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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Schon And Hammer - 1981 Untold Passion
Schon And Hammer - 1981 Untold Passion


ARTIST: Schon And Hammer
ALBUM: Untold Passion
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC-37600
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Neal Schon - vocals, guitar * Jan Hammer - drums, keyboards, synthesizers * Colin Hodgkinson - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Wasting Time * 02 I'm Talking To You * 03 The Ride * 04 I'm Down * 05 Arc * 06 It's Alright * 07 Hooked On Love * 08 On The Beach * 09 Untold Passion

WEBLINKS: Neal's Website | Jan's Website

Largely forgotten in the scheme of things is the collaboration between Neal Schon and Jan Hammer, which lasted for two albums in the early 80's, this being their debut. Released just a few months after Journey's 'Escape' had catapulted Schon into the upper echelons of the rock elite, he teamed up with Czech fusion master Hammer, who'd worked with such notable acts as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Jeff Beck in the 70's. Schon himself was no stranger to the world of prog and fusion, with his Santana and early Journey work both in those realms. It would be a stretch to say this album was a pure fusion effort, with obvious AOR elements incorporated into the mix, but it gave Schon more freedom to experiment from the ever growing confines of Journey's regimented AOR stranglehold.

The Songs
Admittedly the album takes some time to get used to, not quite clicking on initial listens. 'Wasting Time' is one of the more commercial tracks, both men's identifiable styles mixing well together, trading off guitar and keyboard solos seamlessly. 'I'm Talking to You' is a lively AOR track, but suffers with Schon's vocals, not quite hitting the mark for me. In some ways it comes off as more Shooting Star than Journey. 'The Ride' is an upbeat instrumental, with Hammer's synth work dominating, although Schon rattles off a fiery solo near the climax. 'I'm Down' is a hefty rocker, showing some 70's influences, keeping with both of the pairs work that decade. 'Arc' is another instrumental, both Hammer and Schon displaying some wicked interplay, recalling Hammer's work with Jeff Beck on 'Wired.' The best track for me is the atmospheric melody of 'On The Beach', where Schon throws down some heavy riffs, before Hammer gets in on the act with some potent synth bursts. This one is fusion at its best. Schon's passionate guitar work shines on the title track, another instrumental and preferable to the somewhat half-baked AOR of 'Hooked On Love', which runs short on melody.

In Summary
The album did marginal business, paling next to the success of Journey. But that was the whole purpose, giving Schon an outlet away from his main project. The pairing followed this up with 1982's 'Here To Stay', which was essentially more of the same and the last heard from the two. Schon's penchant for outside projects would continue with HSAS in 1983, while Hammer of course would amass fame and fortune with his 'Miami Vice' soundtrack in 1984. Definitely recommended for fans of both men, but nowhere near classic status.

Schon And Hammer - 1981 I'm Down

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#1 | gdazegod on February 01 2018 22:51:15
I've always enjoyed this album. A few songs here are killers.. 'I'm Down', 'Arc' and 'On The Beach' in particular. Thumbs Up
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