WHEN IT COMES to capturing the imagination and interest of progressive rock fans then Max Webster must surely be one of the successful. Once you get your head around the fact that they weren’t actually named after a real person, so no one in the band was actually called Max Webster, then suddenly all the weirdness becomes acceptable and endearing. It’s amazing to think that at one point the band actually grazed the UK singles chart and appeared on Top Of The Pops, the bastion of British light entertainment.
This was Max Webster’s fourth album, their most commercially palatable album by a country mile, and it’s one that secured them not only a Platinum record in Canada, with three hit singles, but also opened up the international market when they supported Rush on their 1979 ‘Hemispheres’ European tour. The album, in keeping with their quirky unconventional approach, was helmed not by a record producer who was a TV advertising executive and jingle writer. It was actually a smart move as the record not only celebrated their progressive rock roots but also showcased a determined ambition to widen their appeal to a broader market.
Recorded in their native Canada, at Phase One Studios, Ontario, the album contains a number of key tracks; including ‘Let Go The Line’, ‘Night Flights’ and the title track. Best of all though is ‘Paradise Skies’, a triumphant and hugely captivating composition that nearly, but not quite, secured them an international hit. It’s also a record that captured some of band leader Kim Mitchell’s most fluent and impressive guitar solos.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet – 4,000 word essay, enhanced artwork with and interview quotes.
TRACK LISTING: 1. PARADISE SKIES 2. CHARMONIUM 3. NIGHT FLIGHTS 4. SUN VOICES 5. MOON VOICES 6. A MILLION VACATIONS 7. LOOK OUT 8. LET GO THE LINE 9. RASCAL HOUDI 10. RESEARCH (AT BEACH RESORTS)
THERE ARE TIMES here at Rock Candy HQ when our jaws hit the deck and much scratching of heads ensues. This was exactly what happened when we reacquainted ourselves with The Scream’s solitary album, a record that flew under the radar when it was first released, but has subsequently become one of the most respected and revered releases from the early 90’s. It represented a high point for blistering blues-based hard rock. But as we know, grunge engulfed them and others but at least they didn’t go down without a fight.
‘Let It Scream’ was recorded in LA. It was the product of an experienced line up that featured former members of Racer X and Americade, fronted by former Angora singer John Corabi. The band attracted the interest of a few labels and eventually signed with the newly-formed Hollywood label (funded by Disney). Produced by industry legend Eddie Kramer (Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Fastway) and originally issued in 1991, the album is a riot of riffs and thrills, with Corabi surrounded by the sort of thunderous mayhem that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Aerosmith, Cinderella or Skid Row record.
Although the album failed to sell well it did turn heads, not least of all Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe who, the very day that Vince Neil had left the band, placed a fateful call to Corabi encouraging him to audition as his replacement. Not unexpectedly he accepted the offer, leaving behind an impressive legacy before moving on to other projects, and eventually joining the Dead Daisies. SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet – 4,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with and new interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. OUTLAW 2. I BELIEVE IN ME 3. MAN IN THE MOON 4. FATHER, MOTHER, SON 5. GIVE IT UP 6. NEVER LOVED HER ANYWAY 7. TELL ME WHY 8. LOVES GOT A HOLD ON ME 9. I DON’T CARE 10. EVERY INCH A WOMAN 11. YOU ARE ALL I NEED 12. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN 13. YOUNG AND DUMB BONUS TRACKS (LIVE 1992) 14. OUTLAW 15. GIVE IT UP 16. I BELIEVE IN ME 17. FATHER, MOTHER, SON 18. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN 19. LICK AND A PROMISE
AS HIGHLY RATED collectibles go the Alpha Centauri album has to be one of the most coveted records of all time. It’s an album that spent years lurking in the shadows, heard by few but lauded quite rightly as a masterpiece of 70s rock, embroidered with the all the moves and grooves of the great headlining acts of the day. Compared favourably to such heavy hitters as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Styx, Angel and Head East, the band’s style was a formidable blast of pompous energy but not, it must be said, a carbon copy or pastiche. This was a unit that knew how to play and also how to write serious material.
