Fans of Styx, Airborne, Alexis and the first Tycoon album will go ga-ga over the debut Oak album as every track here is a winner.
Written by: Eric
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Rick Pinette – guitar, piano, lead vocals * Scott Grover Weatherspoon – lead guitar, vocals * George Weathers Borden Jr – bass, vocals * David Stone – keyboards, moog synthesizer, clavinet, vocals * Danny Caron – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Let It All Begin * 02 Going Nowhere Fast * 03 Listen to Your Heart * 04 And You Win * 05 King Of The Hill * 06 Draw The Line * 07 Song To Sing * 08 This Is Love * 09 Friends * 10 Gimme More
Oak were a vehicle for New England based lead vocalist and song writer Rick Pinette who is now of all things a motivational speaker. You read that right. We didn’t see that one coming either, but Rick was the mover and shaker going way back when he formed the band originally called Pinette at the University of New Hampshire.
Creating a buzz in the hinterlands of the Northeast, Mercury signed the group but didn’t care for Pinette as a name and Oak was chosen as a far more marketable enterprise although it’s interesting that following the release of the album the moniker ‘Rick Pinette & Oak’ was used to promote the singles pulled from the record.
Before I heap a ton of praise on Oak, I should tell you I have played this record to death over the years and it remains one of my favourites, a ‘Deserted Island’ choice for sure. Fans of Styx, Airborne, Alexis and the first Tycoon album will go ga-ga over this gem as every track here is a winner.
Three singles were released from this album, the best known ‘King Of The Hill’ charted in the early months of 1980. A typical 70’s ballad with lots of orchestration, it entered the ‘American Top 40’ but stopped at #36 on the charts. The other two ‘Draw The Line’ and ‘This Is Love’ failed to chart, but both are classic examples of period AOR with Styx as a major reference point.
Pinette’s vocal style has a dramatic flair much like Dennis DeYoung with a slight and distinctive quaver suiting the music perfectly. Other top tracks include the opener ‘Let It All Begin’, a winner that is sure to please Airborne fans to no end and the Queen influenced ‘Friends’ which is nothing short of stellar. The string orchestrations found throughout are gorgeous and give Oak a unique depth and richness rarely heard in music of this style.
A classic album, I had high hopes for Oak although ‘Set The World On Fire’, their second and last album failed to ignite much of a spark and the band were never heard from again. Unfortunate since it too was a fine album, but such is life.
Not to be deterred, the Rick Pinette Band was formed which found Pinette playing some large halls in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire including in his set many of Oak’s best tunes. No CD for either album at least officially, but it’s probably just a matter of time, we hope.