Friday, December 07, 2007


Howdy folks, more of those albums Eps & 7"s from those vaguely remembered names from the past who never quite made it from the bargain bin into your collection, who now command nosebleed prices and make you kick yourself on occasion when you remember seeing them cheap back in the day.
Up first, a treat for fans of East Coast early 80's US Metal. What we have here is "Out Of The Darkness", a great 1984 solo album by former VIRGIN STEELE six-stringer Jack Starr. As great a player as Starr was/is, the real incentives to get this one are the musicians who join Starr on this outing, namely Gary Bordenaro & Carl Canedy of THE RODS, Gary Driscoll of ELF, RAINBOW & STARCASTLE and RIOT vocalist Rhett Forester! A fantastic line up would mean nothing without songs of course, and the selection here is top-drawer. This is loud proud brash but catchy US Hard Rock from the golden era. Step right up!

JACK STARR - Out Of The Darkness (1984) USA

Some more Southern Rock for y'all now. This one comes courtesy of my friend in France, Luc, merci mon ami! This is the first solo album from DOC HOLLIDAY keyboard player Eddie Stone. Like his 2nd album, "Eddie Stone & Friends", which i posted here a while back, Eddie drafts in some big hitters from the Southern Rock community, to back him on this collection. Members & ex-members of GRINDERSWITCH, THE OUTLAWS, THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND, HYDRA, STILLWATER, CONFEDERATE RAILROAD, TISHAMINGO & THE GREGG ALLMAN BAND feature on the selections here, to name just a few. As you'd expect of performers of this calibre, the playing is outstanding, and Eddie's voice gives the whole thing a real sense of cohesion. It sounds like an old-fashioned vinyl album, with real ebb & flow, light & shade and good pacing. A must for Southern rockers everywhere.

EDDIE STONE - Right Tonight (1999) USA

Up next, the sole 1984 album by Long Island based Traditional Heavy Metal Power Trio, Rising Power. This is their "Power For The People" album on Ross Entertainment Records. Best remembered today for featuring future DREAM THEATER, O.S.I. & FATES WARNING drummer Mike Portnoy, fanatical DT completests have driven the price of this scarce album up to ridiculous heights. It's a rollicking set of Hard'n'Heavy tunes alright, with occasional more experimental parts, but for the most part they go for the throat without too much subtlety. I wonder what fans of DTs more progressive ouvre made of their top-dollar purchase?

RISING POWER - Power For The People (1984) USA

Next, by request, here's the sole release by Toronto quartet Solar Eagle. This is their self titled Mini Lp released in 1988 on their own Solar Eagle Records label. This is Metal Jim, but not as we know it, multi layered and downright odd vocal tracks give this one a trippy feel and a dreamy atmosphere unlike anyone else. The vocals will probably be the deciding factor for listeners, if you enjoy bizarre falsetto a la KING DIAMOND or John Cyriis of AGENT STEEL, then you'll find much to enjoy here. If not, best mosey on by buddy.

SOLAR EAGLE - Solar Eagle Mini LP (1988) Canada

Next, from 1985, we're happy to present the "Stranger In The Night" EP from Midlands based NWOBHM band, STAGEFRIGHT. Released on the S.T.N. label, this is one highly collectible slab o' wax, highly rated by those in the know, and comparable to the likes of MENDES PREY. Melodic, but ballsy with great vocals and memorable hooks, this is a keeper!

STAGEFRIGHT - Stranger In The Night EP (1985) UK

Staying with the NWOBHM next, we go waaay back to 1980 for the lone release from Slowtrain, the "Ronnie" 45 on Spirit Records. Sounds like they were influenced heavily by THIN LIZZY & WISHBONE ASH, as they go for the twin harmony leads quite a bit on the A-Side. The flip is more of a rocker, in a UFO style perhaps, nice stuff!

SLOWTRAIN - Ronnie 7" (1980) UK

Finally tonight, one of the best 7"ers of the NWOBHM era, the WW1 themed "Angel Of Mons" 45 by Shiva, on Heavy Metal Records. Released in 1982, this is expansive and imaginative stuff, which rocks hard, but has a sophistication unmatched by most on the HM roster. There's the RUSH influence in places, putting Shiva in the same kind of space as the likes of CHASAR & LIMELIGHT, but this was a band with their own identity. Awesome.

SHIVA - Angel Of Mons 7" (1982) UK

Right folks, this'll probably be my last update for a couple of weeks, as i've got some upcoming demands on my time which will preclude me from taking care of business here for a time. If i can, i'll get some more stuff up midweek, before my "sabbatical", so take care of yourselves in the meantime and i'll be "seeing" you all back here soon. Hokay?