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Journey - 1977 Next




ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Next
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: PC 34311
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1991, CBS, CK 34311

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Gregg Rolie - lead vocals, keyboards * Neal Schon - guitars * Ross Valory - bass * Aynsley Dunbar - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Spaceman * 02 People * 03 I Would Find You * 04 Here We Are * 05 Hustler * 06 Next * 07 Nickel And Dime * 08 Karma

WEBLINKS: www.journeymusic.com


Background
It's the last Journey album that gets reviewed here at GDM. There are only a handful of bands that has their entire discography released here in full. Journey are one of those, for obvious reasons. Let's rewind the clock. It's 1977. The band members are enjoying their time as progressive rockers, full on jams and lengthy tunes with musicianship at the core. The record label CBS aren't impressed. The LP sales are poor, and the band, after the several years on the CBS roster are being pushed to deliver. Unfortunately, the 1977 LP 'Next' is not the album to reshape Journey into fully-fleged arena rockers. That would be for the following year. So what does their third and final instalment as a prog rock band have in store for us? Well, Robert Fleischman would hook up with the band briefly during this phase as a songwriter and lead singer, this occurring after the album's February 1977 release, but manager Herbie Herbert would have other plans for the band just around the corner.


The Songs
The opener 'Spaceman' was also released as a single from the album. It contains traces from their 'Look Into The Future' LP the year before, but wouldn't get near to the quality of their singles released from 'Infinity' in 1978. Still, a good track with Neal Schon's scorching lead guitar a stand-out. Journey meander through 'People', but it's not until the two and half minute mark that Schon kicks the door down on this track. His solo work sounds very compressed, similar to his Schon And Hammer work several years later. 'I Would Find You' leads off with some very cool moog keyboard parts from Gregg Rolie, but it takes awhile to get going. Ultimately, this song would be the last of Journey's progressive and ponderous ways. 'Here We Are' has some very interesting passages, and I played this song several times during the course of this review. It's quite mild-mannered, featuring a very AOR-like keyboard intro too. Journey kick into high-gear for 'Hustler, a hard rocking work-out, while the title-track 'Next' is a prog rock monster. 'Nickel And Dime' featured as the B-Side of the 'Spaceman' single, an unusual choice because the song was a pure instrumental. The finale 'Karma' ensures Journey complete the album on a high, a raucous rocker that is totally 1970's in style. Fiery as hell and it would've been great to see this played live.


In Summary
The album reached a modest #85 on the Billboard charts, but as mentioned, things were about to change big time for the band here on in. The introduction of a certain bloke called Steve Perry as the new lead singer would redefine AOR and melodic rock for the decades that would follow, and put Journey at the top of the pile all through the 1980's.


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Comments

#1 | Eric on September 23 2015 01:51:11
I know Starcastle did a ton of gigs with Journey in '77 and Journey opened for Starcastle as well but its the little stories like Anysley, Luttrell and Strater in the back of a Limo driving through the Bronx with some interesting Ladies... Gary Strater distracting bartenders while Ross Valory dipped behind the bar to deposit stolen beers in his Afghan jacket and other tales of hi-jinx. Both bands were poor at that time- equals with no 'hits' and did their best. That aside this is one of my favorite Journey albums and was my first exposure to the band. Great review and I love the first 3 albums.
#2 | tompa on September 23 2015 23:47:00
Just as great an album as its predecessors. 'Hustler' is one mean track and allthough I liked all the songs on the first three I liked the band the best when they really rocked out like they did on that one.
#3 | rkbluez on September 24 2015 02:15:11
The first 3 Journey albums will always be my favorites...I liked there more progressive and heavy spacey guitar approach on the first three a lot better than the pop rockin' radio stuff that made them famous...not saying it's not great stuff just that my tastes prefer the early stuff with Rolie singing.

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