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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » GTR - 1986 GTR
GTR - 1986 GTR

LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2001, One Way (USA), 351 752 2


LINEUP: Max Bacon - vocals * Steve Howe - guitars * Steve Hackett - guitars * Phil Spalding - bass * Jonathan Mover - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 When The Heart Rules The Mind * 02 The Hunter * 03 Here I Wait * 04 Sketches In The Sun * 05 Jekyll And Hyde * 06 You Can Still Get Through * 07 Reach Out (Never Say No) * 08 Toe The Line * 09 Hackett To Bits * 10 Imagining

This is what we get when we mix two of prog rock's supreme guitarists together. The collaboration of Messrs Howe and Hackett certainly got the rock fraternity a buzz back in 1985/86 and life after Yes/Asia and Genesis for both guitarists became a lot more interesting. Personally I couldn't have given a toss for those two as I was more interested in Max Bacon's vocal prowess matched with Geoff Downes production (Asia keyboardist). I was hoping this was going to turn into an album a la Alaska's 'Heart Of The Storm' but the end result didn't turn out quite like that. Did the success match the supergroup tag heaped on them at the outset? Probably not in commercial terms, but it's pretty good nonetheless, ironically carried off on the power of Bacon's vocals and not the guitar-fest potentially offered by both Steve's.

The Songs
GTR's sound is very traditionally English, and has outbursts of pomp that veer into Americana, though only fleetingly. Overall, we get a mix of Yes, Asia, Alan Parsons Project and Moody Blues on the quieter moments, how English is that! The first single off the album 'When The Heart Rules The Mind' has an interesting arrangement, but I don't think any other singer other than Bacon could've made it sound better. 'The Hunter' has classic Geoff Downes keyboard arrangements all over it, not surprising because he wrote it. A lovely effortless piece of work with drama and atmosphere coursing through it. 'Here I Wait' is fairly dramatic, complete with orchestral stabs and symphonic rock stylings. There are some Middle Eastern influences a la Yes showing up on 'Jekyll And Hyde' while Howe and Hackett trade guitar duels in the middle. 'You Can Still Get Through' is a punchy affair, with a vigourous percussion theme happening courtesy of Jonathan Mover. 'Reach Out' continues the upfront punchiness of the prior song, and demonstrates Bacon's vocal power riding on top of the instrumentation. My favourite track would be 'Toe The Line' a gorgeous acoustic flavoured piece where Max really lets loose in a performance only the top AOR singers can produce. The last track 'Imagining' operates at a tempo somewhere between Yes and Saga, very technical and progressive oriented. A couple of pointless guitar instrumentals fill up an otherwise underrated but great album.

In Summary
Many thought this was a one album band, but there are two other CD releases that I'm aware (I know, because I have both of them), that being the 'Live King Biscuit Flower Hour', and also the technically unreleased 2nd album with the working title 'Nerotrend', with half the tracks sung by Max Bacon, and the other half by Robert Berry (Hush). Well worth tracking down.

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#1 | vinyldinosaurus on February 22 2008 14:44:17
I saw GTR at the Orpheum theater in Boston back when they were touring this album. Great show!
#2 | Wally on February 28 2008 03:51:00
I caught GTR at the Palace in New Haven during the summer of 1986 when they supported the album. Hackett and Howe were their own opening act as they each played about 15-20 minutes of their solo acoustic guitar pieces.

Somewhere, I have a bootleg tape of this--an amazing show.
#3 | englandashes on June 22 2010 12:14:38
After Max's tenure at GTR came to an end, he appeared on ITV on one of the first talent shows. I seem to remember he may have got to the final's, and sang 'When the Heart Rules The Mind', in one of his performances.
#4 | gdazegod on June 22 2010 13:52:08
I read that somewhere too! What a muppet! thumbs down
#5 | Eric on June 22 2010 17:55:22
Last I heard Bacon was running a pub somewhere....
#6 | gdazegod on June 29 2010 02:39:57
Finally tidied up this article, and added the two videos from the album in here too. Great watching!
#7 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 19:30:39
I love Toe The Line and the voice of McBacon.Great CD.
#8 | super80boy on February 20 2016 23:38:43
Have had this CD for a long time, but picked up a clean used vinyl copy today. In addition to the big lead-off single 'When The Heart Rules The Mind', the following songs were bubbling under - 'Jekyll And Hyde', 'You Can Still Get Through' and 'Reach Out (Never Say No)'. Some stellar guitar work is found here as well.
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