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Ferguson, Jay - 1982 White Noise

ARTIST: Ferguson, Jay
ALBUM: White Noise
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12196
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2000, Magic Records, 525135-2


LINEUP: Jay Ferguson - vocals, keyboards * Bob Webb, Mike Hamilton - guitars * Mark Andes - bass * Tris Imboden, Kevin Valentine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 White Noise * 02 I'm Down * 03 I Come Alive * 04 Inside Out * 05 Empty Sky * 06 Tonite (Fallin' For Ya) * 07 Baby Come Back * 08 Heat Of The Night * 09 Million $ * 10 She's Mine Tonight

Prior to his solo career, Ferguson was well known for his stints with 60's rockers Spirit (with whom Andes was a member also) and later 70's semi-legends Jo Jo Gunne. Following Gunne's split Ferguson went solo and released a succession of excellent albums, which included the hit 'Thunder Island' in 1978, taken from the album of the same name. Ferguson's work became increasingly more AOR orientated, with the albums 'Real Life Ain't That Way' (1979) amd 'Terms And Conditions' (1980) both containing a handful of superb AOR gems. 'White Noise' would end up being Ferguson's last solo venture to date, but this was a fine way to bow out. Ferguson had embraced the AOR dream and delivered a set very much in the tradition that Rick Springfield was blazing a trail with through albums like 'Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet'. In fact this is the closest comparison 'White Noise' can be used for, a short snappy collection of three minute AOR classics, barring the two covers, one of The Beatles 'I'm Down', the other Eddy Grant's 'Baby Come Back', both of which can be ignored.

The Songs
In all honesty this is what many readers of this site live for. 1982 era AOR with that special feel, which when heard is readily identifiable. The title track is the heaviest moment, with Randy California, another ex Spirit comrade, and Joe Walsh featuring on guitar. More heavy handed than what follows, but highly listenable. The floodgates open with 'I Come Alive', an AOR ballad of immense proportions, laying on the keyboards and drama thickly. Horns are featured prominently during 'Inside Out' aided by a great guitar solo and all round sense of melody. 'Empty Sky' is a quirky departure, acoustic and laid back, but still within acceptable melodic relams. Ferguson goes for Springfield's empire with the Gerard McMahon penned 'Tonite (Fallin' For Ya)', which features a hook identical to Springfield's own 'Tonight'. This runs so close it's almost suspect, but the melody is so infectious it really doesn't matter. Things pick up further with 'The Heat Of The Night', which epitomises everything that made this era of AOR so memorable. The chorus is stunning, on Henry Paul levels, truly the kind of song dreams are made of for any AOR buff. More of this is found on the last pair of tracks, 'Million $' and 'She's Mine Tonight', the latter a rather exceptional exercise in upbeat melody.

In Summary
Ferguson left the scene following this albums lack of chart action, which was baffling in itself. He has made sporadic appearances, partaking in a Jo Jo Gunne reunion some years back. Thankfully he left such milestones as this for his solo epitaph. This is available on CD and should be purchased by anyone with the slightest credibility as an AOR observer. All of Ferguson's solo work is worth investigating, but for the purposes of a site such as Glory-Daze, this is the place to start.

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#1 | Eric on August 07 2008 23:56:28
Up until this album, I thought Jay's solo work was kind of scmaltzy with stuff like 'Thunder Island' and 'Shakedown Cruise', but with 'White Noise' it all came together, too bad no one paid much attention.
#2 | gdazegod on August 08 2008 00:54:08
I agree Eric. I was going to review 'Thunder Island' (the album) but came thinking that it was too lightweight, sort of like Jimmy Buffet doing pop! So left it alone..

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