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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Dakota - 2003 Lost Tracks/The Last Standing Man [Reissue]
 
Dakota - 2003 Lost Tracks/The Last Standing Man [Reissue]



ARTIST: Dakota
ALBUM: Lost Tracks/The Last Standing Man [Reissue]
LABEL: Melody BLVD
SERIAL: -
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

TRACK LISTING: Disc One: 01 Mr. Lucky * 02 Heaven Or Hell * 03 Believin' * 04 All Thru' The Night * 05 Remember Me * 06 These Eyes * 07 Forever To Never * 08 Good Old Time * 09 One For The Heart * 10 The Next Time * 11 My Turn Now * 12 Hot Summer Night * 13 Cross That Line

Disc Two: 01 Somebody's Hero * 02 Run With The Wind * 03 Hot Nights * 04 Water * 05 Mama Teach * 06 Struggles With The Heart * 07 The Last Standing Man * 08 Over In A Minute * 09 This Voice * 10 Finding You Tonight * 11 Only Game In Town * 12 Heartbreaker * 13 Methods Of Modern Man * 14 Mission Of Love * 15 Like Me

WEBLINKS: www.jerryhludzik.com


Background
Dakota have been one of the flagship bands at this website, and it's predecessor 'Heart Of The Rock', where the site championed their stylish AOR, leading to many AOR fans (myself included) discovering the band for the first time. Since both 'Lost Tracks' (previously released as 'Mr Lucky') and 'The Last Standing Man' have been reviewed here before, this is more of an overview of the reissue package as a whole, and the 5 previously unreleased bonus tracks.


The Songs
Disc One: delivers the 1987 album 'Lost Tracks', with a rearranged track order to bring it into line with what the band wanted - not the previous record company. Mr Lucky proves to be a strong opening statement, setting the trend for such era defining highlights as the pulsating 'Heaven Or Hell', the racy class of 'Believin' (you have to hear this chorus!), and the midtempo style and grace of 'Remember Me'. Also present are such memorable ballads as 'Forever To Never 'and 'One For The Heart', the latter coming across like a harder rocking Chicago with some Journey overtones for good measure! 'These Eyes' and 'Good Old Time' provide a more restrained take on the mid-tempo AOR theme, both memorable and of high quality. The disc closes with 3 previously unreleased tracks, which judging from the programmed drums seem to be from the same '85 to '87 sessions as the 'Lost Tracks' album proper: 'The Next Time' is a synth driven tune which is a pretty lightweight slice of pleasant pop with hi-tech AOR overtones here and there. 'Hot Summer Night' is more like it!, surging out of the gate with a syncopated drum/riff blast, flowing into hook laden uptempo AOR of such quality that you can't help wondering why it wasn't on the album. These guys have always known how to close the loop on a chorus, and they really nail this one ... pure magic for those who remember mid 80's Survivor and Journey with hi-tech bits thrown in as well, not to mention big riffing and wailing licks woven around the splashes of synth. 'Cross That Line' tugs out Manwiller's progressive/pomp side on the keyboards (he was in a pomp rock band before joining Dakota in 1981), drawing comparisons with Hobbit's essential 1981 release 'Two Feet Tall' at times. Well chosen tempo changes and racy melodies over a big hook further the Hobbit comparison - another classic song, ending disc one in style.

Disc Two: delivers one of the top 5 AOR albums recorded in the 90's, 'The Last Standing Man'. Highlights are plentiful again, and the track order has been altered by the band so you hear it the way they intended it to sound. Anthemic rockers such as 'Hot Nights', 'Somebody's Hero', 'This Voice', 'Over In A Minute' and the title track typify everything that's great about this album - Jerry G leading his boys through a study of how the 90's should have sounded ... not much different to the 80's! The melodies are as always strong and memorable, and there is an added power they call upon when the mood takes them, giving Manwiller's synth work a harder backbeat and crunchier guitars to weave around. The 2 previously unreleased tracks again sound like they come from the '85 to '87 sessions, and it shows. 'Mission Of Love' pulses along on the back of dominant keys on a bed of tasteful guitar licks, the verse cruising up Melody Boulevard to it's ultimate destination - a chorus much like a cascading waterfall of melody, vocal harmonies not unlike Shooting Star circa 'Burning' or 'Silent Scream'. Ending proceedings is the almost epic AOR midtempo gem 'Like Me', building slowly from restrained beginnings to a spine chilling chorus full of hooks that cut deep and harmonies straight out of Survivor's 'When Seconds Count 'era - yes, it is that damn good!


In Summary
Let's face it - a double disc of this quality is rare, and the good folk at Melody Blvd have outdone themselves here. For those AOR fans who are just discovering the legacy of Dakota, this is an essential item. Yet even those who have the previous versions of these albums would consider the stellar bonus tracks worth the price of admission - and of high importance to fans like me, the original 'Lost Tracks' album cover is back, far more pleasing to the eye than the previous CD cover and in line with Dakota's dedication to authenticity in their music and products. This release almost completes the 80's Dakota legacy ... there's still the second album they recorded for CBS around '81/'82 to hope for sometime soon. Knowing how Scott Sosebee is driven to bring AOR fans what they want, we have good reason to hope, and to be honest it would be great to have a disc to file between the 1980 and 1984 albums! Here at Glory Daze we'll keep you up to date on all Dakota related news, as we've always done.


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