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Gowan - Home Field (CD)

Home Field
by Grigoris Chronis at 22 September 2004, 9:56 PM

Even if Lawrence Gowan is a well-respected pianist/singer in Central & North America, it seems that he never succeeded in having the same recognition from the European melodic Rock fans. Nevertheless, call it lack of promotion, sign of the times or bad timing, there's always a second chance of discovering Gowan's melodies thanks to the reissue of this compilation (a collection of the finest moments from his eight platinum albums plus a few bonus extras) by Majestic Rock soon-to-be-the-best-around-melodic-rock label (original release from Panoramic label, in 1998). Proceed…
Hailing from Glasgow, Gowan crossed the Atlantic at an early age with his new home being Canada, not quite aware of what was to come. A classically trained concert pianist by his mid teens, he was fronting his own band Rhinegold by 1976 and was soon signed up by industry giant Columbia (pre-Sony). His debut Gowan (1982) album included Kim Mitchell on guitar while Strange Animal, released in 1985, found Lawrence working alongside King Crimson bassist Tony Levin. Rush's Alex Lifeson gave a helping hand on Lost Brotherhood (1987) and six years later King Crimson's Robert Fripp was guesting on But You Can Call Me Larry (1993). Having built an esteemed career in Canada & the U.S.A, Lawrence Gowan's next step was to fill in for Dennis DeYoung's gap in pomp Rock giants Styx. Gowan would feature on the band's Brave New World tour and the resulting Styxworld Live 2001 CD (which included a rendition of the Gowan track Love Is A Criminal Mind).
In the Home Field CD only two tracks were taken from the first three (Columbia era) albums, Make It Alone (from the 1982 debut album Gowan) and Moonlight Desires (from the 1987 album Great Dirty World). Apart from these two tracks and the final track Healing Waters (of which all profits went to The Variety Club of Great Britain), four were selected from But You Can Call Me Larry (1993), four from The Good Catches Up (1995) and another four from the live album Solo Live (1996). There seems to be a mismatch in the tracklisting, however without falling short of signifing Gowan's 16-year-old (then) career. With voice similar to a mixture of Rod Stewart, Aldo Nova or Chris De Burgh and composed songs approaching  the likes of John Waite's solo works, Gowan demonstrates a full-felt set of semi-ballads and low-tempo suitable-for-night-drive tunes, with crystal clear production and apt use of rhythm guitar at hand. Gowan's live performance (as clearly spotted in four of the song listed) inflates the singer's sensation accompanied only by his piano, sharing wonderful moments of plainness and calm with his loyal - in Canada - crowd.
Home Field gives the listener a good summary of what the man was capable of before he got involved in Styx. So, if you're into that soft melodic Rock/AOR you can give this working man some credit. Can nearly 1,500,000 Canadians be totally wrong?

3 Star Rating

A Criminal Mind (Solo Live)
Wild Summer Night
Lost Brotherhood (Solo Live)
I'll Be There In A Minute
Soul's Road
The Good Catches Up
Laura (Solo Live)
Moonlight Desires
Your Stone Walls
Guns And God
You'll Be With Me (Solo Live)
Make It Alone
Healing Waters
Lawrence Gowan - Vocals & Piano
Record Label: Majestic Rock


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