These are some albums that are doomed to be classic it seems. Even when they first release and don’t make the big success or get forgotten quickly by the charts, instead. The secret is in the way they are formed and shaped and in timing, of course, on condition that during recording this aura of the era or the good moment manages to be captured in the grooves of the vinyl. In 1981 Graham Bonnet had a year away from Rainbow and no excuse not to succeed. The best moment of his career, with participation in a sole good album and a tour, could be as famous as the man who stood erect while wearing the shoes of Ronnie James Dio, has left behind a couple of “potatoes” (his weak solo albums) whilst as a performer was more mature than ever. While his name was (with the help of “Since You’ve Been Gone”), in fact, so hot like the sand of the desert, and thirsty for success like a Bedouin who wandered the above-mentioned desert for days, he did whatever it took to satisfy even the most demanding fan. He originally surrounded himself with a group consisting of main composer Russ Ballard, guitarist Micky Moody, drummer Cozy Powell, while on the keyboards he had Jon Lord! He trusted for his producers John Eden (Staus Quo producer and later Nazareth’s) and Francis Rossi (best known as the co-founder, lead singer and lead guitarist of the rock band Status Quo). Russ Ballard gave him four strong pieces (“S.O.S”, “I’m A Lover”, “That’s The Way It Is” and “Liar”) with the latter being made into a single as well. Cozy Powell, although the music on the disc is AOR oriented, does not change his playing; the hits are warm and pulse-like as prescribed in the Hard Rock Bible.  The entire disc of course has a tendency to resemble a mix of Rainbow of period ‘Down To Earth’ and late ‘70sWhitesnake with Status Quo. Not necessarily pretentious and not just associative. More consciously, beyond any resemblance to the sound of Rainbow,the record is attuned to the spirit of the time. An era that regardless the genre, when we talk about subcategories of Rock ‘n’ Roll and whether it is called Punk, AOR, Hard Rock, Glam or Ν.W.Ο.Β.Η.Μ., it has the common denominator of trying to create easy-to-remember choruses and melodies that stick to the mind. The guitars, without being extreme, escape the banal AOR and bring to mind Status Quo, Whitesnake and Survivor, logically, considering Micky Moody’s past.

The album starts imposing with Lord’s keys to create one of the best ever introductions in ‘Night Games’ (written by Ed Hamilton), with the track continuing at a high level throughout its duration and a shamelessly addictive chorus. Then we have the bluesy triad ‘Anthony Boy’ (Chuck Berry), ‘Dirty Hand’ and ‘Out On The Water’. The cover on “Anthony Boy” by Chuck Berry is quiet good. One might say the keys are out of place in a Berry composition, but it probably does the trick, here. The 2 rest from the triad are also nice compositions both written by the duet Bob Young-Micky Moody and influenced by Status Quo, Whitesnake and Survivor with references to the aforementioned bands and perhaps even the forgotten (then, but especially now) 1977’s ‘Young & Moody’ LP. ‘Don’t Stand Out In The Open’, sounds like two songs fitted together. A simple pop/rock (song) that is, with nice melody that is paired with an addictive Whitesnak-ish chorus that sticks to your mind. And probably my favorite song from the album. The album’s A’ side closes with another cover, The Kinks’s ‘Set Me Free’, that sounds like an ‘80s TV series title song and I write it in a positive sense and nostalgia -a little bit-, maybe.

The second side starts out loud with single ‘Liar’, another song that unfolds the talent of Bonnet, although as a composition it is a bit sloppy, especially considering how Bullard wrote it, which makes it a rather easy one. ‘S.O.S.’ (also written by Russ Ballard) has a simplicity in the chorus, but it’s a very good track of grandiose AOR and gives a good pass for pace to slow down in the bluesy ‘I’m A Lover’, which leaves room to Bonnet to unfold his beautiful voice. Up next, ‘Be My Baby’ is a track which, of course, is an cover on Ronettes, which six years later would be a hit from the soundtrack of the film of Patrick Swayze ‘Dirty Dancing’, where girls of all ages watched the video a couple of times a day and were playing its vinyl edition continuously! But here it doesn’t work, just like that, creating a silly bad moment for the album. Whose B’ side ends aptly with ‘That’s The Way That It Is’. A composition of The Moody Blues’s bassist, Paul Bliss. A song that many fans of Bonnet appreciate all these years. In the end, it’s a powerful record that lasted the test of time. Of course, 38 years later it is still funny to use so many colorful stripes on the cover that referred to Rainbow, in case anyone forgot Bonnet has served Rainbow for a couple of years…