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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Carl, Max - 1985 Circle
Carl, Max - 1985 Circle

ARTIST: Carl, Max
ALBUM: The Circle
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2012, Yesterrock, 0600753400760


LINEUP: Max Carl - vocals, guitars, keyboards

Guests: Andreas Becker, Reinhard Besser, Helmut Bibi - guitars * Volcker Barber - PPG synth * Jimmy Haslip - bass, bass synth * Otto Fuss, Eddie Zyne - drums, percussion * Eddie Taylor, Christian Selke - saxophone * Tony Carey - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Radical Prodigal * 02 The Lion Kills The Sparrow * 03 The Circle * 04 A Cold Shot * 05 Strategic Land (A Soldiers Song) * 06 Night Train Roll * 07 A Thousand Nights * 08 Tell Me Where You Sisters Hiding * 09 Curves * 10 Timing


Max Carl is better known in the industry as Max Gronenthal. Originally from Nebraska, Gronenthal has been a bit of a journeyman, and has lived all over the USA in pursuit of his craft. Playing in a host of bands during the 60's and 70's, it wasn't until his association with Tommy Bolin, the former Deep Purple guitarist that the wheels began to turn. Bolin and Gronenthal were members of Energy and Gangbusters. Max was also part of the Tommy Bolin Band at the time of Tommy's death. Beyond that, Max performed with outfits such as DFK Band, Molly Hatchet, and also released his first solo album 'Whistlin' In The Dark' during 1979. A second solo album called 'Max' was released in 1980, which was then followed by a unique band called Jack Mack And The Heart Attack. This outfit, given a boost by The Eagles Don Henley saw this band release the album 'Cardiac Party' and became a best seller during the early 80's. The album was all Max Gronenthal penned tunes. In 1985, Max signed on with MCA, and released his third solo album 'Circle'. He went over to Frankfurt Germany to record it, obtaining assistance from Peter Hauke to produce it. By now, Max had dropped his surname and became Max Carl (stage name). 'Circle' is a hi-tech album, well produced (some might say over-produced), and contains a few notable guests, namely Jimmy Haslip (Blackjack), Reinhard Besser (Craaft), and ex Rainbow keyboardist Tony Carey.

The Songs
'Circle' is not an album that will win you over first time. The songs are punchy, energetic and up till that point, quite different to what Max had been involved with previously. Unusually, it is hard to benchmark this album to other artists in the genre - it's not unique, but then again it's not copy-cat either! Considering it's 1985, the production is quite busy, with percussion and studio effects all over the place - no doubt due to Hauke's influence. Probably the most AOR oriented tunes here are the excellent title track 'The Circle' and 'Curves'. Other notable tunes include the Toto like 'A Cold Shot', 'The Lion Kills The Sparrow' and the big booming sound of 'Night Train Roll'.

In Summary
Of course, Max would go on to join 38 Special later that year, and would participate on three of their albums. His best known contribution 'Second Chance' off the 'rock N Roll Strategy' album went to No1. Max left 38 Special in 1991, went to live and work in Nashville, and performed with a troupe called Max Carl and Big Dance for a few years. He relocated back to Los Angeles in 2000 where he continues to work as a songwriter to this day.

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