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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » English, Jon - 1981 Inroads
English, Jon - 1981 Inroads

ARTIST: English, Jon
ALBUM: Inroads
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 6437 142
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Jon English - vocals * Mike Slamer, Robbie MacIntosh - guitars * Billy Kristian - bass * Kevin Savigar, Tim Frise Greene - keyboards * Rabbit and Frank Munston - organ * Preston Heyman, Ted McKenna - drums * Pete Zorn - sax * Martin Ditchum - percussion * Stevie Lange, Vicki Brown, Chris Thompson - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Been In Love Before * 02 Blame It On The Night * 03 Straight From The Heart * 04 You Might Need Somebody * 05 The Shining * 06 Touch And Go * 07 Stranger In A Strange Land * 08 Move Better In The Night * 09 Josephine (Too Many Secrets) * 10 Last Night In Hollywood


Here's a guy well known down under, especially in Australia where he has assumed somewhat of an iconic status due to the sheer number of stage shows, albums and TV shows he has been part of in the last four decades. English was indeed born in England, but moved to Australia in the 60's where he found fame performing in a stage version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. This led to his musical career taking off and numerous hits in the mid to late 70's, while acting on the side. Somehow by 1981 English had firmly grasped a melodic hard rock direction resulting in 'Inroads', which quite honestly is an undisputed classic. English puts his tremendous voice to great use, using several tracks by outside songwriters culminating in one hell of a powerful listening experience.

The Songs
There's a real bruising hard rock element throughout, 'Been In Love Before' boasting strong riffs and a powerhouse vocal display from English, yet with AOR finesse at the same time. English covers Fandango's 'Blame It On The Night' to great effect, this version superior to Fandango's original and the Ted Nugent cover in 1984. English then handles Bryan Adams 'Straight From The Heart' with ease, giving it more of a tougher edge than Adams ever could, making the song his own almost. 'The Shining' is English's self penned tribute to Stephen King's novel and a forgotten classic, heavy on pompish keyboard dominated buildup and near metal riffs. This should be required listening for any AOR buff. English puts his name to another winner, 'Touch And Go', proving how talented this guy is, this is absolute AOR brilliance. Another Fandango penned track makes waves, 'Stranger In A Strange Land', similar to Trickster's 'Back To Zero', but here is pushed to melodic limits through fluid keyboard and guitar runs of the highest pedigree. 'Josephine (Too Many Secrets)' uses keyboards to superb use, this could almost be Supertramp if you listen hard enough. More AOR dramatics take place in the form of 'Last Night In Hollywood' and 'You Might Need Somebody', penned by 'T.Snow', which I presume is Tom Snow. This track is of unbelievable class, wait until the chorus hits. English really earns his AOR stripes with this one.

In Summary
I was stunned by this albums quality, having no clue to its existence beforehand. I think many others might be taken aback at the quality also. I can honestly recommend this as an AOR fanatics dream come true. 1980's 'Calm Before The Storm' is also worth investigating, a good set of Russ Ballard style rock. Happily English still continues to tour and I saw a version of 'The Shining' from 2008 on YouTube, which would suggest he hasn't forgotten this era of his career. A true must have.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 10 2008 21:03:06
Interesting to know about those two Fandango co-writes. D La Rue and R Blakemore are credited for those two, while Chris Thompson, Stevie Lange and Robbie MacIntosh wrote 'Move Better In The Night', which indicates that it may have been a NIGHT outcast, as the song never appeared on 'Night' (1979) or 'Long Distance' (1980).

Also, the link is in the D/L Forum.
#2 | kim_hp on July 20 2010 22:13:02
Very good album with some amazing tracks like "You Might Need Somebody" and "I've Been In Love Before". An undiscovered classic indeed!
#3 | airborne on February 12 2013 22:29:03
It`s available on cd, as part of the 4cd anthology issue. Good stuff.
#4 | gdazegod on February 13 2013 00:54:31
Thanks for that AB!
#5 | airborne on February 14 2013 12:34:14
Just sent a message to fanfare records george, complaining about the needle jump, at the start of "you might need somebody". It`s pathetic  no.
#6 | kim_hp on June 09 2013 22:07:58
I saw him live yesterday on Sweden Rock Festival. Flown in all the way from Australia I felt a 1 hour set was a bit short, but it was a good show and Jon is a fantastic singer and performer. Three songs from this album was played, namely "Been In Love Before", "The Shining" and "Move Better In The Night" so as dangerzone correctly pointed out he hasn't forgotten about this album. I even got my CD-R copy signed and of course took the opportunity to tell him what a fantastic album this is. Definitely one for Rock Candy in my books...
#7 | gdazegod on March 09 2016 22:46:00
Just heard the news today about Jon, passing away in Australia. he was aged 66, still far too young to be leaving the planet.. no way
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