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Level - 1982 Level

ALBUM: Level
LABEL: Black Sheep Records
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Frank Jerome - lead vocals * Geri Gates - guitars, vocals * Bob Chevalier - keyboards, vocals * Brian McIntyre - bass, vocals * Mark Massiello - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Living In My World * 02 Tell Your Love To Last * 03 Let Me Love You * 04 Until Tomorrow * 05 On My Own * 06 You've Got Running On Your Mind * 07 Permanent Scar * 08 Be My Girl * 09 Believe In Love

An undiscovered album which will have all the train-spotters searching through the history-books looking for more on this outfit. Well, I've looked, and couldn't find a lot, apart from an entry on Strutter Zine, and more importantly, a good review in Issue #6 of AOR Classics magazine. From the USA, the band have released an album that will appeal to many. Comparisons draw favour with MPG, SPYS, Balance and their quite brash drum sound equates well to a band like Face Dancer for instance. Though much of the album is similarly paced, there are some unusual threads during its 30 minutes plus listening time which border on quirky, but it surely makes for an interesting listen.

The Songs
Check out the excellent power-ballad 'Until Tomorrow', or the surging near power-pop of 'You've Got Running On Your Mind'. The pick of the bunch is 'Permanent Scar', this one is the best representation of their sound I believe. The only track which doesn't gel is 'On My Own', which is a wistful 60's sounding ballad, probably out of place here.

In Summary
AOR purists will try and pick the bones out of this one, if only they can track a copy of it down, which like most yesteryear rarities, is proving difficult to find.

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#1 | Geri Gates on January 01 1970 01:00:00

Hello all, Geri Gates here sticking my two cents in.

It was late 1980 when I was recruited by Frank Jerome/Annunziatta to join what was then known as Fusion, a local wedding/occasions band who saved their pennies and recorded. (Smart Move At The Time)

I remember recording two demos, one as Fusion 'Let's Spend The Night Together' (An Original Song By Frank), and 'Do You Believe In Love' being LEVEL's 1st official recording. This was the same song that appears on the LEVEL album, but a different arrangment and recording which we did under Tommy Marolda very comfortable production hand.

This song (demo version) caught Frank's Manager Nick M. at McDonalds, and soon we had Nick and a few others of his business associates as financial backers for our album project which took us 9 months of hard work and their ca$h to finish.

I recall Tommy Marolda being one of the most increadibly talented people I had and have worked with in my career. He was and is so creative and as I remember quick to give his help whenever any of us would run into a jam during those sessions. I for one considered it my musical version of going to college.

Frank and i became quite close musically and as friends and we attended every session together with either he or I driving together in our parents cars. (I was 18 and he 19 when we started the album and we each finished the recording and mixing process at 19 and 20 years of age respectively).

It's a shame that Tommy's studio wasn't close to our residences as Frank and I lived only a street apart from one another which really worked out well for us while recording the album and coming up with song ideas as they were needed.

'Until Tomorrow' is one where we pulled the Lennon/McCartney writing team thing (I writing the chord riff on the acoustic and Frank kicking out a wonderful melody) which we did for everything from songs to riffs to drum fills. We were quite picky as to what went down on tape. Tommy's string arrangement for 'Until Tomorrow' as well as the rest of the strings are nothing short of awesome.(REAL STRING's sampled stuff was not around then not that we knew of).

Again I sat back as much as I could and soaked up the atmosphere. All of us were big Beatles fans and still are I'm sure. I used as inspiration for my guitar solo on 'Permanent Scar' by Tommy Marolda an old hit 'Come and Get Your Love' by Redbone from 1974 if you hum the solo and the chorus to Redbone you'll hear it in there.

I did it again a few years later for 'Affairs' on 'XLR8's' (My band following Level) 1st Album, which by the way sold a ton of product locally for us. I mention this because LEVEL only printed 500 lp's and didn't see another printing. We were very dissapointed at this outcome considering how hard we worked.

We couldn't get people in our home area to support us for whatever reason. Local radio WPST did take to us and I guess that was our trade off. I'd be very happy to see the LEVEL album re-released on CD so long as we get the writing credits worked out properly. You see the Original lp only mention Frank who did the majority of the songwriting on what we would all call for the most part his baby.

The only co writing being 'Let Me Love You'-'Until Tomorrow' and 'Be My Girl' Bedroom songwriting at it's best. I really loved recording and still do Love that LEVEL Album. I've heard that Europiean bootlegs sell on e-Bay from time to time however I did not see any while in Amsterdam, Holland as of last year.

Geri Gates
#2 | Nick C on August 23 2008 12:40:03
Tommy Marolda produced eh? Horizontal Ladies Club honcho.
#3 | Eric on September 07 2008 16:36:40
Great info Geri!Thumbs Up
#4 | super80boy on March 17 2013 00:10:09
This is one of the rarest AOR albums in my collection. It's an oustanding album and worth every penny (and there were a lot of them) that I paid for it. Every single song is top drawer indie AOR bliss. Fantastic cover too!
#5 | richardb on August 06 2013 18:39:55
I agree with your comments about the music, though I'm not sure I share your sentiments about the album cover!
#6 | gdazegod on April 11 2014 07:58:12
Tommy Marolda actually produced Richie Sambora's 'Stranger In Town' album.
#7 | gdazegod on April 11 2014 08:01:46
Researching this album with a little more depth, it seems Level originate from the Trenton New Jersey area. Geri mentions his local radio station WPST, which was/is a Trenton based station since the 60's.

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