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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Strangeways - 1987 Native Sons
 
Strangeways - 1987 Native Sons



ARTIST: Strangeways
ALBUM: Native Sons
LABEL: Bonaire
SERIAL: 258 579
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2001, Hangdog Records, HDRCD02002 * 2006, Majestic Records, MAJCD 070 * 2011, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY100
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Terry Brock - vocals * Ian Stewart - guitars * David Stewart - bass * Jim Drummond - drums

Guest: David 'Munch' Moore - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dance With Somebody * 02 Only A Fool * 03 So Far Away * 04 Where Do We Go From Here * 05 Goodnight L.A * 06 Empty Streets * 07 Stand Up And Shout * 08 Shake The Seven * 09 Never Going To Lose It * 10 Face To Face

RATING:


Background
Those who know me well also know I rave about this album. Superlatives run off the tongue like a years supply of saliva! This album is so good, it is perhaps one of the best ever AOR releases to spring forth from the UK - or ever!! From Glasgow Scotland, these boys started life off as the band China White. Their name change to Strangeways coincided with their debut release on Bonaire in 1985. It too was a great album, and featured local singer Tony Liddell. Encouraged by the success of Bon Jovi and Europe, Strangeways wanted to enhance their fortunes and they successfully recruited the vocal skills of talented Terry Brock, a U.S session singer from Atlanta, who prior to Strangeways had worked with Le Roux and Kansas. So forth began the 'Native Sons' material, recorded in Switzerland and produced by the equally talented John Punter.


The Songs
A very tight production, and a good drum sound provided by Jim Drummond really made this album. It is an album which has been described as .. 'outdoing Journey at their own game'. Brock's vocals imitate Steve Perry in the best possible way, it is remarkable to say the least. Listen to 'So Far Away' and 'Where Do We Go From Here' as examples. However, all round, the quality level is at 110% and the songs just go from strength to strength. Standouts? Well where do you start? I suppose the fantastic ballad 'Goodnight L.A', the incredible depth and atmospherics of 'Shake The Seven' and the equal measure of 'Never Going To Lose It' and the aforementioned 'Where Do We Go From Here', which is so Journey that Schon, Perry and co should be off to see their Patent Lawyers!


In Summary
Really, you have to listen to the whole CD to enjoy a pure melodic rock sonic experience. Still considered to be in top 10 AOR albums of all time (for mine, no#1 AOR album of all time), 'Native Sons' is without doubt one of the star releases of 1987. The band followed it up with another incredible release two years later with 'Walk In The Fire'. Unfortunately, Strangeways is far removed from where the Stewart brothers have taken them into the 90's and beyond. A real shame.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on June 02 2008 16:39:41
J still prefer 'walk in the fire' but at any case we have to do with 2 benchmarks of the mid-80's AOR stage.Terry Brock's voice is pure magic! This is what AOR is all about
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 10:54:49
The best British A.O.R.cd ever released - end of story. Up there with the Journeys of this world
#3 | rostoned on October 13 2008 09:29:17
Before joining Strangeways Terry Brock played in a band called Network which featured two members of LeRoux, guitarist Jim Odom and drummer David Peters. They had a song 'Back In America' on the soundtrack of the 1985 movie 'European Vacation' with Chevy Chase, a tune which runs over the end credits. It seems that a OST LP was released at the time as well with this song on it. Anyway the tune was added as a bonus track on the millennium CD reissue of Le Roux's masterpiece 'So Fired Up'.

Terry is currently fronting Le Roux.
#4 | jeffduran on October 13 2008 09:35:59
The essential AOR experience...It really doesn't get any better...
#5 | guitarheroandy on April 23 2009 21:43:37
Yup...totally agree. Absolutely killer album. Everything hits the spot, songs, playing, vocals, production...everything. Another of those CDs where, if someone asked you 'what's AOR then?', you could play 'em this and say 'THIS is what AOR is all about!'
#6 | RobLynott on February 19 2010 11:38:08
After hearing their excellent debut I was really curious about this one. And man was i disappointed. Sure, 'Native Sons' has a good albeit slick production, but the songs lack any punch imo. I don't think that I ever disagreed more with the other Glorydaze-users than in this case. All in all a pretty average effort dull
#7 | DrakeSinister on January 24 2011 02:37:19
There's no such thing as a better AOR album than Native Sons. And if any of you truly and honestly believe otherwise, then your ears are probably broken to begin with. Hell, the production alone beats out pretty much anything else from the decade.

When all is said and done, its one thing to have a a couple of good songs, but when all 10 tracks are potential classics you know you have something special on your hands.

This was the record that convinced me that AOR could be more than just cheesy keyboards and half-assed choruses, and for that I owe Strangeways everything when it comes to my love of this genre.
#8 | gdazegod on January 24 2011 03:56:56
Toally agree DS.
#9 | gdazegod on August 23 2011 09:07:04
Just the one bonus track on the Rock Candy reissue: a live combo of 'Stand Up And Shout' + 'Breaking Down The Barriers'. Justice is done my AOR friends.
#10 | gdazegod on June 10 2012 03:36:15
YouTube Video:
#11 | jeffrey343 on November 22 2013 21:22:23
I got this and "Walk In The Fire" almost five years ago. Like a decent amount of classic AOR, it was not readily available in the digital realm (although it is on Rhapsody now). So, I ordered the CDs (Majestic 2006 versions).

I gotta say I didn't love it at first. It was good, but I didn't put it way at the top of the heap. It has grown on me since then. I don't think the production is quite as stellar as some of you guys do, and I think that's what threw me at first. It's not as polished as Journey or some of the other 1987 material I had back then and have had for years (Foreigner, Loverboy, Night Ranger, Whitesnake, Richard Marx). But then again it is a smaller label release. I'm glad to say that it has moved way up the 1987 list for me recently, as it is pretty darn good stuff.
#12 | gdazegod on November 22 2013 22:50:44
I doubt the Majestic versions are anywhere near the quality of the original releases, nor the Rock Candy reissues. Even worse would've been the Hangdog versions released by Ian Stewart. I have no hesitation in declaring this as the most essential AOR to come out of the UK during the 80's.
#13 | george_the_jack on November 22 2013 23:19:29
I also got the Majestic versions and I confirm they suck BIG TIME. You can even hear white noise in some places if you listen to the album carefully under a set of headphones.
#14 | gdazegod on November 23 2013 00:38:10
I'm fortunate to have both the original CD plus the Rock Candy editions, pristine..
#15 | jeffrey343 on November 23 2013 02:27:14
I may have to invest in the Rock Candy version.
#16 | jeffrey343 on November 28 2013 05:52:09
Well, I took your advice and got the Rock Candy version. Ordered it Sunday afternoon, got it Wednesday (gotta love NEH - inexpensive and quick - $18.99 total). Yeah, the RC version definitely enhances the experience of this album, and I can better see why you guys rave so much over this one. The RC version makes it sound a lot more like the big-label US releases that were all I could get back then. It's still not quite as big a sound as the Foreigner or Night Ranger or Loverboy albums in 1987, but the sound holds up well compared to them. And these are really good songs. I've been playing this album (the old version prior to today and the RC one since) quite a bit the past several days, so it's getting set in my memory.

I'll be ordering the RC version of 'Walk In The Fire' soon. I've preferred the overall sound of that one in the five years I've had these albums, but I prefer the songs on this one.
#17 | gdazegod on December 29 2013 13:26:32
I may yet get to include some Strangeways questions with my forthcoming interview with Ian Stewart, though for the majority, it will be based around his solo CD 'Junk DNA'.
 
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