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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Raleigh, Kevin - 1989 Delusions Of Grandeur
 
Raleigh, Kevin - 1989 Delusions Of Grandeur



ARTIST: Raleigh, Kevin
ALBUM: Delusions Of Grandeur
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7-81874-2
YEAR: 1989

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Kevin Raleigh - vocals, keyboards * Jeff Silverman, Fernando Saunders - bass * Tim Pierce, Danny Powers - guitars * Phillip Shenale, Bill Meyers, Mark Ross, Charlie Giordano - keyboards * Terrial Santiel, Tim Aller, Arno Lucas - percussion * Pat Mastelotto , J.T.Lewis, Steve Ferrone - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Anyone With A Heart * 02 Moonlight On Water * 03 Real Life * 04 I Should've Known Better * 05 The Art Of War * 06 I'll Make A Deal With You * 07 You Can Laugh About It Now * 08 Someone Special * 09 Is It My Imagination * 10 I Never Wanted To Hurt You


Background
I did wonder when I played this recently, a good, say 10 years after I brought it, why this album had not already been reviewed. Let's face it, to me, the most inspiring aspect of the Michael Stanley Band were always the songs and vocals Kevin brought to the party, look at the evidence; from the likes of the 1982 'MSB' titled album, with 'When I'm Holding You Tight' or from 1983, 'You Can't Fight Fashion' album, with the tuneful 'The Damage Is Done'. However, back to the question why hasn't this been reviewed? My first conclusion is that initially this was a huge disappointment for me, I was hoping for some much more, I just never connected with it, it just didn't flow, but with most things in life, with years passing I have learnt to appreciate this album, but I still have reservations, I mean when you set the bar so high, it's sometimes impossible to lift it any higher. Let's take one step backwards with some background; Kevin Raleigh first appeared for MSB on the 1979 'Greatest Hints' and remained a creative force up to and including the already mentioned classic 'You Can't Fight Fashion' with minimal involvement on 'Inside Moves' released in 1986 plus a live album being 'Fourth & Ten', which at that point, Michael put the band to bed. While Stanley reappeared with The Ghost Poets in 1993, and remained active with a number of solo albums, the same can't be said for Kevin. We only have this release from 1989 where he took the massive opportunity to release his first and only to my limited knowledge solo album, being this, 'Delusions Of Grandeur'. Nothing musically has been heard since, although he seems to be alive and well and can be located through the web if one so desires, I understand he has transferred into the management of artists. Kevin vocals are made for AOR, slick, sweet, stackful of emotion, and with a stickiness that you find hard to let go once you have heard his voice. He still remains one of my favourite vocalists, surely an underused talent, and why he hasn't been more active is a question that remains unanswered, put him with someone from the Frontiers house writers then that would be worth investigating. With Kevin's pedigree it was only a matter of time before a solo album was released and in 1989, Atlantic took the plunge, 10 tracks were recorded, which contain two from outside writers and these tracks opened the album. Were strange forces at work here? Was undue pressure put on Kevin to sing other peoples tunes? I am unsure but I feel this direction plus the number of producers in the mix, may have had some negative effects, I'll expand on that later, but let's press ahead before I suffer from my own personal delusion of grandeur.


The Songs
It can be safe to say that most of the album has a different feel to the heartland rock of MSB, even the melodic aspects Kevin was renowned for; in fact on the odd occasion the AOR seems to have morphed into a hi tech AOR at some points plus dragging itself into soul and pop, possible warnings signs? 'Anyone With A Heart', written way back in 1980, by Craig Balzer (American Noise) and Kim Fowley gives the start of this album an upbeat beginning and is a positive listen, mixing a Richard Marx feel good feeling with John Waite goodness, a vitamin deficiency is not applicable to this ray of sunshine.

This is followed by the second co-write, as we all know Andy Goldmark and Steve Kipner are no mugs at stringing a melody together which they do with 'Moonlight On Water'. Pretty sure this was issued as a single, I have a promo cd of this track, alas no unreleased track attached to it, but I don't know, I never placed Raleigh singing 'sex on the beach', it feels uncomfortable, like watching 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' with your parents. Someone seems to have liked the song as it got covered by Laura Branigan the following year, and yes Kevin carries it off, but..

As usual I find once an album finds itself beneath the spotlight of an article, you tend to start prising out those previously unheard melodies, the nectar (or even Green Shield stamps for the more mature amongst us) plus points and this does have them, but boy it needs multiple listens. Take 'Real Life' on first evidence quite an inoffensive tune, but broken down into parts, you see it's an exceptional tune, reminding me very much of Southern Sons rather than Roxus (I love Roxus, but I'm only using them to highlight the difference in delivery). In fact if we study further on this track, there is no mistaking, Raleigh has a supreme voice and especially with this one his display is seemingly like Marcie Free, maybe not as powerful, but Raleigh has a smoothness present in his delivery, and the song construction would also find favour with Free's tonsils, together with the factor many of the tunes have a slight Signal connotation.

