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Refugee - 1985 Affairs In Babylon

ARTIST: Refugee
ALBUM: Affairs In Babylon
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2006, MTM Music, 0861-131


LINEUP: Myles Hunter - vocals * Rob Kennedy - guitars * Howard Helm - keyboards * Martyn Jones - bass * Brian Doerner - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Affairs In Babylon * 02 Thunder Of Another Night * 03 Listen To Your Heart * 04 Hot Words * 05 Dream On Anstasia * 06 Exiles In The Dark * 07 No Survivors/No Way Out * 08 Body To Body * 09 Here We Go Again * 10 These Are The Good Times * 11 We All Go Down To The River * 12 Let It Out * 13 Mississippi Side Road * 14 Piano Drum Feature * 15 Mighty Quinn

AORsters will know the history of some of the Refugee band members. Myles Hunter came from Canadian pompsters Avalon, who released that gem of an album called' Voices Of Life' back in 1977. And of course keyboardist Howard Helm, a member of GDAZE favourites Zon. Along with a few other musicians well known in the Ontario/Toronto scene, Refugee formed from the phoenix called Michael Fury. That band released an album in 1984 also called 'Affairs In Babylon', but they had been around as a live band since 1979. However, Michael Fury the band was soon developing an identity crisis with its audience, who were by now convinced that Myles Hunter was in fact Michael Fury! Not helped by their record label Passport who wanted to push the solo artist direction - the band became somewhat confused. However, Chrysalis Records came to the rescue, gave the band a new deal, new name, and managed to salvage the rights of that Michael Fury album, which was re-released the following year with new production, new songs and a new direction - albeit the album title remained the same. Thank god for that - the last thing we needed was further confusion!

The Songs
The lead off title track 'Affairs In Babylon' is a short 1.46 cameo before the drama of 'Thunder Of Another Night' adds more tears and moisture to an already dampened pillow - metaphorically speaking. The keyboard bombast of Helm providing the thick cover for the rest of the band to do its thing. The 6 and half minute 'Listen To Your Heart' is simply.. Refugee at its best. A classic slice of AOR period. By contrast 'Hot Words' is a shorter punchy affair (all puns intended!), while the band drift into BLVD territory with the smooth offering of 'Dream On Anastasia'. It would be hard to ignore the excellence of 'Exiles In The Dark' - which plugs at the harder end of the AOR/radio rock spectrum, particularly that pulsing bass line. 'No Survivors/No Way Out' is another shorter high-energy workout whilst 'Body To Body' demonstrates Refugee's penchant for drama and atmosphere. One of my fave tracks on the album is the AORtastic 'Here We Go Again' - which has been previously featured on the GDAZE Radio Channels. The regular album is completed by 'These Are The Good Times', where the band slow it down a notch.

In Summary
Twas a pity that the general public didn't see the band in the same light. To also hear stories of Refugee playing live in downtown Toronto bars/clubs in their heyday, to an audience of 40 or less is downright criminal. However, they left behind a legacy of two excellent albums - if you include their brilliant 1987 release 'Burning From The Inside Out'. As most of us know, 'Affairs In Babylon' was released on CD in 2004 by MTM Music, but to this writer, it is unsure what the overall quality is like, as some of that label's re-releases have been of inferior fidelity quality. Still, there were a number of bonus tracks included - so that was good..

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#1 | rostoned on April 06 2008 20:34:02
I heard in some higher circles that the MTM reissue of this one could be THE WORST SOUNDING CD reissue in AOR field ever...(luckily) I don't have a copy to confirm, I stuck to my original Canadian vinyl with drill holed thick sleeve! How cool is that? in love
#2 | gdazegod on April 06 2008 20:38:01
Well at least the follow up came out originally on CD. I managed to send a dubbed copy to bassist Martyn Jones who had been hanging out for a copy for ages. How sad is that?
#3 | reyno-roxx on April 07 2008 15:44:44
I can confirm that the CD reissue is ATROCIOUS. I sent mine back to the retailer and bought something else instead.
#4 | Jez on June 13 2008 10:48:57
Very very good slice of Canadian AOR. The material throughout is excellent with 'Dream On Anastasia', 'Exiles', 'No Survivors' and 'Body To Body' being my picks.
#5 | rostoned on November 19 2008 17:06:57
Their version of 'These Are The Good Times' is frankly awful compared to the cover done by Eric Martin two years later. Never heard MICHAEL FURY and JIM JIDHED versions tho'
#6 | Vincenzo on October 09 2011 12:58:13
One of the best album from Canada and one of the worse reissue by MTM. For shame.
#7 | windsofmarch on July 22 2012 21:15:22
It reminds me a blend of Fortune,Bon Jovi and Springsteen.Listen Hot Words or Exiles In The Dark and tell me if I right or not....confused

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