Next to ‘On A Storytellers Night’, ‘Vigilante’ is my favourite Magnum album, in its simplicity is carried a message that good songs borne of solid songwriting and carried by a superb singer in Bob Catley will always stand the test of time.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: Polydor (UK), Polydor (USA)
SERIAL: POLD 5198, 829986-1
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bob Catley – vocals * Tony Clarkin – guitars * Mark Stanway – keyboards * Wally Lowe – bass * Mickey Barker – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Lonely Night * 02 Need A Lot Of Love * 03 Sometime Love * 04 Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping) * 05 Red On The Highway * 06 Holy Rider * 07 When The World Comes Down * 08 Vigilante * 09 Back Street Kid
WEBLINKS: Site Link
It’s been nearly twenty years since this wonderful understated album graced our presence. At that point in history, I was starting to discover the wonderment of this British band, their ‘On A Storytellers Night’ the year before was my first experience with them, and what an experience it was.
Their music/lyrics with a slight fantasy orientation was left aside for this 1986 platter, a simpler collection of songs focusing on love, relationships, pain, heartache (ahh it’s 1986 and it’s AOR.. what else do ya expect!). ‘Vigilante’ also marked the start of a new relationship with record label Polydor after a few years on Don Arden’s Jet Records label.
‘Lonely Night’ is a mid-tempo opener. Quite commercial with more keyboard than guitar on display. The world in conflict is described in ‘Need A Lot Of Love’. Places of war, conflict and pain.. where lots of love is required. Vietnam, Lebanon, Belfast etc. A well written song by Clarkin.
‘Sometime Love’ is a quirky upbeat track which lies in the heart of ‘Head Games’ era Foreigner mostly. One of the highlights on the album is the delightful mid-tempo ‘Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)’. The acoustic guitar introduction, with a thumping backbeat for accompaniment makes way for a delicious four minutes of AOR. Even the sax solo is a winner.
Bob Catley veers of into Lou Gramm territory with the hard-hitting ‘Red On The Highway’ while the following ‘Holy Rider’ is equally high impact, brash drums, and a strange mid-section (listen to all those wierd vocal effects). Again, Catley ends up in Lou Gramm territory by accident rather than by design!
‘When The World Comes Down’ is one of those ‘lighters in the air’ ballads, the breathy pan flute synth patch provided by keyboardist Mark Stanway making it a heartfelt moment. The titletrack ‘Vigilante’ rocks slighter harder than the others, while the album closer is the much maligned ‘Back Street Kid’, an anthemic track for the perpetual underdog. This is a song which could’ve sounded great on one of the Rocky soundtracks!
Next to ‘On A Storytellers Night’, ‘Vigilante’ is my favourite Magnum album. In its simplicity is carried a message that good songs borne of solid songwriting and carried by a superb singer in Bob Catley will always stand the test of time.
Though it wasn’t successful in the charts (mind you, tell me.. which Magnum album ever was?), fans of the band and the genre will always find a place in their hearts for this neat little CD. If you don’t have it in the collection already, give yourself a slap with a feather-duster!
Entire Album (Select Tracks)