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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Thomas, Ian - 1984 Riders On Dark Horses
Thomas, Ian - 1984 Riders On Dark Horses

ARTIST: Thomas, Ian (Band)
ALBUM: Riders On Dark Horses
LABEL: Anthem
SERIAL: ANR-1-1044
YEAR: 1984


LINEUP: Ian Thomas - vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass

Dave Cooper, Aldo Nova - guitars * Peter Meuller - guitars, vocals * Sandy Chochinov - bass * Peter Fredette - bass, vocals * Lou Pomanti - keyboards * John Panchyshyn - sax * Jorn Andersen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Picking Up The Pieces * 02 Do You Right * 03 The Crossing * 04 She Don't Love You * 05 Progress * 06 Roll The Dice * 07 Your Love Heals * 08 Riders On Dark Horses


Singer/songwriter Ian Thomas is a long standing stalwart of the Canadian music scene whose songs have been recorded by an impressive array of recording artists such as America, Chicago, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Santana. 'Riders On Dark Horses' was Ian's second album on the Anthem label following a three year recording hiatus. Apparently he had grown weary of the mellow West Coast vibes aired on 1981's 'The Runner' and was now citing AC/DC(!) as a musical influence, rather than the Doobie Brothers.

The Songs
Bringing Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Y&T) on board to assist with production duties, together with the usual strong contingent of musicians augmented by a certain Mr Caporuscio (Aldo Nova to you and I), was an inspired move. The atmospherics and intelligent lyrics evident in his earlier material were now coupled with more forceful guitar dynamics - a winning combination which resulted in an album which is nothing short of an AOR masterpiece. 'Picking Up The Pieces' is a tremendous opener, covering a subject matter many of us can relate to - learning to deal with life's adversities. The delicate guitar fills and intermittent bass lines on the intro evolve into pumping bass and driving guitar and a suitably rousing, highly dramatic chorus - one that should have legions of AOR fan punching the air with delight. 'Do You Right' is equally grandiose and a fine example of controlled power. The icing on the cake is the impassioned vocal performance from Ian Thomas - one that would give Alfie Zappacosta a run for his money and surely enough to win the affections of the lady in question. 'The Crossing' with it's heartfelt lyrics set to an epic musical background underlines yet again the fact that Ian Thomas is a class act. Side one closer 'She Don't Love You' is a more introspective the downbeat lyricism complemented by the plaintive sounding guitar fills. 'Progress' is in a similar vein to the Zappacosta debut in other words hi-tech, quirky but never bland. Both the mid paced AOR of 'Roll The Dice' (not the Couchois song) and the ballad 'Your Love Heals' are more conventional. It sounds like our Ian has been hanging out in the same neighbourhood as fellow Canuck Stan Meissner. Quite appropriately the album ends on a high note with the epic title track which is perhaps more indicative of his late 1970's material on 'Still Here' and 'Glider' albeit with a 1980's slant.

In Summary
The subsequent album 'Add Water' (which by coincidence features Alfie Zappacosta) runs it close but for me 'Riders On Dark Horses' is Ian Thomas's piece de resistance. It's a classic example of Canadian AOR matching anything put out by his peers such as the aforementioned Alfie Zappacosta and Stan Meissner.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 18 2007 21:57:17
It would be lovely seeing some of Ian Thomas's works in CD format. Most of his 70's and early 80's material has not been released, though I do see Anthem Records crop up. I do know that some of his albums have been converted over to 320kbps format and can be located on BitTorrent somewhere. Seems this album would be a prime contender then. clap
#2 | Eric on May 19 2007 12:47:35
Agree. I would really like to see the 'Glider' album out on disc. 'Pilot' is one of the most haunting songs I have ever heard...
#3 | swazi on January 09 2010 13:33:36
Absolutely awesome! They don't come like this anymore, unfortunately. I haven't yet decided which one I prefer, this one or 'Add Water', but in any case they are both on a similar high level. A CD reissue (of both) is long overdue and would be highly appreciated!
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