Fortress - Hands In The Till

Fortress – Hands In The Till


Another period AOR classic from 1981 are the band Fortress, a Californian outfit with hints of southern fried rock and good old arena rock thrown in to boot.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Fortress
ALBUM: Hands In The Till
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: K 50782
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Jim West – vocals * Eric Turner – guitars * Charlie Souza – bass * Donnie Vosburgh – drums

Additional Musicians: Gabriel Katona, Duane Hitching, Rich Gibbs – keyboards * Larry Brown – percussion * Gary Falcone, Ronn Price – additional vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hands In The Till * 02 How Do I Exist * 03 Comin’ After You * 04 Requiem * 05 Kisses * 06 Let’s Do It Again * 07 Breakin’ Free * 08 Carry Me Back * 09 Back On The Path * 10 Mystery


Another period AOR classic from 1981 are the band Fortress, a Los Angeles based outfit with hints of southern fried rock and good old arena rock thrown in to boot. More AOR than boogie, Fortress has their influences ranging from early Shooting Star (without the keys and violins) to a more radio friendly Molly Hatchet. Throw a little Le Roux into the pot and you’re good to go.

Interesting to see the Buckeye pairing of Gabe Katona and Ronn Price participating on the album too. Their 1979 album is also another period AOR classic. Top studio keyboardist Duane Hutchings is involved. He was once a member of the Florida based band Thee Image which also included drummer Donnie Vosburgh and guitarist Mike Pinera (Iron Butterfly).

The Songs

The album starts off with a couple of classics in ‘Hands In The Till’ which sounds like it could have come off the debut Shooting Star album. Then there’s the rollicking ‘How Do I Exist’ and the impressive ‘Coming After You (With My Love)’, which operates in the same zone as ‘Up’ era Le Roux.

By now, you’d be thinking that enough is enough right? Nope, Fortress keep landing melodic bombs. These include other memorable moments such as the singalong chorus and the overall bouncyness of ‘Let’s Do It Again’, the workmanlike ‘Breakin’ Free’ and the album closer ‘Mystery’ which typifies everything good about 1980’s period AOR.

In Summary

Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly), Fortress didn’t strike the jackpot with this album, despite it being one of the better examples of early 80’s AOR. Eventually, ‘Hands In The Till’ would receive two significant reissues: Wounded Bird Records in 2008 plus Rock Candy Records in 2014.

According to bassist Charlie Souza’s website, Fortress released a second album which is not that well known to many historians. It’s called ‘Fortress II – The Treasure Found’. It features twelve tracks and new drummer Bill Lordan, previously with Robin Trower, though there is no indication of when it was recorded. I’ll stick my head out and say 1982.

From my viewpoint, Fortress should be a compulsory addition to your music collection if you’re an AOR fanatic.


How Do I Exist

Fortress - How Do I Exist

Coming After You
Fortress - Comin' After You

Let’s Do It Agsin
Fortress - Let's Do It Again

Carry Me Back
Fortress - Carry Me Back

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