Originally thought to have originated from Canada, it came as something of a surprise to eventually find out that they were formed and mainly based in Colorado, but had moved to Winnipeg for a while to expand their horizons and record an album. Represented by an expat British manager, they planned to issue the record for promotion (it’s thought that 300 copies were pressed at the time) using it to attract major label interest. However, despite concerted efforts and a professionally filmed half hour live-in-concert appearance for Canadian TV, it all failed to achieve the desired attention.
Issued in 1977, on the band’s own Salt Records label, the album is a masterclass in heavy pomp rock, showcasing a band who could not only write catchy melodies but also imbue them with the sort of stunning arrangements normally associated with far more successful groups. Tracks such as ‘Hard Life’, ‘Love Is A Curse’ and ‘One Night At A Time’ benefit enormously from stellar instrumental dog fights. In particular, the guitar playing of Jess Redmon is off the chart, drawing accurate comparisons to Ritchie Blackmore and Tommy Bolin.
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Fully Remastered Audio, 16 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new band interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. HARD LIFE 2. ONE NIGHT AT A TIME 3. I’M A REBEL 4. EARTH IN MOTION 5. LOVE IS A CURSE 6. YOU SHOT ME DOWN 7. LOVE ONLY YOU 8. MAKE IT AT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
“THERE IS NO question that in 1986 Europe, almost out of nowhere, became undoubtedly the biggest hard rock band on the planet. Their all-conquering hit single ‘The Final Countdown’ shot the band not only to the top of the charts worldwide but also earned them a place in the hard rock pantheon as one of the few groups who managed to appeal to not only rock fans but also to the wider public. It was with this tremendous uplift and, by consequence, pressure, that the band set about recording their follow-up album, a record that cemented not only their position but also their reputation.
But, it wasn’t a straightforward process, as immediately after the release of their breakthrough album lead guitarist John Norum quit the band, forcing them to recruit a replacement. The man chosen was fellow Swedish musician Kee Marcello, a hugely talented player who joined the band on their ‘Final Countdown’ world tour and took a leading role in crafting this follow-up album, ‘Out Of This World’. It was a musical match made in heaven, helping the band to further focus their sound, injecting lashing of copious hard rock energy. Indeed, it sounded like the band had moved heaven and earth to secure their definitive stylistic foothold.
Produced by seasoned veteran Ron Nevison (Led Zeppelin, The Who, UFO), recorded in Olympic Studios London, and released in August 1988, the album thoughtfully condensed their 70s rock influences with catchy and contemporary songs, penned almost exclusively by frontman Joey Tempest. Tracks such as ‘Superstitious’, ‘More Than Meets The Eye’, ‘Ready Or Not’ and the superlative ballad ‘Coast To Coast’ elevated the band to previously un-scaled heights, never once taking their eye off prize.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, Europe’s classic follow up to ‘The Final Countdown’, 16 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new band interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. SUPERSTITIOUS 2. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROCK 3. OPEN YOUR HEART 4. MORE THEN MEETS THE EYE 5. COAST TO COAST 6. READY OR NOT 7. SIGN OF THE TIMES 8. JUST THE BEGINNING 9. NEVER SAY DIE 10. LIGHTS AND SHADOWS 11. TOWER’S CALLIN’ 12. TOMORROW
“WE HERE AT Rock Candy have an abiding respect for Southern Rock bands, and none more so than Stillwater. An impressive seven piece, hailing from Macon Georgia, the band first arrived on our radar back in the seventies when they were filmed by the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test programme playing in a local club as part of Capricorn record’s annual picnic. The track shown was ‘Sam’s Jam’ a masterful guitar-drenched epic that sent a shock wave through the ranks of Southern Rock aficionados. Some of us have yet to recover from that programme.
Formed in the early seventies and featuring a classic three man guitar line up, the band courted much attention eventually signing with the Macon-based Capricorn label, home to The Allman Brothers Band and Wet Willie, amongst many others. It was a fitting pairing, with the band attracting much attention, earning strong praise and delivering one of the finest albums of the period. Paired with Buddy Buie, songwriter and producer for the Atlanta Rhythm Section the band recorded their album at the legendary Studio One facility in Doraville.
