Los Angeles AOR band Fortune were always held in high esteem by the membership of the GDM site, now they make it to album No.3.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Level Ground
LABEL: Frontiers SRL
SERIAL: FRCD 1212
CD INFO: Discogs Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Larry Greene – lead vocals, acoustic guitar * Richard Fortune – guitars, additional keyboards, backing vocals * Mick Fortune – drums, backing vocals * Ricky Rat – bass, backing vocals * Bob Emmet – keyboards
Additional Musicians: Steve Porcaro – piano, keyboards (#4)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Silence Of The Heart * 02 Judgement Day * 03 Dangerous Things * 04 I Will Hold You Up * 05 Riot In The Heartland * 06 Orphaned In The Storm * 07 I Should Have Known You’d Be Trouble * 08 Hand In Hand * 09 Level Ground * 10 Lunacy Of Love
Los Angeles AOR band Fortune were always held in high esteem by the membership of the GDM site, and they surprised everyone with a new release titled ‘II’ in 2019, three years later they make it album #3. Personally, I wasn’t overly enamoured with ‘II’, my rating kinda indicated that (75/100), so I was keen to hear if the band kicked on from that. Just the one personnel change with studio hound and keyboard wizard Bob Emmet replacing Mark Nilan who played on ‘II’.
[L:R] Bob Emmet, Ricky Rat, Larry Greene, Richard Fortune, Mick Fortune
If there is one thing that has held up over the years with this band, it’s that they have their own identifiable sound. Their own template as it were. Even on ‘Level Ground’ this is apparent. This template is immediately audible on ‘Silence Of The Heart’. Larry’s vocals are a bit wobbly here but the band keep a tight groove throughout with Richard’s guitar work underpinning everything. Some tough riffs lead the way into ‘Judgement Day’, supported by a keyboard motif delivered by Bob Emmet. Definitely Fortune class 101.
The energy ramps up on ‘Dangerous Things’, the band are rockin’ out here big time and they sound much better as a result. ‘I Will Hold You Up’ is the album’s first power ballad, it’s a genre style the band have a good track record in so it’s a no brainer that they’d include a successor to ‘Dearborn Station’ all these years later. ‘Riot In The Heartland’ presents an interesting songtitle but we should interrogate the lyrics first. Yeah I did read them, it sounded like chaos in small town USA, you know, boredom, pregnancy, feuding etc. ‘Orphaned In The Storm’ was another grooving hard rocker, though the lyrics read of two people trying to survive in an unforgiving world.
‘I Should Have Known You’d Be Trouble’ was a likeable track though I found the lyrics to be confusing, but as far as this band is concerned (as well as Harlan Cage) that would be par for the course. Fortune wind it back a notch for the mid-tempo ‘Hand In Hand’, a musical respite from all that’s gone before. With two tracks to go, the band push the envelope with the tough sounding title track ‘Level Ground’, yep these old cats still know to rock the boards. The finale ‘Lunacy Of Love’ is more of a pure AOR track rather than an out and out rocker, something we could have heard on Harlan Cage album for instance.
‘Level Ground’ I found to be a more engaging listen that ‘Fortune II’, though I think my personal circumstances were quite a bit different back in 2019, and hence my musical viewpoint was also in contrast to what it is now. No matter what, we’ll be supporting Fortune for as long as Larry, Richard and Mick keep the band operating. If you’re a longtime fan, you’ll need no introduction.
Silence Of The Heart
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RIP L.A Greene, Dec 2022. You will be missed.