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Joe Lynn Turner - The Usual Suspects (CD)

Joe Lynn Turner
The Usual Suspects
by Grigoris Chronis at 25 January 2005, 4:21 AM

I'm not sure what the average fan might bring in mind anytime - and for whatever reason - the name of Joe Lynn Turner is mentioned. To my inner self, apart from the undisputed talent and gift of this charismatic singer, Joe seemed kind of an unlucky session artist, since he mainly: a) had to fill in the mic position in legendary bands by replacing a sacred ex-member, b) had a tough luck to cooperate with guitarists not familiar with the easy to deal with term, eventually fallin' a little bit short in the eyes of the band's followers.
In the mighty Rainbow, Turner replaced Ronnie James Dio and the band's style changed dramatically disappointing a fair amount of devotees (as if it was Joe's decision). While in Deep Purple, the ghost of Ian Gillan followed every live performance Turner had where - once again - he seemed not capable enough to reproduce the band's mighty classic cuts. In addition, in the Yngwie J. Malmsteen camp this excellent performer seemed trapped in the virtuoso's neoclassical-Scandinavian sole-dimensioned sound, failing in transmitting his vocal magnetism. Still, no album he was featured in could be ranked less than complementary (the Hughes/Turner Project & solo efforts to be mentioned below). Wow, what an extended intro…
Joe Lynn Turner's first solo album, Rescue Me, came out in 1985 (note: Turner had first released four albums with the US 'cosy' Hard Rock quintet Fandago in the late 70s/early 80s). The album unveiled the velvet melancholy of Joe's voice, not profound during the Rainbow-era but really appropriate for the A.O.R./Hard Rock needs of the mid-80s (remember, bands like Foreigner and Journey rulin' the world then). The next solo effort by born in Hackensack, New Jersey, Joseph Linquito (real name) came out 10 years later and then the storm began! Seven (if I count well) albums in nine years, the successful collaboration with Glenn Hughes in the HTP duo and now Mr. JLT strikes again!
This Bob Held produced solo album - for the Italian Frontiers label - features studio musicians (maybe The Usual Suspects?) such as Al Pitrelli (ex-Megadeth/ Savatage) together with the Ace Frehley credited guitarist Karl Cochran, David Z on bass, Rainbow drummer John O'Reilly, Paul Morris and Andy Burton on keyboards with Nancy Bender assisting at background vocals. Thus, the food served should be at least notable, judging from the ingredients and the cook. So, on: it's a pretty good hard rock 'n' roll album, featuring the average mix of fast 'sleazy' tunes, mid-tempo 'night-drive' cuts and slow-moving sentimental ballad-style songs, Joe presents a great vocal performance (weird…), whereas the overall aura has a vivid dimension over the Rainbow (post-Dio era, of course) legacy or the 80s Deep Purple spark. I think it's the first time that one of Turner's solo albums traveled my mind in that direction at this level. Still, blues rock elements are present while Al Pitrelli's and Carl Cochran's work is simply splendid (check Jacknife or Ball And Chain).
An album for traditional bluesy hard rock fans, an album for long time Joe Lynn Turner fans - even maybe an album for the 80s Rainbow/Deep Purple ''dreamers''. More than good songs and the standard great vocals, ''soaked'' in passion. The food is served and tastes delicious can't go wrong I guess!

3 Star Rating

Power Of Love
Devil's Door
Really Loved
Rest Of My Life
Into The Fire
Blood Money
All Alone
Ball And Chain
Live And Love Again
Unfinished Business (European Bonus Track)
Joe Lynn Turner - Vocals
Al Pitrelli, Karl Cochran - Guitar
David Z - Bass
John O'Reilly - Drums
Paul Morris, Andy Burton - Keyboards
Nancy Bender - Background Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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