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Stallone, Frank - 1984 Frank Stallone

ARTIST: Stallone, Frank
ALBUM: Frank Stallone
LABEL: Polygram
SERIAL: 821237-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2006, Simba


LINEUP: Frank Stallone - vocals, guitars * Doane Perry - drums * Vince Dicola - keyboards, musical arrangements

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runnin' * 02 Music Is Magic * 03 Love Is Like A Light * 04 Darlin' * 05 If We Ever Get Back * 06 Far From Over * 07 She's So Popular * 08 Once More Never Again * 09 I Do Believe In You * 10 Fly Together * 11 Moody Girl * 12 I'm Never Gonna Give You Up


'Music is magic, it's there for the taking' sings Frank during 'Music Is Magic', a statement of considerable truth when concerning this particular album. Frank established his own identity outside that of his older brother Sylvester by crafting a career in music (which later turned to movies also), which first took form in the group Valentine with whom Frank recorded a lone self titled album in 1976. Following this Frank found fame through roles in the Rocky films, which he wrote several tracks for. Frank's big break came with the 'Staying Alive' soundtrack in 1983 in which he contributed three songs, including the top ten AOR classic 'Far From Over'. The song, co written with Vince DiCola also appeared on this, Frank's memorable stab at West Coast AOR. In the tradition of David Roberts and Gino Vanelli, Stallone managed to create a masterpiece of the genre which unfairly seems to have fallen shy of the radar, in terms of availability and recognition. Taken solely on musical merit, 'Frank Stallone' easily stands alongside some of the best AOR of the 1980's.

The Songs
With DiCola by his side adding essential synth workouts, the whole album is a melodic delight. 'Runnin' soars with a searing hook, with keyboard passages that would later be heard on the 'Rocky IV' soundtrack from DiCola. The horn work brings Chicago to mind, and the whole affair is a masterpiece. The same can be said for 'Music Is Magic' and 'Love Is Like A Light', with the latter a West Coast gem which gives Toto a run for their money, the guitar solo brimming with class. 'Darlin' was a minor hit, and is slightly removed from the other tracks, with a slight fifties vibe and an organ solo. 'If We Ever Get Back' gets the heart rate racing with another indispensable chorus, while 'Far From Over' features a synth overload with impossibly thrilling time changes which define what AOR represents. 'She's So Popular' bounces along in jubilant fashion, the pumping keyboard interplay a fascinating listen. The West Coast connection surfaces heavily again with 'Once More, Never Again' which could pass for classic Player or even Christopher Cross. The albums highlight in my eyes is the complete AOR mastery of 'I Do Believe In You', which may be a genre top ten. It should be a crime to write such addictive music. Some unforgettable synthesizer runs and guitar workouts punctuated by Frank's tough and emotional vocals put it over the top. The somewhat subdued ballad 'Fly Together' ends the album on a sombre note, but is worthwhile all the same.

In Summary
When I consider how many years it took to locate this album, the results more than exceeded the wait. It shouldn't have come as a surprise, with Frank pursuing the rough charmer image to great effect. I'm sure cynics would have dismissed the album simply because of Frank's family connection, but that's a typical situation. This should be a fixture for all AOR fans and hopefully someone gets around to reissuing this true classic sometime soon. Frank changed his direction musically to that of Big Band maestro in the nineties, leaving his AOR past behind. He should reconsider teaming up with DiCola to try his hand again at this style. These days Stallone is busy helping his brother with his 'Contender' boxing show, Frank a renowned boxing historian. Let us not forget his roles in action classics like 'Outlaw Force' either. Otherwise a career highpoint for the great man.

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#1 | Jez on June 24 2009 12:10:01
Brilliant disc and one of my fave Westcoast discs ever. Definitely a case of not judging a book by it's cover with this one as it is quite brilliant in places. I managed to get the excellent remastered version on Frank's own Simba Records a few years back, after watching stupid prices on ebay for years. Glad I waited as it sounds fantastic. Seems it is only available in mp3 form, which is a shame if you haven't got it.
#2 | gerard on November 02 2012 23:21:44
Great album! Love 'I do believe in you' (Pages...).
#3 | swazi on November 02 2012 23:36:08
Yep, I own this Simba release as well and I am very glad I do. This really is a great one!

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