JATO’s music is an awesome amalgam of hi-tech AOR in the vein of fellow era rockers Honeymoon Suite, Eight Seconds, Silent Running and Boulevard. If that doesn’t get your dripper salivating, then I don’t know what will.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: Parallel One
CD INFO: Discogs Info List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Jerry Woolsey – vocals * Barrie Nighswander – guitars * Duane Smith – bass, guitars, keyboards * Dennis Meneely – keyboards * Bill Hobson – drums
Additional Musicians: Graeme Coleman, Dave Pickell, Craig Zurba – keyboards * Tom Colclough – saxophone * Paul Dicola – percussion * Marc Lafrance, Peter Clarke – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Keep It Up * 02 She’s Got * 03 Diamond Princess * 04 Coming Home * 05 Dance For You * 06 Lake Of Fire * 07 Give My Love * 08 Standing Alone * 09 Breaking Down
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Though this band released just the one album back in 1987, their career goes so far back into time that man hadn’t even landed on the moon! Gravity wasn’t an issue for Neil Armstrong and his crew, as it wasn’t for JATO, an acronym for Jet Assisted Take-Off. But just how did a hard rockin’ hi-tech AOR band from Alberta get to this point after an inaudacious start as a Canadian reggae band?
Maybe these guys should be contenders for ‘Ripleys Believe It Or Not’ – though that would be harsh. Their earlier origins were spent under the monicker of Tacoy Ryde, initially playing every genre under the sun before settling on reggae. They were so good in fact, they supported major reggae acts touring through Canada. The band even recorded an album back in 1982, but there were no takers (i.e. record labels) to release it.
Persuaded to change direction to pop/rock, they did so, with a name change and a deal was forthcoming with fledgling Vancouver label Parallel One. When you hear this album, you can detect just how tight this band were. JATO’s music is an awesome amalgam of hi-tech AOR in the vein of fellow era rockers Honeymoon Suite, Eight Seconds, Silent Running and Boulevard. If that doesn’t get your dripper salivating, then I don’t know what will.
‘JATO’ was produced by Bob Rock and Declan O’Doherty in Vancouver, the album contained three singles that I am aware of, a strong showing from a small label. From the outset, the huge keyboard dominated soundscape impresses this listener.
‘Keep It Up’ displays all the hi-tech pretenses amid the happy and bubbly personality of the song. ‘She’s Got’ was one of the band’s first singles, and made a good choice with its crisp and clean delivery. The album highlight for me comes in the shape of ‘Diamond Princess’, a massively appealing tune which dominates with its wonderful vocal harmonies and Boulevard like arrangement.
‘Coming Home’ gives us a bit of a breather, the jangly guitars giving it a mid-west feel though by chorus time it’s Canadian AOR all the way. ‘Dance For You’ comes off like a Body Electric track, lots of percussion, tinkly keys and a sax solo. ‘Lake Of Fire’ positively screams hi-tech, while ‘Give My Love’ is measured and tempered by comparison, a lovely tune – super smooth, with a ton of nice keyboard melodies.
The bass lines are tight and funky on ‘Standing Alone’, but it’s those magnificent keyboard lines from industry veteran Dennis Meneely that do the business. Album closer ‘Breaking Down’ is an anthemic piece, not unlike Mike And The Mechanics during this same era.
It’s a typical music industry story. Band signs to small label, much promise and interest, then label dies a death. So it was with Parallel One, who carked it back in 1988. The band went into hiatus, but in 1990 decided to continue on, but without lead singer Jerry Woolsey. The band returned to their original Tacoy Ride name, and still exist to this day, though the music is nothing like they did with JATO.
For what it’s worth, this is an album that won’t disappoint. Especially for readers of this site, because when you can find an album where the majority of tracks are great – then you know you are onto a winner. A pity then that this album is so hard to come by now, expect to pay a reasonable price for it on any medium considering its rarity value. For all those readers who enjoy hi-tech AOR, something that the Canadian bands excelled at, then JATO are a compulsory acquisition.
Give My Love