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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » O Banion, John - 1985 White Light
O Banion, John - 1985 White Light

ARTIST: O Banion, John
ALBUM: White Light
LABEL: Bellaphon
SERIAL: 260.07.078
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: John O'Banion - lead vocals * Joey Carbone - piano, electronic piano, synthesizer, backing vocals, percussion * Richie Zito - guitar, synthesizer, bass, electronic drums * Phil Shenale - synthesizer programming * Bill Bodine - bass * Art Wood, Carlos Vega - drums * Claude Pepper - electronic drums * Joe Pizullo, Beth Anderson - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hakkenshi's Theme (Whte Light) * 02 Body Heat * 03 Turn Out The Light * 04 We Can't Go On * 05 She's The One * 06 Satomi Hakken-den * 07 She Dreams Of You * 08 I Need Love * 09 Techno Pheliac * 10 We Can Dream

Judging by the indifferent poses on the album cover he appears to be heartily sick of his role as an undercover lover on his third studio offering. Either that or the photographer upset him on the day of the photo shoot. Fortunately the same lacklustre approach isn't reflected in his vocal performance.

The Songs
'White Light' was produced and arranged by seasoned studio veterans Richie Zito and Joey Carbone who also had a hand in writing most of the album's material. You can therefore pretty much guarantee its quality AOR, though it does waiver on occasion. The album starts impressively with swirling synths and chugging guitar on 'White Light', though the synthesizer programming and electronic drums do tend to give it a 'processed' feel. There's no mistaking the mid 1980's timeframe on tracks like 'Body Heat' and 'We Can't Go On', though I can forgive this, as Richie Zito's biting guitar work ensures they're not entirely clinical or wimpy. Side two opens with the first of the album's two ballads 'Satomi Hakken-Den' - the kind of track O'Banion pulls off effortlessly. The album's highlight is 'I Need Love' which displays the kind of broody AOR style perfected by Franke And The Knockouts et al. Unfortunately this is followed by the truly dire 'Techno Pheliac' which sounds like a third rate Giorgio Moroder cast off. O'Banion returns to more familiar territory on 'We Can Dream' which is the kind of crooning ballad he's more well-known for.

In Summary
If I'm not mistaken a couple of the album's songs, namely 'I Don't Want This Night To End' and 'White Light' ended up on the soundtrack for the Japanese period film 'Legend Of The Eight Samurai'. I very much doubt 'White Night' will receive an official release on CD anytime soon, particularly as O'Banion is sadly no longer with us. However if you do have a hankering for slickly produced (if a little dated) 1980's AOR, then track this album down, if only to hear 'I Need Love' which is a bonafide AOR classic. [word count 359]

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#1 | gdazegod on January 05 2016 23:32:47
This album was released in Japan during 1983, titled 'Satomi Hakken-Den', as per the sixth track on this Euro LP version. You may be able to pick the Jap version up on CD. Certain of it.
#2 | richardb on January 06 2016 06:34:12
My mistake. I should have clarified that by saying widespread release. A lot of these 1980's Westcoast/AOR acts seem to be issued on CD in Japan. My German copy of the album has a 1985 release date so it seems like they missed the boat on the European release - perhaps that's why he looks so fed up. I bet the Japanese CD comes with a hefty price tag?..
#3 | code4 on January 08 2016 14:20:36
Sure does. While it now seems that so many of the AOR cd's that consistently fetched say about 250 bucks back in the day on ebay (meaning early-middle 2000's aor cd-mania) now seem to only garner amounts like 100-150 (I guess along with the AOR cd mania settling down a little, more copies have 'turned up'), this one still seems to fetch at least $250 every time it appears.
There is an unofficial european re-issue that floats about (often sealed) on european ebay sites but watch out because it is a CD-R (unless that interests you).
I can't remember this entire album (I don't have it, nor the mp3 rip i used to once own) but i do recall a number of truly stunning sounding songs so was not at all surprised to learn it's a really wanted album on cd
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