Don Barnes - 'Ride The Storm'

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Don Barnes - 'Ride The Storm'

If you long for the days when AOR/Melodic Rock ruled the airwaves, then do the right thing and grab yourself a copy of this forgotten gem.

Melodic Rock Records have pulled a long-lost gem out of the bag with this release that features acclaimed musicians Jeff & Mike Porcaro, Dann Huff and Denny Carmassi. This was to be Don Barnes first solo album in 1989, but sadly A&M Records were going through changes and the album got held back, eventually lost in the shuffle. As expected, it has a strong influence of .38 Special, though some of the more Southern flavours that band mate Donny Van Zant would have injected are missing, making this a more melodic, Hard Rocking affair.

The title track has a seductive production care of Martin Briley and Brian Foraker. The guitars ring sharp and the keys wash over the song just when you need them, and Barnes' voice is commanding when he drives the song along with a radio-friendly sheen. He always knew how to put out a killer chorus and 'Looking For You' is no exception. It's a true AOR gem that will have you punching your fist in the air as you cruise down the boulevard.

The production may show its age on a song like 'I Fall Back', but you can forgive that as this is meant to be a nostalgic trip. Warm vocals sit closely next to lush keyboard work on 'Don't Look Down', a song that would have been a monster hit in the hands of more established solo artists like Richard Marx. The foot-stomping, Bar-room Boogie of 'I'd Do It All Over Again' could be later-day Bad Company with Brian Howe; the guitars and big chorus get the blood pumping in your veins.

The polish of classic Foreigner and Giant is stamped all over 'Every Time We Say Goodbye', yes, it really is that good! As you progress through the album, it becomes more apparent that this release being shelved was a really huge mistake. Even the more sedate numbers like 'Feelin' Stronger Every Day' or 'After The Way' are a cut above what a lot of other bands were releasing at the time. The bonus tracks (three songs on disc two) are 'Through The Eyes Of Love', 'Looking For Juliet' and 'Let's Talk About Love' – fine additions indeed.

If you long for the days when AOR/Melodic Rock ruled the airwaves and every song tugged at your Rock 'n' Roll heart strings, then do the right thing and grab yourself a copy of this forgotten gem.

Ray Paul

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