Despite Mick Jones being given the short sharp boot back in 1989, I have a soft-spot for this album.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Mick Jones
ALBUM: Mick Jones
SERIAL: 7 81991-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Mick Jones – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Additional Musicians: Jeff Bova, Billy Joel – keyboards * Ian Hunter, Leon Pendarvis – piano * Kevin Jones, Hugh McCracken – guitar * Kevin Jones – percussion * Lenny Pickett – saxophone * Tim Wright – choir/chorus * Carly Simon, Joe Lynn Turner, Billy Joel, Ian Lloyd, Ian Hunter – backing vocals * Schuyler Deale, Rick Wills, Kevin Jones, Robert Sabino – bass * Liberty DeVitto, Dennis Elliott, Steve Ferrone, Kevin Jones, Andy Newmark, Simon Kirke – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Just Wanna Hold * 02 Save Me Tonight * 03 That’s The Way My Love Is * 04 The Wrong Side Of The Law * 05 4 Wheels Turnin’ * 06 Everything That Comes Around * 07 You Are My Friend * 08 Danielle * 09 Write Tonight * 10 Johnny (Part 1)
WEBLINKS: FB Page
The late 80’s wasn’t a particularly active period for AOR mainstays Foreigner. Their last studio album was 1987’s ‘Inside Information’ though singer Lou Gramm was active in the solo market with two albums of his own: ‘Ready Or Not’ and ‘Long Hard Look’. Let’s not forget also that guitarist and songwriter Mick Jones also released a solo album. The irony being that it was his first and last solo effort to date.
This is strange considering the man has been in the business for decades, with stints in Wonderwheel and Spooky Tooth (alongside Mr Dreamweaver himself Gary Wright) and the Leslie West Band prior to the 1976 formation of Foreigner. Jones was on either side of the producers chair around about this timeframe. He produced both Bad Company and Billy Joel‘s ‘Storm Front’ album, consequently Joel turns up as a guest on Mick’s album. There are a whole bunch of other connections throughout too, but let’s just say that it must have been a very charitable time back then.
I first read the review of this album back in Metal Forces: and it wasn’t good. I’ve steered clear ever since, until now, hence taking a plunge, and you know what, it’s not the total write-off I imagined it to be. Sure, it could’ve been better, but for a long lost AOR project from way back in time, it comes as a welcome and surprising listen considering our listening habits have changed immeasurably since 1989.
The Bad Company reference is a good one I feel, as Mick sounds a lot like Brian Howe. Perhaps there’s a bit of a Portsmouth connection, as both blokes claim the place as their hometown back in Blighty. Throw in a bit of Russ Ballard, Ian Cussick at a stretch, and you’ll have an understanding as to where Mick is going with this.
The opener ‘Just Wanna Hold’ is a mildly rowdy offering, kinda cranky and sassy but things take off for the tasty AOR of ‘Save Me Tonight’ which should appeal to many readers here. It really is very good. ‘That’s The Way My Love Is’ has that same mid-tempo keyboard soft-spot sound which could be heard on ‘Inside Information’, while Mick walks the darker side with the slow-burn intensity of ‘The Wrong Side Of The Law’. The spicy guitar runs and solos gives this one a definite edge.
The motors are a revvin’ for ‘4 Wheels Turnin’, with gang-chants and a sound going back early into Foreigner‘s back-catalogue. Not quite ‘Double Vision’ or ‘Rev On The Red Line’ but admirable nonetheless. The tempo is slowed once again for the lush ‘Everything That Comes Around’, stuck in a slow groove but very melodic and appealing in its own way. From here, the album slides away somewhat.
‘You Are My Friend’ is kinda ordinary compared to what we’ve just heard. Instead, I prefer the acoustic ballad ‘Danielle’ which has traces of 70’s Brit Pop. ‘Write Tonight’ is like a poor-mans Alan Parsons Project offcut, while ‘Johnny (Part 1)’ is a brief 1 min 45 sec outtro, but one must ask the question, what happened to Part 2?
Despite Mick Jones being given the short sharp boot back in 1989, I have a soft-spot for this album. Not as strong as the Lou Gramm pairing by a longshot, there are a couple of songs that should be given a chance. Mick Jones won’t ever come across as a Steve Perry in the vocal department, but he stands on hallowed ground when it comes to his songwriting ability, that there is no doubt. If you see this going cheap, pick it up for curiositys sake, and add it to your Foreigner sub-collection.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)