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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » Tangier - 1991 Stranded
 
Tangier - 1991 Stranded



ARTIST: Tangier
ALBUM: Stranded
LABEL: Atco
SERIAL: 7 91603-2
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird, WOU 9160

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Doug Gordon - guitars, vocals * Garry Nutt - bass, vocals * Bobby Bender - drums, percussion * Mike LeCompte - vocals, keyboards, guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Down The Line * 02 Caution To The Wind * 03 You're Not The Lovin' Kind * 04 Since You Been Gone * 05 Takes Just A Little Time * 06 Excited * 07 Back In The Limelight * 08 Stranded * 09 It's Hard * 10 If Ya Can't Find Love


Background
I loved the image that Tangier portrayed on their 'Four Winds' album released in 1989, I brought the album on release and found a selection of good songs, yes good songs, however 2 years later this the follow up going under the name of 'Stranded' arrived; being an album that I failed to purchase on release, maybe I was too wrapped up with their previous offering. Another reason could be down to the fact that at the time I was totally narrow minded with AOR, catching up on buying the likes of Diving For Pearls and Drive She Said from the late 80's, while Tall Stories and Harem Scarem from the early 90's, while anything else that even only slightly strayed outside those tight parameters I seemed to avoid. Crazy reason because Tall Stories definitely wasn't AOR by numbers, maybe because I was fooled by the expensive prices, the cd large boxes they used to come in and the cellophane. So it was while visiting a charity shop in Bedford that I came across this on compact disc for a couple of pounds, how could I refuse?, generally not a great selection in these shops although perseverance usually pays dividends, for instance only last week I found pristine cd albums from Mostly Autumn and Boxer for the price of a double cheeseburger. At this time many bands seemed lost and looking for a new direction, White Sister became Tattoo Rodeo and let's face it made a real pig's ear of it, with a dodgy transition. Cinderella took another train that to me was in the wrong direction, and while Tangier was not alone they didn't make too bigger genre changes, although this wasn't the case in terms of personnel. In came Mike LeCompte as the vocalist and they slimmed down to a four piece, see we even had austerity cuts then, but in the most part I feel they succeeded. LeCompte was a more of a cross of Steven Tyler and Ricky Medlocke, and so somewhat not surprising many of songs pay tribute to the commercialised era of Aerosmith, not essentially a bad thing. I like Aerosmith, but who on earth would buy a compilation they released called 'Tough Love, Best Of The Ballads' which contain 16 ballads, talk about putting the knife in the proper Aerosmith historians back. So friends, onward as we consider this album finer moments.


The Songs
Opening 'Down The Line', maybe a fairly bland tribute to those Southern bands of the past, it takes more than a slide guitar to impress me. Yes it's ok, but hardly kicks up the dust, more of a pelican crossing than a monumental crossroads moment I'm afraid, but it warms up the engine, rather than coughing and spluttering.

Whilst 'Caution To The Wind' has, well I dare I say it a more cautious approach but by and large it benefits from this. The best melodic blasts of Badlands and just as the video director does one of those spinning shots from above, it canters into 38 Special commercial markets. It really has a beaut of a pre chorus with fine AOR chorus. That title could only come from the pen of Jim Peterik and is one of Jim's best collaborations, shame it was a one off.

While we are talking of outside writers, add in Cinderella's, Eric Brittingham, who adds some sparkle to the next track, didn't they have a hand in getting Tangier a deal in the first place? Well, 'You're Not The Lovin Kind' brings to mind the likes of Jagged Edge and Kiss Of The Gypsy and while both of these wore cowboys boots that just don't have the full regalia that Tangier could conjure up, they have the whole horses and Stetson cowboy hats, chewing tobacco and having there whiskey sliding down the bar counter, (just as well they are not Australian cricketers, as they would go very dry!).This is catchy without even trying. Aerosmith again, seem to be influence here big time, and maybe a touch of Y&T, especially in the vocal department.

They touch on Aerosmith more than once, for instance on 'Since You Been Gone' it has that swagger (which is not due to them falling off stages), firmly in the footprints of these ageing fathers of rock and provides a cruisin ballad. Does it work or raises more questions than an episode of Law And Order?

The camp fire feel is maintained by 'Takes Just A Little Time', as 21 Guns would say 'a real charmer', the drums and guitar are used as an accelerant, a dirty display, maybe a harsher feel than even Kelly Hansen's Hurricane ever manage to achieve. While I may have previous doubts here they certainly can hit the spittoon, smack in the middle.. ping, and did you hear it? Ping, there it is again!

Recently an influx of Southern based bands, pushing the blues, like The Sheepdogs and the marvellous Royal Southern Brotherhood have arrived. Yes they are all fine bands, but not to the fore of many minds, Tangier were running with this style right back in the early 90's and no one seemed to care, just Tangier managed to make this sound much more entertaining, easier to the listener, as they provide melody, and catchiness with the ability to write a ruddy good song.

Take 'Excited' that has a style similar to melodic Led Zeppelin in the verses then switching to the most basic beer swilling band from the LA Strip, but it's fun and jolly well works. And more importantly they don't feel the need to have unkempt beards!

'Back In The Limelight' is a grand splash at recreating the good times of Blackfoot, here LeCompte really pushes the Ricky Medlocke pronunciations of certain words, like 'again', and quite obvious the whole way through, which is fine by me.

Still we find improvements in the song quality, as we gravitate towards the title track, which has a pretty good video, nothing special but good. Flip through any great AOR songwriter catalogue and first impressions you could easily bookmark this to be from Desmond Child, Jeff Paris or Diane Warren. But no it's a self-composition from Doug Gordon and one that is instantly recognisable. This kinda stuff used to be found dripping off the radio around this time, and playing this again on a hot summers day, with Australia at 94 for 6, no correct that to read 97 for 7, it's times like these that I thought would never happen again.

It's a shame that the final tracks fail live up to this standard, as with 'It's Hard'. Although a good attempt at a different direction, a grazed knee Poison display, with Hammond organ, bit of blowing into various metal instruments, piano, a more modern Mott The Hoople, perhaps? 'If Ya Can't Find Love' is again one of those tunes you find on a recent Aerosmith album and quickly pass over.


In Summary
This album signalled the end of Tangier, wrong time wrong place? Silence has surrounded any further reunion. Various members went off on different trails but I've yet to catch them up, maybe Tangier are ripe for a pitch at the next Firefest? But is the call loud enough I wonder. A quality band, that always seemed too laid back in terms of promoting themselves. I still prefer the western cowboy look to the car mechanic brief shown on the front cover. All in all there are some definite cherries on offer here, if you fancy this being one of your five a day then turn back the clock and go on and investigate.


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Comments
#1 | AOR Lee on July 21 2013 10:17:59
Excellent review
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 21 2013 13:40:58
Firing Bill Mattson was a mistake, but there was a lot of record company bullshit going on at the time and Tangier were one of those bands who suffered as a result.
#3 | Carlos Ramirez on September 04 2014 22:32:38
The song 'Stranded' sounds like a long-lost Bad Company single from their '80s albums. Norwegian AOR/hard rock songstress ISSA included 'Stranded' on her 2012 covers album, 'Can't Stop.'
 
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