Issued in 1977, the record contains a clutch of superb songs, including ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Loser’, ‘Out On A Limb’ and ‘Mindbender’ a single (featuring the use of a Talk Box) that reached the US top 50 chart. Naturally, the album also features the near ten minute centrepiece ‘Sam’s Jam’, showcasing a blazing guitar showdown in the finest Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers tradition. Frankly, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, One of the best ‘lost’ Southern Rock albums. Includes ‘Mindbender’ and the guitar blazing ‘Sam’s Jam’, two bonus tracks, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview.
TRACK LISTING: 1. ROCK-N-ROLL LOSER 2. OUT ON A LIMB 3. SUNSHINE BLUES 4. SAM’S JAM 5. MIND BENDER 6. UNIVERSAL FOOL 7. APRIL LOVE 8. FANTASY PARK. BONUS TRACKS: 9. OUT ON A LIMB (Live) 10. MIND BENDER (Live)
“BEING IN A band is a situation fraught with potential problems. If it’s not internal friction, stolen equipment or a clash of musical direction then insurmountable business problems often derail proceedings. For Stillwater their biggest hurdle came in the form of a career-ending incident, when their record label filed for bankruptcy just as this, their second album, was released. It was an impossible situation for them to overcome, despite the quality of this record and the band’s momentum from their acclaimed debut album and impressive live work.
Based in Macon, Georgia, Stillwater had developed a fine reputation before being snapped up by the premiere Southern Rock label Capricorn records, home to a myriad of home-grown talent such as The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, The Marshall Tucker Band and Grinderswitch, amongst many others. The addition of Stillwater to the roster worked well for both the band and the label. Their debut album (also available on Rock Candy) spawned a minor hit single, helping to tee the band up nicely for album #2.
Issued in 1979 and produced once again by Atlanta Rhythm Section producer/writer Buddy Buie, at Studio One in Doraville, this album found the band developing their style and swagger in no uncertain terms. Boasting a number of superb tracks, including ‘Kalifornia Kool‘, ‘Fair Warning’ and the seven minute long title track, featuring some blistering lead guitar work. It also contained a superb duet on the song ‘Ain’t We A Pair’ with fellow Capricorn artist, the legendary Bonnie Bramlett.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, Second and final album from this classic Southern Rock band, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new band interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. I RESERVE THE RIGHT 2. WOMEN (BEAUTIFUL WOMEN) 3. KEEPING MYSELF ALIVE 4. KALIFORNIA KOOL 5. SOMETIMES SUNSHINE 6. FAIR WARNING 7. ALONE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT 8. AIN’T WE A PAIR
“IT’S INEVITABLE THAT Brownsville Station will always be best remembered for their worldwide smash hit single ‘Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room’, a track recorded in 1973, and re-ignited twelve years later in 1985 by Mötley Crüe. It is without question their signature song and an all-time rock classic but it is also one of those creations that, like Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’, ham strung the artist to the point where they could never quite recover from or eclipse their main achievement.
By the late 70s Brownsville (having dispensed with the Station part) had reached a new level of confidence. Signing with label giant Epic records, and managed by long time confidant Al Nalli, the band appeared to have finally put their past behind them and were well placed to make a major offensive. Produced by Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Molly Hatchet), and recorded in their native Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the Record Plant mobile studio, the band’s level of confidence was sky high, supported by a brace of well-written tracks, sitting very much in the late seventies hard rock groove pioneered by the likes of Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Kiss.
‘Air Special’, issued in 1978 in a very distinctive album cover, delivered on all fronts. Their muscular rock was primed, toned and given a period stadium rock makeover, gifting them a new born sense of possibility. Tracks such as the anthemic Kiss-like ‘Taste Of Your Love’, with its massive power chords, the pop rock ‘Love Stealer’ and a crushing rendition of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’ elevate this album to classic status.”
SPECIAL DELUXE COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Fully Remastered Audio, One of the best North American mid 70s hard rock albums, bonus track, 12 page full colour booklet – 4,000 word essay, enhanced artwork with rarely seen photos and new interviews.
