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Gun - 'Taking On The World - 25th Anniversary Edition' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/69/c2/f6/gun-taking-on-the-world-25th-anniversary-edition-68-1445711715.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 24, 2015    
 
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A worthwhile investment.

'Taking On The World' is an album I've known and lived with for all of the twenty-five years since its release in 1989. It's an album that I genuinely do still listen to, even before this re-issue hit the streets. Like most bands that suddenly appear with their debut album, Gun had been around in various guises and line-ups for a couple of years. Based around the core of Mark Rankin (vocals) and brothers Guiliano (Jools) and Dante Gizzi on guitar and bass, the band also included Stephen "Baby" Stafford (guitar) and Scott Shields (drums).

The first disc of this set is a simple re-issue of the album. I'm not going to run through each track, but there are many highlights that remain favourites in the live set even today. Opener and single 'Better Days' is a delight of Melodic Pop Rock at its best; fluid, memorable yet never losing the Rock roots. 'Shame On You' has a U2-influenced intro, building with the addition of each instrument into a powerful Rocker. 'Inside Out' is as infectious, commercial tune as you will find. Yet throughout all the Pop, Funk and Melodic influences, Gun never lose the fact that first and foremost they Rock. The fact that the album was strong enough to get them tour slots with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi speaks for itself regarding the quality on offer.

The second disc contains the B-sides and rarities of the collection and as such is arguably either the least or most interesting, depending in your point of view. 'Prime Time' has a simple up-beat bouncy hook to it but in truth doesn't really go anywhere here and does feel a touch repetitive; you can understand why it may not have made the main album. 'Dance' at least shows that the band weren't afraid to go for something a bit different, a heavy drumbeat and guitar thrown over a basic Pop/Dance tune. Pick of the bunch though is 'When You Love Somebody'; a genuine Gun classic that would sit comfortably on the album with its infectious, rolling beat and chorus full of the trademark harmonies.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Coming Home' and 'Back Where We Started are another couple of standard Rockers before 'Where Do We Go', an acoustic driven tune with some nice Bluesy harmonica. There are extended, re-mix versions of '...Days', 'Shame' and 'Money' which are interesting in an abstract sort of way but do nothing to improve or benefit the song. 'Money' is probably the pick of the three, morphing into an Aerosmith style vocal with a hint of Steve Perry's loose guitar licks. Along with '...Somebody', the other stand-out track is a rousing version of Thin Lizzy's 'Don't Believe A Word'. Often played live, Gun power through the song with Rankin's rasping vocal giving it a tough edge.

As you would expect with B-sides, a bit of a mixed bag, but never less than interesting and away from those songs that are so associated with the band, both Nazareth and Simple Minds both come to mind in places, perhaps giving a clue as to some of Gun's own influences.

The third and final disc is a collection of Gun's BBC Radio sessions with four tracks from each of three sets recorded for Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show, The Nicky Campbell Show and Mark Goodier's sessions. The Friday Rock selection was immaculately recorded and produced meaning versions of '...Days' and 'Shame...' are pretty much note for note covers of the album tracks. '...Home' though benefits hugely against the B-side version with a harder edge and a bit more pace to it before ending this group with a powerful version of 'Taking On The World'. The Nicky Campbell set is again recorded live in the studio but to different effect. Jool's guitar and the drum beat are, if anything, just a little too high in the mix but to good effect. It gives the versions of 'Shame...', 'I Will Be Waiting' and 'Something To Believe In' a harder, raw edge that highlights the energy the band generate in a live environment. Conversely '...World' is stripped back, played on lone acoustic guitar giving Rankin the chance to show what a great singer he is with a superb soulful performance, in contrast to the Rockers that he's equally at home belting out. The final session is again recorded live in the BBC studios with strong versions of 'Something...', 'Can't Get Any Lower' and '...Home' before ending with another acoustic take on '...World'.

It's a tough ask to turn one album into a three disc set, there's inevitably some degree of repetition, in this case four versions of both '...Days' and '...World'. But throughout all three offerings, you can't deny the quality of the music. The review copy I received was by download so I can't comment on the packaging and information in the full-set, but at any mid-price level it's going to be a worthwhile investment.

Ian Parry

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  • SeaDog57 : just an observation. I just got Issue 89 at the Bookstore and when i looked at the spine of the magazine it says "Fireworks Issue 85 Winter Jan - Mar 2019" Was this a misprint? The rest of the Magazine is Issue 89. Was just wondering did anyone else notice this?
  • Berny : Apologies! Magazine can now be accessed from your download section. Best wishes, B.
  • Berny : @Martykelly: We're sorry
  • Martykelly : Just purchased issue 89 hoping its going to be in my download soon.
  • Johns Band : Will "Watch & Listen" music videos make a comeback. Just order H.E.A.T. "Live In London" CD.
  • Berny : @the trapps: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. The magazine is now available in your downloads section.
  • the trapps : waiting for the issue 89 which we purchased to be in our downloads section ???
  • Berny : @tomandpam: Many thanks for your purchase. The download instructions were sent yesterday, please contact me at «email» should you haven't received the email.
  • tomandpam : I paid for a download on issue 89 and didn't receive the download. Please let me know when I can get it. Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
  • Berny : @el nowy: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. Pls. check your mail!
  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!
  • Rocktopia Te : @l.thijs: Apologies for the delay, your digital copy can now be downloaded from your "My Downloads" section.
  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
  • Berny : @bpomper: Can you pls. contact the Rocktopia team here: «email»
  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
  • Berny : @Johns Band: I've just sent you an e - mail. Best regards, B.

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