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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Nielsen Pearson - 1983 Blind Luck
Nielsen Pearson - 1983 Blind Luck

ARTIST: Nielsen Pearson
ALBUM: Blind Luck
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST 12176
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Reed Nielsen, Mark Pearson - lead and background vocals

Guests: Keyboards and Piano - Robbie Buchanan, Jai Winding, John Bowen, Richard Landis, Ian Underwood * Guitars - Mike Landau, Charles 'Icarus' Johnson, Steve Lukather * Bass - Neil Stubenhaus * Percussion - Lenny Castro, Victor Feldman, Steve Foreman * Drums - Carlos Vega * Backing Vocals - Joe Chemay, Jon Joyce, Jim Hass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hasty Heart * 02 Sentimental * 03 Too Good To Last * 04 Break Nobodys Heart * 05 I Hear You Breathing * 06 Lauralei * 07 Expectations * 08 Fadeaway * 09 Got Me Where You Want Me * 10 Carrie

Their previous two albums (1978's 'Nielsen Pearson Band' and the self titled 1980 release) were solid, well crafted affairs, but it's their third and final album 'Blind Luck', which most AOR fans are familiar with and which is rightly lauded as a classic of the West Coast genre. As you can imagine this album received zero publicity in the UK when released in the summer of 1983 and I therefore stumbled upon this album almost by accident - or should that be 'Blind Luck'? However a quick scan of the impressive list of the supporting cast - a veritable who's who of some of the hottest session musicians of the early 1980's, told me all I needed to know.

The Songs
If you check out the guys on the sleeve I think you know what to expect, quite clearly they have been taking a leaf out of the John O'Banion book of fashion tips - casual jackets and skinny ties were de rigueur for 'undercover lovers' back in the early 1980's. In fact John O'Banion is a good reference point musically, plus of course there's a dash of Toto lurking there in the mix (invariably because the ubiquitous Steve Lukather has several guest spots). The albums strength lies in the stunning harmonies of this duo coupled with their ability to pen a catchy tune - a feast for those who like their music heavy on the melody (as opposed to the guitars).

'Hasty Heart' is a good way to start proceedings, especially when the intro has Robbie Buchanan's swirling keys in perfect tandem with Mike Landau's power chords. The icing on the proverbial cake of course, being the killer vocal hook and Luke's free flowing solo on the fade out.

'Sentimental' is textbook perfect AOR - pulsating keyboards giving way to some solid Mike Landau riffs and yet more sumptuous vocal harmonies.

'Too Good To Last', the David Robert's penned classic (and the only cover on the album) is the equal of the original due to an immaculate performance from Reed Nielsen whose plaintive vocals encapsulate perfectly this song's introspective mood.

'Break Nobody's Heart' is a fine up-tempo rocker punctuated by Mike Landau's distinctive stop/start guitar similar to that which was deployed to great effect on Steve Perry's 'You Should Be Happy'.

The poignant 'I Hear You Breathing' is musically lighter fare approaching Player territory, but a pleasant way to round of side two nonetheless.

'Laurelei' (not the Styx classic) sees the boys perfecting their best Toto moves. Hats off to guitarist Charles 'Icarus' Johnson who does a surprisingly good Steve Lukather impersonation with some shredding solo guitar - no mean feat considering the guy normally keeps company with Al Jarreau and Stanley Clarke. Not exactly AOR luminaries in my book anyway!

The memorable 'Expectations', is predominantly driven by Robbie Buchanan's staccato keyboards. Charles Johnson's guitar takes a back seat this time around.

The undeniably haunting 'Fade Away' features some wonderfully understated guitar fills from that man Lukather and is characterized by yet more of those lush vocal harmonies.

'You Got Me Where You Want Me' is perhaps the most overtly commercial fare on an album chock full of potential US top 40 material, but ironically for me the album's low point. A little too throwaway it sounds like a tune that didn't make the grade for George Benson's 'In Your Eyes' album.

Fortunately album closer 'Carrie' is a pleasant, mid paced rocker and a good way to end the album.

In Summary
To quote the song title it appears 'Too Good To Last' was sadly prophetic as I'm not sure what happened to these guys - there appears to be a dearth of information on the world wide web (or perhaps I'm not looking hard enough). In short, this duo's aesthetic appearance like their music is slick, upbeat, though unthreatening - definitely an album for those who enjoy their AOR lite.

