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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Graf - 1981 Graf
Graf - 1981 Graf

LABEL: Precision/Epic
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Frank Pellino - vocals, guitars * Peter Tokar - vocals, keyboards * Tim Graziano - bass * Jose Ortiz - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Baby's Gone Home * 02 Come To My Arms * 03 Haydee * 04 Lovin' You Ain't Easy * 05 Wayward Sons * 06 Pork Chop * 07 Summers End * 08 You

Here's an obscurity from 1981 that came and went with little fanfare. Not much known about this lot, except that it appears these boys originated from the Ohio scene in the late 70's. Graf as a unit, didn't go beyond 1981, but managed to strike up a deal with Epic. It seems also that Precision Records were involved - this was the same outfit that did some work with Pittsburgh based band X-15 - who we recently featured in some detail here at G-DAZE. Of the better known names in this outfit, Frank Pellino reared his head previously with the Ohio band I Don't Care - who belted out a bluesy rock sound in the vein of Edgar Winter and Wild Cherry. As it turns out, both Tim Graziano and Jose Ortiz were also members of this band, who released a one-off album in 1976 called 'Ask Anyone'. Changing gears and changing direction, these three would hook up with keyboardist Peter Tokar to form Graf.. a band that gravitated to a very classy style of hard west coast, in the vein of Toto, Sneaker, Pablo Cruise and others of that era/style.

The Songs
The lead-off song 'Babys Gone Home' is a punchy tune that flies the flag in the same spirit as early Toto. The keyboard/guitar interplay should have many of you captured. 'Come To My Arms' features some pedal steel but the track is easy on the ear, commercial and chorus-friendly. the same could be said for the delicate 'Haydee' which straddles the west coast/AOR fence easily. 'Lovin' You Ain't Easy' is a sassy workout that blazes with the same passion exhibited on some of Michael Stanley's earlier material. One of my favourite songs is the 707 like bluster of 'Wayward Sons - definitely more AOR than west coast. Musical 'chops' is the name of the game with the cleverly titled instrumental 'Pork Chop'. Some very off-the-wall arrangements happening here. 'Summers End' has a very progressive jazz flavour about it - a la Al Di Meola. In fact, if this band had gone down the progressive path they would've done a great job, judging by this one track! The closer 'You' sprinkles many genres into one. Keys are prominent, it meanders through the verses, but the bridge and chorus are lifted to another level.

In Summary
Without doubt, Graf is a fantastic discovery, even if it is now 26 years old. There is a load of superb instrumentation on this album - Graf really should be better known among the AOR fraternity. Certainly, Frank Pellino is still out there dabbling in music - not so sure about the others. From my perspective, this is one album that sits comfortably alongside the likes of MPG as a contender for a CD re-release.

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#1 | imprimateur on November 07 2007 22:02:33
Love the audio tracks on this album. Boy, did this album ever so quietly slip by in 1981! music
#2 | mclaffertym on December 08 2007 21:34:28
LOVE this album, especially 'Come to My Arms'...does anyone have an mp3 copy of this????
#3 | DEMONAOR on March 17 2008 12:21:39
I sure would like mp3' from this albummusic
#4 | gdazegod on October 30 2008 19:01:47
The GRAF album is available on CD. Refer:, under the handle of Joe Business and The Bad Mo Stanky's. Which is in effect drummer Jose Ortiz's project. All 8 Graf tracks feature on this CD.

US$14.99 for the CD, or US$9.99 for an mp3 folder download. These will be much better quality than the vinyl rip set of mp3's that most of us will have.

Thanks to Rich Marshall for the heads up! Thumbs Up
#5 | super80boy on February 22 2015 22:14:38
'Wayward Sons' and 'Baby's Gone Home' are real winners with equal parts Westcoast and edgy AOR melodies. Totally concur with the summation above - Graf is a gold nugget of a find for the AORsters!
#6 | dangerzone on January 25 2018 19:04:41
Took forever, but finally grabbed a copy of this superb album. For me 'You' is the best track, an epic AOR classic. Shame this was all they did.
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