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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Dragon Fly - 1985 Tales of Dragon Fly Chapter One
Dragon Fly - 1985 Tales of Dragon Fly Chapter One

ARTIST: Dragon Fly
ALBUM: Tales Of Dragon Fly Chapter I
LABEL: World Rec.
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: Zakat Zahir - lead guitar, vocals * Pill Ferguson - percussion, drums, vocals * Tony Tillman - synthesizer, keyboards * Keith Williamson - bass, vocals * David Stallings - rhythm guitar, vocal director * Micheal Burt - drums * Candy Churchill, Juan Edwards, Cheryl Scott - vocals, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stand In Line * 02 Gonna Be Alright * 03 I'm No Prisoner * 04 I'm Tired Of Dreaming * 05 You Can't Hide * 06 Thunder Thighs * 07 You Can Have It * 08 Give You Up * 09 Crackin Down

I remember buying this from a certain Stephen B Allen, who I spent an enjoyable chinese meal, one lunchtime, while Stephen was visiting my home town in the course of his work. We spent time discussing his US trips searching for rare vinyl and our love of our Championship football teams, I hope the Burnley shirt still fits. Now whether he picked this up on one of those trips I don't know, but what AOR history do we have on this release? Well not much, the only reference is the executive co-producer Ray Roper, once of Stonebolt. On first glance the cover gives a 'prog' or even a 'metal' feel, but the music contained on the vinyl is high quality AOR, full of sublime melodies. A recent auction listing states this was limited to only a thousand copies, I can't find any evidence to confirm or deny this, however it still sold for a relevant small price and does seen to have dropped below many an AOR collectors radar. A total of 9 musicians appear on this album and even states details of the stage manager and lightning tech so I only can imagine they were a working band and toured. The main contributors are Zakat Zahir, who even designed the cover and Keith Williamson, these guys showed amazing songwriting ability. I would be interested in any more information of these, especially Keith Williamson who wrote three cracking tunes. Date wise? Well the only clue is contained in the insert which has been signed by seven of the group, with the year '85' scribbled underneath one of the signatories, however it feels earlier than that. All points seem to say that it originates from Canada and was released on World Records (the custom record people). Other facts being that it was recorded in Vancouver, the same studio where Stonebolt recorded 'Juvenile American Princess' in 1982 and was mastered in Toronto.

The Songs
'Stand In Line' is very much like a souped up Legs Diamond and just when you think you have nailed the song structure, it cuts into a classic AOR chorus, repeating the title track lyric then back to pulsating vocals. We have a race to the end with guitars narrowly beating the keyboards to their destination. It even contains very fine Desmond Child & Rouge influenced backing vocals.

'Gonna Be Alright' dramatically reduces the pace, but still bumps along quite nicely with early Ann Wilson inspired vocals (although not to Ann's standards) which are either supplied by Candy or Cheryl. Included is quite a meaty guitar solo, it's a pleasant track but not representative of the album as a whole.

'I'm No Prisoner', well, while the first 2 tracks only gave glimpses of greatness, it's this track that gets the fire started. To me, it's a 100% complete AOR tune. Male vocals, I have assumed being provided by Zakat Zahir, overlaid with keyboards. Song wise this has quality in abundance, the layout of the verse sounds like the group is climbing a tower up to the clouds, in the same way as Roadmaster or Trillion but maybe not in such a grandiose manner as these two.

'Tired Of Dreaming', is another favourite, it has a more understated start, brooding, even Balance like, again the classic keyboard sound is present. It has a real 'Double Shot Of Love' by The Ladder feel to it. Excellent heart wrenching lyrics, even soul destroying, and a typical high quality performance in the vocal department similar to that of Joe Lynn Turner in his Fandango days. It presents a clear set of rules on how to write an ultimate AOR tune.

Side 1 comes to a close with 'You Can't Hide', where the female vocals return, this time with a hint of Tina Turner, along with a southern rock guitar solo. Too me it does not reach the standard of the preceding two songs. Fortunately it's also the shortest song on offer so has no lasting effect on the rest of the album.

No strange comments here as we open side 2 proceedings with 'Thunder Thighs'. This is interspersed with early Rush and Angel synths touches, but overall it has a very upbeat westcoast feeling and bounces along quite nicely. Again with its percussion influence, Fandango comes to mind. The strange lyrical concept does not get in the way of appreciating this very good tune.

'You Can Have It', puts itself forward for the award of best song on the album. Memories of Streetheart, especially the classic 'Miss Plaza Suite' (in her stocking feet, sorry I couldn't resist!) can be heard, with the first hearing of piano keys. Great tune with soft feeling vocals with an exceptional pre-chorus it stands along side the similar Avalon ('Everyman A King') in greatness. Together with a dut-dut-dut keyboard sound which moves onto a Lukather style guitar solo before we finish with OOH OOH OOH OOH, last seen with such gusto as when Chase performed 'Keeping My Mind' from their 1993 release 'In Pursuit'.

'Give It Up' is another upbeat, bright and breezy tune with hints of Sheriff and early Journey, in terms of song structure rather than the vocal performance. After recent repeated plays I have to come to appreciate what a good tune this is, as it's so hard to feature when you up against the likes of 'Tired Of Dreaming', 'You Can Have It' and 'I'm No Prisoner'.

'Crackin Down' closes Side 2, although keyboards take centre stage it just doesn't seem to naturally flow but is does give a bit of variety.

In Summary
This ranks as one of my favourite discoveries. It's prime time AOR hitting you with a torrent of free-flowing memorable tunes. They creep into your mind and soon take up permanent residence. So as it only received a limited pressing I would hope that someone would feel it being worthwhile of releasing this on CD, I for one feel it deserves to be heard by more than a select hardcore collectors. One definition of a dragon fly is a brightly coloured insect, well I certainly feel this album has many bright colours and melodies to brighten up any music lover.

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#1 | richardb on October 05 2008 21:10:57
Nice to see this given a review. I picked up a brand new copy myself a few years back - it does seem to have slipped under the radar.

The lyrics to 'thunder thighs' do seem rather tongue in cheek though the song does have a quicky charm about it.

Perhaps it's their take on Queen's fat bottomed girls who knows?! - not sure how this would go down in todays PC climate!

Still beats 'size zero' anyday LOL!

Richard B

#2 | jefflynnefan on October 06 2008 02:33:49
Well I haven't heard this one but it sure sounds like something I'd like! Thanks for review!
#3 | englandashes on October 09 2008 20:18:00
No worries JLF

Richardb, I would be interested in your view of the album! any information on what ever happen to the group?
#4 | super80boy on February 15 2013 03:27:39
This is a great little private press gem. You've done this one justice with a detailed song by song review. Everytime I drop the needle on this, I read your song reviews. Great discovery!
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