual effect.
The guitar is pictured on the album cover (click on it for bigger size).

In 1982 Brody presented his double-guitar to Dean Guitars for a possible signature model, but it was rejected under the statement 'your guitar is a carnival item!'
Few months later on MTV in the famous video for the song 'Legs', ZZ Top was playing spinning guitars much like Brody's. Guess who made that guitars for ZZ Top... yes, Dean Guitars.

spin guitar

Even more, guess who was the soon-to-be-famous guitar solo's player on "21 Summers"? A guy credited in the LP under the name Mike Batio.
Yes, the guitar shredder later known as Michael Angelo (Batio) and famous for his... double neck guitar.
Brody's best idea was stolen by various, and he never received the credits despite of patenting his spin guitar. And regarding the videos predating the LP / cassettes / CD in the future, he was not overly wrong. This idea was discussed by various record companies after MTV exploded.
But they had a problem: portability. VCR's were too much heavy!
Rare


01 - I Am the One
02 - Little Girl
03 - Linger
04 - Come Closer
05 - I Am Missing Elaine
06 - Let It Be Linda [extra track]
07 - Walk Away
08 - Tumbling Down
09 - Once in a Lifetime
10 - Dream
11 - We All Get What We Want in Time
12 - Come Closer (Dance Mix) [extra track]
13 - I Am the One (Dance Mix) [extra track]

Kevin Friend - vocals
Reid Brody - guitar
Justin Niebank - bass, keyboards
Haim Brody - drums
Mike Batio - guitar solos




21 SUMMERS : 21 Summers [reissue original mix +3 bonus]
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

REQUEST & FILL CORNER 21

Request & Fill Corner PART 21

From now, all request & fills goes in this post Comments.
If you need an album or a single track, request it here, if you have it, be kind with other readers, upload the file and post the link here as well.
Access to this page will be placed at the right column ------>
(the "CLICK HERE" neon sign)
It will be opened in a new window.

Check this section regularly.
You'll find many albums uploaded by readers, not present on the main blog ...

Help each other people!


and don't forget to check out ARCHIVES:



ARCHIVES PART 17

ARCHIVES PART 18

ARCHIVES PART 19

ARCHIVES PART 20



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993)

DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993) front
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

This Austin, TX band DOUBLETAKE one and only rare album "So Many Roads" (private release) has fetched ridiculous prices at auction sites in the past. I have mixed feelings about this one. Sometimes gets me bored, sometimes I enjoy most the tracks.
They sound like a mix between FIREHOUSE, WORRALL and TALL STORIES to give you an idea, but not so 'commercial'.

The good thing about this Doubletake album is the interesting song structure based on melodic rock of course, but not the typically that you expect.
"Living In A Black And White Movie" has an articulated bridge sounding dangerously grunge, however it's very melodic and the song works.
But "Julia" is a great tune, one of the highlights here, highly melodic with tight vocal harmonies and strong guitar parts. A very, very good song. "People" is better than you might think at first listen. Acoustically layered, sounds a lot like NELSON. Good one.

"Mistake" is a simple rocker but skillfully arranged, again, different from the usual in this genre. Title track "So Many Roads" is a slow-motion tune with very nice guitar solos and a sax part that fits the tune perfectly, complementing the 6 strings. I like this one, to listen with a bottle of bourbon at hand.
With a very good and accurate production for an indie, the band took almost a year to record this disc, and everything sounds polished, well mixed and mastered as well.

DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993) back

"So Many Roads" was re-issued not so long ago, but ironically the transfer sounds flat compared to the original press by BillPaso Records.
This is a CD-rip from the original 1993 release (not 1997 incorrectly announced in the reissue), including artwork.
Rare.


01 - Intro
02 - Living In A Black And White Movie
03 - She's Got The Love
04 - Julia
05 - People
06 - She's Hopin'
07 - The Call
08 - Mistake
09 - I Can't See Tomorrow
10 - Night Games
11 - Don't Wanna Dance Alone
12 - So Many Roads

Brett Axelson - Lead vocals, bkg vocals, guitar
Mark Russell - Guitars, keyboards, bkg vocals
Brent Samperi - Bass, percussion, bkg vocals
Paul Schulz - Drums, percussion, bkg vocals
guest musicians:
Joe Morales - sax on 'So Many Roads'
Chip Bolan - keyboards
Theresa Tyll - girl on phone
John Viehweg - percussion, bkg vocals




DOUBLETAKE - So Many Roads (1993)
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

MICHAEL O'BRIEN - It's About Time! (2001)

MICHAEL O'BRIEN  It's About Time! (2001)
Requested in "Request & Fill Corner" section...

Michael O'Brien had his moment at the end of the '80s when he sign a deal with a major label subsidiary to release his first solo album. 
The self-titled debut was a great solid AOR cd with killer tunes, being one of the ballads a minor hit.
At this point I should clarify that this Michael O'Brien is not the Christian artist with the same name.
He's overly often confused because the CCM singer also released his debut in 1995 self-titled, that's why 'our' O'Brien debut is also known as 'Oceana' (the subsidiary label name) to avoid misunderstandings.

The truth is that 'our' O'Brien disappeared as main artist from the face of Earth during the Nineties.
Seems Michael has concentrated his efforts as booking agent, songwriter & recording engineer in his own recording facility, and meanwhile tracking down on tape his music.

In 2001, after 11 years since his debut, "It's About Time!" was published via a very small indie label. The rockin' AOR is gone, this is a very mellow Adult Contemporary disc, mostly a ballad album.
"Change Your World", "I Never Let You Go" and "Thank God For You" are gentle AORish tunes with very nice guitars (acoustic and electric) and subtle keyboards. Think Nelson's 2nd album.
"The Angel For You", "So Far Away", "Why" are extremely soft ballads, really really light. On "Sacred Town" Michael goes for the acoustic style, while "Still On My Mind" is very poppy.
The remake of the Beatles' classic "Let It Be" is surprisingly good, isn't a song easy to cover successfully.

MICHAEL O'BRIEN  It's About Time! (2001)

"It's About Time!" is an album light as a goose neck feather, very calm and personal. Even the production is tiny (not thin) on purpose, giving to all instruments the necessary room to be clearly heard.
A real 'personal' recording: all songs & tracks performed, written (minus 1), produced, engineered & mixed by Michael O'Brien.
Some songs are simply beautiful.
As most indies out there, this is an extremely rare, out of print album.
Thanx to my friend totalaor for this one!


01 - Change Your World
02 - I Never Let You Go
03 - The Angel For You
04 - Let It Be
05 - With You
06 - So Far Away
07 - Still On My Mind
08 - Why
09 - Sacred Town
10 - Thank God For You

Michael O'Brien : Vocals, All instruments


MICHAEL O'BRIEN - It's About Time
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