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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Rolie, Gregg - 1987 Gringo
Rolie, Gregg - 1987 Gringo

ARTIST: Rolie, Gregg
ALBUM: Gringo
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC 40789
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2006, Wounded Bird, WOU 4078 * 2011, AOR Heaven, CLASSIX 0015


LINEUP: Gregg Rolie - vocals, keyboards * Bob Marlette, Neal Schon, Dann Huff, Carlos Santana, Stef Birnbaum - guitars * Nathan East - bass * Gary Chang, Arthur Barrow - keyboards * Vinnie Colaiuta - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Hands Of Time * 02 Don't Wanna Be Alone * 03 Talk Talk * 04 I Could Lie To You * 05 One Of These Days * 06 Too Late For Love * 07 Fire At Night * 08 You Make It Hard On Me * 09 I Will Get To You


A while back, Alun (dangerzone) reviewed Sir Rolie's first solo LP from 1985. It generated a few comments, both bouquets and brickbats from the GDAZE readers. I never gave it a thorough listen myself, and only recently decided to give Rolie's second effort a stroke of the pen.. only because I felt we needed to complete 'the set' so to speak, and to fill up our 1987 reviews section. For me, any album with Bob Marlette, Dann Huff and Neal Schon onboard is worthy of print, so with that in mind, Rolie's 'Gringo' deserves a mention here. If I recall, Richie Zito handles the production chores, but it wouldn't be for a few years later that Zito would be considered an A-List producer to the fancy record labels of the day.

The Songs
Bob Marlette's influence is all over the opener 'The Hands Of Time', you'd be thinking that this should've been on a Burns Sisters record! It's AOR to the hilt. 'Don't Wanna Be Alone' has a spartan quality to it, while the chorus sounds uncannily like Journey's 'Signs Of Life' (from their 2001 album 'Arrival'). 'Talk Talk' is a neat little upbeat song, that will be familiar to fans of Canadian AORsters The Arrows. Rolie is pretty good at delivering a sublime ballad or two, 'I Could Lie To You' is the perfect example for this album, musically akin to John Parr with its hi-tech flavour. I liked 'One Of These Days' with its over-produced theme, Dann Huff's subtle guitar lines underpin this song. Carlos Santana provides the intro guitar to 'Too Late For Love', a lovely latin flavoured slice of AOR similar to Santana's commercial 1978-1982 period. The synth expanded melodies of 'Fire At Night' meld beautifully with Neal Schon's guitar lines. It's very atmospheric and harmony laden. 'You Make It Hard On Me' is a bouncy percussive arrangement, with a few brass parps and funky bass lines. Not entirely convincing.. but what the hey! Much better, and perhaps one of the best tracks here is the awesome 'I Will Get To You'. Nathan East's pumping bass lines provide the perfect foil for a great combination of keys and guitars.

In Summary
After this set, Rolie would join forces with other San Francisco alumni to form The Storm who would go on to release two very good albums during the 90's. Gregg also released two more solo albums 'Rough Tracks' and 'Roots', both of questionable quality, and certainly not as AOR/pop rock is his two 80's LP's. For what it's worth, both 85's self titled and 87's 'Gringo' should belong in your collection if you are an AOR collector. 'Gringo' was released on CD by Point Music back during 2000-2001, but US label Wounded Bird re-released it in 2006. It should be easy to find on the used CD market now.

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#1 | dangerzone on January 19 2009 18:33:44
'Hands Of Time' is an AOR masterpiece, through and through!
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