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Conductor - 1982 Conductor

ARTIST: Conductor
ALBUM: Conductor (Mini LP)
LABEL: Montage Records
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Judy Comden - vocals * Phillip Minardi - piano, background vocals * John Hartman, Tim Pierce, Chas Sanford - guitars * Nicholas Reed - bass * Dan Marfisi - drums * Lenny Castro - percussion * Phil Kenzie - sax * Alan Pasqua - synthesizer

TRACK LISTING: 01 Voice On The Radio * 02 Night After Night * 03 Taken Away * 04 Buried Alive * 05 Love's Sake

Recently I contacted Conductor's Phil Minardi with the hope of learning more about his band that released one interesting EP before disappearing from the scene. He was very informative and giving of his time, so here's the scoop. Originally a trio calling themselves Gaslight Square the group gigged throughout Southern California, but concentrated on Los Angeles. Losing a member through a variety of issues, Phil teamed up with lead vocalist Judy Comden. The duo entered the studio recording under the name Conductor partly due to Phil's penchant for wearing a coat tailed suit and 'Conducting' the arrangements on stage. Shades of Steve Perry maybe? Anyway, a two song demo was recorded partially at John Thomas Studios in North Hollywood which Gary Wright used for his 'Dream Weaver' opus and a deal was struck with Montage Records. In an attempt to keep costs down an EP was recorded, although the producer Stuart Love thought the rest of the band outside of Minardi and Comden left much to be desired and hired out session musicians to fill in the sound. The use of Tim Pierce, Alan Pasqua and the other top names didn't impress the rest of Conductor which caused problems, but everyone moved on hoping to land a deal with a larger label. The EP was released and did pretty well on the charts, even getting interest from CBS who hired a producer and studio time, but here's where it got ugly for Conductor. Vocalist Judy Comden had suffered from Polio as a child and walked with a slight limp. According to Minardi the producer who shall go nameless, wanted nothing to do with someone with disabilities and felt he would be putting his reputation on the line in the age of video. Nice guy eh. Who says the record business isn't fair?

The Songs
For lovers of pure AOR, this album is manna from heaven. The songs, arrangements, vocals and instrumentation are spot on. Opening with 'Voice On The Radio', the only song not written by Minardi and Comden is near perfection and fits like a silk glove with the original material. 'Night After Night' follows a similar melodic line while slowing down a bit for 'Taken Away' and it's here I'm reminded of Scandal, Delta, The Breaks and a host female fronted rock at its very best. On side two we have 'Buried Alive' which was considered to be a potential single and 'Love's Sake'. Of the pair, 'Buried Alive' is the strongest with Comden giving the tune a new wave twist around a dazzling melodic hook. Fantastic!

In Summary
Following the incident with CBS and their tasteless producer, Conductor came to a premature end with everyone going their separate ways. Minardi recorded and toured with Marty Balin and is currently gigging around the St Louis, Missouri area with the group Plastic as well as running his own talent development company with several irons in the fire. One of the great 'what might have been' stories of AOR, the Conductor EP is still relatively easy to find. What are you waiting for?

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#1 | rostoned on December 07 2008 22:53:31
Full kudos and mille grazie to Eric to unearth this one, totally unknown to me. I will write the good guys at Kissmar blogspot hoping they will be kind enuff to find this one and upload it on their mighty blog.

In the meantime you can taste a track here http://www.aor-fm...uctor.aspx
#2 | swazi on June 06 2012 11:24:06
I have uploaded the tracks to Mediafire and put them in the 'Download' area.
#3 | gdazegod on February 09 2014 06:20:09
I read somewhere that 'Voice On The Radio' was actually written by Franne Gold and Peter McIan (Men At Work, The City)..?
#4 | super80boy on January 18 2015 16:20:14
I remember finding this on the AOR-FM site many years ago, what a cool site (RIP). I immediately went out and acquired a copy and was super impressed with this female AOR obscurity. The closer 'Love's Sake' is highly infectious.

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