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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Travers, Pat (Band) - 1982 Black Pearl
Travers, Pat (Band) - 1982 Black Pearl

ARTIST: Travers, Pat (Band)
ALBUM: Black Pearl
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 2391 553
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2008, Lemon Records (UK), CDLEM-110


LINEUP: Pat Travers- vocals, guitar, keyboards * Pete Cowling - bass * Sandy Gennaro - drums * Don Harriss - piano, synthesizers

TRACK LISTING: 01 I La La La Love You * 02 I'd Rather See You Dead * 03 Stand Up * 04 Who'll Take The Fall * 05 The Fifth * 06 Misty Morning * 07 Can't Stop The Heartache * 08 Amgwanna Kick Booty * 09 Rockin'


The story of Pat Travers disillusion with the record industry is one that has been well documented over time, but on the face of it he was certainly justified. Just getting 'Black Pearl' out was a challenge for Travers, after his label Polydor dropped him following the weak sales for 1981's Radio Active', which even I have to contend wasn't a patch on his explosive earlier albums. It wasn't bad however, but not good enough for the label, a fact that dismayed Travers enough to sue them after he felt his contract was being breached. This album was a slight departure for Travers, with more radio appeal and veered away from the raucous displays of the late 70's. The quality remained undiminished though and this is an important album from the great man and staggeringly his second to last of the 80's. I'm sure in 1982 his fans would have thought that notion ludicrous.

The Songs
Those with long memories will recall 'I La La La Love You' being part of the 'Valley Girl' soundtrack in 1983 and with its slick AOR overtones it provided Travers with some radio play also. It's perhaps one of his most melodic tracks, with synths all over the place, something previously unknown in his music. As a whole the album doesn't take this direction, which based on the huge AOR leanings here is somewhat disappointing. 'I'd Rather See You Dead' is an odd departure, slightly bluesy, but still full of keyboard use and melody, a clever combination of the two. Much more on the hard rock side is 'Stand Up' which takes a thrilling almost heavy metal tangent halfway in, showing considerable fire. This is Travers at his devastating best. 'Who'll Take the Fall' offers more bruising hard rock, with exceptional melodic presence as well as a near Jon Lord type keyboard solo. This is an utterly brilliant anthem that Travers always excelled at. His guitar solo has a hint of Rush about it, which I'm sure wasn't by design. Travers takes a shot at Beethoven with his take on 'The Fifth', which had me thinking of the classic disco piece 'A Fifth of Beethoven'. Travers masterful guitar clinic is another story, perhaps inspiring Manowar on their road of classical theatrics. The opening of 'Misty Morning' had me thinking I was listening to Cold Chisel's 'Forever Now', but it quickly shifts into a sub reggae beat, with more synths at the forefront. This one is stylistically impossible to categorize as such, but a fine listen anyway. 'Can't Stop The Heartaches' is another AOR stab, this one foreshadowing the 'Hot Shot' album of 1984, with Travers this time not using keyboards, instead relying on guitars to tell the story (as well as harmonica). Fans of Travers early work will enjoy the instrumental 'Amgwanna Kick Booty' where the band dazzles with a slew of styles, bordering on fusion at moments, but always with the huge guitars present. Things really come full circle with the bluesy rock of 'Rockin' which is what could be described as 'vintage' Travers. This is the kind of all out hard rock he made his name with and even though this album isn't a total exercise in this fashion, it's still a classic Travers album.

In Summary
Travers of course released 'Hot Shot' two years later and was done recording for the 80's. This was an obvious shame with his strong albums up until that point. 'Black Pearl' must rate as one of his best, even if it is slightly toned down from earlier albums, but it isn't that far removed really. This was released on the Lemon label on CD back in 2008 and received some bashing due to the transfer from vinyl to CD, which some saw as rushed and not clean.

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#1 | gdazegod on March 04 2013 05:08:43
Kinda underrated album me thinks. Travers wasn't the only one to have relationship issues with Polydor. There have been a few others over the years.
#2 | sabace on March 04 2013 15:10:58
good record but not on the same level as his 70's stuff
#3 | AOR Lee on March 04 2013 16:08:39
Judging from the review, I should check this album out
#4 | Nick C on March 04 2013 20:40:32
What was the Shakespearian quote on the back of the sleeve? I remember reading it a few times but can never remember the exact words ... I always thought it was a good quote though.
#5 | rkbluez on March 05 2013 11:17:54
Good Travers album...not as good as the first 4 a little more commercial and less blusey hard rockin'...but still good punchy rock with a great production.
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