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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Michael Thompson Band - Future Past


 

Michael Thompson is one of the leading guitar players of the world. He was awarded the "Distinguished Alumni" award from his alma mater Berklee College of Music to commemorate his contributions to the music industry. Berklee's program for the event noted that "he is widely regarded as being among the elite studio session players, and his amazing list of credits includes such prominent names as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, 'N Sync, Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, the Scorpions, Vince Neil, Christina Aguilera, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Bette Midler, Madonna, Babyface, En Vogue, Gloria Estefan, Stanley Clarke and Ricky Martin." Quite a list of luminaries to perform with/for!

Originally from New York, Michael moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to begin a studio musician career. In 1988, after working to try and get a deal with his band Slang, he finally got signed by Geffen Records to release one album entitled "How Long", under the Michael Thompson Band (M.T.B.) monicker, and is one of the best examples of AOR/Westcoast from that era (or any era!), and it was reissued in 2007 with 3 bonus tracks

On "How Long" more great studio musicians appeared as guests, in particular drummer-maestro Terry Bozzio, singer Moon Calhoun (ex The Strand), Pat Torpey (later to be  drummer with Mr Big), bassist Jimmy Haslip, John Elefante (Kansas), Toto's Bobby Kimball and Great White associates Michael Lardie and Wyn Davis (who also produced the album). Songwriters would include, among others, AOR luminaries such as: Jeff Paris, Mark Spiro, Billy Trudel and Brett Walker.

For ‘Future Past’ Michael has teamed up with singer Larry King from the band Soleil Moon. Larry brought a new and more rocking approach to the MTB sound but certainly the trademark elements of songwriting and melodies are still to be found in the new album “Future Past”. In fact the album plays on the up tempo sound of Toto, and the first Giant album, so that cant be a bad thing

‘High Times’ picks up where ‘How Long’ left off, as an up tempo rocking number full of an instantly catchy chorus and a great riff. ‘Can’t Be Right’ continues in a similar vein and shows why MT picked King as his vocalist of choice. ‘Future Past’ is a smooth as a velvet glove and really highlights Thompson’s guitar prowess. ‘When You Love Someone’ is just a delight of an emotional ballad and is swallowed whole by the excellence of ‘Here I am’

I have to mention the reworked ‘Can’t Miss’ from the 89 debut as I’m running out of superlatives for all the other tracks. It’s still a great song, and Karry King runs the original very close, but I will always prefer the original version. That said, ‘Future Past’ is a strong enough album without this reworked classic

On its first listen I wasn’t exactly over enamoured with it. However after living with this thing for a couple of weeks, it’s probably one of the finest AOR albums you (and me)will hear all year (and its only Feb). If I had to pick a winner between the Sunstorm and MTB albums, ‘Future Past’ delivers the goods in abundance

90/100


MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND
Michael Thompson     Guitars & Keys
Larry King                   Vocals
Khari Parker               Drums
Alan Berliant               Bass

Guest Performers              
John Blasucci – Keys
Dave Hiltebrand – Bass – When You Love Someone, Beautiful Mystery, Future Past, Here I Am & Break Me Down
Matt Walker – Drums – High Times
Sahara Thompson – Background Vocals – Can’t Miss
J.P. Delaire – Keys, Background Vocals, Sax – Can’t Miss

Produced By : Larry King & Michael Thompson


Tracklisting:
High Times;
Can't Be Right;
Future Past;
When You Love Someone;
Here I Am;
Beautiful Mystery;
Break Me Down;
End Game;
Gypsy Road;
Can't Miss 2012;
Fight For Your Life.

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