Shooting Star - Best Of Vol 2

Shooting Star – Best Of Vol 2


This compilation should be certified ‘essential’, from bonafide Shooting Star maniacs right through to people just discovering the band.

Written by: Lee South Africa

ARTIST: Shooting Star
ALBUM: Best Of Vol 2
LABEL: Cowtown Records
YEAR: 2001
CD INFO: Discogs Info List

LINEUP: Gary West – lead vocals, piano, keyboards, timpani drums * Van McClain – lead vocals, guitar * Charles Waltz – background vocals, violin, keyboards * Steve Thomas – drums, percussion * Ron Verlin – bass * Bill Guffey – keyboards * Unidos – background vocals * Keith Mitchell – lead vocals * Dennis Laffoon – keyboards * Baby Lee – background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hang On For Your Life (Live) * 02 Are You On My Side * 03 Rainfall * 04 Couldn’t Get Enough * 05 Summer Sun * 06 Heat Of The Night * 07 Get Ready Boy * 08 Burning * 09 Do You Feel Alright (Live) * 10 Touch Me Tonight (Live) * 11 It’s Not Over * 12 We Can’t Wait Forever * 13 I Need Your Touch * 14 Promises * 15 Leap Of Faith * 16 If You Want It


Shooting Star Background

Think back on the great songwriting partnerships, Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, you get the picture. In our realm of AOR, the duo of McLain / West is enough to send shivers down the spine.

The reason? Classic song after classic song on any Shooting Star album you care to mention. Which has made it so easy for them to find 16 essential AOR tracks to make up this second compilation.

The Songs

What a start to the disc, in the form of ‘Hang On For Your Life’ (live), taken from a 1981 concert in Cincinnati. This version easily surpassing the studio effort not only for bristling energy, but for melodic AOR intent as well.

Gary West’s reminds us his vocal class wasn’t confined to the studio. Shooting Star were a killer live act as well. A great choice for an opening track.

From 1981’s ‘Hang On..’ album, ‘Are You On My Side’ certainly keeps the uptempo trend going. The memorable rallying cry chorus sounding particularly good, not to mention some barnstorming riffing from Van.

The timeless debut album is revisited for one of its more sedate classics ‘Rainfall’, wistful and ethereal in all its semi acoustic glory.

From the ‘III Wishes’ album we’re treated to ‘Couldn’t Get Enough’, another unhurried classy AOR workout. It segues into one of the most revered uptempo classics of all, ‘Summer Sun’ from the irreplaceable ‘Silent Scream’ album. This has to be one of the most obvious smash hits that never happened, and a most welcome inclusion.

From the same album ‘Heat Of The Night’ returns us to mid-tempo territory. A very smooth and quite reminiscent of Fergie era Le Roux, surely one of Gary West’s finest vocal moments.

Next up is ‘Get Ready Boy’, a much sought after classic from the film ‘Up The Creek’, an anthem to self belief rich in melodies and hooks.

Now into the title track from 1983’s ‘Burning’ album, one of my favourite tracks of all time (I know I’m not the only one). Panoramic synths and insistent hooks weave together under a powerhouse West vocal. It builds into a stirring mid-song bridge the likes of which you’ll surely never hear anywhere else.

Returning to the 1981 concert we opened with, ‘Do You Feel Alright’ (live) comes to life in a way it doesn’t really manage on the studio version. This is quite an achievement since this concert predates the ‘III Wishes’ album.

Now entering the Keith Mitchell era via their biggest chart hit ‘Touch Me Tonight’. It sees the band in fine form in front of a partisan hometown (Kansas City) audience. A nice touch, since the studio version was on the first compilation.

Next on the menu is a pair of tracks from the underrated ‘It’s Not Over’ album, in the form of the anthemic title track and classy power ballad ‘We Can’t Wait Forever’. Pity a place couldn’t be found for the staggering ‘Believe In Me’, but good choices nonetheless.

The most recent studio album is represented by ‘I Need Your Touch’, ‘Promises’, ‘Leap Of Faith’ and ‘If You Want It’. The latter being the finest by some distance, not that the others are lacking in any way.

In Summary

This compilation should be certified ‘essential’, from bonafide Shooting Star maniacs right through to people just discovering the band.

The tracklisting flows effortlessly due to great song selection. I mentioned earlier that it must have been easy to choose another 16 classics. But in retrospect maybe it was a nightmare deciding which gems to leave out. Perhaps ‘Believe In Me’ to open Vol III, what do you think Van?

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