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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Ballard, Russ - 1984 Russ Ballard
Ballard, Russ - 1984 Russ Ballard

ARTIST: Ballard, Russ
ALBUM: Russ Ballard (1984)
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: ST-17108
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1989, Electrola, CDP 538-7 91663-2 * 1996, Renaissance Records (2 on 1 with 'The Fire Still Burns') * 2012, Air Mail Recordings (Japn), AIRRAC-1665


LINEUP: Russ Ballard - vocals, guitars * Mo Foster - bass * Greg Sanders - keyboards * Simon Philips - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Can't Hear You No More * 02 In The Night * 03 Two Silhouettes * 04 Voices * 05 A Woman Like You * 06 Day To Day * 07 Playing With Fire * 08 The Last Time


IMHO, Russ Ballard is right up there at the forefront of melodic rock. He's played with the best, and written some of the most memorable tunes in rock. 'Since You've Been Gone' covered by Rainbow, and 'New York Groove' by Ace Frehley, are two notables. Of more notoriety, is the fact that Russ has had a fairly successful solo career as well, long after his stints with the likes of Argent, and the Roulettes from the 60's and 70's. By the time 1984 had rolled around, this UK artist had already moved into AOR territory, hovering on the same ground as fellow UK rockers Charlie and John Verity. The sound? Primetime radio oriented AOR of the most American kind - perhaps the UK's answer to Balance?

The Songs
There are some exquisite songs here. Tell me any AOR fan won't get turned on listening to tracks like 'Playing With Fire' or 'Two Silhouettes'. Awesome stuff. Check out these 'don't mess with me lyrics on 'Playing With Fire' - '.. but I won't play your mind games, girl count me out, walk away from me, don't touch, you'll burn your hand, you still don't understand - you're playing with fire'. Continuing with the ultra-smooth AOR approach are 'Woman Like You' the exquisite 'The Last Time', and the Beau Coup like precision of 'Day To Day' - the latter with it's strutty bass lines and stabbing keyboard voicings. Russ gets all moody and dramatic on the pairing of 'Voices' and 'In The Night'. The cloak and dagger aspect invokes elements of the undercover lover stance - a prevalent theme in the genre at the time. Ask guys like John O'Banion and Benny Mardones for confirmation.

In Summary
Hardly a weak moment on this platter, and having the talented Simon Philips bashing the drums gives it a certain polish. In reality though, this album was primed for radio. Why it never landed there beggars belief. However, you can actually buy this CD as a 2 on 1 disc, with the 1985 release 'The Fire Still Burns'. The CD was released in 1996 by Renaissance Records. Having two albums on one disc is a 'must have' for your collection, even if the audio quality is slightly suss.

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#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 02:57:01
Excellent album With an extremely good backing band at the time (Mo Foster on Bass - wow). Good hard pop ditties abound on this album, and 'Voices' even appeared on in an episode of Miami Vice.
#2 | george_the_jack on March 11 2009 00:09:03
Eternal release by one of the greatest songwriters of rock music.score 10
#3 | DIGITAL on March 01 2010 17:39:07
All the songs are good to excellent have at least one song on my mp3 player at any given time.
#4 | super80boy on July 24 2013 03:35:01
In full AOR melodic rock mode here and this one delivers on many levels for the AOR enthusiast. Every song is solid and well performed.
#5 | rostoned on October 16 2015 17:01:19
The 2012 japanese CD reissue has 4 bonus tracks: the excellent B side 'Living without you', an edit of 'Voices' and an extended remix plus an edit of 'I can't hear you no more'.
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