Album review: JOE LYNN TURNER – The Sessions

This is the first part of the three-part Joe Lynn Turner special broadcast by Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in March 2016.  (Part 2 is also available at Mixcloud with a link to Part 3)

Joe Lynn Turner is a Featured Artist at Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.

JOE LYNN TURNER - The Sessions

Deadline/Cleopatra Records [Release date 07.10.16]

When I chatted to Joe Lynn Turner earlier this year for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio it was plainly evident you just couldn’t cram a 40 year career into an hour special.  Joe was particularly gracious with his time and we expanded that original hour to a three hour feature.  It was also very clear that JLT has a back catalogue to die for.  If you skip the obvious territory (Rainbow/Malmsteen/Deep Purple) there are riches to be discovered in his solo work and also collaborations with the likes of Glenn Hughes.

The bottom line is that Joe rarely does naff.  He is a quite wonderful singer who brings a soulful timbre and high sense of melody, and quality control, to all his material whether his own or for other people.  This compilation is therefore very very welcome and also underlines that over the years JLT has done many sessions.  As if we needed prompting, this compilation shows just how good JLT is at interpreting other’s songs.

There are extensive, if somewhat subjective, liner notes but sadly no recording/production/source information.  Whatever, most of these tracks have appeared on various tribute/cover albums since the year 2000 with the most recent on a Doors tribute in 2014 featuring Tony Kaye (Yes) and the legendary Steve Cropper.

Opening with the Rainbow classic, ‘Stone Cold’, Vivian Campbell is featured guitarist and it is an excellent update reminding me of that other great – and short-lived – band of which Campbell was a member, Shadowking.

In that band Lou Gramm was vocalist after breaking away from Foreigner and in terms of classic soulful rockers Classic Gramm is close to Classic JLT, whilst another melodic crooner – Steve Perry – can also be put in this select grouping when in his Journey heyday.  The main difference is Joe is still out there, his prodigious output reflects his industry and commitment (and some might add, his rude health), and – moreover – his voice is still in fine fettle.

There is a good mix of the more obscure and the familiar, so we get Joe’s take on ‘Lunatic Fringe’ originally released in 1981 by Red Rider and a song popularised by Led Zeppelin, his gymnastic vocal on  ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’.

The album demonstrates that Joe is not only a great vocalist but a vocal chameleon with the ability to adapt seamlessly.  At ease with a big rock ballad as with out and out rockers like Aerosmith’s ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’, the Ozzy/Lemmy collaboration ‘Hellraiser’ which features Steve Lukather, and ‘Back In Black’ with Phil Collen.

With further cameos from Reb Beach, Michael Schenker, Brad Gillis, Leslie West, Steve Morse and Richie Kotzen ‘The Sessions’ is really a masterclass by a musician’s musician. And essential listening for anyone who has followed the vocalist’s enduring career.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Album review (Rainbow, Boston 1981)
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Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 22 May.

Next session: Sunday 17 July.

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 21 June 2022.

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