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Marino, Frank - 1982 Juggernaut

ARTIST: Marino, Frank
ALBUM: Juggernaut
SERIAL: JC 38023
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1998, Black Rose (Germany), BR 129 * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY328


LINEUP: Frank Marino - lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards * Vince Marino - rhythm guitar * Paul Harwood - bass * Timm Biery - drums * Billy Workman - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Strange Dreams * 02 Midnight Highway * 03 Stories Of A Hero * 04 Free * 05 Maybe It's Time * 06 Ditch Queen * 07 For Your Love * 08 Juggernaut


My love affair with Frank Marino's music in the early 80's came to a shuddering halt. Not by choice, because his LP's became unavailable in New Zealand during this time. Only 'What's Next' received a local release in 1980, but beyond that, nothing. It took a few years to catch up with his back catalogue during this era. By now, Frank was going under a solo project name, the Mahogany Rush title had been dropped, despite the band members of MH (with the exception of drummer Jim Ayoub) all participating here. Anyway, 'Juggernaut' is an interesting affair due to the style changes Frank exhibits here. This is no longer wah-wah crazy antics from years gone by. No, this is carefully crafted melodic rock, with a focus on songs, cool arrangements and selective solos with the trigger pulled at the appropriate time.

The Songs
There's no thunder and blunderbuss upon initial inspection. The very cool 'Strange Dreams' prowls the soundscape like a night time raider. Unusual for Frank there is no hint of a guitar solo. Just a constant keyboard motif ticking away in the background. 'Midnight Highway' sees Frank dip into his legacy past, with some tasty soloing and fills throughout (verse and chorus). The eight minute 'Stories Of A Hero' is classed in the same southern rock epics as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws and Molly Hatchet. The calm and restraining first section makes way for some guitar bombast out beyond the five minute mark. 'Free' takes us a mind-bending journey. Kinda psychedelic in nature, but hard rock in delivery. Wow, what a trip, but something a bit more mainstream comes in the shape of 'Maybe It's Time'. This is something which could've been found on his last two albums. Great track. You can hear the crackle and spit from Frank's amplifiers at the start of 'Ditch Queen', and you can tell this is going to be as fiery as heck. Queens of one variety or another are an often described feature on Frank's back catalogue! 'For Your Love' is another straight-up no frills tune. More of a song rather than a hyper-extended solo filled extravaganza. The album is completed by the uptempo hard rock of the title-track 'Juggernaut', where Marino reminds everyone of his guitar prowess.

In Summary
This would be Frank's last album for Columbia, despite the label verifying this as his most successful release for them. Go figure! Frank would remain active through the 80's, with two more releases, and a studio effort into the 90's called 'From The Hip'. We still have a way to go to complete the Frank Marino back-catalogue, including a couple of live albums, but guaranteed we will get there eventually. [word count 445]

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#1 | tompa on February 03 2016 19:54:01
Well, it's a Frank Marino album so of course it's great, all his albums are. Ditch Queen became an instant favourite upon hearing the album when it came out.
#2 | rkbluez on February 03 2016 22:48:47
Like Tommy...Frank's music is all good to me...been a huge fan since 1973...Great album...great sound...the song Juggernaut is just so intense and in your face it's brilliant...and Strange Dreams was a very cool and different sounding track that showed Frank wasn't just a great guitarist but could pen a decent tune also.

So glad that BGO finally did Juggernaut as well as Power Of R and R as a 2 for 1 with good sound.
#3 | tompa on February 04 2016 12:34:41
Steve....agree about Strange Dreams. Midnight Highway is another one that helps set this album apart a bit from the others. We knew about his riffing ability of course but on certain songs he shows another side of his musical skills. Now, if he would only return with some new music. That, and play Sweden. Not asking too much, right?

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