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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Jans, Tom - 1982 Champion
Jans, Tom - 1982 Champion

ARTIST: Jans, Tom
ALBUM: Champion
LABEL: Pony Canyon
SERIAL: C25Y0025
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2015, Pony Canyon, PCCY-50074


LINEUP: Tom Jans - lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar * Don Grusin - keyboards, synthesizers * Lee Sklar, Ken Wild, Bob Glaub, David Hungate - bass * Carlos Vega, Jeff Porcaro - drums * Steve Forman, Victor Feldman - percussion * Fred Tackett, Lee Ritenour, Paul Barrere, Steve Lukather - guitars * Steve Porcaro - strings, synthesizer * Bill Payne - piano * Richard Kerr - piano, backing vocals * Jeff Osborne, Kate Markowitz, Valerie Carter - backing vocals * Ernie Watts - sax * Sidney Sharp - concert master

TRACK LISTING: 01 When The Rebel Comes Home * 02 There's A Champion On My Side * 03 I Miss Your Harmony * 04 Chambers Of The Heart * 05 Working Hot * 06 Cool * 07 Southern Belle * 08 Lost In Your Eyes * 09 Visions * 10 Mother's Eyes


Here's a name that deserves to be better known among the AOR and West Coast communities. His name is Tom Jans, and though he currently has a very informative website, Tom himself has been gone for thirty two years, having passed away in 1984 under tragic circumstances, which I'll touch on later in this article. Originally a folk rock artist, his career goes way back to the late 60's and early 70's, having recorded an album with Joan Baez's sister, the late Mimi Farina in 1971 called 'Take Heart', released by A&M Records. Both were active in the San Francisco Bay Area musical scene. Tom continued with A&M for his debut solo release in 1974, before moving to Columbia/CBS for two further albums in 1975 and 1976. He then upped sticks and moved to Nashville for a few years, perfecting his craft of songwriting. By the early 80's, Tom had relocated back to California, this time to Los Angeles.

The Songs
His last album was 1982's 'Champion', which was released in Japan only via the Pony Canyon label. Tom had hooked up with the same management company as Toto (Hartley & Fitzgerald), which meant the inclusion of the majority of that band participating on this album; the recording of the album spread across several studios throughout Los Angeles during the year. The end result was a compelling set of mostly folk rock tunes played in a West Coast style. Despite the inclusion of many top L.A session personnel, this is not an action-packed set a la David Roberts.. sorry to say.

Of immediate interest to punters is the inclusion of the song 'When The Rebel Comes Home'. This song was made popular by Dakota on their 1984 classic 'Runaway' LP, but the song was actually written by Tom and Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, so the version on this album is in fact the original. 'Champion On My Side' is a cruisy tune with the Ernie Watts sax solo shining through the middle. 'I Miss Your Harmony' is also very laid back, while 'Chambers Of The Heart' features an orchestral overlay, with a hint of Tom's folk background. 'Working Hot' is more in keeping with the West Coast/AOR style of the day, the next track 'Cool' is the most different track presented here, with a slinky urban vibe and a spoken word vocal from Tom. The remaining tracks don't really set the LP on fire, as all keep to a West Coast/folk rock hybrid with sweeping orchestration.

In Summary
I was hoping for a little more from this album considering the people involved, but it didn't really get out of the starting blocks. Though released on vinyl in Japan back in 1982, the album was issued as a remastered CD by Pony Canyon in 2015. As for Tom, he suffered a serious motorcycle crash in 1983, and died the following year at the age of 36. A gifted songwriter, who could've gone onto more significant things. Some interesting tidbits on his website, go take a look.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 24 2016 20:54:52
There are many high quality FLAC fileshares of this album on the Net, so you can pick it up easy enough, but be forewarned, it's a very laid back set of tunes.
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