ARTIST: 38 Special
ALBUM: Strength In Numbers
SERIAL: SP-5115 (LP), CD 5115/DIDX 621 (CD)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Don Barnes - vocals, guitars * Donnie Van Zant - vocals * Jeff Carlisi - guitars * Larry Junstrom - bass * Steve Brookins - drums * Jack Grondin - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Somebody Like You * 02 Like No Other Night * 03 Last Time * 04 Once In A Lifetime * 05 Just A Little Love * 06 Has There Ever Been A Good Goodbye * 07 One In A Million * 08 Hearts On Fire * 09 Against The Night * 10 Never Give An Inch
From Jacksonville Florida, 38 Special started out as another whiskey soaked southern rock outfit in the late 70's, but gradually started adding AOR hooks and melodic choruses to evolve into the blueprint Southern AOR band. With two lead singers in Van Zant and Barnes, they were always vocally strong and versatile. 'Strength In Numbers' is quite possibly their purest AOR moment, and featured some heavyweight guest musicians - old Kiss
, Bryan Adams
cohort Jim Vallance co - writes on most tracks and helps out on drums, along with Denny Carmassi
. If that wasn't enough, I-Ten
's Tom Kelly
enriches the backing vocals and Toto's Mike Porcaro
contributes some bass guitar. Prominent keyboards are provided by Bill Cuomo
This album begins with three classic AOR tracks in a row. 'Somebody Like You' waves the anthem flag proudly, while 'Like No Other Night' flies in at mid tempo, providing an impressive # 13 placing on the Billboard singles chart. 'Last Time' features another anthemic chorus rising out of a hookladen mid tempo verse, a genuine classic. The next four tracks are solid and enjoyable, varying in tempo and even adding a touch of West Coast in places. 'Strength In Numbers' ends like it begins - with three more classics. The melodic rumble of 'Heart's On Fire' reminds one of the Fabulous Thunderbirds
gone thoroughly AOR, while 'Against The Night' is a joyous uptempo AOR workout with all the hooks and melodies. 'Never Give An Inch' seals precedings with atmospheric grace and a final anthem chorus - the perfect excuse to return to track one and start over again !!
There are other 38 Special albums that deserve a review, especially 1984's 'Tour De Force'. In the 80's they left us with a rich legacy of classic Southern AOR discs, and thoroughly deserved their string of hit singles and albums. Most of their discs are available through A&M, and well worth getting.
Related Articles38 Special - 1981 Wild Eyed Southern Boys38 Special - 1982 Special Forces38 Special - 1983 Tour De Force38 Special - 1986 Strength In Numbers38 Special - 1988 Rock & Roll Strategy38 Special - 1991 Bone Against Steel38 Special - 2004 Drivetrain
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