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Raymond, Brett - 1986 Only Love




ARTIST: Raymond, Brett
ALBUM: Only Love
LABEL: Sixty Records (Japan)
SERIAL: 32SD-7
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2012, Riverman Music (South Korea), BTR0111 (+1 bonus track)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Brett Raymond - lead vocals

Musicians: Michael Landau, Steve Lukather - guitars * Mike Porcaro - bass * Jay Gruska, Randy Waldman - keyboards * Michael Fisher - percussion * Steve Tavaglione - sax * John Keane - cymbals, percussion * Jay Gruska, James House, Joseph Williams - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Walk Into Love * 02 What About Me (And You) * 03 Only Love * 04 It's Not Like The Movies * 05 Send It To Me * 06 When You Say You Love Me * 07 Please Don't Look At Me That Way * 08 We Just Can't * 09 Some Changes Around Here


Background
Here's a bloke that did things slightly different to the norm, while working in the music industry. As a budding musician and follower of the Mormon faith, Ohio native Brett Raymond should be better known in the mainstream, especially to AORsters and West Coast fans. Raymond received financial assistance from Brigham Young University, and then signed to MCA/Curb Records with the band Souvenir,recording a couple of singles for the label during 1982, though whether we can find them on the Net is another story. Here's where the 'different' part kicks in. A few years later, Brett ups house and home to go and live/work in Tokyo; where he worked as a composer, arranger, songwriter and jingle genius. It's here where Brett got the opportunity to release his first proper solo release 'Only Love' during 1986 on the small Sixty Records label. Solely released in Japan, the album features the cream of the L.A session gods, a biref name check in the credit above will have you drooling.


The Songs
So what's the musical verdict? Well Brett's voice is quite soft and tailored, cauight somewhere between British legends Chris Eaton and Sir Cliff Richard. With co-producer Jay Gruska standing beside Brett at the helm, there is an air of softened and lush West Coast; and when it gets excitable, then guys like Richard Marx and Tim Feehan are reference points. Due to the presence of Toto personnel, You hear some similarity, but not overly so. Let's rip into the rather tasty lead-in 'Walk Into Love', close your eyes and imagine Chris Eaton singing this. Ironically, Eaton released his superlative 'Vision' album the same year as this. Steve Lukather's solo is the icing on the cake. Saxophone is the predominant lead instrument on the bouncy 'What About Me (And You)', a harmless piece of fluff which is on the borderline of Go West and Irishman Johnny Logan. The title track 'Only Love' is gentle heartwarming balladry, the sort of music that all West Coast lovers lap up for breakfast. It doesn't reach any great heights, but flows consistently. There's some hard piano evident on 'It's Not Like The Movies', a bit like Airplay meeting Elton John for an afternoon session. 'Send It To Me' is another ballad, but I had to give this one a miss, as it was far too mushy and wimpy. Much better is the superb 'When You Say You Love Me', with spicy synth parps and a gorgeous overall arrangement. 'Please Don't Look At Me That Way' is a deadringer for Chris Eaton once again. It's like these two secretly collaborated without letting the guy who wrote the album liner notes know! 'We Just Can't' is as punctuated in sound as it is in the songtitle. A tight punchy affair that only gets to drift toward the end. The Mike Landau solo is kinda killer if you ask me! The third ballad on the album 'Some Changes Around Here' features a vocal performance in the vein of Chris Eaton's mate Mark Williamson.


In Summary
Beyond this release, Raymond returned to the USA in 1987 - Salt Lake City Utah, and stayed active in music throughout the years. During the 90's, he kick-started his solo career once again; first appearing on Jay Graydon's 1993 'Airplay For The Planet' album, plus his second solo CD 'Primarily For Grown Ups' which followed a year later. He's since released four more albums up to 2001, plus 2 EP's in 2002 and 2004, though not entirely in the AOR/West Coast sub-genres. Toward the end of 2012, South Korean label Riverman Music reissued 'Only Love' once more, with an extra bonus track taken from the 'Primarily For Grown Ups' CD. So it's not as hard to find the album as it once was. If smooth and soft West Coast is your bag, then check this out.


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Comments

#1 | kim_hp on February 06 2013 19:17:04
AOR this soft and laidback can often be a turn-off, but if done this good you just can't help but love it! I must admit Raymond's smooth and soulful vocals makes me weak on the knees...awesome stuff.

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