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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Bliss Band - 1978 Dinner With Raoul
Bliss Band - 1978 Dinner With Raoul

ARTIST: Bliss Band
ALBUM: Dinner With Raoul
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: JC 35511
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2005, Sony (Japan), MHCP 765


LINEUP: Paul Bliss - vocals, keyboards * Phil Palmer - guitar * Andy Brown - bass * Nigel Elliot - drums * Alan Park - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rio * 02 Over The Hill * 03 Slipaway * 04 Don't Do Me Any Favours * 05 On The Highway * 06 Right Place Right Time * 07 Stay A Little Longer * 08 Here Goes * 09 Whatever Happened * 10 Take It If You Need It

Somewhat of a minor AOR legend, journeyman Paul Bliss has made a career of producing some excellent melodic rock amongst his numerous gigs. 'Dinner With Raoul' is considered by some to be a West Coast classic, although whoever wrote the band's bio in the International Encyclopedia Of Hard Rock And Metal might care to disagree. Bliss formed the band after recording one album with Keef Hartley's 'Dog Soldier' in 1975, pursuing a far more accessible direction. This is a decent album by late seventies standards, and was produced by Jeff Baxter of Steely Dan fame. His influence must have been keenly felt as the music recalls Baxter's band at almost every turn, making them seem like superior clones. The tracks that are free of this influence are the ones that really catch the ears however.

The Songs
'Rio' captures the charm of Pablo Cruise, with a breezy atmosphere, suitably laid back and an inescapable hook. It's followed by the first Steely Dan copy, 'Over The Hill' which recalls that band in every possible manner. As enjoyable as it is, it diminishes The Bliss Bands individuality. 'Slipaway' features the distinctive backing vocals of Michael McDonald, and this is classic 70's AOR right up there with the best. 'Don't Do Me Any Favours' returns to Steely Dan territory preceding the harmless upbeat melodic rock of 'On The Highway'. I could live without the female backing vocals of 'Right Place, Right Time', but 'Stay A Little Longer' redeems matters instantly, West Coast at its best. 'Here Goes' and 'Whatever Happened' both miss the mark as the Steely Dan comparisons finally become a little much. The latter features impressive backing vocals and a stunning guitar solo, but Bliss vocal style loses character as he tries to be either Fagan or Becker. All is saved by the final track 'Take It If You Need It', which gives the band a sound of their own, a heavy and sensational piece of AOR with a chorus of some stature. This is archetypal 1978 AOR and a reason to own this album.

In Summary
Not a bad album and more than worthy of a listen if you can get past the obvious nods to Steely Dan. Perhaps the band left this behind on 1979's 'Neon Smiles', which I am now quite eager to hear! The band split regardless, with Bliss going on to write hits for the likes of Olivia Newton John and Celine Dion. Bliss has also played with The Moody Blues for a long period on keyboards and in 1997 released a solo album 'Edge Of Coincidence', full of old tracks previously unreleased. It seems the Bliss Band is what Bliss is most remembered for and not without good reason.

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#1 | dangerzone on October 17 2008 02:10:20
Admittedly the follow up 'Stage Fright' surpassed this with ease in terms of overall melodic content.
#2 | gdazegod on September 24 2010 02:13:23
Bliss' 1997 CD 'Edge Of Coincidence' is sure to get a review here sometime soon.. Count on it!
#3 | aoraor on January 10 2014 18:41:09
sorry, maybe you mean "Neon Smiles", including the track "Stagefright "..A fantastic album for sure
#4 | richardb on January 12 2014 19:53:56
Good, but 'Neon smiles' is definitely the superior album. This contains classic tracks such as 'Stagefright' and 'We never had it so good' and is always guaranteed repeat plays on my CD player...
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