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Van Manen, Ralph - 1993 Face The Feeling

ARTIST: Van Manen, Ralph
ALBUM: Face The Feeling
LABEL: GMI Music Partners
YEAR: 1993


LINEUP: Ralph Van Manen - vocals, keyboards, programming * Paddy Van Rijswijk - bass * Robert Riekerk - guitar, background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cross My Heart * 02 Stay Close * 03 Easy Answers * 04 Harry And The Band * 05 Independent Hearts * 06 Tomorrows Yesterdays * 07 Can't Break The Habit * 08 I Will Follow * 09 Touch The Flame * 10 Find Your Way To Me


Ralph Van Manen is a Dutch singer songwriter, who back in 1993, made his first foray into the public domain with this debut album 'Face The Feeling'. Not knowing a lot about the guy, I did a bit of swot and was surprised to see the terms 'CCM', and comparisons to Mark Williamson and Chris Eaton. Both men are high on my register for quality AOR that also touches on West Coast. Armed with those facts, and that this album was a recent arrival across my desk, the comparisons are accurate, but in my opinion, it's smoother and pure in the sense of absolute blend of AOR and West Coast. No hint of a language accent from Ralph, 'Face The Feeling' has all the hallmarks of a classic CD from a decade bereft of decent AOR.

The Songs
Listening to this it's hard to believe it came out in 1993 - a year of dearth for quality AOR. Not so according to Mr Van Manen. Whether it's the Toto like insistence of 'Independent Hearts', or the CCM AOR of 'I Will Follow', it won't take you long to warm to Van Manen's style. You can tell that no expense has been spared to come up with a huge production. The ballad 'Touch The Flame' is testament to this, as is the hi-tech West Coast of 'Easy Answers' that invokes comparisons to the albums released by Chris Eaton during the 90's. So far, if you thought you'd heard it all, Van Manen stretches the superlatives with the pulsing and strutting AOR of 'Harry And The Band', the commercial radio-friendly opener 'Cross My Heart' with its Dann Huff like guitarwork, and the killer ballad at the end of the album 'Find Your Way To Me'.

In Summary
Since this debut, Ralph has gone onto bigger and better things. He has released a ton of albums, and has scored huge songwriting success over in the USA. Check out his songwriting credits, which includes a host of top names who are using his songs. I won't muck about with this review - only to say for AORsters, add it to your list, this album comes highly recommended.

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#1 | glennhughes on October 31 2007 13:37:15
#2 | gdazegod on October 31 2007 23:44:45
I take it you like the mp3's Diego? clap

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