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1994 - 1978 1994



ARTIST: 1994
ALBUM: 1994
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP 4709
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2005, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Karen Lawrence - vocals * Steve Schiff - guitars * Bill Rhodes - bass, guitars, vocals * John Desautels - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Once Again * 02 Shoot To Kill * 03 Sing To Me * 04 Heleana * 05 Bring It Home * 06 Radio Zone * 07 Hit The Hard Way * 08 Read Up * 09 Anastasia * 10 Shoot To Kill (Live Bonus) * 11 Find It In The City (Live Bonus) * 12 Hit The Hard Way (Live Bonus) * 13 Bring It Home (Live Bonus)


Background
A shortlived outfit from the USA were 1994. Formed initially by singer Karen Lawrence, who was previously with the band L.A Jets. After their one and only album for RCA (1976) failed to take off, she and drummer John Desautels commenced a bout of songwriting. One of their colloborative efforts came from 1977, being the Love Theme 'Prisoner', which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie 'The Eyes Of Laura Mars', and was sung by the timeless Barbra Streisand. They also wrote another called 'Out Here On My Own', but I've yet to see this turn up anywhere. While all this was going on, the duo decided to put a band together called 1994, bringing in Schiff and Rhodes to complete the line-up. Their sound was a fantastic mix of hard edged rock with Heart and fellow L.A rockers Storm being the main influences. Karen's vocals had an infusion of Ann Wilson, but there is no doubt her overall power was comparable, perhaps even stronger.


The Songs
The debut album starts out strongly with the track 'Once Again', the Heart similarity strong, even the Roger Fisher like guitarwork from Schiff. 'Shoot To Kill' despite the name, has a 'slow burn' feel to it, rather southern-tinged as well. 'Sing To Me' has a quirky feel to it, the dizzy-like chorus heading off down the same street as Kate Bush or Jeanette Chase's Storm. Brad Whitford lends a hand on the thoughtful and evocative 'Heleana'.. the guitar lines borrowed from his former outfit. Side Two opens with the magical 'Bring It Home', one for the pomp rockers to get excited about. They change tack for the enormous power-pop/rock frenzy of 'Radio Zone'. You could easily throw this on the first Storm album and get away with it! Meanwhile the contrasts continue with the swamp rock flavour of 'Hit The Hard Way' while 'Read Up' borrows heavily from the Storm handbook of rock n roll.


In Summary
The band toured with Aerosmith on their 'Draw The Line' tour, but by the time album #2 'Please Stand By' arrived the following year, Schiff had left to be replaced by Rick Armand. These were the only two albums released by the band. After the efforts of 1994, Desautels moved onto the New Riders Of The Purple Sage, while Karen Lawrence did a new wave stint with her next band The Pins. After many years though, she hooked up with former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay to form the blues oriented band Blue By Nature, who are still a going concern. When we look back on it as a historical retrospective, both 1994 albums are a worthy of a CD re-release, and so it proved during 2005 with fledgling label Rock Candy Records doing the honours and getting both this album, and its follow-up out into the digital domain. Hmm.. I wonder if it's time to talk with Karen Lawrence about these albums.. what do you think?


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Comments
#1 | sabace on March 19 2006 14:04:51
BRILLIANT LP KAREN HAS AN AMAZING VOICE & GREAT SONGS
#2 | tompa on April 22 2006 12:10:27
Among my Top Ten albums of alltime. Melodic rock at the bottom, but topped with great, innovative arrangements and some highly adventerous guitarplaying. Within its genre, this has loads and loads of originality. Standout tracks: Heleana, Sing To Me, Anastasia.
#3 | Jez on January 27 2007 11:39:51
Great debut, finally given the excellent 'Rock Candy' treatment ('Please Stand By' is also due!). Karen Lawrence really shines on this & along with Storm's Jeanette Chase, was one of the top female vocalists around at the time. The Heart comparison is a good one, although they do rock out more than the Wilson sisters, so I would also add the aforementioned Storm as a comparison aswell.
#4 | Nick C on February 04 2007 19:12:52
Huge influence on me this band in my teenage years hahaha! The Pins album - Girls Night Out is worth scouting out for but much better is the Karen Lawrence solo Rip and Tear which has some amazing songs on especially Kiss from a Distance.
Jez well knows my love for this band (and Storm Grin )
#5 | rostoned on June 28 2008 12:19:19
Harder and rockier than their follow up, it has some outstanding tracks too.
#6 | englandashes on January 17 2012 20:51:06
Joe Bonamassa has done a steaming version of 'Prisoner' on 'Dust Bowl', a great version of the tune, just finshes off a great album from Bonamassa.
#7 | super80boy on May 05 2013 23:42:24
Top notch female fronted debut album by this great band. Karen Lawrence also did a solo album from 1986 called Rip And Tear which is a stellar collection of melodic AOR rock songs in the same vein as 1994 songs.
#8 | reyno-roxx on June 11 2013 17:51:00
I've been listening to this on the bus commute to and from work today as I haven't played it in some time. Jack Douglas' influence is all over the album in terms of the sounds he got out of the group. A lot of the guitar solos are really reminiscent of Richie Ranno and Brendan Harkin's work on the first two Starz albums. Overall 1994: sound like Heart jamming with Starz and Aerosmith (another Douglas produced band, of course).
 
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