1983 saw the release of album number 4 from Kansas City’s finest – Shooting Star.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Shooting Star
LABEL: Virgin UK/Epic USA
SERIAL: V2278, BFE 38683
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Gary West – vocals, keyboards * Van McLain – guitars, vocals * Charles Waltz – violin, vocals * Ron Verlin – bass * Steve Thomas – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Preview (Instrumental) * 02 Straight Ahead * 03 Taken Enough * 04 Go For It * 05 Burning * 06 Winner * 07 Reach Out, I’ll Be There * 08 Train Rolls On * 09 Dreams * 10 Reckless * 11 Theme
WEBLINKS: Site Link
1983 saw the release of album number 4 from Kansas City’s finest – Shooting Star. Despite the big label, and from all appearances, a modestly successful history to date, the reality of life in the rock industry was far from successful for these boys.
All through their history, the band had been plagued with label and management problems. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a band with so many issues. In any case, the guys soldiered on, and by this stage, were ready to step back into the studio with Kevin Elson again, fresh from his involvement with the previous years ‘III Wishes’.
By comparison with the rest of the Shooting Star back catalogue, I would have no hesitation in saying that ‘III Wishes’ was a major disappointment. Therefore I was dreading to hear what the Shooting Star/Kevin Elson combination would throw up a second time around. Thankfully, my faith has been restored.
The main difference between ‘Burning’ and ‘III Wishes’ is the presence of power and ‘oomph’ in the production mix. In that regard ‘III Wishes’ was quite a weak sounding album, whereas ‘Burning’ kicks ass. Take a listen to lead off contender ‘Straight Ahead’ for instance. The band have never sounded so forceful, and as for those brute drums? Wow.
‘Taken Enough’ takes a smoother ride, the blues segue toward the end offering up something different. ‘Go For It’ on the other hand, is more kick ass hard rock. There is more guitar happening here than either West’s keyboards or Waltz’s violin. The title track ‘Burning’ moves into mid-tempo mode. The tempered piano a prelude leading up an ascended passage, plateauing in a symphonic epic. A great way to finish side one.
Side two commences with ‘Winner’, reminiscent of the excitement last heard on the debut album. ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’ is that 60’s soul chestnut which gets a ‘white-boys soul’ workout. It’s out of place on this album – uninspired, and a poor selection obviously.
Moving onto ‘Dreams’, it’s the purist AOR tune onboard, complete with trademark synth stabs and McLain’s insistent riffing. ‘Reckless’ unfortunately fails to live up to its name. The track wimping out as a ‘lame exit’ point. And just for the record.. Is that a pair of pyjamas that Gary West is wearing on the back cover and inner sleeve? You tell me..
The album generated radio hits with ‘Straight Ahead’, ‘Winner’ and ‘Train Rolls On’. Although ‘Straight Ahead’ peaked at #25 on the AOR Singles chart, the album only peaked at #162. After the ‘Burning’ tour ended, Ron Verlin left the band because he felt that the band were going nowhere.
The rest of them more or less agreed too, along with Virgin/Epic, who ended the association mutually. Two years later they signed with Geffen, Norman Dahlor replaced Verlin, and the quite beautiful ‘Silent Scream’ album was the result. A great album, which saw absolutely no chart action! Blame the label, who apparently were cash-strapped at the time. Yeah right.
A great travesty. However, fortunately for us, the Shooting Star light still burns bright to this day, the band still in existence and their product now readily available over the Net. ‘Burning’ as an album is a good effort, but probably not representative of their best work, and pales against contemporaries Survivor who were leading the way during the same timeframe.
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