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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Swanee - 1985 Bushido
Swanee - 1985 Bushido

ARTIST: Swanee
ALBUM: Bushido
LABEL: Star Call Records
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: John Swan - vocals * album personnel unknown

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hasn't Anybody Told You * 02 I'll Fall In Love Again * 03 Turn Away * 04 Surrender * 05 You Oughta Know By Now * 06 Here Comes The Night * 07 Gone For Me * 08 You've Got The Love * 09 Snooze You Lose * 10 One Chain


As Jimmy Barnes' older brother, John 'Swanee' Swan blazed his own trail during the 70's and 80's, while his sibling amassed fame and fortune with Cold Chisel and his later lucrative solo career. Unlike Barnes, Swan kept his family surname and in some regards has to be considered the superior vocalist of the two. The native Scot Swan made his name with various bands around the country in the 70's, doing the bar circuit with bands like Southern Cross, Fraternity and Feather. By 1980 Swan decided to go solo, an inspired decision based on the success of his 1980 debut 'Into The Night' and 1982's 'This Time It's Different.' This established Swan as an Aussie mainstay in the charts, with classic tracks aplenty. In their own right these albums deserve reviews, but it's 1985's 'Bushido' which would interest most here. By this stage Swan had faded away from the charts, but in typical mid 80's fashion he furnished a high-tech AOR album which really is superb and an underrated gem. Not even his brother attempted anything this blatant.

The Songs
The opening synth salvo that dominates 'Hasn't Anybody Told You' left me almost speechless, the addition of horns making this the quintessential high-tech AOR track. This is on the same level as the brilliant Little River Band albums of the period with John Farnham at the helm. Swan tales a shot at Sammy Hagar's 'I'll Fall in Love Again' and gives it his unique vocal spin, making it a must hear. In many ways it's the equal of the original, the power of his vocals exceeding most of his peers. 'Turn Away' could be a Jimmy Barnes track, such is the similarity of their vocals naturally, but this is another well-crafted AOR cut of the finest sort. The overflow of keyboards through the album is an asset, but the guitars are more prominent on 'Surrender' which relies on another superfluous chorus, one up there with the best of the best, which includes Michael Bolton or Journey. Swan throws in another cover, this time Ray Kennedy's classic 'You Ought to Know By Now' and once again does it justice with his impassioned vocals. It doesn't differ drastically musically from the original, but it suits the style of Swan's delivery. Swan reverts to a more traditional hard rock sound for 'Gone For Me' but the synth parps are still squeezed in. This is the kind of bar room material you'd expect from a true rocker like Swan. There's a bit of an undercover lover aspect to the provocative 'You've Got The Love' and Swan's posturing, very much a product of 1985. The same can be said of 'Snooze, You Lose' and the arrangements in general, the synthesized bass rumbling away with keyboards all over the place. This recalls Elton John's flirtations with AOR during the same period, but this is infinitely more satisfying. As you'd expect a melodic guitar solo is tossed in also, this track able to take on a John Parr for example. The momentum is kept until final track 'One Chain' which features female backing vocals (another staple of the time) combining with a heavier rhythm section and synth stabs coming from all angles.

In Summary
This was overlooked during 1985 for the most part, but if there'd been any justice Swan would have been as big as his brother commercially. It's very much the equal of what Barnes was putting out and is one for the AOR purist. Swan is ever present on the scene to this day, a true Aussie legend worth his weight in gold. All his music is worth seeking out, the man could do it all and this offering may be an eye opener if you've never sampled Swan's discography before.

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#1 | stranger on June 09 2016 13:21:16
Sounds very interesting. Is it possible to post a filehare of this album?
#2 | gdazegod on June 09 2016 22:08:14
I can sort something out stranger.
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