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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blackjack - s/t

Band: Blackjack
Album: s/t
Year: 1979
Style: Hard Rock
Similar Bands: Bob Seger, Michael Bolton, Mr. Big, Jackson Browne, Foriegner
"One-Word" Review: Rockin'-Boltin'
Based Out Of: Miami?
Label: Polydor
Blackjack - Cover & Record
Blackjack - Back & Record

Blackjack (1979)
  1. Love Me Tonight 2:58
  2. Heart Of Stone 3:54
  3. The Night Has Me Calling for You 4:35
  4. Southern Ballad 3:45
  5. Fallin' 3:32 /
  6. Without Your Love 3:45
  7. Countin' On You 3:35
  8. I'm Aware of Your Love 3:37
  9. For You 4:44
  10. Heart of Mine 2:55
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:Michael Bolotin - Vocals (Michael Bolton)
Bruice Kulick - Guitar (Kiss, Hookfoot, Good Rats)
Sandy Gennaro - Drums (Pat Travers)
Jimmy Haslip - Bass (Tommy Bolin, The Yellowjackets, Carillo)
Jan Mullaney - Keys (Carillo)
Chuck Kirkpatrick - Backing Vox
Tony Battaglia - Backing Vox
Tom Dowd - Produced
Steve Gursky - Engineer
Rick Allison - Asst. Engineer
Michael Guerra - 2nd Asst. Engineer
Jim Sessody - 2nd Asst. Engineer
Mike Fuller - Mastering
Phil Lorito - Career Consultant
Gerrard Heurta - Cover Illustration, Design
Jim Houghton - Photography
Abie Sussman - Design, Art Direction

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But I do love the packaging for the record. The optical illusion of a full deck of cards, and opening with a flap, like a deck, is very cool. I had to pick it up just for that. The idea of a band called Blackjack makes me think that they will be straight up Southern Guitar Rock. But from the images on the back, the band looks more like a Hair Metal Band.

Album Review: So the singer, Michael Bolotin, is the more famous Michael Bolton, infamous for his terrible soft pop songs of the 80’s. It will be very interesting to hear him in a hard rock band. Also, the guitarist is from KISS, so there’s that element too.

“Love Me Tonight” is their single. When I first head this, before I knew it was Michael Bolton, I was thinking it sounded rough, like Bob Seger or something, but once I knew who he was, he was instantly recognizable. Musically, it is light, melodic rock. Vocally, it is the standard Bolton raspy and quaking sound. The song reminds me a lot of the Fast Times at Ridgemont High famous song, Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby.”
“Heart Of Stone” is a little heavier. The metal guitar is used lightly, but it definitely has the whining sorrow of a metal guitar. Then Bolton’s vocals ruin the atmosphere…but that’s probably because I’m thinking too much of where those vocals are coming from and what Bolton became. He has range, and his singing style is an emotional, raspy wavering. The music lightens up and becomes pop rock with a bit of metal guitar flurry buried in the background as if that is the only style his voice can be supported by.
“The Night Has Me Calling for You” features a bit of bold electric guitar setting the melody in the beginning, reminding me of Queen. But again, Bolton comes in and basically brings the song to a halt. It picks up and has a fun driving sound for a bit in the bridge, but the chorus is a return to the slow, momentum-less melody. The song ends boldly with a winding down instrumental climatic finish
“Southern Ballad” is a guitar ballad, as the name would suggest. It is like a poor version of “Have I Told You Lately,” with none of the interesting, loving melody, just similarity of the title being sung in Rod’s song.
“Fallin’” starts off with a lot of energy, stored up from the last song, presumably. It is driving and energetic, but not overly emotional. But as it progresses through the general pop rock melody, the harmonized backing vocals of the chorus devolve into a rip off of The Police song “So Lonely.”

“Without Your Love” begins as a strong southern metal rock song with a swagger and a nice metal guitar sound. The drum beat carries the driving tempo through Bolton’s light vocals. It builds well to the chorus, and the chorus is pretty catchy, based in the consistent southern rock style that sounds very familiar with much more emotional vocals.
“Countin' On You” begins as a slow & light, pub band rock song. There is a mystique and slyness to the key of the guitar & bass.
“I'm Aware of Your Love” has a very energetic and catchy beginning, and sounds like a solid, fun guitar pop rock song. The music drives full force, building up power to be released in the chorus, which raises the pitch and intensity of vocals. The major downside is that it is very repetitive, as it is just the title repeated over and over again. This detracts from the over all appeal of the song, which would otherwise be shockingly good.
“For You” takes it back down to the slow plodding pace of a cigarette lighter-held ballad. This could be a lesser Bolton song in his solo heyday.
“Heart of Mine” starts with a catchy pop, near-jangley guitar hook. The initial vocals are week, but the song corrects itself rather quickly once it reaches the first fake-out bridge. It has a power- pop rock composition of short verse and repetitive chorus with harmonized vocals in support. It is catchy and swoops up and down the scale. The first two stanzas are naturally sandwiched with a guitar solo before coming back for one last verse-chorus fade out attack.

Stand Out Track: Heart of Mine

Metal Minos

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