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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Head East - 1988 Choice Of Weapons
Head East - 1988 Choice Of Weapons

ARTIST: Head East
ALBUM: Choice Of Weapons
LABEL: Dark Heart
SERIAL: Dark Heart 2001
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Roger Boyd - keyboards, vocals * Kurt Hansen - vocals, bass * Tony Gross - guitars, vocals * Donnie Dobbins - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Come Alive * 02 Time Of Your Life * 03 Girl * 04 Wrong Time * 05 End Of The Avenue * 06 So Afraid * 07 Hard To Believe * 08 Going Under * 09 Forgive And Forget * 10 Break Your Heart


One of the original stalwarts of seventies mid-west US melodic rock, and pretty much an institution east of the Rockies through the corn belt and into the American heartland. I must admit I did not find their brand of rock particularly inspiring early on in the piece, but they seemed to get better with each release. Their reputation was pretty well matched by other acts from that time namely Kansas and REO Speedwagon in which their sound was similar in some respects. Some of the guys who have played with this band have furthered their careers elsewhere, namely John Schlitt, and Mike Somerville. However, Roger Boyd has been the mainstay throughout and appears on this relatively low key release from 1988, some 13 years after their first release 'Flat As A Pancake' back in 1975. The reason why this album gets a review on this site is the sheer fact that AOR collectors have been after this album for years. And the result after acquiring this on disc? Yep, not bad, and thankfully not as bland as their earlier stuff. We are right in the heart of the rock here, coming on like a cross between Le Roux (circa 'So Fired Up') and the Bobby Ingram fronted China Sky from the same year. In fact, Jim Odom (Le Roux guitarist) gets a credit on the back cover though I don't think he was overly responsible for the sound/production. Lots of AOR/pomp keyboards throughout, and I just can't get some of these riffs and hooks out of my head listening to this!!

The Songs
The Le Roux connection starts with 'Time Of Your Life' and 'Hard To Believe' where singer Kurt Hansen tries his best to emulate Fergie Frederiksen, whereas the track 'Girl' has what sounds like a Bobby Ingram guitar intro. Meanwhile 'Wrong Time' is classic midwest AOR a la Shooting Star. You gotta hear the chorus and solo on this one! Things get cranked up a bit with 'End Of The Avenue' where the keyboard parping gets slightly detuned to 5ths or 7ths. The most commercial sounding song is 'So Afraid' which reminds me of De Mont and Pseudo Echo circa 'Race'. Another terrific pair of songs are 'Going Under' which has all the hallmarks of great AOR, while 'Forgive And Forget' is primetime Norman And Sexton revisited. Without doubt, for pompsters this is their best album, but for those purists or real diehard HE fans, perhaps some of their earlier stuff is more appealing.

In Summary
I understand Head East are still going in some shape or form, though their lineup does tend to change around a bit. Check the new link shown below.

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Head East - 1988 Choice Of Weapons

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#1 | englandashes on January 01 1970 01:00:00
Live version of Since You Been Gone by them appears on HEAD EAST LIVE, along with the Rick Springfield tune Take A Hand..
#2 | Nick C on August 23 2008 15:14:53
I love Head East but feel the band lost their way after John Schlitt, Mike Somerville (well underrated guitarist..check him out on Head East Live - the full version not butchered On Stage CD that was released a few years back) and Dan Birney (RIP) left.
This is probably their most accomplished album since A Different Kind of Crazy. AOR for sure which wasn't really what the band was about. For me it's a not their best release and as George says I prefer their earlier stuff but I do like my AOR and in that context it scores in spades.
Some real good songs on here if truth be told much better then US No1 and Onward and Upwards.

It's just I miss the John Schlitt days....forgive me...alackaday, alas, woe is me!
#3 | gdazegod on August 24 2008 01:21:40
Kurt Hansen was previously a member of Lion (USA based pomp band, not the hair-metal outfit featuring Kal Swann and Doug Aldrich). Kurt has since passed away.. R.I.P.
#4 | jefflynnefan on August 26 2008 05:46:21
Pretty good band in there time. They were enjoyable live too. Did they record 'Since You Been Gone' before Rainbow? I can't remember now.
#5 | gdazegod on August 26 2008 05:53:05
'Since You've Been Gone' was a Russ Ballard song. Rainbow released it in 1979 (on their 'Down To Earth' album) whereas Head East released it in 1978 (on their s/t 'Head East' LP). Head East also released 'I Surrender', on their 1980 album 'US #1'.
#6 | jefflynnefan on August 26 2008 23:17:24
And Cherie Currie recorded the same two songs around this time too! ??
#7 | super80boy on December 22 2013 15:03:01
In their large discography, this seems to be the album of choice (no pun intended) for the 80's AOR enthusiasts. I can see why with lots of keyboards and guitars flowing around a well produced AOR melodic rock set. Will definitely be adding this to the collection via CD.
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