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Santers - 1982 Racing Time

ARTIST: Santers, Rick
ALBUM: Racing Time
LABEL: Ready
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2009, Krescendo, KRECD30


LINEUP: Rick Santers - vocals, guitars * Rick Lazaroff - bass * Mark Santers - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mistreatin' Heart * 02 Mystical Eyes * 03 Still I Am * 04 Dog Without A Home * 05 Road To Morocco * 06 Two Against The World * 07 Back Streets * 08 Winter Freeze * 09 Hard Time Lovin' You * 10 Racing Time * 11 You Turn Me On (bonus, live)


Somewhat of an institution in their native Canada in the early 80's was this three piece outfit, led by by Rick Santers, with his brother Mark occupying the drum stool. In 2006 it would be fair to assume Santers are long since forgotten, but this is a noteworthy effort that reputedly was the bands greatest achievement. With a sound halfway between hard rock and AOR, it's hard to pin the bands real direction down, one moment coming off as contenders to Foreigner the next attacking with the gusto of AC/DC. This was the bands second album, 1981's 'Shot Down In Flames' the initial breakthrough. With the likes of Triumph, Loverboy, Rush, Toronto, Prism etc all vying for supremacy in this rich period of Canadian melodic rock, Santers could easily have gotten lost in the shuffle but managed to make quite a name for themselves.

The Songs
'Mistreatin' Heart' is the pick of the album, AOR ready without keyboards dominating the mix. Santers is a cross between Don Dokken and Lou Gramm vocally and the sound is heavier than many of their contemporaries, Rick Santers seeing to that with some hard riffs. Metal obviously ran through Santers veins, judging from 'Mystical Eyes' and its Zeppelin 'Kashmir' attempts, epic galloping riffs and stabbing keyboards. Shifting from one scene to the other, 'Still I Am' adds acoustic guitar work in, with Santers now recalling Brian Howe before his time even began! The mood quickly changes to the bold AC/DC'ish hard rock of 'Dog Without A Home', which could share a home itself with April Wine. I feel Santers vocals don't fit this style, lacking that hoarse edge needed to make it convincing. For the AOR lover 'Two Against The World' might be of some interest, first rate indeed and the direction the band should have pursued as a whole. 'Back Streets' is nothing less than stunning melodic rock, with heavy shades of Foreigner and its nice to hear the keyboards unloaded during 'Winter Freeze'. The title track is fairly fast paced, with hints of Fortress and typically harmonic early 80's vocals work from the band during a beautiful chorus.

In Summary
A treat for the early 80's rock connoisseur, should any of you be tempted to secure a copy which to my knowledge is readily available on CD. This was supposed to propel the band to the top but that never quite materialised and the band called it quits after a 1986's 'Top Secrecy'. Santers collaborated with Triumph among others after the split and rightfully maintains the image of a minor guitar legend in his homeland. His wizardry is what adds the edge to 'Racing Time', despite the occasional sub par vocal work. Aside from that this remains a definite add to the ever growing collection!

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#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 04:52:56
Yet another Mega Canadian melodic rock release from the classic years, and a band that doesn't get as much recognition as it should, as they were up there with Coney Hatch, Triumph etc of this world. This is their best release and a damn fine one at that. Very powerful sound for a three piece and some great tracks, especially 'Mistreatin' Heart' (a little like 'Hey Operator' by Coney Hatch in places), 'Road To Morocco' and the title track. Highly recommended indeed.
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 15 2008 12:35:49
Terrific band. Saw them open up for Magnum at Hammersmith Odeon back in the day. Great live too.
#3 | rkbluez on July 08 2010 22:40:30
This has long been a favorite of mine since the vinyl release. One of the best hard melodic rocking Canadian disc's ever recorded Jez mentioned this is right up there with Coney Hatch, Triumph and Wireless.

I like the songs Jez mention but my favorite is Mystical Eyes with the rippin' middle section riff...timeless and Winter Freeze rocks like hell also.

Thankfully Alpha Brunette did a Santers box set containing the 3 original albums + the 4th never released before they went under... of them all this one is the one to buy or die.
#4 | gdazegod on July 09 2010 00:56:14
I quite like 1998's 'Top Secrecy'. I think I feel a review coming on.. hmm!
#5 | super80boy on October 17 2015 15:37:06
Just spun their Rik Emmet produced 1984 Guitar Alley album and that needs a review on this site - excellent release.
#6 | super80boy on March 26 2016 16:08:36
Finally found this album out in the wild. Racing Time has an abundance of catchy hooks, tightly crafted arrangements and memorable under-rated guitar playing, an aforementioned Foreigner type of release with both edgy and melancholic additives. Tons of top shelf tracks to spew about, Highly Recommended.

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