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Streek - 1981 Streek

ARTIST: Streek
ALBUM: Streek
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC 37660
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Billy De Martines - keyboards, lead vocals * Ron Abrams - all guitars, lead vocals * Giuvanni Bartolotto - drums, percussion, background vocals * Randy Oviedo - bass, background vocals * Daniel J Ricciardelli - saxes, background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Johnny You're A Bad Boy * 02 I Can't Go On * 03 Only Heaven Knows * 04 Gone Too Far * 05 Fantasy * 06 Runner * 07 Stop * 08 One More Night * 09 Tonight * 10 Rocket

I can't tell you anything about the band's origins however as this album was recorded in California with Bob Stringer (who worked on the Eagles 'The Long Run' album). I'm sure Streek sought to imitate, or were inspired by Toto and the other usual West Coast suspects. To these ears their music slots comfortably alongside fellow budding AOR aspirants such as Alliance and The Strand. Ron Abrams fiery guitar raises the excitement levels throughout, so that the band for the most part are radio friendly, but without ever sounding too anodyne. Also the inclusion of full-time saxophonist Daniel Ricciardelli helps the band forge some kind of identity in an already overcrowded genre making them less guilty of plagiarism than some of their peers operating in the same time period. Daniel Ricciardelli proves to be an essential accoutrement (rather than an irritating distraction) to the Streek sound, in much the same way that Jimmy Romeo was for Detroit AORsters Adrenalin.

The Songs
The sprightly 'Johnny You're A Bad Boy' gets things off to a promising start - plenty of solid guitar riffing, keyboards all over the place and a big anthemic chorus. Billy DeMartines has the David Paich vocal mannerisms off to a tee, and the instrumental bridge is textbook Toto - if you didn't know better you'd swear it was lifted from their 'Hydra' album. 'I Can't Go On' is in a lighter West Coast vein - Ron Abrams exercising more restraint on this track, save for the incisive guitar solo in the mid-section. 'Only Heaven Knows' is the obligatory power ballad aiming for hit single territory, but much like a Stuart Pearce or Gareth Southgate penalty, it shoots wide of the mark. I'm afraid both the song's chorus and hook line are as flat as Holland, and Billy DeMartines vocal delivery lacks any real conviction - he sounds like he's singing about his mother-in-law, not the love of his life. 'Gone Too Far' though, is brimming with energy, driven along by pulsating keyboards and Ron Abram's surging guitar riffs - the urgency of his vocal delivery being the icing on the proverbial cake. Side one closer 'Fantasy' is not the Aldo Nova classic but a mid paced rocker whose heavy duty riffing and keyboard fills sends us lurching towards Survivor (circa 'Premonition') territory - the embellishment of sax though, gives the song an original twist. 'Runner' with its galloping piano lines and gritty guitar gets side two off to a flying start and maintains its high powered momentum all the way to the finishing line being characterised by some exuberant sax playing. 'Stop' similarly has guitar and keyboards in near perfect juxtaposition with Daniel J Ricciardelli again coming to the fore. The rather dreary ballad 'One More Time' means it's time for forty winks, but the band come to their senses (and jolt me awake) with the lively 'Tonight'. However the band's piece de resistance is saved till last - 'Rocket' is, if you'll forgive the weak pun, a high octane rocker. It opens with swirling keyboards and evolves into a wonderfully overblown (though lyrically naff) chorus. The highlight has to be the sax and guitar pyrotechnics in the mid-section.

In Summary
So there you have it, yet another prime example of a major label US AOR act whose album was destined for a one way ticket to the bargain bins almost immediately upon release. No doubt Streek's fate could be partially attributed to the sterling promotional work (for this read non-existent effort) of the execs at Columbia records - maybe they were using the same drugs as the guys from EMI America, or decided that the world wasn't ready for another Toto (and why not?). If you're a fan of the above bands, then you can't afford to be without this album, and in this day and age thanks to the power of the internet tracking it down shouldn't prove too difficult..

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#1 | rostoned on May 05 2008 09:18:09
The 'rather dreary ballad' (in RichardB words - and I agree, it's simply formulaic and uninspired) 'One More Night' was released as a single in the US and, believe it or not, went to #47 on the Billboard HOT 100! Almost a TOP 40 hit for this faceless and ultra obscure band, so Richard I have to disagree with your statement tha Columbia did not put any muscle behind the promotion of this lot. As you are probably aware just pushing/promoting a single in the so called 'TOP 40' radios in the US costs a lot of $$$.
#2 | richardb on May 05 2008 10:50:51
I hear you rostoned (though I suspect you're less than enamoured with this band in any event?). However the problem is a lot of record companies are very short sighted.

Despite the Columbia giving the band are promotional push for their first single this hardly constitutes adequate promotion does it? - more often than not this expense is suffered by the band by way of deduction from the band's recording advance (unbeknown to them!).

Too many record companies have been guilty of short sightedness in the past. This invariably leaves a band limbo after the failure of their first single with a debut album and no financial resources to promote it.

On this basis it's amazing that bands like ELO, Queen et al ever managed to hit the big time!

Richard B

On this basis it's amazing
#3 | rostoned on May 05 2008 13:32:32
Richard I've been employed in major record companies here in Italy (PolyGram, Universal, SonyBMG) for nearly 9 years so I know all the sad politics behind the curtains and the hugely mediocre people (still/left) employed there, especially at management level; music experts or fanatics are seen as aliens by them ...really depressing stuff! thumbs down I decided to leave, I was wasting my time.
#4 | reyno-roxx on May 05 2008 14:10:18
Until I became more enlightened as to how the record industry works over the years, I too used to question why record labels appeared to put little effort into promoting bands, many of whom were tax write-offs in the old days anyway.
The book 'Hitmen' certainly opened my eyes to a few things before I became more acquainted with other goings on. I agree with Filippo on this one. It's why I no longer write for magazines as well...
#5 | richardb on May 05 2008 18:27:13
Whilst admittedly I've never been employed by a record company, as my firm deal with the financial affairs of a number of household names in the music industry (here in the UK at least) I do have a little understanding of how things work...

The problem is the music industry always has been run by accountants(!) and lawyers (even more so these days) and unfortunately most of the management at senior level have little interest or musical knowledge - The current situation at EMI being a classic example.

Richard B
#6 | Eric on May 05 2008 20:11:03
Right on Richard and Dave.
#7 | rkbluez on June 18 2010 02:07:44
This is a great album...someone should reissue this if their is justice in the music this is 100% better than some of the stuff people here drool over...this band had it all...CBS sucked just as bad as EMI and the abysmal MCA back then.

Another prime example is the excellent Stranger album they put out without hardly a dime of promotion...a band that could and should of been huge.
#8 | gdazegod on June 18 2010 02:20:42
Stranger - a band the could and should of been huge.

Everywhere except for Florida, where they were HUGE! lol!
#9 | super80boy on May 29 2016 01:26:14
Streek's one off debut is a slick combination of all the right early 80's AOR elements with a tight production to boot. With exception of the one wimpy ballad ('One More Night'), Streek plays with energetic vigor and creatively augments with minimal touches of sax. Toto with more of a spicy punch is a good touch tone for their sound. They do give a Fan Club address on the back jacket, I wonder if Columbia put any fulfillment into that back in the day. Yet another top drawer cut out bin release from the early 80's.

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