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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Virginia Wolf - 1987 Push
Virginia Wolf - 1987 Push

ARTIST: Virginia Wolf
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 781756
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2010, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY070
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Chris Ousey - vocals * Nick Bold - guitars * Jo Burt - bass * Jason Bonham - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Break Away * 02 One Night * 03 Standing On The Edge Of Time * 04 Open Door * 05 Man In The Moon * 06 Let It Go * 07 You Don't Know What You've Got * 08 Can You Feel The Fire * 09 Tables Have Turned * 10 The Strangest Thing (It's Called Love) * 11 Tearing Me Down (bonus) * 12 Matter Of Time (bonus)

Though this British band only lasted a couple of years, they were good enough to attract the attention of a major label. Back in 1986, Virginia Wolf released a wonderful debut album. The band had an excellent songwriting duo in the form of Chris Ousey and Nick Bold, fortified by the drumming presence of Jason Bonham. Virginia Wolf toured North America in support of the album, supporting Paul Rogers band The Firm, and overall the response to the band was pretty positive, including Atlantic Records, their label. When they returned home to the UK, the momentum ground to a halt. The situation wasn't helped by having the band members fragmented. Bold and Ousey lived in Manchester, Bonham lived in Birmingham, and Jo Burt lived in London, so you can imagine that band practice was sporadic rather than regular. Thankfully, the record label took up the option of the second album, and it wasn't long before the band were back over in North America recording for 'Push'.

The Songs
From a personal perspective, I have enjoyed this album over the years. It is probably more AOR than the debut, no doubt helped by the production from Kevin Elson, a man well known in AOR production circles. Both the band and the label were sold on Elson after his efforts with Europe's 'The Final Countdown', which was a huge bestseller the previous year. Ordinarily, Virginia Wolf would have used the previous production team of Roger Taylor and Dave Richards but both were unavailable due to Queen's re-emergence after Live Aid, and their busy schedule. There are a bunch of great songs on this album, it is a pity the record label didn't think so at the time. From the opening single 'Don't Break Away' to the awesome closer 'The Strangest Thing', it's a very American sounding release, you'd be hard pressed to consider these guys as British! 'One Night' is a lovely tune, a favourite of mine over the years. So to the uptempo 'Let It Go', which is one of the best tracks on the album. 'Man In The Moon' is a soulful affair with a bit of orchestration to round it out.

In Summary
Though the debut album was a well produced AOR affair, it still had it's rockier moments too. This was something the record label Atlantic were keen on pursuing with 'Push', though the final result did not meet their expectations, hence Virginia Wolf were dropped not long after. Without a label the band broke up. Ousey moved on to Heartland, Bonham formed his own band, Bold went solo for a while, Jo Burt continues to play with his own band too. AOR fans have held both Virginia Wolf albums in high regard, and they have been rewarded with reissues of both albums by Rock Candy Records during 2010. The 'Push' reissue contains two bonus tracks: 'Tearing Me Down' and 'Matter Of Time', both were found on the original 'Don't Break Away' single.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on September 21 2011 20:14:56
I believe I would have really liked this if I had discovered it in 1987. It sounds like one of those albums that could have fit on one side of a 90-minute cassette and stayed in my cassette player for a couple of weeks, alternating plays with whatever was on the other side. Discovering it a couple of years ago, it has had to compete with a lot more more albums for my attention. But it is moving up my list of top 1987 releases. I agree that it is more AOR than the debut (which is still quite good).
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