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Thursday, November 17, 2016

1994 - Please Stand By...

Name: 1994
Album: Please Stand By
Year: 1979
Style: Hard Rock, Power Pop
Similar Bands: Kim Carnes, Patty Smyth, Scandal, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Girlschool, Heart, Joan Jett
"One Word" Review: Defenseless, Hair Rock
Based Out Of: Los Angeles (?)
Label: A&M
Please Stand By - Cover & Record

Please Stand By - Back & Record
Please Stand By (1979)
  1. Please Stand By 3:56
  2. Wait For Me 4:34
  3. Don't Break It Up 3:57
  4. Our Time Will Come 4:40 /
  5. Wild In The Streets 3:34
  6. Stop the Heartache 3:31
  7. So Bad 4:05
  8. Nerves of Steel 4:20
  9. Keep Ravin' On 4:08
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Karen Lawrence - Vox, Piano, Tubular Bells (LA Jets, KL & The Pins, Blue by Nature, Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Mark Farner Band, Frankie Miller, Graham Parker, Harlequin, Slash's Snakepit)
Rick Armand - Guitars, Backing Vox, Piano (Sundet Bombers, First Fire
Bill Rhodes - Guitars, Clavinet, Bass, Eboe Guitar (Good Thunder)
Terry Linvill - Bass (LA Jets)
John Desautels - Drums, Percussion (Good Thunder, LA Jets, Daddy Warbucks)
Eddie Leonetti - Producer
Jack Douglas - Executive Producer
Lee DeCarlo - Engineer
Ed F. Thacker - Engineer
Rick DeLina - Asst Engineer
Karat - Asst. Engineer
Lee Ann Unger - Assoc. Engineer
Kristine Desautels - Direction
Jim Alciva - Synth (Montrose, Gamma)
Lanier Greig - Synth (Neal Ford & Fanatics
Jim Horn - Sax
Jay Gruska - Backing Vox (Maxus, Three Dog Night, The Association, WG Snffy Walden)
Sarah Taylor - Backing Vox
Michelle Gruska - Backing VOx (Eddie Rabbit, Shaun Cassidy, John Williams, Nikka Costa)
Fred St John - Writing (Billy Squier)

Unknown-ness: Purely purchased on the cover alone. Was this a prediction what 1994 would be back in 1979? Was that the car of the future? It was too much to pass up, and I think I paid a dollar more than I wanted to (3, not 2), but I had to know what this contained. It could be awesome new wave, or just some terrible Pat Benatar rip off.

Album Review: Singer Karen Lawrence is the heart and soul of the band, starting to perform at the age of 9. They were worked up, and ready to sail high into popularity with the producer from Aerosmith & Alice Cooper, and a trail blazed by female rock acts like Pat Benatar and Heart. In her singing career, Lawrence has sung back up for Aerosmith, and worked with Jeff Beck, and wrote the song “Prisoner,” made famous by Barbara Streisand.

“Please Stand By” starts heavy, with a ticking, pulsating beat. The powerful and confident female vocals are reminiscent of Pat Benatar & Joan Jett. The song relies on chords strummed and held onto for delay and power. There is a melodic, new wave breakdown with la-la-las over the pulsing synth rhythm. It is not an overly exciting song, just steady and radio friendly.
“Wait For Me” slows things down a little, and adds on some emotional, reflective depth. The vocals are calmer, and feel like they are building up to something explosive. While the chorus is a bit of a release, it is timed on an off-beat, and doesn’t pack the punch expected. The whole experience feels a little muted in production, or reigned in at the very least. The song ends with a soaring electric guitar that is expressing the emotion the vocals couldn’t really convey.
“Don't Break It Up” begins with a jangly guitar, and a steel drum guitar sound. It has a playful and energetic pace, and really hits a positive and optimistic groove by the time it hits the chorus. The vocals take it upon themselves to travel a full range of notes and tonal infliction that keeps the song very interesting and fun to follow. There is some shift in tone after the first two sections into a bit of a Hall & Oates bridge, even if the song could benefit from being a little denser.
“Our Time Will Come” is a slow dance ballad. Reflective like “Wait For Me” but slowed down to a stagger. The chorus blasts out from nowhere with a Whitesnake, sturdy hair rock intensity, but quickly retreats as the guitar runs out of steam. But the chorus covers the majority of the second half of the song, and plays the song out with slow motion head banging.

“Wild in the Streets” begins with a strutting power chord tempo. It reaches the chorus early, in a playful beckoning style vaguely similar to Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” But again, the majority of the song feels sparse. As if any 80’s song about being in the street is not complete without a sax solo, we are treated to a short, requisite sax solo
“Stop the Heartache” takes us back to slinky, back alley rock. It has a very blue collar feel and a bit of a sedated Heart’s “Magic Man” sound.
“So Bad” tries really hard to sound so bad, but it is still Girlschool-lite. This is probably the heaviest of the songs on this album, but the power pop guitars post-chorus blow the image.
“Nerves of Steel” features a bit of a country twang, in the way of Aerosmith’s “Living on the Edge” and Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” It is methodical and repetitive, but not a great song.
“Keep Ravin' On” starts out with a wild cat roar from Karen, and it chugs along into a powerful energetic rush of adrenalin. Her vocals span a more experimental gamut here. They are raspy, crack a bit and spew a controlled holler. The slow breakdown sounds a little out of place for the pace of the song, but it is a bit of new wave overtop hair guitars, and sounds good. The song finishes out with fade, but captures the head down jamming of Karen’s vocals with the speed guitars.

Stand Out Track: "Don't Break It Up"

Heavy Harmonies
Music of the 70's
NEH Records
Karen's Wiki page

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