CD REISSUE: 1997, Axepertise (NZ bootleg)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Bobby Barth - guitars, lead vocals * Edgar Riley - keyboards, backing vocals * Michael Osbourne - guitar * Mike Turpin - bass * Teddy Mueller - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Life's Just An Illusion * 02 Hang On * 03 Sympathasize * 04 How Come I Love You * 05 Forever * 06 Back On The Streets * 07 Doin' The Best That I Can * 08 You're Out Of Line * 09 Battles
Prior to the formation of melodic rock legends Axe, we had the band Babyface
. Based in the heartland of Wisconsin (in fact from the same region as 80's AORsters Airkraft
were signed to Minnesota label ASI Records, who are featured well enough here on GD to be familiar to most. It's pretty much acknowledged by most that the 1977 'Babyface' album was a load of crap manifested into vinyl. After having annoyed the mid-west press everywhere between Minneapolis and Milwaukee, the band skulked into hiding, and popped their heads up in Florida the following year in search of inspiration, insight, and a record deal. First a name change was in order. Axe became their monicker, MCA became their label, and a harder form of rock became their calling. Having heard Babyface
, it's staggering the change in quality over the two year period.
Three members of Babyface
made the journey to Axe. Bobby Barth, Edgar Riley and Mike Turpin were joined by second guitarist Michael Osbourne and drummer Teddy Mueller, and a damn impressive lineup of songs resulted. An old Creem review of the album suggested Axe swam in the same sea as Foreigner
, and as an overall assessment that's not a bad one. I would throw in there a dose of Legs Diamond
as well. How this lot churned out a 1979 classic with 'Hang On' defies belief. A tremendous track with pompous pretensions, and a massive wall of vocal harmonies. 'Sympathasize' is a gritty rocker with a leaning towards some of the British hard rock bands from the 70's, 'How Come I Love You' is also played in a similar vein but a slightly slower tempo. We get plenty of piano from Riley in the plaintive ballad 'Forever', which comes to life halfway through. 'Back On The Streets' has the attitude of a solid rocker combining the best bits of black leather, hot oil and searing tar-seal. 'Doin' The Best That I Can' takes the best bits of Foreigner
and Bad Company
and wraps it up in a melodic package. 'You're Out Of Line' is a big sounding pomp rocker which could be Morningstar
or Shooting Star
with its tinkly keyboards and what sounds like violin parts throughout. The finale 'Battles' is the coup de grace for the album. Long recognised as an Axe classic, this Styx
like pomposity is simple magical from start to finish. The band re-recorded it for their 1997 album 'Axe V'.
The CD re-release of 'Axe' included five bonus tracks ('Never In My Life', 'How Long Can A Rock 'N' Roll Band Keep Carryin' On', 'Angeline', 'Songwriter' and 'Stone Cold'. The band followed this up with the equally good 'Living On The Edge', but these two MCA albums are considered lightweight, when compared to their Atco and MTM Music eras. Still, both 'Axe' and 'Living On The Edge' make for good listening. You just have to chuckle at the band's origins.. still hard to believe actually. lol!
Related ArticlesAxe - 1979 AxeAxe - 1980 Living On The EdgeAxe - 1982 OfferingAxe - 1983 NemesisAxe - 2000 The Crown
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