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Articles Home » 2002 Articles » Wood, Joseph Lee - 2002 Joseph Lee Wood
Wood, Joseph Lee - 2002 Joseph Lee Wood

ARTIST: Wood, Joseph Lee
ALBUM: Joseph Lee Wood
LABEL: Wood/Hill Music Group
YEAR: 2002


LINEUP: Joseph Lee Wood - vocals * Marty Randles - bass, drums, rhythm guitars, vocals * Monty Smith - guitars, vocals * Greg Fox - keyboards, vocals * Chris Leighton - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Stand So Far Away * 02 Flirting Eyes * 03 When's The Last Time You Felt Like A Woman * 04 To Have And To Hold * 05 Won't Stop Loving You * 06 Love Is The Light * 07 Talk To Me * 08 Love You Like I Love You * 09 Time To Come Home * 10 Letters In The Rain

Another case of an artist coming to the fore many years after the event. Or as in the case of Joseph Lee Wood.. 'perhaps crawling out of the woodwork?' Excusing the pun, this is some seriously pure AOR, and ironically, you won't find any band or artist of the current brigade doing stuff like this anymore. Even if they were, it wouldn't sound half as good as this. Joseph hails from Washington state, and has been on the local scene in one shape or another for years. After spying reviews on some European sites, it was bemusing (and somewhat confusing) to read how they compared every band in the AOR Universe with JLW, none of whom I would have used as a reference points.. thats for sure. Hearing is a funny and personal thing eh? When I think of pure AOR, I zero in on an outfit like Beau Coup.. and that's perhaps the closest similarity I can throw in the hat after playing this CD at least four times before putting finger to keyboard. As this whole effort was originally timebound from 1989, other contemporaries from that era drift across the ear as well. Hints of Stan Bush, Rick Matthews and the Canadian brothers Worrall come to mind.. that whole AOR riff/keyboard interplay scene is recreated here once again, while Joseph's vocals are in the same style as Marq Andrew Speck from Sweet Crystal (previously featured here at GDAZE), though in a slightly higher register. So if that little introductory scenario is enough to tease you, then why didn't some A&R klutz at a big record company pick up on JLW at the time?

The Songs
The keyboard tinkering on opener 'Don't Stand So Far Away' is a Beau Coup deadinger. This is probably the epitome of American AOR, and it's fortunate we get to hear it early on in the piece with this album. 'Flirting Eyes' is prime-time heartland melodic rock a la Rick Matthews. If you're a fan of his 'Only The Young' album, then this is up your alley. Like a Mailman in a hurry, the delivery on 'When's The Last Time You Felt A Woman' surges to category 'urgent'. Melodic as hell, though the songtitle is a bit suspect. Surely it's not about cross-dressers? Just kidding.. Musically this one is great punchy stuff. The tempo is turned down a notch for the melodrama of 'To Have And To Hold' (no.. not The Storm version), balladry with class is probably the best way to describe it. The next pair are killers: 'Won't Stop Loving You' is an amalgam of Worrall and the aforementioned Rick Matthews, though Greg Fox's keyboard work is deadset 1980's. The track 'Love Is The Light' does indeed shine some brightness on precedings. This one zeroes in on Stan Bush And Barrage territory, though in a less heavy-handed way. The out-of-sorts 'Talk To Me' has a Eurhythmics euro-pop feel to it.. slightly out of place in comparison to the rest of the album. However, things are back on track with the racy AOR of 'Love You Like I Love You'.. complete with tinkly keys and striding guitars. The Beau Coup soundalike competition comes home to roost again on the suitably titled 'Time To Come Home Again'.. Try humming this along to B.C's 'Sweet Rachel' or 'Jane' and I'm sure you'll get the picture. To top it off, the track 'Letters In The Rain' feature the guitar-tones of Smith and Randles who do the Scholz/Goudreau thing a la Boston, as though it's a throw-back to the long lost tradition of 80's AOR.

In Summary
I have every expectation that AOR seekers will be doing a bit of investigation on JLW. Hopefully my perception of the songs will give such punters the incentive to track down this resurrected gem before copies run out. In the meantime, the hit-list of artists represented in the comparison stakes (shown above) should give you a clue as to whereabouts Joseph Lee Wood sits within the AOR spectrum. At this stage of precedings, and considering the relative weakness of pure AOR out there, I'd say JLW is close to the front of the pack. Interview to follow..

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 02:00:32
Enjoyable slice of AOR, well played and produced (especially for an Independant label) but lacking the real killer touch.
#2 | super80boy on February 20 2017 20:09:19
This CD has been kicking around in the collection for years and i'm kicking myself for not listening to it sooner. The pumping 'When's The Last Time You Felt Like A Woman' is stellar. The keyboard sparkle gives that pompous effect in standout 'Won't Stop Loving You'. Nice guitar solo in 'Love You Like I Love You'. I like the gang choruses in 'Time To Come Home'. This is definitely a lost gem of pure addictive late 80's AOR.
#3 | gdazegod on February 20 2017 21:18:16
Joseph Lee Wood - 2002 Don't Stand So Far Away
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