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#1 | dangerzone on April 13 2007 10:39:52
Would it be too dramatic to say this is one of the more perfect AOR recordings ever made? The guitar solos during 'Sentimental' and 'I Hear You Breathing' contain more melody than anything off Airplay's classic almost and 'Carrie' is right up there with anything by Bolton or Journey. For me this is top ten of all time stuff.
#2 | richardb on April 21 2007 19:49:10
Agreed, one of the greatest West Coast/AOR recordings of all time, with stunning vocals and great material. Though this album hasn't been hyped to the same degree as 'Airplay', I-ten, Maxus et al. It's a mystery to me why they didn't manage to forge a lucrative song-writing career along the lines of Messrs Kelly&Steinberg. Of course I stand to be corrected so if anyone else has any more information about this dynamic duo please let me know?

Richard B
#3 | gdazegod on July 23 2007 02:51:27
Along with the David Roberts 'All Dressed Up', this is fantastic west coast!
#4 | viceguy on September 17 2007 21:09:16
#5 | gdazegod on September 17 2007 21:12:19
Haha! Thumbs Up
#6 | rostoned on April 16 2008 22:13:52
undiscovered classic. almost impossible to find on CD (the japanese edition has been out of print for ages), it's ironic that it's so hard to find EVEN in vinyl format, it NEVER appears for sale on the usual places! I have a promo copy which purchased very luckily from the US say a year ago. I guess the very minimum amount for a major label had been printed at the time in US (15.000 copies?) but the absolute lack of cut outs on the used market makes me think if this was released in stores at all....hmm!
#7 | rostoned on May 02 2008 12:23:16
Today Reed Nielsen, a two time cancer survivor, divides his time between the music bustle of Nashville and the serenity of Tahoe. He has penned many big country hits for or sung by Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny Rogers, Doug Supernaw, Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Eddie Rabbitt.
Of more interest to melodic rock aficionados he appears on 2 classics from 1986: has 2 writes and 2 co-writes (with Van himself) on Van Stephenson's 'Suspicious Heart' and 4 co-writes on Glen Burtnick's 'Talking In Code'. He also plays keyboards on the first, keys and drums programming on the second and drums programming & back vocals on Stone Fury's 'Let Them Talk'.
#8 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:09:20
I have always considered both these albums to be right up there with the best of them in this genre. ok - not quite topping the mighty 'Airplay' album, but not far off in terms of Quality. Of the two, 'Blind Luck' just about edges it, but it is a close thing. Definately a must have album if you love Westcoast, although not that easy to track down (yet another Jap only release)
#9 | richardb on June 13 2008 09:12:26
Interesting to hear that the vinyl copy was so hard to find in the USA. Makes me wonder how on earth the copy I bought from a long defunct record shop in London ever ended up there in the first place!

Richard B
#10 | JuniorNB on October 01 2008 14:57:59
Since this album is nearly impossible to find, a Rapidshare link is available on the Late For The Sky website, if anyone's interested.
#11 | rostoned on October 01 2008 18:21:10
JuniorNB it's way easier than that, just go to the 'download links' thread in the forum section of this very website and you'll find it, it has been there for a few months now, posted by the very me... Smile
#12 | JuniorNB on October 01 2008 21:05:00
Ahhh. I see. Thanks for the info. I'll have to scan that Downloads Forum tonight.
#13 | kim_hp on January 02 2012 19:26:19
I just realized the song "I'm Alright" listed above is missing in the mp3 rip that I have. If somebody could send that to me I would highly appreciate it.

As for the album, not much to add to what have been said. One of the all-time greatest AOR/westcoast albums, with not a weak track in sight. Only a shame it is so hard to find.
#14 | code4 on October 18 2015 21:36:35
Great album. Only slight critique could be noticeably weak lyrics on a few songs. Example (from the musically great song 'Carrie'): 'Why can't i sleep at night, and then only dream of you when i do, i got no appetite and that just will not do'. Did a bit of making lyrics up on the spot i would imagine. No biggie. The album kicks major ass. Ironically the only slightly dull moment might be the cover version of David Roberts' killer 'Too Good To Last' song. It sounds almost like it's sung by a computer and carries none of the emotion of the original to my ears. That said, given the frantic tempo, and drum machine like beat, i'm sure it would have been quite hard to deliver much emotion to this.
#15 | gdazegod on February 27 2017 19:54:27
Nielsen Pearson - 1983 I Hear You Breathing
YouTube Video:

I think this is a video clip which Alun put up on YouTube a few years back.
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