TRACK LISTING: 1. TASTE OF YOUR LOVE 2. WAITIN’ FOR THE WEEKEND 3. WHO DO YOU LOVE 4. TEARS OF A FOOL 5. COODA CRAWLIN’ 6. AIRMAIL SPECIAL 7. NEVER SAY DIE 8. FEVER 9. LOVE STEALER 10. LET IT ROLL 11. DOWN THE ROAD APIECE. BONUS TRACK: 12. LOVE STEALER (SINGLE VERSION)
Three SAIGON KICK Albums: " SAIGON", "KICK" and "WATER"
SAIGON KICK’S FORTUNES were radically reshaped with the release of their second album, ‘The Lizard’ and it contained the hit single ‘Love Is On The Way’. It was a track that made them MTV stars, helping to achieve a gold album. This was a major coup for this much-loved Florida four piece that had been signed to Atlantic Records via the imprint Third Stone, a company owned by Hollywood A-Lister Michael Douglas. However, despite these achievements, all was not well within the band’s ranks. Bassist Tom DeFile and vocalist Matt Kramer had left the band. Kramer had clashed with main songwriter Jason Bieler and it was mutually agreed that the only way to solve the problem was for Matt to depart. Not surprisingly this move left the label somewhat confused as the project was set to move to another level of success. As with the previous record, it was agreed that Bieler could not only self-produce and record mainly in Sweden, but also take on the role as lead vocalist. It was a brave move and not one without reservations from various interested parties. Issued in 1993, ‘Water’ was actually another comprehensive statement of intent. It signalled a move towards experimentation but the original framework was still intact. Hard riffing but melodic tracks, such as ‘One Step Closer’ and ‘Torture’ nestled comfortably with such wide screen pop psych fare as ‘Sgt. Steve’, ‘Close To You’ and ‘Fields Of Rape’. Oh, and look out for a superb version of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’.
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, bonus track, Third and final major label album from this brilliant Florida based band, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. ONE STEP CLOSER 2. SPACE ODDITY 3. WATER 4. TORTURE 5. FIELDS OF RAPE 6. I LOVE YOU 7. SGT. STEVE 8. MY HEART 9. ON AND ON 10. THE WAY 11. SENTIMENTAL GIRL 12. CLOSE TO YOU 13. WHEN YOU WERE MINE 14. REPRISE BONUS TRACK: 15. NOT ENOUGH
IT’S ALWAYS VERY uplifting when a band originally tipped for better things actually fulfils their inherent musical potential. In the case of Hotel, a little known outfit from Birmingham Alabama, their self-titled debut album hinted at a somewhat suppressed melodic AOR talent that was itching to fully blossom. Fortunately that embryonic promise was perfectly realised with this, their second album, a record that has almost become a touchstone for fans of the AOR obscure. ‘Half Moon Silver’ is quite rightly regarded as a minor classic amongst AOR aficionados. Issued in 1980 and produced, once again, by their mentor Dain Eric, the album lunges purposely towards a harder rock edge. The vibe is very much one of waking up the neighbours, but not in a chest thumping sense, more in a measured and intense way. The guitars are far more prominent and the rhythm section is out to impress, but they leave room for vocalist Marc Phillips to inject passion and excitement into songs that have been meticulously constructed. There’s plenty to highlight, but it’s the double whammy of ‘A Place In Time (Refugee)’ and ‘Now That She Loves You’ that really sets the pace. Elsewhere, there are some particularly delightful ballads, including ‘Talk To Me’ and the sublime title track. Once again, their label failed to maximise the potential of the record and, despite the band touring with Hall & Oates, the record sadly fell through the gaps, leaving them deserted in a world that, sadly, failed to recognise a seriously talented outfit.”
Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, Fully Remastered Audio, one of the best obscure AOR classics, 12 page full colour booklet – 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork with unpublished photos and new interview
TRACK LISTING: 1. A PLACE IN TIME (REFUGEE) 2. COLD BLOODED RED HOT LOVE 3. NOW THAT SHE LOVES YOU 4. NED & MARY 5. HALF MOON SILVER 6. BLIND SIDE OF LOVE 7. I CAN’T BELIEVE 8. WANTING YOU TOO MY LOVE 9. HOW IT FEELS 10. TALK TO ME