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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Ballard, Russ - 1980 Into The Fire
Ballard, Russ - 1980 Into The Fire

ARTIST: Ballard, Russ
ALBUM: Into The Fire
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2006, Repertoire, RES-2329


LINEUP: Russ Ballard - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Richard Blanshard - vocals * Bill Roberts - guitars, vocals * Dave Wintour - bass * Bob Henrit - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock N Roll Lover * 02 Breakdown * 03 Where Do We Go From Here * 04 Guilty * 05 Don't Go To Soho * 06 Tonight * 07 Madman * 08 Strangers * 09 Here Comes The Hurt * 10 I Will Be There


Russ Ballard is of course the man who has been covered more than any artist in hard rock history almost, none of which need explaining to most fans. What's frequently ignored are Ballard's own albums, of which seven were recorded between 1974 and 1986. The two most known are 1979's 'Barnet Dogs' and this album, 1980's 'Into The Fire'. Both achieved minor success after people started to wonder how good Ballard was in his own right. Ballard had been around for years, he was a member of Argent with John Verity of Charlie. But he had been widely unrecognised until acts like Rainbow set him up for life with popular covers of tracks that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.

The Songs
'Into The Fire' followed the same suit as 'Barnet Dogs', good, driving hard rock, with barely a soft moment. 'Rock And Roll Lover' has a strong chorus, which obviously Ballard had an ear for. 'Breakdown' is a piledriving boogie romp with some fierce riffs. Ballard really goes for broke here. 'Where Do We Go From Here' veers from soft AOR to hard rock in its duration, with the piano assuming a dominant role. I'm surprised it wasn't covered at some point, it has 'hit' written all over it. 'Don't Go To Soho' is another tear it up rocker as is 'Guilty'. Ballard was proving his class here. The guitar work is non stop aggression. 'Tonight' is an anthem which was covered by Tokyo Blade on their 1983 debut. The trend continued.... 'Madman' is slightly psychotic in tone, a nod I'm sure to the Yorkshire Ripper serial killer of the time. Off-kilter riffs and haunting keyboards deliver an uneasy atmosphere. 'Strangers' is the only ballad and comparable to anything Ballard wrote for the McVicar soundtrack that year, some light keyboards and a pleasant chorus. 'Here Comes The Hurt' is fairly light also but 'I Will Be There' ends the album nicely, a tasty bit of piano driven rock and roll.

In Summary
Ballard churned out a couple more solo albums in 1984 and 86 while continuing to write for other artists. One of his best contributions was 'Hearts Of Fire' for Roger Daltrey's 'Can't Wait To See The Movie' from 1987. Quality AOR worth checking out. 'Into The Fire' is still widely known as Ballard's key moment individually however. In the end it is every much a product of late 70's England. It has an undeniable British mood that was also captured by Thin Lizzy's 'Killer On The Loose' and Iron Maiden's 'Killer' around that time. Something to do with those serial killers.

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#1 | swazi on June 02 2012 23:07:59
Russ Ballard is a genius. Nuff said!
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