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Ya Ya - 1988 Ya Ya II

LABEL: WEA (UK, Europe), Atco (USA)
SERIAL: 242 263-1 (LP, UK & Europe), 7 90889-2 (CD, Atco)
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Sam Blue - vocals * Ray Callcut - guitars * Terry Stevens - bass * Graham Garrett - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Caught In A Lie * 02 When The World Cried * 03 Love In Vain * 04 Fear Of Flying * 05 The Toughest Race * 06 Julia * 07 The First Time * 08 You're All I Need * 09 All Through The Night * 10 Set Me Free

This second album from the delightfully named Ya Ya (is that yes yes in Scottish?), was a case of the immediately disappearing record! Akin to that other legendary Scottish item of yesteryear (i.e the Loch Ness Monster), 'Ya Ya II' is just about as scarce in appearance, that many people believe the thing never came out at all! Well, I can inform you all that yes, the album did come out, poked it's head out of the ground like a mole for about one minute, then submerged again. Let's wind the clock back a bit. Ya Ya the band, was actually formed by Lea Hart. The lineup originally called the Lea Hart Band, was completed by guitarist Ray Callcut, and the rhythm section of Stevens and Garrett, both ex members of the band Panache. After a tour of the Far East, the band became Ya Ya, and soon after signed with the US based Scotti Brothers label. No small achievement for a British band at the time. The 1984 album 'Scarred' is in itself a hard-to-find record, but musically it is right up there alongside the likes of Airrace, Virginia Wolf etc, as an excellent example of commercial British melodic hard rock. The band also appeared on the 'Revenge Of The Nerds' soundtrack.. not bad for a newcomers. However, things soured slightly, when leader Lea Hart departed, he soon joined up with ex Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clark to be part of Fastway. Hear him on the fantastic 'On Target' album!

The Songs
Meanwhile, Ya Ya picked up new boy Sam Bluett (Sam Blue, ex Samson) as their replacement vocalist. 'Ya Ya II' was released to little fanfare in 1988, but really, for all fans of AOR this is an album that deserves to be heard. Superb tracks like the opener 'Caught In A Lie', or the second track in 'When The World Cried', which has a smattering of prime-time Cutting Crew about it, convince me this platter has something going for it. Excuse the pun but 'Fear Of Flying' does indeed soar, while 'The Toughest Race' has some gorgeous harmony vocals, giving it extra dimension. However, the killer blow is delivered with the exceptional AOR of 'Julia'. Oooh this is damned good, reminding me of the awesome Outside Edge! The remainder of the album is good, but perhaps loses focus along the way. What keeps it all together is the great lead guitar work of Calcutt, who keeps things interesting! Bluett's vocal tones remind me a lot of Tony Liddell's work on the debut Strangeways album a few years earlier.

In Summary
Apparently the album was taken out of the market almost immediately, by whom remains a mystery, but when I find him, I'll have a few quaint words to share with him, believe you me! Of the band members, Calcutt is a session guitarist, while Blue (or Bluett as was his given name) last appeared with Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten) as part of the Burns Blue project. Just to finish on a cultural note, none of the members of this band are Scottish, as far as I'm aware.. 'Ya Ya II' is indeed a rarity now, give it a listen if you get the chance.

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#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 16:48:55
Quality AOR release, typical of the late 80's soundwise (Outside Edge, FM, Virginia Wolf etc). Good songs, good production and a great vocalist in Sam Blue. 'Julia' is a great song, with it's dutdut keys we all love. Getting hard to find, so if you see, it blag it straight away.
#2 | george_the_jack on June 22 2008 12:25:20
One of the most underrated and overlooked British AOR albums of all time! Brilliant all the way and with a fantastic production, not a common fact for the non-big boys of those days of yesteryear. Love it!
#3 | Danielovich on April 30 2010 20:18:02
Beg, borrow or steal. As simple as that. One of the best melodic releases ever, perhaps on the melodic top 20 of all time. Terrific effort, not a single bad song here.
#4 | Eric on August 29 2011 00:01:07
Going back even earlier in Ya-Ya's history...

Lea Hart started out in a pop/funk band called Slowbone who released several singles which morphed into The Roll Ups. The Roll Up's album 'Low Dives For High Balls' was released in 1979 and Lea toured the UK backed by The Roll up's supporting Judas Priest.

'Low Dives For High Balls' is one of my desert island albums. If Pilot, Badfinger and 10cc had gone punk/ new wave- this would have been the result. It's a stunner and reissued in Japan a few years ago (with different artwork) its now out of print but needs a proper reissue again for all to hear. A jewel!
#5 | Alfie2 on August 31 2011 18:42:20
Agree with Eric re "Low Dives for High Balls". A great album indeed.

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