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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » 38 Special - 1986 Strength In Numbers
 
38 Special - 1986 Strength In Numbers



ARTIST: 38 Special
ALBUM: Strength In Numbers
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP-5115 (LP), CD 5115/DIDX 621 (CD)
YEAR: 1986

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

WEBLINKS: www.38special.com


Background
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 and Prism cohort Jim Vallance co - writes on most tracks and helps out on drums, along with Denny Carmassi from Heart. 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.


The Songs
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 !!


In Summary
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.


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Comments
#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
This has the honor of being the first album I ever bought on CD back in 1986, the day I bought my first CD player. I was a big .38 Special fan at the time, and I still think that the four from 'Wild-Eyed Southern Boys' through this one are absolute classics. They did definitely move away from the true Southern sound to a large extent, although never totally away from it. This was my favorite album of theirs for a long time, but the other three prior to this one have pretty much caught up, as I appreciate many of the album cuts off those more than I did 20 years ago. But this one is still great. 'Hearts On Fire' and 'Never Give An Inch' are superb anthems. .38 Special could always pick a killer tune to close an album ('Bring It On', 'Firestarter', 'Undercover Lover', 'Never Give An Inch'). I've started to appreciate both their earlier and later stuff more than I used to, but they'll never match this and the three that immediately preceded it.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 11:04:43
Another great release and as with the previous 4 releases, sticks with pretty much the same sound - 'If it ain't broke,don't fix it' definately being the motto here. Another release choc full of great commercial AOR/southern rock songs - 'Someboby Like You', 'Like No Other Night' & the albums choice pick 'Never Give An Inch'. A Great album by a Great Band!
#3 | dangerzone on July 25 2008 04:17:09
'Last Time' pretty much sums up what great AOR is supposed to sound like. Essential.
#4 | gdazegod on July 25 2008 04:23:40
One of the great mysteries for me: can someone please explain (in this genre of music) why this band needed to have two drummers? What's the go there??? helpless
#5 | jeffduran on July 27 2008 00:20:48
This is their best!
#6 | george_the_jack on March 15 2009 01:06:35
I love this album.Great!
#7 | gdazegod on May 26 2017 00:58:17
38 Special - 1986 Somebody Like You
YouTube Video:
#8 | swingkingandy on December 25 2017 11:09:20
This album typifies southern aor and i feel its up there with Van Zant debut, China Sky, Billy Satellite and Ars-Truth... Bonafide southern aor classic!
 
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