For many AORsters, this is probably the pick of the Trevor Rabin solo albums, though for me 1989’s ‘Don’t Look Away’ was also good.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Trevor Rabin
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England, South Africa
LINEUP: Trevor Rabin – vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass * Simon Phillips – drums * Jack Bruce, Mo Foster – bass * Manfred Mann, John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, keyboards * Chris Thompson, Stevie Lange, Noel McCalla – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Open Ended * 02 Heard You Cry Wolf * 03 Do Ya Do Ya Want Me * 04 Stop Turn * 05 Lost In Love * 06 Looking For A Lady (Wolfman) * 07 Pain * 08 Take Me To A Party * 09 She’s Easy * 10 Long Island
WEBLINKS: Site Link
In a recent 2011 issue of ‘Classic Rock Presents AOR issue 3’, there was a very good article of Trevor Rabin and this album, considering that it had just been reissued by Voiceprint Records. Of course, up to this point (1981), Trevor had released two previous solo albums for the Chrysalis label, neither of which were best-sellers by any means, so it appeared that the three-strikes policy was rearing its head for Rabin if some sort of commercial success was not forthcoming.
Undeterred, Rabin recorded true to his core values without conceding his position, but let it be said that the Chrysalis label were quite forgiving for allowing Rabin to have complete artistic license over this album. For many AORsters, this is probably the pick of the Trevor Rabin solo albums, though for me 1989’s ‘Don’t Look Away’ was also good, but this was probably due to the improved recording and production values post Yes and all the technology that was available eight years later.
What ‘Face To Face’ lacked for in song quality, was offset by Rabin’s musical ability to go it mostly alone. On ‘Wolf’ however, the songs might be better quality but the responsibility for playing on the album has been farmed out to others, Simon Phillips, Jack Bruce, Manfred Mann etc. Rabin also bought in The Kinks Ray Davies as an associate producer for the ‘Wolf’ sessions, the recordings taking place at his Konk Studios in North London.
So what’s within the grooves? Some rather choice AOR that’s what! Everything that you associate with Rabin’s music is assembled on ‘Open Ended’, all within the space of 3 min 20. Great keys and spacious guitars compliment each other like a hand fits glove.
‘Heard You Cry Wolf’ is played at a slower pace, and reminds me of Robin George‘s solo material. Despite the throwaway songtitle and lyrics, ‘Do Ya Do Ya Want Me’ is a very cool and commercial track, the chrous an obvious throwback to Rabin’s days in Rabbitt.
Trevor turns his hand to a bluesy style of melodic rock for ‘Stop Turn’, think some of the material off Journey‘s ‘Evolution’ as an example. ‘Lost In Love’ completes side one, and though an out ‘n’ out rocker, it’s kinda hit and miss too. I thought this one would’ve fitted quite well on that excellent Riff Raff album ‘Vinyl Futures’ such is the similarity to the production and sound.
Well, what can we say about ‘Looking For A Lady (Wolfman)’? With its Van Halen styled intro and drum pummelling, it eventually turns inside out to become a hot rocker in the vein of Foreigner around about their ‘Double Vision’ or ‘Head Games’ era, though there are some neat little fills like spiralling synths that add a contrast.
Another of the slow movers and shakers is the simply titled ‘Pain’, an impressive ballad which is one of the album highlights. Bad Company fans should enjoy the doppelganger like ‘Take Me To A Party’, while the sexist ‘She’s Easy’ contains some of the daftest lyrics this side of Gene Simmons‘ songbook. Even Rabin admitted as much in his interview, calling the lyrics ‘poxy’.
Finishing up with ‘Long Island’, this is another Bad Company sound-alike (if you exclude the keyboards), though the song was co-written with Ray Davies.
‘Wolf’ has seen a couple of CD reissues, the most recent being the 2011 release through Voiceprint Records. Rabin also said that the original ‘Wolf’ 24-track mixes were accidentally wiped over by Konk Studios staff, so a full-blown remaster was not possible. After being released from his contract by Chrysalis, Rabin put together a bundle of 4 track demos including early versions of ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ and ‘Leave It’ which were ear-marked for his proposed fourth solo album.
Of course by this stage, Yes came calling, after Steve Howe had shifted sideways to Asia, and ‘90125’ the new Yes album with Rabin in tow, become part of melodic rock folklore in 1983. As a side issue, check out some of the other Trevor Rabin Voiceprint releases that are currently on sale. Go to web retailer Floating World Records for more info.