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Midnight Blue - Take The Money and Run

posted 6 Apr 2012, 07:36 by Paul Woodward
(YesterRock)

Review By Woody

YesterRock have rescued this album from obscurity and given this British band a much needed re-issue. Other than a few hardcore geek/Gollum types Midnight Blue will usually evoke the response ‘Who?’ myself included! Not surprising given the brevity of the bands existence, which after listening to the album is a great shame and I’m sure the band would have gone on to bigger things, or at least when their name was mentioned it was accompanied by a response of ‘ yeah I remember them, good fooking band!’!

Midnight Blue were a British band, I see you are all about to switch off, as for some bizarre reason British melodic rock seems to disinterest most hardcore fans especially back in the day. So why should you care, well cause this band featured vocalist Doogie White, Guitarist Alex Dickson who went on to GUN and later Bruce Dickinson and Keyboard ninja Jem Davis of Tobruk and current FM man! Ahhh thought that would get your interest!

I was curious as hell about this album and after one play I felt like sending Yesterock a kiss-a-gram for rescuing this album! You do have to approach the album with it in your mind that the album was recorded in the 80’s and reflects that, and yes it may seem a little dated but nonetheless I’m enjoying it immensely! It may not be perfect and there is a couple of fillers but well worth melodic rock fans lending an ear too. It is a real shame the band didn’t stay together as I think these guys could have been really special.

Sound wise it’s very commercial and very americanised melodic rock. It’s packed with songs full of hooks, pounding dance inducing rockers and memorable melodies. Whilst the yanks may have been seen as kings of the genre, this album stands tall and rubs shoulders with the very best the yanks ever produced!

I love Doogie’s vocal style and I find it very evocative and his powerful voice strikes a chord with me frequently throughout Take The Money and Run. This is definitely one of my favourite collection of songs featuring Doogie. Jem Davis’s keyboard work on this album is awe inspiring, he creates some great fluttering riffs, some hook filled upfront key’s and at times some pompous in your face which enhance the songs tenfold. A truly outstanding performance from Jem, I’d love to see him let of the leash like this for the next upcoming FM album!

‘Surrender’ is a powerful and punchy rocker and Doogie’s vocals make this song a hit. Jem’s keyboard work on this one is excellent, outstanding and varied performance. ‘Makin Love’ is a groove laden rocker. Bon Jovi and Poison would have scrapped over ownership of this song back in the day! ‘Remember’ is a moody, melancholic ballad. Doogie’s vocals shine especially on the evocative chorus which is complimented by some great keys from Jem.

‘Call Me’ has big pop keyboards accompanied by a beating guitar riff. It contains a big smooth sing a long chorus, a very catchy feel good tune, really puts me in mind of Heart. I love the hook filled keyboards on Till The Morning’ and the big powerful guitar riff gives the song real drive. ‘Little Heartbreaker’ is a driving rocker, but doesn’t really have the hooks shown elsewhere and failed to stick in my memory.

‘Hold On Till The Heartbreak’s Over’ is melodic rock smash hit gold Full of infectious keyboards, driving hook laden guitar work, powerful vocals, delicious melodies and a killer shout it out loud chorus. ‘Until Tomorrow’ is another moody ballad, which does show the range in White’s voice but it doesn’t have the impact of ‘Remember’. ‘Hands Of A Lover’ is a bit of a cheese ball but enjoyable anyway! It’s a driving rocker with lovely pompous keyboards. It’s an extremely catchy song with a sing-along-chorus.

‘One Way To Heaven’ is an atmospheric and powerful ballad, a great showcase for Doogie’s soaring vocal style. Title track ‘Take The Money and Run’ is a funky, groove driven song. Sadly though it never gets off the ground for me and is a little bit plodding. ‘Party’ is a happy go lucky feel good rocker but is a bit too frivolous for me and became easily forgettable.

The album comes with two bonus tracks. ‘Hurts When We Do It’ has a Robert Palmer vibe to it, it is easy to hear why this track never made the album but it does have a nice chorus making its inclusion here worth it. ‘Only Girl’ is a mid tempo rocker with a gripping and evocative feel to it. I’m actually surprised it didn’t make the cut back in the day, lots of hooks and memorable melodies. It’s a pop edged track akin to Starship but with balls, big balls, big bouncing balls!

At fifteen tracks it is value for money, bar the odd filler this is a great collection of melodic rock. I highly recommend genre fans rediscover this gem of an album! Obviously if you’re a fan of any of the musicians involved you’ll be hooked right into this album. Another plus point is if you are looking for something with a very obvious 80’s sound, then this will fill your boots! I know its 2012, but this is a cracking album to crank up and time travel back to 1987 too!

Track Listing: Surrender / Makin’ Love / Remember / Call Me / Till The Morning / Little Heartbreaker / Hold On Till The Heartbreak’s Over / Until Tomorrow / Hands Of A Lover / One Way To Heaven / Take The Money And Run / After Midnight / Party / Hurts When We Do It / Only Girl

Album Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Hold On Till The Heartbreak’s Over

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