ARTIST: Van Zant
ALBUM: Van Zant
SERIAL: GHS 24059
CD REISSUE: 1998, Unidisc (Canada), AGEK-2066
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Johnny Van Zant - vocals * Robbie Gay - guitars * Erik Lundgren - guitars * Danny Clausman - bass * Robbie Morris - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Midnight Sensation * 02 She's Out With A Gun * 03 I'm A Fighter * 04 You've Got To Believe In Love * 05 Two Strangers * 06 2 + 2 * 07 Heart To The Flame * 08 Does A Fool Ever Learn * 09 Right On Time * 10 Lonely Girls
Perhaps they were sick of being stereo-typed as a typical southern rock band a la Lynyrd Skynyrd
, Molly Hatchet
etc. Van Zant the band had up until this point been a reasonable radio friendly southern band, with more than a foot in the AOR/melodic rock camp. Their previous efforts were OK, and I own a few of them myself, but with this self titled effort on a new label Geffen, we see a complete move into the pure ranks of AOR, and they bust the door down with both feet this time, to release a lovely melodic rock album, lauded by critics and fans alike. I suspect a couple of reasons behind the move. Firstly, the success of .38 Special
as a radio oriented band. Secondly, having Rodney Mills at the production helm (.38 Special
's principal producer), and thirdly a new label Geffen, riding high on the success of label mates Aerosmith
, Wang Chung
and Sammy Hagar
. The band have also taken a new look, this time getting the AOR image and clothes just right, and not looking like down-home southern rockers as they were previously.
The album is a mixture of self penned tracks, plus covers/co-writes, though the ratio is 7-3 in favour of covers/co-writes. A bit of a worry really, but perhaps another reason for the drastic change in precedings? However, the best track on the album is a Van Zant written one, and it's the opener 'Midnight Sensation' an all-out southern fried rocker with keyboards buzzing in from all quarters. Glorious stuff. Meanwhile we get '2+2' an RPM
track, 'A Fool Never Learns' which is an Eddie Schwartz
song also covered by Helix
, 'I'm A Fighter' written by Jimi Jamison
and Mandy Meyer
for the Cobra
session which never made it onto the 'First Strike' album. This one was also done by Ray Roper (Stonebolt)
. 'Heart To The Flame' is another well known track, featuring on Jeff Paris
' 'Wired Up' opus, while 'You've Got To Believe In Love' is a Bill LaBounty
(West Coast muso) co-write..
Not withstanding the covers, this is an excellent sounding album, and is full-on in the traditional AOR style. Initially a very hard album to track down, but now available via Unidisc (Canada). Check them out.
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