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Message - 1981 Lessons

ARTIST: Message
ALBUM: Lessons
LABEL: Dream Disc
SERIAL: M-1000
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2000, Escape Music, ESM049


LINEUP: Dean Fasano - vocals, guitar * Richie Sambora - guitar * Alec John Such - bass * Bruce Foster - acoustic & electric piano, Prophet 5 synth * Simon Gannet - organ * Andy Rubbo - drums

Additional Musicians: Doug Petrucci - guitar * Jack Hotop - bass, keyboards * Steve - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Medicine Man (bonus) * 02 Dance Of The Dead (bonus) * 03 Where Were You * 04 She's Gone * 05 Stories * 06 Pessimistic Man * 07 Swing * 08 Lessons * 09 It Won't Be Long * 10 Is There Love * 11 Any Other Girl * 12 I Can Feel It * 13 In Your Heart (demo, bonus) * 14 Don't Go, Don't Run (demo, bonus) * 15 Diana (demo, bonus) * 16 Living In The Night (demo, bonus)

WEBLINKS: Dean Fasano MySpace Page

The band was formed in New Jersey by Dean Fasano around 1980. The lineup included Richie Sambora and Alec Jon Such, and Message disbanded around 1983 when Richie and Alec joined Jon Bon Jovi And The Wild Ones, -which eventually turned into the band Bon Jovi, to support the 'Runaway' single. The release date of the original Message debut album, which was re-released on cd in 1995 and 2000 with several bonuses/demos added, is not clear. 1981 is my best estimate taking into account the Dream Disc label on the vinyl pressing. There's also different lineups in the recording with Fasano being the only feature in all of them, and to the best of my knowledge I can say the Sambora/Such lineup only recorded tracks 6 to 11, which are the tracks that made it to the 1981 vinyl release.

The Songs
'Lessons' makes for an entertaining listening. Fasano's melodic powerful vocals sit somewhere between Joe Lynn Turner and Frank Dimino while the music falls into AOR, pomp and melodic rock territory. The first two songs 'Medicine Man' and 'Dance Of the Dead, both penned by Aldo Nova and Jon Bon Jovi, were part of Nova's 1991 album 'Blood On The Bricks', the second one the Japanese bonus for that album. Both are good uptempo tunes very much in the early 90's style not far from what Jon Bon Jovi and Aerosmith were doing at that time. The basic tracks are seemingly the same used by Nova with overdubbed Fasano's vocals and guitars leads. The actual lineup on these is unknown to me, maybe Sambora had some involvement as Fasano contributed to the former's 1991 'Stranger In This Town' album or maybe Message's 1998-2000 lineup overdubbed them at that time. ''Where Were You' is a vital AOR chunk with chugging guitars and a nice keyboard driven chorus. The midtempo AOR 'She's Gone' features another great prominent chorus. The original 1981's release started with 'Stories', a dreamy keyboard driven Pomp rocker with some nice synth passages. 'Pessimistic Man', co-written by Sambora, reminds me of Kansas during the intro and Roadmaster as well with nice keys and guitar interplay. The piano-driven blues of 'Swing' suffers from a very rough guitar tone to my ears. The title track is hypnotic pomp-rock not far from early Angel that includes fantastic guitar and organ interludes while 'It Won't Be Long' retains the Angel influences via heavy drums, guitars and piano. 'Is There Love' is a Sambora-penned power ballad with a pleasant guitar solo. 'Any Other Girl' appears to be the second ballad in a row, however it turns into superior, classy pomp-rock featuring Fasano's silky pipes a-la Frank Dimino. 'I Can Feel It' did not belong to the original vinyl release and is synth-driven smooth pomp midtempo. The last four tracks are unknown-era demos not particularly remarkable, ranging from ballads 'In Your Heart' and 'Diana' to midtempos 'Don't Go, Don't Run' and 'Living In The Night', the latter with a weaker sound quality but a nice chorus.

In Summary
Put together by Dean Fasano, Message's lineup included Richie Sambora and Alec Jon Such before there was Bon Jovi the band. In addition to that, links to the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Aldo Nova may be of interest to GDM readers. In the early 2000's, I had read about 'Lessons' as an AOR classic. Not exactly, however a recommended listening and a good collection of songs indeed. We all know about Fasano's involvement with Prophet's 1985 classic debut. Message reunited to record two more albums in the late 90's. Unfortunately, Dean Fasano passed away in 2009 at the early age of 54. He left us with some great music through the years.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 21 2017 05:54:56
I've got the 1995 Long Island CD version, which features a few tracks off this album.
#2 | dtabachn on August 21 2017 06:16:07
Bruce Foster played the piano parts on Kiss' 'Nothin' To Lose' from their debut. He's one of the few musicians ever credited on a Kiss album.
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