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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Adams, Bryan - 1983 Cuts Like A Knife
Adams, Bryan - 1983 Cuts Like A Knife

ARTIST: Adams, Bryan
ALBUM: Cuts Like A Knife
SERIAL: SP-4919, CD-4919
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1990, A&M, 75021-3288-2 * 2012, Audio Fidelity, AFZ 127


LINEUP: Bryan Adams - vocals, guitar, piano * Jim Vallance - percussion * Mickey Curry - drums * Tommy Mandel - organ, synthesizer * Keith Scott - guitars, vocals * Dave Taylor - bass * Alfa Anderson, Lou Gramm - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Only One * 02 Take Me Back * 03 This Time * 04 Straight From The Heart * 05 Cuts Like A Knife * 06 I'm Ready * 07 What's It Gonna Be * 08 Don't Leave Me Lonely * 09 Let Him Know * 10 The Best Was Yet To Come


Bryan Adams is quite a clever lad, he knows what he is good at, like developing and keeping to a successful writing partner with Jim Vallance, playing live was always an important aspect, I was a convert when seeing him one Saturday afternoon in a Milton Keynes field supporting ZZ Top, I didn't imagine that with the basics of just him, white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a guitar produced one of the best live performances I have ever seen. Arguably vocal wise he will never be in the same bracket as the likes of Steve Perry and Michael Bolton, but at the same time he has stayed at the top much more than those guys. Casting my mind back even further to those early days of Kerrang, wasn't there a famous quote that Bryan Adams was branded as 'granddad rock', possibly from members of Motley Crue or Dave Lee Roth, or were they talking about Sammy Hagar? Well while those guys are busy drawing up their pension plans by arranging a final (?) farewell tour, Mr Adams is still going strong, in fact resurrecting the 'Reckless' album set on tour.

The Songs
'Cuts Like A Knife' was his third album and released in 1983. This album seemed to finally push him forward. Here, he delivers his vocals by bouncing the tone more than he has ever done before or since. He manages to highlight the more melodic touches, especially with the opening 'The Only One', even though the backing vocals are as dull as England's World Cup chances, they will be lucky to get as far as the airport let alone the second round. This seemed more of a quality rock album littered with great album tracks rather than a swell of hit singles. 'Take Me Back' is indicative of the Rolling Stones especially in terms of the guitar slang. 'This Time' is really as the same DNA of something off 'Reckless', Bryan and Jimbo seem to take a track like this, populate it and grow it into a stunner. I remember here in the UK, this was subsequently re-released on the back of the success of 'Reckless' (as was 'Straight From The Heart') but stalled at 41, not a total disgrace if you bear in mind that 'Summer Of 69' only reached 42. Bryan also found himself with an appearance on The Tube with this tune. Again the ballad 'Straight From The Heart' was used to bolster his back catalogue, and just has that something that makes it a memorable ballad rather than 4 minutes of mush. Which leaves the title track, which contains a hook that makes you keep coming back and get excited as waiting for the next instalment of Game Of Thrones, so I am told.

Some of the lesser known tracks are quite exciting and has a grace of critical AOR persuasion that I had never given him full credit for. Take for instance, 'I'm Ready', it has a SPYS or early Foreigner keyboard burst, even Aviator, this is a super AOR track, and requires full attention. Did this guy really sing 'I Do Everything For You'? With 'I'm Ready' (not the wake up chant by SpongeBob either) has more in common with The Arrows, rather than those dispensed by that bloke called Robin, hearing it again has made me all of a quiver. It doesn't stop yet. The AOR pedigree is in full view with the MSB inspired 'What's It Gonna Be'; really this has moments that are equal to the great Kevin Raleigh. Plus the swarming guitar solo of 'Don't Leave Me Lonely', not the Angel track but in fact co-written with Eric Carr and has any of those 80's hair metal bands looking over their padded shoulders. The more basic 'Let Me Know' is still pleasant listening, while the 'The Best Is Yet To Come' may have signs of a Styx ballad, but maybe he was making reference to the 'Reckless' album.

In Summary
What are the rules surrounding the spelling of Bryan and why not Brian? well at least you don't misspell it and write it as Brain. Anyway the brains behind Bryan, probably couldn't predict the level of success 'Reckless' would bring. Even though 'Cuts Like A Knife' is a great album, many other artists would see this album as their zenith and fall back down the slope to the bottom. But not Mr Adams, onward he would march with Mr Vallance, with his standard set of musicians which he has kept faith in, still after all these years. Of course considering his more recent history you could say where did it all go wrong?, well after picking up most of his albums for as little as a penny, I still find the likes of 'On A Day Like Today' or '11' are still worth listening to, and each contain the odd gem to investigate and enjoy. Compare that to the tenner you would easily spend on the latest AOR 'here today gone tomorrow' release!

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#1 | gdazegod on June 02 2014 04:58:27
This is a great album. Like the Huey Lewis LP 'Sports', it went by under the radar in 1983, but holds up well as a body of work from that year. Thumbs Up
#2 | DEMONAOR on June 02 2014 11:25:24
Yes a great album.
#3 | jeffrey343 on June 02 2014 15:20:40
This got a lot of spins from me back in my later high school days. And I made a cassette of it that was always good for the 3-hour drive to and from college.
#4 | swazi on June 08 2014 23:54:58
Backed x 10, great album! I have seen him play live a few times and it was always a superb act.
#5 | bpdp3 on January 12 2018 02:45:08
Glad the reviewer highlights "I'm ready", as it really is an amazing AOR track.

However, my favorite version is by Ian Lloyd on his "goosebumps" lp... where I first heard it. A little tighter and just a hair quicker. What a song!
#6 | dtabachn on April 18 2018 22:16:29
Great, great album. Pure and simple, unadulterated rock and roll that is often times so difficult to write and put into record. Great review as well. Reading some crazy reviews elsewhere that bash it for being wimp or 'not 'punk' enough' (sic). Some people forget about the KISS principle.
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