Sweet Music/Hey World
Rock Candy 2012
Formed in the early 70s and releasing their first debut album in 1977, Roadmaster are a fine melodic hard rock group who should have been huge.
Sweet Music, the second album from 1978 (on Mercury) opens with the cracking “It Doesn’t Mean A Thing” and then things get even better with “I Must Be Dreaming”, a driving number with vocal harmonies, crunchy guitar and plenty of melody. There’s a hint of Boston in there, and Steven McNally has a great voice, wide ranging, powerful, that adds both glam and pomp to the sound. Rick Benick’s guitar and Michael Read’s keyboards both stand out, they balance and intertwine well. “Ya Move Me” could easily mix Boston and Mott The Hoople, and there’s a touch of Styx, Kansas and Trillion in there too.
The following year’s Hey World add more dimension, a harder smoother sound and multi-layered arrangements. The opening title track and “My Eyes Have Been Opened” both really are superb, the sleevenotes rate this album as one of the greatest of the genre and rightly so.
The band’s fourth and final album, 1980’s Fortress has a sharper guitar edge and is less pomp, but is equally melodic. The vocals remain defining and the guitar work really does stand out, some great solos from the outset. Production from Flo and Eddie, a new swagger, and a Journey like sound, it’s criminal that the band bowed out after this.
Roadmaster briefly reformed 10 years later, and sadly singer McNally later died of cancer. But three fantastic albums given great treatment here, long overdue on CD.
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MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
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CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
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12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
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MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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