Kevin wasn't afraid to upset the apple cart once and a while, the texture of 'I Should've Known Better' drives into the pocket of Bad English, still not flowing, but more grunt.

Whereas the magical 'The Art Of War' is again more Signal time, with a pre chorus and chorus spelling out Rick Springfield, plus just adding a touch of hi-tech AOR, but not too much to make it sound dated when hearing it today.

Although Kevin seems to be pushing his luck with 'I'll Make A Deal With You', I can sense the white gloves going on as it slips into George Benson's backyard, funky and soul, not really what I wanted to hear.

This direction is continued with 'You Can Laugh About It Now' and Kevin seems to be experiencing a mid-season dip in form. The momentum is dangerously being lost, yes vocally great, but only managing to hold onto a soulful Toto space.

Sanity prevails, as 'Someone Special' lightens my darkness, and this is excellent, encompassing the style of Mark Spiro and Clif Magness, which seems to be driving the song writing. A Pat Benatar image seems to be held in the reflection of the guitars, even though this is one of the songs not produced by Geraldo, maybe his influence has rubbed off. Your patience is finally been rewarded as this time the song definition meets the title, its high gloss quality, and it's special.

The final tunes still do well at warming the bones, 'Is It My Imagination' would have been destined to appear as the only rock track on anything Michael Bolton recorded since 'Soul Provider', and the game winner is the 'losing you', cry.

The softness of 'I Never Wanted To Hurt You' really couldn't do that much damage, not even a flesh wound, maybe just a graze, but still means the album plays out while limping across the finish line, but still it's nice Westcoast.


In Summary
This part of the article does have a Post-mortem ring to it, but I'd rather it being a chance to discuss the possible issues surrounding this album. While the image may have given the impression of a calm millpond, I seem to feel that underneath it's a tangle of weeds, shopping trollies pushed into water, all giving a false picture and an undercurrent bringing the whole album down. Yes it's a solo album, but you can still have a solo album but with a band mentality, achieved by using a consistent set of musicians, but here there is no band vibe, also the 4 different combinations of producers don't really help, even Neil Geraldo (Mr Pat Benatar, bet he hates that description) has a go at a couple of tunes, this doesn't seem a recipe for success, did Raleigh become a record executive plaything? What you do notice is that many of the tunes really are spread along a long timeline, some dating back to 1985, so care must have been taken to pick out the gems in a back catalogue rather than struggling to fill in the gaps, which is a bit of worry in itself when some of the songs fall beneath the waterline. Really I found this to be a missed opportunity, but in saying that if you give it time to breathe, certain tracks do start to shine, and they still contain instances which provide the listener with a full collage of interesting material, as Kevin manages to use his voice to shape the songs perfectly. Definitely an album which I failed to give the necessary amount of time to listen to on first purchase, my major hang ups being that it just not what I expected or wanted it to be. However after meticulous consideration it now plays a lot better. Careful melodies but I still stand by my accusations that it is missing the right amount of joined up thinking. You see, the devils in the detail, the only way to really appreciate this or absorb is to take it line by line, but the problem is, have you got the time to spare? This is not a prog album, AOR listeners are sometimes an impatient bunch (I count myself as well in this criteria), and as this album reaches to an end, it can be a difficult one to understand, so if you are into watching archaeology programs, in those terms as they explain in Time Team, it's like looking at a robbed out wall, when all you see is soil.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on April 25 2012 22:37:34
Yeah, 'Real Life' is a great song, so too 'Art Of War'. I would like to see Raleigh do a pure AOR album again, much like the latest David Saylor CD. He should buddy up with someone, and then build some resources to fund it through KickStart..
#2 | gdazegod on April 25 2012 22:38:10
Fernando Saunders released a solo album during 1989 as well. Anyone heard that?
#3 | Eric on April 26 2012 00:05:49
Kind of a high buck rarity on CD, I sold it off years ago for many of the reasons pointed out above. I think MSB's 'The Damage Is Done' was one of the greatest AOR songs/ performances put to tape and nothing here came close. A major, major disappointment.
#4 | AOR Lee on April 27 2012 12:26:22
Very vivid description of an awkward record that has a couple of highlights, but perhaps not enough
#5 | kim_hp on April 27 2012 14:33:10
I don't know what record you guys are listening to. I think this is great.. vintage westcoast/high-tech AOR stuff with awesome vocals.
#6 | gerard on November 06 2013 00:37:16
I like this album and like Fernando Saunders' album 'The Spin' too. Not all tracks on 'The Spin' are equally interesting, I think (am no reviewer though...), but IMO overall it's a good sophisticated, soulful pop album. It includes 'You're the only woman', which is also included on The Commodores' album 'United.'
#7 | gdazegod on November 06 2013 00:42:55
Yeah, I kinda like this one too, but I wouldn't rave about it. Saunders also had a 1989 album 'Cashmere Dreams' which might be worth throwing a few words at. I think Swazi had this as a fileshare, which is prob where I picked it up from.
 
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