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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Triumph - 1979 Just A Game
Triumph - 1979 Just A Game

ARTIST: Triumph
ALBUM: Just A Game
LABEL: Attic
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1993, MCA, MCAD31118


LINEUP: Rik Emmett - vocals, guitars * Gil Moore - vocals, drums * Mike Levine - bass, keyboards

Guests: Laurie Delgrande, Mike Danna - keyboards * Beau David, Elaine Overholt, Gord Waszek, Colina Phillips, Rosie Levine - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Movin On * 02 Lay It On The Line * 03 Young Enough To Cry * 04 American Girls * 05 Just A Game * 06 Fantasy Serenade * 07 Hold On * 08 Suitcase Blues


The mid to late seventies saw the development of Canadian power trio Triumph. Having landed a couple of LP's a few years earlier, the band's third studio album in 1979 called 'Just A Game' was a move away from the initial progressive rock roots, to something a little more banal, blues based, hard rock and an experimentation between the worlds of contemporaries Led Zeppelin, Rush and Styx. Not quite sure where to fit in, the band were still finding their feet during this phase, but it didn't stop them from bashing out some tunes just for the sake of it. There's only eight tracks here (seven if you discount the 1 minute 40 'Fantasy Serenade'), and at 35 minutes in total, it would go down as being one of their least interesting albums. If you ever owned the original LP, the foldout was a snakes and ladders type game, revolving around the fortunes of getting your band to the top of the rock n roll heap!

The Songs
All games aside, the album opens with a whole load of crowd noise for 'Movin' On', a rocker that has more in keeping with the Styx style, given the pumping bass lines, big choruses and Shaw/Young lead guitar work. Rik Emmett handles the lead vocal for the mid-tempo 'Lay It On The Line', probably one of the better tunes here, and reminiscent of their future work. The band rip into a blues outing called 'Young Enough To Cry' which is not particularly interesting. 'American Girls' is a sassy rocker with typical daft lyrics. You'd have to be living in Canada to understand what these guys are on about.. lol! Could the title track 'Just A Game' be the 'Ordinary Man' of this album? Nearly, but not quite as classy. Skipping though the acoustic interlude 'Fantasy Serenade', the band deliver the totally acoustic track 'Hold On'. This was one surprisingly ventured into the lower reaches of the US charts. The album finishes up with the Emmett jazz flavoured 'Suitcase Blues', another track which doesn't do a lot of me, unless of course I was listening to a Michael Buble or George Benson album.

In Summary
The track listing for all three versions (LP, cassette, CD) were all shuffled around for some reason. Moving on beyond this album, the band released the ham-fisted 'Progressions Of Power' during 1980, an album that many fans aren't that fond of either, though I enjoy it, before breaking into the big leagues with 1981's 'Allied Forces'. A band with a colourful history, and a varied discography, and who in 2008/2009, are still a going concern, though we have yet to see the arrival of the comeback CD! Hopefully soon..

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 15 2010 04:45:36
I rarely disagree with you, George, but I've always really really liked this one since I bought the LP in the early 80s. Maybe part of that is because it's one of the earlier albums I bought. But I still pull it out as much as anything from that era. "Lay It On The Line" is pure rock greatness - it is one of the key "relationship songs" (along with Sammy Hagar's "I'll Fall In Love Again" from my attempts at high-school romance!
#2 | gdazegod on January 15 2010 07:31:10
Their later albums I feel, are much better. I bought this around the same time, and kinda liked it, but thirty years later, it falls well short. Do the process of elimination thing: remove the instrumental, remove the two blues tracks, remove American Girls, and you're left with 4 good to ok songs.
#3 | Carl Noonan on January 15 2010 10:57:16
I agree with Jeffrey, this was the first Triumph lp I bought and I love it all especially the blues songs. Gil Moore is awesome on Young Enough To Cry, great drummer and a very underrated singer.
Progressions of Power is even better and for me is their best work ever, with In The Night and Nature's Child being absloute classic rock songs.
#4 | Eric on January 15 2010 12:20:18
This is the only Triumph album I play anymore. It holds up pretty well I think...
#5 | jeffrey343 on January 15 2010 15:24:57
Like a lot of bands who were active from the late 70s through the latter part of the 80s, their sound did evolve and become smoother. I did buy everything they put out from this one through 'Surveillance' ( except I somehow missed 'Progressions Of Power' ), with everything from 'Never Surrender' on being bought as soon as I saw it at the record store. 'The Sport Of Kings' was one of the first CDs I bought, and I played it endlessly the summer of '86.

I think I need to check out 'Progressions Of Power'. I understand it is not quite as melodic as 'Just A Game' or 'Allied Forces'. I've heard some of the tracks from it through the years.
#6 | Nick C on January 15 2010 19:24:56
I remember buying this when it came out in the U.K. after buying the pre release single "Hold On" (red vinyl..yum) in 1979 and having only one day to play it before going on holiday with a bunch of school mates to Angelsey for a a cold cold caravan sometime the wrongish side of Summer I think...either way it was cold!

At the time I thought it was patchy and still do, but it does have a soft spot for me for some odd reason.
For me Tracks 1,2 4, 5 and 7 are the decent tracks the rest could have been left off to make this a great E.P.
Did anyone play the game on the orig gatefold sleeve?? hmm!
#7 | GSpar77491 on January 16 2010 02:33:09
This was my introduction to the band. Got it a few weeks after it's release and loved the diversity of it. Young Enough To Cry gets special mention from me due to Gil Moore's vocal performance, but Rick's guitar playing steals the show for me. I can see if your just into the harder stuff you will be bored with the mellow parts but that's the charm of Triumph to me, the light and shade. Progressions of Power is my fave, but Just A Game, Allied Forces and Surveillance all battle it out for number 2, just depends on my mood Thumbs Up
#8 | richardb on January 17 2010 16:01:25
A good album which I have a soft spot for. It's certainly better than the rather ham fisted 'Rock and roll machine' (what a naff title).

My only criticism would be that it's too short. 'Lay it on the line' is one of my fave Triumph cuts and it always used to be a staple of their live set.

That said it is perhaps tame compared to the over the top excesses of 'Progressions of power' - Rik Emmett has a ball on this one..

Richard B
#9 | sabace on January 10 2012 18:24:18
my fave lp by triumph and has two of their best songs movin on and lay it on the line
plus a stunning american girls!
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