‘Mr Moonlight’ was a comeback album of sorts for everyone’s favourite New York based AORsters Foreigner.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Mr Moonlight
SERIAL: 7 4321-23285-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Lou Gramm – vocals, percussion * Mick Jones – guitars, piano, backing vocals * Bruce Turgon – bass, backing vocals * Jeff Jacobs – piano, organ, keyboards, backing vocals * Mark Schulman – drums, backing vocals
Additional Musicians: Billy Bremner, Duane Eddy, Randy Cantor – additional guitars * Randy Cantor – keyboards * Scott Gilman – saxophone, recorder * Luis Enriques – percussion * Paulette McWilliams, Tawatha Agee, Ian Lloyd, Scott Gilman, Robin Clark – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 (One Little) White Lie * 02 Rain * 03 Until The End Of Time * 04 All I Need To Know * 05 Running The Risk * 06 Real World * 07 Big Dog * 08 Hole In My Soul * 09 I Keep Hoping * 10 Under The Gun * 11 Hand On My Heart
WEBLINKS: Site Link
‘Mr Moonlight’ was a comeback album of sorts for everyone’s favourite New York based AORsters Foreigner. Though his tenure was brief, Johnny Edwards stay behind the mike stand lasted only for the one album: 1991’s ‘Unusual Heat’. Many people thought that album was poor. I tend to disagree, it was on a par with their previous 80’s albums (probably with the exception of ‘4’ which everyone considers to be a genuine classic).
But with Lou Gramm not part of the picture, the 1991 revamped Foreigner template was one that people couldn’t quite get their heads around. Well, after his solo stints which produced two albums, and his shortlived run with the excellent Shadow King, Gramm returned to the Foreigner fold in 1992, bringing back with him bassist Bruce Turgon, a former ally in 70’s crustaceans Black Sheep as well as the aforementioned Shadow King.
1992 saw the release of a compilation CD ‘The Very Best.. And Beyond’, which saw three new tracks added: ‘Soul Doctor’, ‘Prisoner Of Love’ and ‘With Heaven On Our Side’ with Gramm on board. Some bands weren’t unduly affected by the musical climate of 1994, add Foreigner to this list, who sounded professional and continued to churn out great melodic rock regardless of what was going on around them.
The album shuffles between styles, infusing their 70’s and 80’s sound with a big brash rhythm section. Indeed the drum work from Mark Schulman is heavier than I’ve heard on any previous Foreigner album, and it helps keep this album above water. ‘White Lie’ for me is a great lead-off, the jangly sound centered in the zone of a guy like Glenn Burtnick, or even Lou’s own solo material. Great start.
‘Rain’ too is another commerical offering, pumping bass lines and a Jude Cole like arrangement. The distant midwest strains occupy ‘Until The End Of Time’ in much the same way the atmospheric tones occupied ‘Safe In My Heart’ from ‘Unusual Heat’. So far three tracks in, and all is good. ‘All I Need To Know’ reclaims that jangly guitar sound found on the first track, topped with an easy-on-the-ear chorus, while ‘Running The Risk’ is a dramatic affair, big on razor-edged suspense.
So too ‘Real World’, which takes up a post at the door of power balladry with its darkened hues. The only track I couldn’t get into was the crass sounding ‘Big Dog’, which is so unlike Foreigner, I discounted it immediately. Much better is ‘Hole In My Soul’, with big backing vocals on the chorus harking back to those three early 70’s releases where it was common-place to hear such treats.
I like the way Foreigner ease up on the soulful ‘I Keep Hoping’, a gentle wash with contributing organ and a lush arrangement overall. Lou, Mick and the boys crank it up for ‘Under The Gun’, a solid offering, while the AOR sheen was returned for the closer ‘Hand On My Heart’, where it was clear that Gramm-Turgon’s influence was all over this track like Shadow King‘s ghost.
The album was released through various channels between 1994 and 2000, and it would prove to be the last official release featuring Gramm. His place in the band has since been taken over by former Hurricane and Unruly Child vocalist Kelly Hansen, as Lou’s voice was shot to ribbons by decades end and into the new century.
It would be easy to discount this as an album released during an era so unfriendly to melodic rock. It’s a wonder that Arista managed to release this at a time when the genre was not at its most commercial, so making money off it would’ve been considered a bonus but not a high-priority. ‘Mr Moonlight’ would easily rank as one of Foreigner’s most underrated releases, but one needs to go back and re-visit this CD as I feel it still has a lot to offer.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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