Thursday, 26 October 2017
In 1976, I heard the song ”99 ½” on Swedish radio. I went straight to the record store and bought the self-titled album by American melodic hard rockers Target. That record soon became one of my favorites and still is. The follow-up, “Captured”, didn’t hit me as hard as the debut, but it was still an outstanding album. Then nothing more, not until singer Jimi Jamison re-surfaced in the band Cobra in 1983. Well, we all know Jimi’s history after that and his tragic passing in 2014. I’ve found a couple of live clips of Target on YouTube and also one unreleased song entitled “Taxman”, which made me wonder if there were more where it came from. Well, it turns out there were! Finally, this previously unreleased, and for me previously unheard, treasure of Target songs now sees the light of day. Nine tracks recorded in 1979. Jimi in his prime and the band sounding just as great as on the first two albums. The album kicks off with “Tight Wire”, a straight ahead hard rocker with disco drums and bass, making we wonder if Gene Simmons hadn’t heard this rhythm section when writing “I Was Made For Loving You”. This is however way better and not by far as cheesy. “Love Magician” kicks off with a fat riff and goes into funk mode, something they explored on the first two albums as well. “Too Much Good Love” kicks up the tempo a notch, while “Hold Tight” brings back the heavy bluesy riffing. Target has had a slightly southern rocking touch on both their previous albums, and here it is. Groovy, cool and heavy with Jimi singing in his soulful bluesy way. “Taxman”, yes, here it is! A kick-ass rocker, a punch in the face! “Means That Much” is this album’s “Let Me Live”, the bluesy powerful ballad. “Come On” is a great up-tempo boogie rocker, also in the vein of the band’s previous efforts. “A Place Called Hot” picks up that southern nerve again. This one is one of the best Target songs ever. A really cool, quirky, busy rhythm and killer guitar riffing, with Jimi’s perfect vocals as the icing on the cake. “Don’t You Think It’s Time” continues in the same vein as the previous track, and takes a well-deserved place on the list of “best ever songs of Target”. KILLER track!! Bonus track “Echo Tango” is a demo recording, a little rougher around the edges, but damn what a track! A perfect ending to a fantastic album, a glorious moment of long lost and unknown musical history. You can hear this is not taken from the actual master tapes, but the sound has still been restored to almost perfection. If you’re a fan of Target, a fan of late 70s melodic hard rock, a fan of Jimi’s fantastic voice, you don’t wanna miss out on this gem!
Label: Escape Music
Year: (1979) 2017
When singer Steve Walsh left Kansas I didn’t expect to see him return in a few years. Well, wrong was I. His new solo album is already hot off the press! Opener “Born In Fire” sounds like a left over Streets track, which is great in my book. Steve sings great and it’s actually hard to hear the difference between Steve’s voice and guest singer Jerome Mazza! The have a very similar tone, where Mazza does still have his high register in place. They do sound great together and the song is a kick ass rocker! When I first heard “The Piper”, it had something familiar about it. I soon realized this song actually appeared on the album by Radioactive. Some of the guitars have been re-amped, but it’s still the same song. “Grace And Nature” is a more pomp oriented track with a chorus that sort of takes the song down in intensity, which is an interesting move. “Dear Kolinda” continues in the pomp oriented vein with a chorus that does touch on the old Streets/Kansas nerve. In “Winds Of War” Jerome Mazza takes over the lead vocals. His voice sounds quite close to Steve’s actually. Sounds like something that also could have been on the Radioactive album. “Tanglewood Tree” starts off a bit Yes sounding. The vocals are a bit thin and strange in the opening, but soon gets better. An ok track, but not really a favorite. “Now Until Forever” again features Mazza on lead vocals. A good semi-ballad type track with a big chorus. “Warsaw” would also fit on the aforementioned Radioactive album. Quite Toto:ish.
“Black Butterfly” sounds quite different from “Shadowman”, both in sound and style. I honestly think “Shadowman” had more of a unique identity, while “Black Butterfly” sounds very much like several other projects involving the song writers. “Nothing But Nothing” starts out pretty cool and promising with an interesting guitar riff and even though it never really lifts off the way I expected, it’s a really cool track with an oriental touch in the chorus. Good one! “Winds of War”, also featuring Mazza on lead vocals is a mid-tempo melodic AOR track, a bit anonymous, but decent enough. “Billy Carbone Is Dead” is another track with a slight Streets touch, where I so wonder what Mike Slamer would have done with the guitar parts. “Mercy On Me” is one of the best tracks after the opener, also featuring Mazza on lead vocals. All in all a pretty good album, in deed. My first impression was actually better than what I feel after 5-6 times of listening. I’m a bit torn regarding Mazza handling the lead vocals on several tracks. He’s a great singer who deserves his own album, and I’d rather hear Steve sing all the songs and Mazza do his own thing, in the same style though. The production is clear and good, but I do miss a bit of the fatness of “Shadowman” which on the other hand misses a bit of the clarity found here. Well worth checking out.
Label: Escape Music