Tuesday, June 6, 2017

DON BARNES: "Ride The Storm"




There will be plenty of you out there, I am sure, who nrecognize the name Don Barnes as the vocalist in 38 Special for many, many years now. What you may not know (as I didn't) is that in 1989 he made a solo album, encouraged by thwe record company. the thing is, after making the thing the record company went tits up and the album got swallowed in buy outs and politics, never to be heard by the public until now.

Melodicrock Records are certainly giving fans what they want recently, with the second album from Jimmy Davis & Junction seeing the light of day as well as this little gem. It comes in two versions, one of which is a full on rock album, with the other a more smoothed out version. The one I've got is the rockier version, but if you buy it you get the other anyway. Personally, after hearing this version I have no interest in anything with any of the bite taken out. The best part is that this is the first time anyone has heard this mix outside the studio, as Barnes found the only copy when preparing for this release.

So let's get down to the music, which most certainly isn't the southern rock vibes of 38 Special. No sir, 'Ride The Storm' is a full on, energetic melodic rock album with all the neccessary hooks, melodies, keyboards and fun. 'Fun' is possibly the most apt word, as this is an album that is absolutely joyous in every way. This is the stuff that we loved from Stan Bush, the aforementioned Jimmy Davis, Bryan Adams (the good stuff) and maybe with a little Glen Burtnick in there as well. Barnes has a voice that contains a little bit of a rock croak when needed, but is smooth and tuneful everywhere else, and my Bod he certainly suits this style of music.

Unsurprisingly, 'Ride The Storm' is at it's best when it's in full on AOR mode, such as on third track, the irrepressable 'I Fall Back', the irresistably bouncy 'Maybe You'll Believe Me Now' or 'Everytime We Say Goodbye', the sort of track that Bryan Adams used to make before his balls fell off. Whilst there's obvious highlights for me, I have to say there's not a bad track on here. There's a couple of slower ones that don't hit the spot the way that the rest do, but they're still good tracks worth listening to.

It was a crime against rock music that this album was never released. When you hear it I know you'll agree, because it's one of those records that gets under your skin straight away. Great riffs combined with cool melody, with everything turned up to ten and a big fuck off grin that won't leave your face every time you play it. An instant classic, only 28 years too late.

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