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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Avalon (Richie Zito) - 2006 Avalon
Avalon (Richie Zito) - 2006 Avalon

ARTIST: Avalon (Richie Zito)
ALBUM: Avalon
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Hugo, Joe Lynn Turner, Eddie Money, Joseph Williams, Danny Vaughan, Eric Martin, Philip Bardowell, Richie Kotzen - lead vocals * Richie Zito - guitars, bass, synth, mandolin * Tommy Decker, Greg Bissonette - drums * Jason Turbin - strings * Joey Carbone - piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blue Collar * 02 Is He Better Than Me * 03 Nightmare * 04 Oh Samantha * 05 Avalon * 06 Life Got In The Way * 07 Blue Monday * 08 Forever I Will * 09 I Can't Forget You * 10 I Put My Life In Your Hands * 11 Good Things Take Time * 12 I Don't Want To Want You


Can I come right out and say it? This is one big disappointment. For all the big names onboard, the material pulled together for this album should've been much better than the end result. Some of you may have already read my pre-ramblings on my latest Editors Blog. I remarked that this Avalon project covers four old Prism songs taken from their 1983 set 'Beat Street', and to my ears at least, those older versions sound much better than the ones on display here. Perhaps it's the age old adage about money well spent, and how many dollars you can throw at a project to make it sound good. Despite his well-founded reputation, producer Richie Zito is made to look and sound ordinary without the big bucks to back it up, even though the rhetoric and preamble would suggest this is a CD for the ages - it quite categorically, isn't.

The Songs
The first three songs all hail from that aforementioned 'Beat Street' album, not that many mainstream sites have picked up on it ( excluded). 'Blue Collar' and 'Is He Better Than Me' take on that Foreigner 'Hot Blooded' sound to good effect. Eddie Money's rendition of 'Nightmare' can only be described as god awful, thankfully he improves on 'I Put My Life In Your Hands', probably because the song is better suited to him. The Joseph Williams contribution 'Oh Samantha' isn't too bad, very Toto like understandably. The two Philip Bardowell tunes 'I Can't Forget You' and 'Good Things Take Time' are the most AOR on the album, and though good, the lack of dynamics in the production makes what could've sounded great, sound ordinary instead. If there is a highlight, it is the two Eric Martin contributions. The jangly semi-acoustic 'Life Got In The Way' and the Prism ballad 'I Don't Want To Want You'. Both songs suit his vocal style perfectly.

In Summary
Last year, there was nigh on a moment that the Frontiers label could do no wrong (excusing the Styx and Harem Scarem disasters). This year however, apart from an encouraging start, they seem to be navigating themselves through a minefield. Where there is one excellent set (i.e Slamer), they offset it with two 'not so great' releases. This one-up/two down approach ultimately manifests itself as inconsistency. It is no wonder that you could literally toss a blanket over the number of fans who support the scene now; it is represented by the small number of labels representing the market. If this is the best they can do, then I might as well close this site and sell all my CD's, and make some 'real money' elsewhere.

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#1 | Eric on September 25 2006 22:58:03
I have not heard this disc, but your closing paragraph hit the nail on the head concerning the current scene and labels.Sad

#2 | gdazegod on September 26 2006 03:20:33
Frankly Eric, I would rather get 'lost' in a whole bunch of 70's and 80's albums. As I know many of our readers would too!
#3 | Jez on September 26 2006 20:08:15
I like some of the songs on this album, The Jo Williams, 1 of the Bardowell and the 2 Eric Martin as you mentioned. But 'Blue Monday' is absolutely attrocious, one of the worst AOR tracks I have ever heard in my long years on this earth. Starts off OK with Hugo's vocal intro, but the rest is Out of tune, badly produced and is really totally awful. 6 good tracks out of 11 -not great really. Another of the predicted AOR projects that dissapoints. Where have we heard that before???
#4 | Totochris on October 04 2006 14:36:04
Well I had some rather critical words about Frontiers and the state of the scene myself on some other occasion (actually I was complaining about the last Toto-album if i remember it correctly). Having read George's comments here I can only agree in every way. Frontiers should really stop a second and think about their state at the very moment. They're not the small label from Italy anymore who are forgiven any mistakes because they 'try so hard'. They have the biggest bands now on board (Toto, Journey, Survivor ...) and they are the ones to guarantee the further improvement on quality in the scene. Whereas the new album from Slamer is a classic piece of melodic rock, a lot of the other releases are simply a catastrophe. Avalon, Vertigo II are only some examples.

What especially bothers me is this 'project' kind of thing. No fan can relate to the endless releases with strange names and famous singers on it. The production quality especially from Mr. Grossi is simply sub-standard, even for a small budget. The masterminds of Frontiers often chose songs to be on these albums that every self-respecting fan already has and mostly in better versions. To me this is a pure cash-in on the fans.

My advise? Try to form real bands, release less albums with better quality and the scene may have a future. In the meantime I'll keep on detecting old gems via this site.
#5 | jeffrey343 on October 06 2015 15:18:04
I got this nine years ago, mainly for 'Is He Better Than Me'. JLT does a pretty good job on that one, although it doesn't match the original. I can't remember if I got the album before or after reading this review, but I do echo the sentiments. I haven't listened to any track from it since probably 2007.
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