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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » McDonald, Brian (Group) - 1987 Desperate Business
McDonald, Brian (Group) - 1987 Desperate Business

ARTIST: McDonald, Brian (Group)
ALBUM: Desperate Business
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: 40582
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2002, Rewind (USA), 55023-2 * 2010, Yesterrock (Germany), YR0003


LINEUP: Brian McDonald - vocals, keyboards * Will Hodges - guitars, vocals * D.W. Adams - drums, percussion, vocals * Andrew G. Wilkins - bass

Additional Musicians: Reb Beach - guitar solos * Fiona Flanagan - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 No Control * 02 These Are The Good Times * 03 This Lonely Heart * 04 Life Is A Desperate Business * 05 Back Home Again * 06 Rockin' With The Boys * 07 Just Imagination * 08 Stay With Me * 09 Every Night * 10 Highway Desire


A familiar name to readers of this site is Minnesota resident Brian McDonald. 'Desperate Business' was the man's first album, though it was his later pairing of 'Wind It Up' and 'Voyage' that hooked many of us in. Released back in 1987, this album gives away a few clues as to Brian's references during this phase. Fusing the commercial sounds of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and laying the blueprint for what would be the debut Winger album the following year, no doubt due to the influence of guitarist Reb Beach, a good friend of Brian's and who would make his presence felt on this LP (albeit uncredited) by laying down most of the guitar solos.

The Songs
Musically, this is a top-notch production, that's a given considering Beau Hill did the honours. All over this is great 80's keyboard driven AOR, and with the dearth of quality sounding releases in the current day, sometimes it is an older album like this that reminds us how good that era actually was. From the modern percussion heavy 'No Control' which stalks like Michael Sembello's rockier material, to the Def Leppard stacked vocal equivalent of 'These Are The Good Times', it's clear that a formula has been found. The third track 'This Lonely Heart' has a touch of late 80's Chicago about it (without the brass), and for me is one of the best tracks here. 'Life Is A Desperate Business' continues in a party-anthem fashion, while 'Back Home Again' is so much like Winger it's scary. Slowing things down slightly but increasing the intensity is 'Rockin' With The Boys', but we return to the keyboard lacings heard earlier - on the next track 'Just Imagination', but the quality goes up a notch with the sublime ballad 'Stay With Me' which is killer stuff! 'Everynight' is yet another melodic mid-tempo affair, with the album finishing on a high with the tremendous 'Highway Desire', a fast paced rocker with juicy keyboard/guitar interplay.

In Summary
Personally I think this is a great album, perhaps lost in the shuffle of 1987's MTV brigade and the overwhelming hype of Lep's 'Hysteria'. Subsequent reviews have placed 'Desperate Business' at the lower end of the popularity scale, but it must have struck a chord with some influential people, as it was reissued by Rewind Records in 2002 and Yesterrock Records during November 2010. Once a rare album to obtain, you can now pick it up easily. Definitely a CD that should sit well in your collection, but that mugshot of Brian with long hair and moustache should best be left to the McDonald clan's photo-album!

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#1 | george_the_jack on January 11 2011 07:54:08
This album is very special to me.I absolutely love it.Definetely like it a lot more than the other Mcdonald albums.Quality mid-80's AOR/Pop-rock from start to finish!
#2 | Eric on January 11 2011 12:47:04
I had this as a car tape back then. The title track is excellent but overall, like the cover photo, it was just too derivative.
#3 | rkbluez on January 21 2011 00:48:00
Surprised no one mentioned the cool Reb Beach's solo's he did on this album as a studio musician back then I guess.
#4 | gdazegod on January 21 2011 01:51:18
Umm.. we did actually Steve.. first paragraph..
#5 | kim_hp on April 13 2013 18:43:59
I love this one, quality 80's hard rock with an AOR edge... nice guitars and vocals and the production sound like a million bucks. Gives Bon Jovi and Def Leppard a good run for their money...
#6 | super80boy on July 15 2014 16:04:42
My vinyl copy came with an additional band information sticker which states that these guys began playing together in the summer of 1982 and toured under the name Dillinger. The mid-tempo / ballad tracks are great standouts, 'Rockin With The Boys', 'This Lonely Heart' and 'Stay With Me'. 'Just Imagination' is stellar keyboard driven AOR. A keeper for sure especially with the added bonus of Beau Hill's production talents.
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