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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Speedway Boulevard - 1980 Speedway Boulevard
 
Speedway Boulevard - 1980 Speedway Boulevard



ARTIST: Speedway Boulevard
ALBUM: Speedway Boulevard
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: NJE 36533
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2002, Songhaus/Rewind, * Japanese Rock Reissues (JRR), bootleg, no year given.. * 2014, Rock Candy Records, CANDY204

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Roy Herring Jnr - vocals, keyboards * Greg Hoffman - guitars * Jordan Rudess - keyboards * Dennis Feldman - bass * Glen Dove - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Speedway Boulevard * 02 Chinatown * 03 (Think I Better) Hold On * 04 Dog In The Distance * 05 Out Of The Fire * 06 Telephoto Lens * 07 Prisoner Of Time * 08 Money Money * 09 Rock Magic * 10 A Boulevard Nite


Background
This is an incredibly different style of melodic rock and for music listeners circa 1980 this must have seemed as foreign as the concept of the Internet. Well it's amazing how things have converged over time, and finally we get to do a review of an album which has only been spoken of in reverence by many in the AOR/melodic rock community, with most people having heard about it rather than having actually heard it. For a comparison, Balance's 'In For The Count' is close, but Speedway Blvd's attempts to be different really puts them in a league of their own. The guitar parts from Hoffman and the OTT keyboard runs by future keyboard king Jordan Rudess (now in Dream Theater) are amazing to say the least. The latter varies from quirky synth parts that Zon fans would love, to the heavy analog layers Mark Mangold used to provide when he was with the band Touch. The 'at times' funkiness of the whole thing also brings to mind Mothers Finest circa 'Iron Age', another revered album which will appear on this site at some future point. Hopefully you get an idea of the picture I'm trying to create here?


The Songs
On to the songs. Album opener 'Speedway Boulevard' powers along in top gear with punchy guitar and keyboard interplay. 'Chinatown' has Balance written all over it, while Rudess keyboards flit from one speaker to the other while in between we have layers and parps coming through the centre. 'Prisoner Of Time' has a definite quirky feel to it, though it's not exactly new wave. '(Call My Name) Rock Magic' is probably the rockiest moment on the album, and the keyboard work here is astounding, for the fact that Rudess work could quite easily have emanated from the first Dream Theater album, though this is nearly nine years earlier! On 'Out Of The Fire' both guitars and keyboards go off the scale, as Hoffman and Rudess try to outdo one another.


In Summary
Unfortunately, the album was perhaps a bit too 'off the wall' and nothing was heard from this collective team, though Feldman went onto Balance, and Rudess as mentioned earlier is now in Dream Theater. The album has finally seen the light of day on CD, through a label called Japanese Rock Reissues, though personally, I gotta say, it looks suspiciously like a bootleg to me.. Would anyone like to disprove that for me please? To formalise the whole thing, the album was re-released officially through the Songhaus/Rewind family in 2002. Well done to them, though it has since seen a recent 2014 reissue thanks to Rock Candy.


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Comments
#1 | sabace on March 30 2006 14:35:27
brilliant funky hard rock
#2 | richardb on June 13 2008 14:31:15
A great album with some fantastic guitar/keyboard interplay. The truly quirky and inventive arrangements make this a compulsive listen.

Richard B
#3 | reyno-roxx on July 24 2008 12:25:28
One of the greatest records ever made. 'Chinatown' is absolutely terrific when listened to through a pair of top quality headphones!
#4 | rkbluez on November 23 2009 02:43:55
Agree with Dave here...this is a classic with a capitol C...so glad that Song Haus reissued this lost masterpiece and did an excellent job with it...the sound is superb.

It's like a quirky funky YandT to me.
#5 | trillion1999 on October 14 2011 22:34:54
So good I had to have it on LP even though I own both CDs.music
#6 | gdazegod on October 23 2013 09:05:29
This one is out shortly on Rock Candy. I will be very interested in giving this one the sound-test.. eventually. I have the JRR bootleg, but I don't have the Songhausmusic reissue. Anyone who has both, and is planning on upgrading to Speedway BLVD 3.0 please let us know your findings. Thumbs Up
#7 | englandashes on January 21 2014 12:16:50
My RC issue arrived yesterday, while I am far from an expert on sound quality, it sounds pretty good too me, the keyboards really stand out, it does sound really fresh and even after having a vinyl and Soug Haus I'm hearing new touches. But the main reason, buying it was get a more of an insight of the story behind Speedway Blvd, and RR has done a great job, and mentions the most important factor, what ever happened to Mr Herring and what he did before hand, great job Mr Reynolds, so much better than the liner notes for the Dokken, Under Lock and Key, I appreciate its a different story, but we all know the relationship troubles between Don and George.
#8 | reyno-roxx on January 21 2014 19:14:40
Thanks for the kind words. I've yet to get a copy. It was a great disappointment that Jordan Rudess declined to speak about the band. I made contact with Roy and while he was clearly keen to speak about what he's doing now he chose not to take up the offer of an interview to discuss Speedway Blvd. Incidentally, Kasenetz and Katz failed to respond to my request for an interview.
#9 | Nick C on December 06 2015 16:29:42
Deaf as a post, tasteless and thick (not to mention ugly...oh so ugly!). That's my description of ... well me! For years and years I wondered what the fuss about this was. Years ago I bought the Songhaus version to see what the fuss was about....I didn't get it and sold the CD. A while ago I rebought it on Rock Candy and still didn't get it. But over the last couple of days everything has clicked.....what an amazing album! Curse my stupid monkey brain, what a jerk I was/am/are/is!
#10 | gdazegod on December 06 2015 22:14:17
I can't quite believe that none of those Speedway blokes took up the offer to talk about the band. Did they hate each other that much, or was the band only in existence for 2 seconds; meaning there wasn't a lot to talk about?

As for Nick C, blasphemy.. lol!
 
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