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Shaw/Blades Influence Frontiers Records
FRCD324
· Produced By: Jack Blades & Tommy Shaw

· Running Time: 39.03

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers Shaw/Blades
91%
Songs: 90%
Sound: 93%
I recently reviewed the new Jorn covers album, rating it as one of the few all-covers affair that hits a home run. I generally despise covers albums, so imagine my surprise when I'm faced with another winner!
There should never be any reason to doubt the talents and musical integrity of Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw. They know what works for them and this album is something that really works.
Both artists grew up on the music of the artists covered here and both artists are already very comfortable with each other and their respective roles.
This is the 5th record Jack and Tommy have recorded together (the 3rd Damn Yankees album remains unreleased) and sees them take up where the debut Shaw/Blades album left off.
That is – laid back, acoustic driven melodic rock, featuring glorious harmonies and strong, but subtly sung lead vocals.
This isn't a completely acoustic record though. The acoustic guitar may take center stage, but there is plenty of electric guitar on here too, not to mention several full band tracks.
I wouldn't rate the artists covered here as ones I would listen to generally. Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, Steely Dan and Simon & Garfunkel are hardly the stuff covered by this site, but their songs are etched in history as absolute icons of pop culture. The guys also don't mind delving into the more obscure, with covers from The Zombies and Orleans.
So one must be careful when covering them and that is where the talents of Jack and Tommy come to the fore. They have this uncanny ability of knowing when exactly to play it straight and keep their song faithful to the original – such as the wonderful Sound Of Silence, Summer Breeze, Lucky Man and California Dreamin'.
They also know when to let loose a little bit, such as the psychedelic rocked up Time Of The Season (The Zombies) and the groovy On A Carousel (Hollies).
My favourites form the album include the already praised pristine Sound Of Silence; Jack's perfect lead vocal on Dirty Work (Steely Dan); the harmonious Dance With Me (Orleans); the true to form Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts), which suits the guys harmonies brilliantly, as does the perky Your Move (Jon Andersen).
Not every track appeals as much as some others and I presume the tracks that appeal most will vary from individual to individual. The best thing about this record is that when one of the less favored tracks comes around, the album still flows beautifully and in no time another classic performance is underway.
Much bigger line up involved on this record with Brian Tichy (TMG) and Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) on drums and Michael Lardie (Night Ranger, Great White) on keyboards.
The Bottom Line
A little more laid back than your average covers album perhaps, but perfectly in tune with the Shaw/Blades mantra and an almost logical follow up to their cool debut Hallucination. A live tour comes next, then I'd live a DVD please and then…a new studio album beckons. This is one of the most natural partnerships in rock, so I hope it continues on without such a lengthy wait between albums next time.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Hallucination
· Influence

Line Up:
· Jack Blades: Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
· Tommy Shaw: Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Percussion
· Brian Tichy, Kelly Keagy: Drums
· Colin Blades: Backing Vocals
· Randy Mitchell: Loops

Essential For Fans Of:
· Tommy Shaw
· Jack Blades
Track Listing
· Summer Breeze *
· Time Of The Season
· Your Move *
· I Am A Rock
· Lucky Man *
· Sounds Of Silence *
· California Dreamin'
· On A Carousel
· Dirty Work *
· For What It's Worth
· Dance With Me *

--*Best Tracks


25/05/07: Danny - therugratskid@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
I think this has to be one of the BEST "cover" albums I have ever heard. I think Shaw/Blades are immensely talented anyhow, and could probably do COUNTRY and make it sound good, but this? Definately an A+ on my scale.

The only downfall on not giving it a 100 rating is a couple of "duds" in there that I didn't care for. But overall? I'm all over this.

14/05/07: Skip Banks - Cdcollector81@aol.com
Rating: 100
It's a shame that it is a covers album but at least they are songs not commonly covered. I have over 5000 cds and rarely do I listen to a cd twice anymore. I can't put this one down. Perfect sound, perfect prodution and a great selection of songs. I hope they will continue this with an Influance 2. The only reason I stopped listening to this disc is because my damn wife stole it.

01/05/07: GUILLERMO - guillerperez@hotmail.com
Rating: 65
no cuesta tanto componer canciones propias. Hay que reconocer que lo de Sound of silence y California Dreamin molan pero el resto es bastante prescindible

19/04/07: Mike the Conqueror - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 98
Probably will be album of the year for me. Usually not a fan of covers albums. Great concept, perfect song choice, great feel to every track.

19/04/07: Monster Cock - thenuge1@aol.com
Rating: 100
Awesome awesome album. A tribute / covers collection done right. This has a fabulous sound, wonderful harmonies, perhaps on of the best records released in a long time that is pleasing, yet easy on the ears. Great job guys, see you May 31st in Chicago.

19/04/07: NunYoBusiness - nun_yo_business_1@yahoo.com
Rating: 96
Boom!!!!! This is what all cover CD's should sound like, my wife thought it was the original artists on some of the songs. That's not bad when you see who these guys cover. The one reason this isn't a 100 is the running time of the disc. We Want More.......

18/04/07: jeff Holbrook - jeffrey.holbrook@navy.mil
Rating: 100
I might seem a bit biased being a HUGE Tommy and Jack fan but I am overwhelmed by this CD. YOUR MOVE with Colin Blades on back up is my favorite song of this CD. The melodies and harmonies are so in sync. The up beat version of I AM A ROCK blows me away. Jacks vocals on LUCKY MAN are astounding to say the least. I have never heard ON A CAROUSEL until I got this CD and then I compared it to the Hollies original and was blown away by Tommys vocals (which I always am) DIRTY WORK with Kelly Keagy on drums has a great Night Ranger feel to it. FOR WHAT ITS WORTH takes me back to the protest days of the war. Even though I am in the military I LOVE this song. DANCE WITH ME a great mixture of melodies I am sorry to say Orleans this version beats the original. For those of you who dont like cover CDs as I thought I didn't. The 2 best cover CDS are this one and BIG BANG THEORY by Styx. This might be some mellow tunes but Jack and Tommy thank you for proving to the world that " YOU CAN STILL ROCK IN AMERICA"

18/04/07: chad ledoux - cabowabo51fifty@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
tommy shaw and jack blades cant seem to do no wrong. after such a long period of time between cds, they have managed to match the sound of their first cd, the excellent halluicination. stand out cuts are sounds of silence, california dreaming, summer breese, and the move. tommy and jack were born to sing together. i just hope it isnt another 12 years before we get another cd.


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