The third Roadmaster album ‘Hey World’ was a continuation from ‘Sweet Music’, whereas that album had two distinct sides of music (some not so good, the other very good), ‘Hey World’ has carried on using the better elements which Roadmaster excel at.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Hey World
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Stephan ‘Mac’ McAnally – vocals * Rick Benick – guitars * Toby Myers – bass * Michael ‘Bones’ Read – keyboards * Bobby Johns – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hey World * 02 My Eyes Have Been Opened * 03 I’m On My Way * 04 Never Say Goodbye * 05 Us Coming Back * 06 Say You Wanna Be With Me * 07 Rainbow Waterfall * 08 Looking For The Day * 09 Good To Be Back Home
‘Spending time with a Roadmaster album is akin to undergoing a spiritual experience’. That was a quote mentioned to me years ago by a fan (he shall remain nameless) of the band. Now, I won’t go quite that far, but as many of the Glory Daze readers will know, Roadmaster are a popular band with the majority here, so it seems only fair that time and effort are afforded them by the Glory Daze staff.
I won’t go into too much detail about Roadmaster. You can read about them elsewhere on this site. Let’s focus on their third album ‘Hey World’, released during 1979 during what was a busy period for the band.
Just prior to the release of their supposed classic ‘Sweet Music’ album a year earlier, Village Records had become part of the Mercury Records family. On that album, their previous progressive and funk edges had been replaced by a sound bordering on commercial pomp, a term that not even the guys in the band were familiar with. (pomp, what’s that?).
Also, their touring schedule was busy, out on the road with Pat Travers, Blue Oyster Cult and Molly Hatchet to name a few.
The label appeared to be visibly interested in the band, mindful of what was happening in other parts of the mid-west (i.e the success of Styx and Kansas) and the commercial and melodic musical landscape that was unfolding throughout the USA during the latter part of the 70’s.
This was reflected in the album charts of the time, with bands like Kiss, Van Halen, Journey and Boston all making headway. At the lower level it was still important for Mercury to consolidate with Roadmaster, as they had a large fan base in the mid-west, and a proven ‘away’ record on the road.
‘Hey World’ then, was a continuation from ‘Sweet Music’. Whereas that album had two distinct sides of music (some not so good, the other very good), ‘Hey World’ has carried on using the better elements. The best representation is heard on the incredible keyboard-driven opener, the title track ‘Hey World’. Still a favourite to this day. Why can’t today’s bands do something similar I wonder?
A straight-ahead follow up ‘My Eyes Have Been Opened’ settles} things down a bit, the melody still ever-present, but the vocals of Steve McAnally really carry it off.} Drifting on a tide of melancholy is the wonderfully understated ‘I’m On My Way’. Check out the brief but killer keyboard solo in the middle.
Getting back on track with the energetic ‘Never Say Goodbye’, the band, by this stage have clicked into a rockier groove, as evidence on ‘Us Coming Back’. This was previously covered by some other artist, who I can’t quite recall. Elsewhere, the mid-paced rocker ‘Say You Wanna Be With Me’ moves into a southern rock workout, while another album favourite ‘Looking For The Day’ appears toward the end. The finale ‘Good To Be Back Home’ finishes in a flurry, more guitar-oriented than keyboard however.
Many punters debate as to which was the better Roadmaster album; ‘Sweet Music’ or ‘Hey World’. Me I prefer this one, due to its consistency. Then again there was the ‘Fortress’ album, but because they’d changed their style to a harder radio edge by this time, it isn’t comparable in much the same way that the debut Roadmaster album wasn’t. There are more ramblings on Roadmaster throughout the Glory Daze site, including the 2001 interview with Toby Myers, and all the other album reviews. Click the tag below.
Hey World (1982 Live)