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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Orphan - 1983 Lonely At Night
Orphan - 1983 Lonely At Night

ARTIST: Orphan
ALBUM: Lonely At Night
LABEL: Portrait
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2003, Escape Music, ESM-097
SPONSOR: Escape Music


LINEUP: Chris Burke-Gaffney - vocals, bass * Steve McGovern - guitars, vocals * Brent Diamond - keyboards, vocals * Ron Boisvenue - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lonely At Night * 02 What Kind Of Love Is This * 03 Miracle * 04 She Told Me * 05 Saved By The Bell * 06 Any Time At All * 07 Hello * 08 All Over The World * 09 Night Parade

Coming at you nearly 25 years after the event, are the long lost and much maligned Canadian band Orphan. Tip your hat to the Escape Music guys once again, for bringing this 2 On 1 CD (bundled with 1985's 'Salute' album reviewed elsewhere here at G-DAZE) from yesteryear out into the public domain as professionally mastered versions, unlike the bootleg versions from a few years ago. Of course, for these guys, life started so much earlier for them, under the guise of Winnipeg based band The Pumps. I have that slab of vinyl called 'Gotta Move' stashed away somewhere, probably need to undertake a reacquaintance of that album sometime. The Pumps gigged throughout mid and western Canada and courted a deal with Polygram. 'Gotta Move' was released in 1980 during the height of the new wave scene, but issues reared their head, with half the band departing a short while later. Burke-Gaffney and Diamond recommenced the second stage of their musical career, with the creation of Orphan. It resulted in the addition of McGovern and Boisvenue, plus a deal with Portrait (USA) and Columbia (Canada). Their sound was a nice blend of Streetheart, Honeymoon Suite and Urgent, the American version (featuring the Kehr brothers). The Streetheart connection is an appropriate one, as they too were from the Prairies, with Burke-Gaffney's vocal style showing a hint of Kenny Shields at the best of times. The production from Lance Quinn and Tony Bongiovi guarantees 'Lonely At Night' the album won't stray too far from the AOR/melodic rock formula.

The Songs
The title track opens the album, very Streetheart oriented I feel, the production, vocals, keyboards etc supporting that argument. The dark sounding 'What Kind Of Love Is This' broods across the soundscape, helped by the chugging guitar which gives it a slight metal feel, but the ever-present keyboards from Diamond prevents that from ever happening. Changing direction altogether is the beautiful ballad 'Miracle', which hints at a (coincidental) comparison to labelmates Arcangel. On the other hand, Chris' vocal could very well be a copycat of the late Aussie/Kiwi singing legend Marc Hunter (Hunter/Dragon). It's an all Canadian affair with 'She Told Me', think of any half dozen bands from that era and you'd be hard-pressed to separate them! Conversely, 'Saved By The Bell' changes tack completely, this one doesn't do anything for me I'm afraid, the ploddy sound and offbeat rhythm sending it to the back of the class. We hit side two and are presented with another gem.. 'Any Time At All'. The keyboard and guitar interplay ensures this track as a bonafide album highlight! Firing on all cylinders is the track 'Hello'. Fans of Urgent's 'Cast the First The Stone' will take a liking to this one, as it's in that same mould. The same could probably apply to 'All Over The World', but in the end the track deviates to a New England slice of AOR (particularly the John Fannon like vocals), which ain't a bad thing.. surely? The last track 'Night Parade' takes an age to get going, the lyrics don't kick in until the 1.30 minute mark, and it really doesn't come alive until the chorus before the solo section. Probably not as immediate as the others we've heard before.

In Summary
Quite a cultured album this one, refined, true to the AOR genre, and a welcome addition to the digital era at long last. I think we've only got a handful to go, then all the essentials of the genre are wiped off that list called 'must have vinyl albums converted to CD!'. Interested punters.. you should know what to do by now..

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#1 | krokus on October 21 2006 19:27:28
This is one of my all time fave AOR albums. MIRACLE is a great song, same with LONELY AT NIGHT. Even if its from 83, it sound so fresh and could have been released this year. KILLER ALBUM.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:10:35
Owned the vinyl, JRR and now this excellent re-issue. One of my alltime faves (along with a few others) this is what it's all about for me. Love the Keys especially on this one, as they give it a very original feel, almost new wave'ish in places, along with Chris Burke-Gaffney's excellent vocal & Steve Mcgovern's slashing guitar riffs. Definately one of the best cd's to come out of Canada, and that is high praise indeed when you think of all the competition
#3 | rostoned on June 28 2008 22:48:58
'Lonely At Night' and 'Miracle' are two unforgettable melodic rock classics, another knock-out in Portrait's amazing roster. Moody and intelligent artwork too.
#4 | Nick C on August 23 2008 15:47:04
Same course as Jez with this buying wise....I like to refer to this album as 'dark AOR' as it has a wonderful downbeat kind of feel to an uplifting way (what HAVE I been drinking???). A classic of the genre no doubt.
#5 | reyno-roxx on September 01 2008 22:28:58
An absolutely killer release. 'What Kind Of Love Is This' has to be one of the best melodic rock songs ever recorded.
#6 | rkbluez on July 03 2012 21:47:41
Love this album has that classic melodic rock production of that era and fit's right in with stuff like Aldo Nova, Balance, Arcangel and bands with that Powerstation sound.

I like the 2 on 1 on Escape but would like to see both Orphan albums reissued by Rock Candy as I think they can get them to sound a little better.
#7 | gdazegod on July 28 2017 23:44:48
Here is a video clip of THE ORPHANS (pre Orphan) from around 1982. They are performing New England's 'P.U.N.K'.. Puny Under Nourished Kid' to the rest of you. Thanks go to John Watson and Malcolm Smith for unearthing this visual gem.

YouTube Video:
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