Most of the tracks here are of superior quality. Lou Gramm came ready as he goes back to the straight-up rock roots that Foreigner nearly abandoned in the 80’s.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Lou Gramm
ALBUM: Ready Or Not
SERIAL: 7 81728-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Lou Gramm – vocals * Nils Lofgren – lead guitars * Richard Gramm – lead guitar, bass * Bruce Turgon – bass, rhythm guitar * Philip Ashley – keyboards, programming * Don Mancuso, Eddie Martinez – guitar * Mark Rivera – soprano sax, tenor sax, background vocals * Christian Cioe – tenor sax, baritone sax * Ben Gramm Jnr – drums, trumpet * Ben Grammatico Snr – lead trumpet * Sherryl Marshall, Cookie Watkins – background vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Ready Or Not * 02 Heartache * 03 Midnight Blue * 04 Time * 05 If I Don’t Have You * 06 She’s Got To Know * 07 Arrow Thru Your Heart * 08 Until I Make You Mine * 09 Chain Of Love * 10 Lover Come Back
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Lou Gramm’s career is well documented here at GDM with his work in Foreigner, Shadowking and working relationship with close friend and former Black Sheep bassist Bruce Turgon. By the mid 80’s, Gramm and Mick Jones volatile sort of chemistry which had resulted in Foreigner‘s plethora of chart topping platters began to turn into an all out artistic clash.
Following the release of ‘Agent Provocateur’, Gramm wanted the band to return to its purer rock origins where as Jones embraced the synthesizer ballads which had become very lucrative (Foreigner just came off their #1 hit ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’). So with these continued ongoing internal conflicts, Gramm called his brothers (Ben and Richard) and with the help of Bruce Turgon and Nils Lofgren (from Bruce Springsteen‘s band), put together his finest work outside Foreigner IMO.
Most of the tracks here are of superior quality. Lou Gramm came ready as he goes back to the straight-up rock roots that Foreigner nearly abandoned in the 80’s. Gramm wastes no time by proving that immediately with the lead off killer title track. Its infectious hook and Lofgren’s amazing fretwork makes this a winner. The magic continues with the AOR powerhouse ‘Heartache’. Just enough guitar and keys to not overshadow Gramm’s voice which is stronger than ever here.
In fact his voice shines even better with the album’s most commercially successful track ‘Midnight Blue’. This energetic, straight up pop-rocker was also Gramm’s first solo single, which turned out to be a top five hit for him, peaking at #5 in 1987. ‘Time’ sounds like it could of been off the ‘4’ album, and is another quality rocker. Things slow down a bit for ‘If I Don’t Have You’ which is a great song too even though it meanders a bit.
Gramm takes things up a notch with two more hard-rocking tracks, ‘She’s Got to Know’ and ‘Arrow Through Your Heart’. The later is definitely a pre cursor for what Gramm and Turgon would create with the Shadowking project. ‘Until I Make You Mine’ is supreme AOR and as close to 80’s era Foreigner as you can get. The platter wraps up with two more amazing slices of AOR; ‘Chain Of Love’ and ‘Lover Come Back’. While the latter may be the album’s weaker cuts it is saved once again by Gramm’s amazing voice.
‘Ready Or Not’ received critical acclaim upon it’s release and again contained the top five hit single ‘Midnight Blue’. This was followed in late-1987 with Foreigner‘s overlooked AOR gem ‘Inside Information’, which only reached number 15 on Billboard’s album chart.
In 1989, Lou released a second solo effort, ‘Long Hard Look’ which included the top ten hit, ‘Just Between You and Me’. Even though it included some killer AOR like the latter and ‘Angel With A Dirty Face’, it lacked the immediacy of this solo debut. Disncouraged with the direction Jones was taking Foreigner, Gramm left the group to form Shadowking with Bruce Turgon.
The group’s 1991 self-titled album as well as Foreigner‘s Johnny Edwards fronted album ‘Unusual Heat’ are reviewed here on the pages of GDM. In the late 90’s Gramm was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor with the resulting surgery damaging his pituitary gland and affecting his amazing voice and stamina.
Gradually, Gramm’s health and energy has rebounded and with his brothers, Ben and Richard, formed the Lou Gramm Band (also known as ‘LGB‘). While you can catch Foreigner on the road this summer with former Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen out front; LGB play a retrospective of Gramm’s work with Foreigner and this amazing solo material!
The Lou Gramm Band even have plans to release an all-Christian rock album sometime this year!?! All in all, if you are a Foreigner fan, ‘Ready Or Not’ is just as essential IMO to have in your collection as ‘4’ or any of their classic AOR albums from the 70’s.
Ready Or Not
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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