Head East are one of the original stalwarts of 70’s mid-west US melodic rock, and pretty much an institution east of the Rockies.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Head East
ALBUM: Choice Of Weapons
LABEL: Dark Heart
SERIAL: Dark Heart 2001
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Roger Boyd – keyboards, vocals * Kurt Hansen – vocals, bass * Tony Gross – guitars, vocals * Donnie Dobbins – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Come Alive * 02 Time Of Your Life * 03 Girl * 04 Wrong Time * 05 End Of The Avenue * 06 So Afraid * 07 Hard To Believe * 08 Going Under * 09 Forgive And Forget * 10 Break Your Heart
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Head East are one of the original stalwarts of 70’s mid-west US melodic rock, and pretty much an institution east of the Rockies through the corn belt and into the American heartland. I must admit I did not find their brand of rock particularly inspiring early on in the piece, but they seemed to get better with each release.
Their reputation was pretty well matched by other acts from that time namely Kansas and REO Speedwagon in which their sound was similar in some respects. Some of the guys who have played with this band have furthered their careers elsewhere, namely John Schlitt, and Mike Somerville.
However, Roger Boyd has been the mainstay throughout and appears on this relatively low key release from 1988, some 13 years after their first release ‘Flat As A Pancake’ back in 1975. The reason why this album gets a review on this site is the sheer fact that AOR collectors have been after this album for years. And the result after acquiring this on disc? Yep, not bad, and thankfully not as bland as their earlier stuff.
We are right in the heart of the rock here, coming on like a cross between Le Roux (circa ‘So Fired Up’) and the Bobby Ingram fronted China Sky from the same year. In fact, Jim Odom (Le Roux guitarist) gets a credit on the back cover though I don’t think he was overly responsible for the sound/production. Lots of AOR/pomp keyboards throughout, and I just can’t get some of these riffs and hooks out of my head listening to this!!
The Le Roux connection starts with ‘Time Of Your Life’ and ‘Hard To Believe’ where singer Kurt Hansen tries his best to emulate Fergie Frederiksen, whereas the track ‘Girl’ has what sounds like a Bobby Ingram guitar intro.
Meanwhile ‘Wrong Time’ is classic midwest AOR a la Shooting Star. You gotta hear the chorus and solo on this one! Things get cranked up a bit with ‘End Of The Avenue’ where the keyboard parping gets slightly detuned to 5ths or 7ths.
The most commercial sounding song is ‘So Afraid’ which reminds me of De Mont and Pseudo Echo circa ‘Race’. Another terrific pair of songs are ‘Going Under’ which has all the hallmarks of great AOR, while ‘Forgive And Forget’ is primetime Norman And Sexton revisited.
Without doubt, for pompsters this is their best album, but for those purists or real diehard Head East fans, perhaps some of their earlier stuff is more appealing. I understand Head East are still going in some shape or form, though their lineup does tend to change around a bit. Check the link shown above to catch up with what they are doing.