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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » Shadow King - 1991 Shadow King
Shadow King - 1991 Shadow King

ARTIST: Shadow King
ALBUM: Shadow King
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 82324-2
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2006, Wounded Bird, WOU 2324 * 2017 Rock Candy Records, CANDY335


LINEUP: Lou Gramm - vocals * Vivian Campbell - guitars * Bruce Turgon - bass, keyboards * Kevin Valentine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 What Would It Take * 02 Anytime, Anywhere * 03 Once Upon A Time * 04 Don't Even Know I'm Alive * 05 Boy * 06 I Want You * 07 This Heart Of Stone * 08 Danger In The Dance Of Love * 09 No Man's Land * 10 Russia

Shadow King without doubt are an AOR'sters 'dream team'. All of these guys are well known from previous outfits, but I suppose the core of this fruition stemmed from the 'Long Hard Look' sessions of Lou Gramm's second album two years prior. Elsewhere though, Gramm and Turgon's musical relationship goes way back into the seventies with the NY band Black Sheep. Since those heady years though, Gramm found fame with Foreigner, while Turgon moved out West and made his name with L.A heavy metallers Warrior, as well as being an accomplished songwriter. Campbell of course came from Dio and the late eighties edition of Whitesnake, while Valentine has a reputation as one of the mid-west's best drummers, working with both Donny Iris and the shortlived The Innocent. The melding of these four talents results in a unique sound. Not exactly comparable to any band in particular, but classy and professional sounding throughout. Gramm's vocals are as aggressive as per usual, while the guitar histrionics of Campbell are restrained. When the opportunity to let loose is provided, he does so with applomb. Keith Olsen's production is spacious allowing Campbell to layer his guitars with room to move, while Valentine's drums are 'big' sounding and crisp!

The Songs
'What Would It Take' kicks off the album with some stop/start passages, before settling down to some great melodic rock. 'Anytime Anywhere' as the name suggests, lays down a musical challenge to the listener, daring one to turn it up loud. Elsewhere, there are some beautiful moments, like the awesome 'This Heart Of Stone' (check out Campbell's killer solo), the anthemic power of 'Boy', or the mood bound pairing of 'Once Upon A Time' and 'Don't Even Know I'm Alive'. You can chuck in the restrained power of 'No Mans Land' and the poignant ballad 'Russia' as other tracks to catch your ear.

In Summary
It's unfortunate that the album didn't fair well at the box office, and it's not because it was bad or anything. I suspect the average rock audience didn't quite know what to make of it upon release, as it does have a different and unique quality to it. Since then of course, Gramm returned to front Foreigner taking Turgon along with him for the ride, while Campbell replaced the late Steve Clark in Def Leppard. In 2005 Turgon released a solo effort 'Outside Looking In' which could've been Shadow King II' - judging from the sound of it. Turgon followed this up in 2007 with a joint project with singer Phillip Bardowell.

Shadow King - 1991 I Want You

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
I absolutely love this one. I never heard anything off it until a little over a year ago, but I've played the heck out of it the past year. I prefer this to either of Lou Gramm's solo efforts, and it's up there with the best of Foreigner. If I had to pick my favorite all-time AOR vocalist, I doubt I'd find anyone I prefer to Lou Gramm.
#2 | george_the_jack on July 09 2008 15:43:00
This is definitely in the top list of my all time favorites!
#3 | Eric on July 10 2008 00:48:57
Like Giuffria, a band and album that did almost nothing for me. One of the most bland hard rock albums I have ever heard really.
#4 | dangerzone on July 10 2008 03:47:35
Why did you have to drag Giuffria into this?Wink
#5 | Eric on July 10 2008 13:06:34
#6 | george_the_jack on July 10 2008 14:14:06
I'm really wondering WHY such an album is so underrated by you guys...
#7 | reyno-roxx on July 20 2008 22:51:10
A great record. I think the only gig they ever played together was at the Shades promoted 'American Dream' event in London not long after the record was released.
Had a great chat with Kevin Valentine on the morning of the show about Donnie Iris, Breathless etc etc etc
#8 | richardb on July 21 2011 14:01:01
Yeah I remember that gig too. A disappointing turn out though a great performance if memory serves me well...

Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination (IMHO) but it does have it's moments ( e.g. Anytime, anywhere, No man's land).
#9 | Vincenzo on October 15 2011 01:57:23
Overrated, in my opinion.
#10 | sabace on February 13 2012 13:44:53
I like it . but was not overwhelmed by it!
#11 | Carlos Ramirez on September 06 2014 01:20:22
I really really really wanted to love this album, but the material didn't do it for me.
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