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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Billy And The American Suns - 1990 Thunder In The Valley
Billy And The American Suns - 1990 Thunder In The Valley

ARTIST: Billy And The American Suns
ALBUM: Thunder In The Valley
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 82102-2
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Billy Chinnock - vocals, guitars * Rex Stemn - guitar * Steve Hill - bass * Clayton Ivy - piano * Craig Krampf - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hot Night In A Small Town * 02 Call Me Lonely * 03 Crazy 'Bout You * 04 Great American Band * 05 Lonesome Highway 80 Blues * 06 Just Another Falling Star * 07 Different Shade Of Blue * 08 When You Love Somebody * 09 Midnight Blue * 10 Thunder In The Valley

I'll say it from outset: if you're a fan of 80's era Poco or a touch of The Eagles, then Billy And The American Suns are for you. This lot first came to my attention via the Boulevard fanzine; if by accident thanks to Bruce Mee. However, upon deeper inspection, the said 'Billy' is in fact renowned melodic pop/rock artist Billy Chinnock, who released three solo albums during the 80's that makes perfect listening for many GDAZE visitors. This effort which followed his solo career at the start of the 90's is all about heartland meets Americana styled rock, glazed with a Nashville sheen. That's because Billy was based in Nashville during this time, even though his musical career ventured up and down the North-Eastern Seaboard from the late 60's through to his untimely passing in 2007.

The Songs
'Hot Night In A Small Town' is such a cool tune - irrespective of the songtitle, and an excellent selection to lead the album off. The heartland style just hits the right chord for me. If you can imagine Billy Satellite, or Monty Byrom's later band Big House doing this, then you're probably dead-on the money. 'Call Me Lonely' is far too soon for a ballad to kick in, but the Poco styled structure makes this a familiar sound nevertheless. 'Crazy 'Bout You' is also bound for Poco territory, or perhaps more the solo stuff that Paul Cotton dabbled in. 'Great American Band' is the upbeat rock n roller of the album. It's sunny jiving dancefloor material from a different era. The lonesome styled guitar is tailor-made for 'Lonesome Highway 80 Blues' which again is Poco easily recognisable at a close distance. The ballad 'Just Another Falling Star' could be any fallen rockstar or actor who has seen better times, recounting the excess and reflecting on the bad decisions made. I love the crossover new country/AOR sound of 'Different Shade Of Blue' which really typifies this band to a tee. It's no wonder Atlantic signed them. Billy and the lads slow right up for the ballad 'When You Love Somebody'.. gentle and lilting throughout, it's followed by 'Midnight Blue' an equally compelling ballad with more of a new country feel. 'Thunder In The Valley' is not a song about Yellowstone. The lyrics are a classic conflict between landowners and property developers. Musically, if you can imagine a less bombastic version of the mighty Workforce, then this describes this song perfectly.

In Summary
Very likeable within the given context, but within a framework appreciated by the GDAZE audience, 'Thunder In The Valley' is an album worth giving a shot, as in fact are all of the Billy Chinnock releases from about the mid 70's onward.

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#1 | Eric on August 29 2013 21:15:10
Have we really not reviewed any Chinnock albums up 'til now? Yikes!
#2 | gdazegod on August 30 2013 01:21:44
Are you volunteering Eric? lol!
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