It’s a hard task to emulate the debut Only Child album, Paul and his band don’t even try to, the songs nowhere near as good as that 1988 set.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Only Child
ALBUM: Only Child II
LABEL: Seagull International
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Paul Sabu – vocals, guitars * Tommy Amato – drums * Murrill Maglio – bass * Tommy Rude – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Here’s Lookin’ At You * 02 Made Of Rock * 03 Hang Tough * 04 Lucky In Love * 05 Nasty Habits * 06 Slippin’ And Slidin’ * 07 Rock And A Hard Place * 08 In My Blood * 09 Street Fighter * 10 Rock Blooded * 11 I’m The Hunted * 12 A Word To The Wise
WEBLINKS: Site Link
There’s a lot written already about Paul Sabu on this site. Suffice to say we won’t repeat it. The end of the 80’s saw Sabu’s production involvement with the likes of Little America, Alexa and Silent Rage.
Also, the debut Only Child album came out in 1988 and is a recognised classic of the AOR genre. Into the 90’s, Sabu continued with production work, but it would take until 1996 before the next Only Child would appear.
Of interest to many, Paul released two albums in 1996: ‘Only Child II’ and a self titled album ‘Sabu’ featuring former members of German melodic rockers Bonfire. Focusing on Only Child in this article, Sabu bought in Tommy Amato a few years earlier to replace long-time drummer Charles Esposito, who had departed after the debut Only Child album.
For many, it would seem a hard task to emulate or even attempt to better that debut album. Quite clearly Paul and his band don’t even try to, the songs are a varied collection, nowhere near as focused as the 1988 set. That’s to be expected, with 8 years having passed, and musical trends (as we all know) having undergone great change during that period.
With twelve tracks on offer, it’s a mostly hard rock/metal performance, with little in the way of glossy keyboard overload and rich melodies. For instance, ‘Made Of Rock’ drives similarly to Sammy Hagar‘s ‘There’s Only One Way To Rock’, whereas ‘Hang Tough’ with a nice jangly acoustic backwash steals a few ideas from Tattoo Rodeo‘s material, a band that Sabu also had involvement with.
You can probably include ‘Rock And A Hard Place’ into this acoustic mix as well. Elsewhere, the song-titles and lyrics typify the toughened and bruising street cred that’s trying to be achieved here. Songs like ‘Nasty Habits’, ‘Street Fighter’, ‘Rock Blooded’ and ‘I’m The Hunted’ are examples, but overall, they don’t quite hit the mark for me.
It’s clear to me that Sabu was a great representation of the 80’s, and that’s where I prefer to remember him by. Sabu is still very active in the current day, but I didn’t quite engage with his latest works such as ‘Bangkok Rules’ or his band Acid For Blood alongside Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali. One day we might take a look at the material he did with Shania Twain. Music in the AOR vein before she made it big-time in the country scene.