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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Allen, Peter - 1980 Bi Coastal
Allen, Peter - 1980 Bi Coastal

ARTIST: Allen, Peter
ALBUM: Bi Coastal
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1998, A&M, CD 3315 * 2010, A&M (Japan), UICY-94653


LINEUP: Peter Allen - vocals, piano, fender rhodes * David Foster - keyboards, fender rhodes, synthesizer, piano * Tom Keane - fender rhodes, synthesizer * Mike Porcaro, Daniel McDaniel - bass * Jeff Porcaro, Ed Greene, Ralph Humphries, Carlos Vega - drums * Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon, David Williams, Richie Zito - guitar * Paulinho DaCosta, Jose Rossy - percussion * Eugene Meros, Lon Price - alto sax * Gary Herbig - sax * Larry Williams - synthesizer * Richard Page, Steve George - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 One Step Over The Borderline * 02 Fly Away * 03 Bi-Coastal * 04 I Don't Go Shopping * 05 Hit In The Heart * 06 I Could Really Show You Around * 07 Somebody's Angel * 08 Simon * 09 Pass This Time * 10 When This Love Affair Is Over

Peter Allen was an Australian who passed away at the relatively young age of 48, in 1992. One time married to Liza Minnelli, a songwriter of note, he co-write 'Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)', performed of course by Christopher Cross and 'Don't Cry Out Loud', most successfully in the hands of Melissa Manchester. This album contained the elite Westcoast brotherhood, poached from Toto and Pages, plus Jay Graydon, while the song writing was strengthen by David Foster and Tom Keane, Peter Allen got involved on all tracks, so it was just wasn't a vehicle for those guys earning another session pay cheque. Just a thought, are the likes of Del Vecchio, Karlsson, Martensson, Denander the current crop of session guests and songwriters that sometimes get vilified (yes even from me) just doing the same as those guys in the 80's?

The Songs
This is not flawless Westcoast by any means; songs like 'I Don't Go Shopping' and 'Simon' (which dates back from 1968) are really more of a Broadway style than a Bill Champlin styled Chicago. Pleasant for sure but I won't be playing them at full volume with my windows down in my Vauxhall Zafira, hardly what you call a babe magnet, anyway! But putting my hair at risk and catching pneumonia I would have the likes of 'One Step Over The Borderline' blaring out. This track has to be best on the album, it sounds like the national anthem of Westcoast, it's one of those tracks that you think has been performed elsewhere, but I just can't place where. Can it be the Michael McDonald style backing vocals, so perfectly performed by Richard Page and Steve George that makes this so special? Or the keyboards trembling in the background? The arrangement will just melt the most hardened heart. It contains so many aspects of perfection. Much in the same vein is the bouncing title track, I have a vision of the old arcade game Outrun in a top down car, with the animated girl passenger with her blond hair flying around in the wind, and we used to be so impressed with small details. Horns feature here as they do in 'Fly Away', buts that's so much more laid back, George Benson, Bobby Caldwell and Jim Photoglo, but with string arrangement, serene.

Still some surprises, the 80's style TV detective soundtrack, would be the hard hitting, 'Hit In The Heart', probably the most straight ahead rock on the album, yes very Mr Mister, in fact this also shows two sides in common with Barry Manilow, this tune being the style of 'Some Kind Of Friend' from his 1982 album, 'Here Comes The Night/I Wanna Do It With You' depending what time zone you are living in, and with the next track 'I Could Really Show You Around', could easily find its way on any of Barry's albums, not so when he is in his 'I Write The Songs' dinner suit, but when old Barry gets the hips moving. But of course ballads will appear, just as Nick Clegg makes an excellent coffee (well the Deputy Prime Minister has had enough practice) and we get one with 'Somebody's Angel', it's pretty uninspiring and not likely to make many bride and grooms wedding song. Although 'Pass The Time' might get the guests from their chairs. Much more uplifting, a jolly little tune, but by this time the coast road is nearing the end and the sun is starting to set, but it is a nice way to pass the time anyway. Before the cheesy keyboard opening and dated horns finds its way onto 'When This Love Affair Is Over', yes probably safer ground for Mr Allen, nice? Yes it is, but far too many sweet and sugary calories for my liking.

In Summary
I can't really comment on any more of Peter's albums but I do remember picking up a compilation of his, and found myself not agreeing with the title being the greatest tunes, off it went in the post to a somewhat disappointed buyer if they thought it was a well of goodies in the Bi-Coastal mould. Tell you one thing I won't be going to Rio, although it was fine for Pablo Cruise, as a version appears on their 1978 'Worlds Apart album' (I'm still not convinced after playing it again). Maybe a case of that one album being from the golden era of Westcoast and avoid others at all costs, although I stand to be corrected. One other thing, the track listing on the cover is correct but the insert has a number of songs jumbled up out of order, not a big deal, but was this due to a late running order change? Anyway, this took me a while to track this album down, after first reading about this record in the small ads found in an old dog-eared copy of Frontline, many moons ago or possibly from the Blue Desert website. I would imagine this has probably had a limited Japanese run on CD, like so many of its ilk, surprisingly it does seem it was released in Britain on vinyl, well at least my promo copy is (more stickered promos seem to exist in Westcoast and AOR than any other genre), now if only I can track down a nice copy of the self-titled of Bill Labounty, then it will be summer all the year round.

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#1 | swazi on October 08 2013 20:13:18
LaBounty .... check this out, Sir!
#2 | englandashes on October 08 2013 20:20:01
Thank you swazi, pretty reasonable, but being a cheapskate, happy with a cheap vinyl copy, much appreciated though!
#3 | gerard on October 08 2013 23:30:42
The insert of my copy (not a promo) has the songs in the wrong order as well... Sorry, have the s/t LaBounty album on cd but no extra copy (do have one of The Right Direction though...).
#4 | englandashes on October 09 2013 20:48:12
Hi gerard, yep got his Right Direction, actually going to play it tonight, can't for the life of me, remember what it sounds like,!
#5 | dangerzone on April 22 2014 21:22:25
'One Step Over the Borderline' and 'Hit to the Heart' are too good to be true, some of the best West Coast surely ever recorded. That's what it's all about in my opinion.
#6 | gdazegod on August 18 2015 11:42:54
Australian television is about to see a two part biopic on Peter Allen's life, coming up in September on Channel 7. I for one cannot wait!

#7 | code4 on October 22 2015 22:11:42
Had this album on Japanese vinyl, then after replaying it to death over a few years i replaced it with a sealed old stock usa vinyl. Didn't sound even 1/2 as good. Not surprising as Japanese vinyl was typically so well mastered/manufactured in this era vs usa. One of those album's like Airplay that reminds me how lucky i was to get big into music including AOR masterpieces with vinyl records in an age where vinyl was out. To be honest back in those days despite the shipping cost of buying vinyl it was a damn site cheaper than buying cd too. Remember the AOR cd 'boom' between early 2000's till the recession? Absolutely crazy what hard to find cd's went for in those days.
Anyway yeh, sorry supposed to be commenting on an album here. I enjoyed the excellent funny review and this is a pretty great album alright. One of the so called 'masterpiece albums' of early 80's golden age westcoast AOR that surely deserves its status. Only song i didn't particularly didn't care for back then was 'Somebody's Angel' but i'd probably find even that was worthy if i check this out again
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