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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Magic - 1980 Second Start
Magic - 1980 Second Start

ALBUM: Second Start
LABEL: RAL Records
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Bill Flosi - vocals, keyboards, guitars * Dick Luebbe - vocals, keyboards, guitars * Dan Del Boccio - bass guitar, guitars * Jim Hirsman - guitars * Wayne Kelly - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Just Like Me * 02 Relax Don't Worry * 03 Carried Away * 04 Could You Still * 05 World Gone Mad * 06 Spend A Little Time * 07 You Are Meant To Be With Me * 08 She Came From Nowhere * 09 Ready For Something New * 10 Don't You Like The Way

Another little band, where information is a bit sketchy, picked this up quite a few years ago, and from the name of the album you could think this may be a second album by this group, a second attempt for the group, second cousin, second hand on the clock etc., because in reality I'm not sure. Although someone somewhere has that little additional snippet of data, so if you have I would welcome your comments. This is still available on eBay and I did see another tantalising album by a group with the same moniker and stating an AOR connection, but that's as far as I got. Trouble is when you use one of the most unimaginative names in the word, any history is going to be hard to establish. The record company sounds interesting as the cover proudly mentions 'Manufactured by RCA Records Special Products Division for RAL Records', quite intriguing, a special operations AOR band? In fact any searches of the artists involved haven't turn up much only Bill Flosi came up with mentioning this album and that was brief, also there's maybe a possible faith connection for Dick Luebbe. So what have we got here, well this album is bordering on sublime to the relegation fears of many underperforming football teams. It swings from the brilliance of 'Could You Still' to the lyrical challenging of 'Relax Don't Worry'. Of course like my feelings on my 1988 Heinz Sight article , this seems a chance for a group of guys to release some tunes, nothing more than that, no crazy concept, like Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree or Pain Of Salvation would have you believe to be so important but maybe these are how like songs are just meant to be. More ups and downs than a Charles Dickens novel, but I doubt anyone will be talking about this album in 200 years time, but give them their due 22 years later someone is still listening, reading and writing about this album, which must be a recognition of their efforts and itself an achievement. So from The Darkness style spaceship, let's embark on a journey that will last, well about 36 minutes!

The Songs
'Just Like Me', well for once I was quite stump on how to describe this, on my first attempt I sat there considering and looking for inspiration. By the end I still had not written much, so why so difficult, one minute is it just a pop song, or is it a very accomplished rock song, as mentioned like a lot of this album, it is bordering on greatness or just plain ordinary, so what was my conclusion, well I love the soft nature of the piano, the harmless vocal display, the catchy chorus, but just something is lacking, that punch, it's missing that 'kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse' moment, to quote Father Ted.

Ah, here comes the marriage guidance song, being 'Relax Don't Worry', tell you one thing, if Motley Crue wrote this, than I can guarantee the ending would be a lot different. This tune probably has more success than RELATE (Marriage guidance in the UK) in saving some relationships. Most times when I listen to music, the lyrics sometimes wash over me, but the story being describe here is unavoidable, but not in an inspirational way more of a really well, ok cheesy. Yes I agree I have trouble stringing 2 words together most of the time, but this really has got to be heard to be believed, luckily this subject matter doesn't totally distract from the song because it does get stronger, reminding me in places of Judd, in fact it would be excellent if you didn't understand the English language.

'Carried Away' seems to have literally been carried away in which route to take, is this Country Rock? it is classic America style wanderings or with the chorus having a passing resemblance to a pop version of Roadmaster. Tell you're the truth; this could easily be the first results of early saplings of someone like Nelson. It does have that feel to it, nice, memories of summer, like a girl you can take home to mother without being frowned upon. All very natural, very easy going, kept very simple, something in fact is very difficult to achieve. The clapometer is going up the scale.

A punishing nice track that weaves a web of a slightly ponderous Trillion, 'Clear Approach' era is 'Could You Still', this being the best track so far, yes this is good stuff. While 'World Gone Mad' has a firm support behind it, with its 80's Genesis intro ('Turn It On Again' maybe?) then takes a step back to the 70's moving in to classic pop, from the shores of Britain; Pilot, Joe Jackson and even collared The Police, just avoiding slipping in to The Beatles (however they fall overboard later on the album).

A Supertramp piano melody opens 'Spend A Little Time' which is repeated during the tune to great effect, parts of a rocky input blessed with some more gravelly vocals and ignite into a AOR 80's sounding before reverting to some classic Procol Harum. It really is a choice song, knitting together parts of prog into a short information film, and it works, quite outstanding really.

So you can imagine it is going to be a devil of a job to follow that and let's face it, with 'You Are Meant To Be With Me' it really doesn't cut it, not even if it carried a Grim Reaper scythe into the chorus, not even the recipient of a light trim. Again another Luebbe penned tune so assuming he is providing the light vocals, yes him of the Marriage guidance, seriously this would appear too light to appear on one of those 80's TV Variety shows, nice keyboards, but very much a plain jane ballad than a Kaley Cuoco stunner.

I'm afraid with the next tune being 'She Came From Nowhere' they have succumbed to early Beatles, and even earlier The Hollies. Yes this may have fitted on the soundtrack to 'That'll Be The Day' but I want the more risky follow up being 'Stardust', which actually is one the best film soundtracks ever, that's a side issue, no power points on offer here.

This vibe continues on 'Ready For Something New' however it benefits by injecting some Badfinger in it, so this guarantees an improvement. More guts, even a guitar solo, which seems to be missing from many of the tracks. Yes better, but I did chuckle with the prolonged pause before they include the word 'hesitate', classic.

Also don't be misled by the fine New England dreamy, spacey keyboard opening to 'Don't You Like The Way' because that soon stopped and replace by the bad old 'rock n roll', the stuff Slade would insert on every album and you would skip to get to the good stuff. This song is a game of two halves, one being a poor display of honky tonk (to the best of my knowledge only ELF ever pulled that off) to some refined keyboards, obviously brought on a substitute. Well if they did, that action was far too late to be able to make a meaningful contribution, shame.

In Summary
An album that at times hugely entertaining, fulfilling, but at times thoroughly frustrating, that is coming from the AOR angle and so may not always be the best place to start. Lots of differing influences, some work tremendously and sometimes they managed to hang on the shirt tales of greatness, but to many times they seem to lose their grip and descend into.. look I am probably over critical, but by reflecting on this album so to piece this article together, I've enjoyed re-visiting this, maybe it's good to give things a second start! Do you want my alternative ending? Yes, well you asked for it, 'So in my best Paul Daniels voice, that's Magic!' That's awful; I'll stick to my original!

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#1 | Eric on February 19 2012 14:56:10
I have this but was not nearly impressed with it. The band were from suburban Chicago.
#2 | gdazegod on February 19 2012 20:30:54
This is available as a fileshare on the Untime blog.
#3 | super80boy on March 03 2013 16:26:57
I'd agree with the reviewer, at times there are some good AOR melodies, and then there are lame sappy songs. The first two songs aren't bad, but they could have used an injection of musical fuel.
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