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Wheeler, Bob - 1986 Bob Wheeler

ARTIST: Wheeler, Bob
ALBUM: Bob Wheeler
LABEL: World Records
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Bob Wheeler - vocals, rhythm guitars * Ed Zeszutko - guitars * Chris Tso - bass, lead guitars, vocals * Earl Hamilton - drums * John Cannata - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Owlature * 02 Loud As Hell * 03 Givin' Love Takin' Love * 04 Losin' It Again * 05 Drive Out On The Highway * 06 Give It To Me * 07 Make My Phone Ring * 08 Man And The Gun * 09 Can Ya Hear Me * 10 Hang On

Bob Wheeler is an unfamiliar name in AOR circles. Unless you are an AOR trainspotter that is. There are written dabbles on the Internet which suggest Wheeler is from Canada. My sources tell me he is from upstate New York (Syracuse and Williamstown to be precise), the same locale that bands such as Alecstar and 805 came from. Wheeler quite clearly comes from the school of Bon Jovi clones. Since it's 1986 we're talking about I'll let Bob off the hook. There is also a hint of Surgin's style of AOR, itself modelled on Bon Jovi, plus a dabble toward guitar rockers Melidian. So now you have a good idea as to where Mr Wheeler is leading us with this long-lost effort.

The Songs
Bob and his band do peddle an extended brand of AOR, which fuses separate parts into the whole. Acoustic intros, carefully arranged verses and pitch-perfect bridges and choruses are all the order of the day. The drumwork is quite big-sounding for an independent release, though elsewhere, other parts of the mix could been given a boost here and there. Skipping through the intro 'The Owlature', we rip right into 'Loud As Hell'. It appears to be a mix of Melidian's style of guitar riffarama with a hint of Jovi. The chorus 'Dynamite, loud as hell in the night.. amid the tinkly keyboards seems like a bit of a contrast to these ears. 'Givin Love, Takin Love' tries hard, but the keyboard parps and obvious Jovi-isms are all a bit too much really. 'Losin' It Again' is a bit better. A song that is crafted with some originality. 'Drive Out On The Highway' is a heavy ballad which features the piano as the point of difference. One of the better rockers is 'Give It To Me' - this is very likeable, with more reliance on a strong guitar riff with no obvious similarities. 'Make My Phone Ring' is another strong rocker with Melidian tendencies, though there is no comparison to the vocalists - one of the things I don't like about Melidian unfortunately. You should possibly give 'Man And The Gun' a miss, a song of no consequence. More chugging guitars feature on 'Can Ya Hear Me' while 'Hang On' dips its toes into the Surgin musicial mix.

In Summary
There is a review of a Bob Wheeler album on Strutter Zine. Some of the songtitles are different but the review did say some of the songtitles were guesses (for instance 'Dynamite' is in fact 'Loud As Hell'). Apart from the thin production, this ain't too bad for what it is. Fans of the first two Bon Jovi albums plus Surgin might get some respite with this. Not classic stuff by any means, but worth giving the man his three seconds in the spotlight here at G-DAZE.

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#1 | richardb on June 15 2008 14:42:37
The vocals on this LP are an irritating distraction to say the least. One for die hard collectors I would suggest..

Richard B

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