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Johnny O’Neil – Truth Or Dare Award winner

Johnny O’Neil
Truth Or Dare
by Neil Cook at 02 April 2021, 9:56 PM

This is the 2021 release “Truth Or Dare” from JOHNNY O’NEIL, the front man from DARE FORCE.  This is essentially a solo project with Johnny playing all the guitar parts, bass parts and all the vocals, with only his partner in crime Percussionist and Drummer Joachim Baeker and a select few guest artists including Mark Miller on Drums on “Tell me…” and on Hammond and Piano Danny Peyronel, who was a member of both the HEAVY METAL KIDS and UFO back in the day, along with many other musical accomplishments.  The website list a number other musicians, who I assume play live with Johnny and Joachim, I mean talented as he obviously is I only counted the normal amount of arms, so would need some help live.  And boy would I like to hear this live!

It is that band UFO, whom you can see must have been a big influence on the albums sound.  If you didn’t know this was a fresh slab of tunes you would assume this was a mid to late 70s lost or hidden gem, beautifully dusted off and given a polish.  The 70s Rock vibe runs through the record, and you can pick up influences from AC-DC to HUMBLE PIE, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD to a bit of URIAH HEEP for good measure.

Out of the starting blocks “Snake In The Grass” rocks hard and heavy with that 70s Blues Rock funk tinged sound DEEP PURPLE with Tommy Bolin would have killed for.  “Comin For You” keeps up the pace and has a sound like UFO with Angus Young playing lead jamming with FOGHAT. Such an up song, would really get a groove going. And what a solo! “Tell Me What You Think You Know” follows, and I’ll tell you what I know, it Rocks and Grooves with a sexy rhythm.

Down & Round” really has that UFO sound.  A slightly lighter almost 60s tinged upbeat song, a nice change of pace. Then the brief acoustic interlude of “Ode To Mark” leads us into “Temple”, where we get a bit of a change of pace.  We still get that old school vibe, but there is a bit of a hint of a later, grungier vibe too in the vocals, with a bit of HEEP in the Hammond and the Guitars, which makes this a very interesting track.  “Red Sun In The Sky” has a bit of a B.O.C feel about it, which I like.  A more introspective mood here, and yet another cool solo.  But for me the weakest vocal performance, only by a bit.  Still like the song though.

What do we say about the last pair of tracks?  Well it is always quite brave to do a BEATLES cover, but this Boogie infused version of “Revolution” isn’t half bad.  Yes a bit of a throw-away track, but ‘tis a bit of fun, and it is a cool song, and of course the solo is again excellent, as is the boogie-woogie piano, wouldn’t be missed if it wasn’t there, but a decent cover none the less. Leaving us with “World Run Amuck”.  A word, amuck, not used enough in Rock and Roll!  Essentially an instrumental showcase of Mr. O’Neil’s guitar prowess, which this does very nicely.  I mean how do you do dueling guitars with yourself? And the groove fits nicely with the 70s vibe, as does the cow-bells.  Actually I haven’t said enough about the drumming and percussion on this set, but that is because it does such a good job of driving the songs along without being too flashy it just feels so right, you practically take it for granted.

I think you get the impression I like this, it’s all 10’s from me.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10


5 Star Rating

1. Snake In The Grass
2. Comin For You
3. Tell Me What You Think You Know
4. Down & Round
5. Ode To Mark
6. Temple
7. Red In The Sky
8. Revolution
9. Word Run Amuck
Johnny O’Neil – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Joachim Baecker – Drums, Percussion
Guest Musicians
Danny Peyronel– Keyboards (Down & Round, Temple, Revolution)
Mark Miller -  Drums (Tell Me What You Think You Know)
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 28 January 2023

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