Title - 'Line-Up: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Graham Bonnet
As all fans of heavy rock will for sure already know, Graham Bonnet is a British rock singer/songwriter. Having performed both solo and as a member of several metal acts - such as Rainbow, MSG and Alcatrazz - it was in 1981; after his break from Rainbow (which, although he only stayed for a short time with them, still managed to produce some of their finest, all be they pop-fused tracks: 'Since You've Been Gone' and 'I Surrender,' to name just two), that he chose to resume his solo career.
The brilliant, for my money, Line-Up (1981) was thusly released and as most witnessed, the album had a markedly more rock-based sound than his previous solo recordings; whilst retaining some of his former R&B influences. But, that wasn't the most incredible aspect of this album, by a long shot!
For Bonnet enlisted several well-known rockers to make this album something special. Today this might well be called a Supergroup for it included Whitesnake guitarist Mick Moody, Whitesnake and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, Deep Purple and Whitesnake keyboard player Jon Lord, and even Status Quo guitarists Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and Andy Bown!
And yet, amazingly, and as much as this whole album still today stands out in my mind as one that got me through my youth, Line-Up only reached #62 on the UK Albums Chart! At least the album's lead single, 'Night Games' reached #6 in the UK Singles Chart, but the follow-up single, 'Liar', reached only #51. That blows my mind right there as every single track that comes off this album is a hit. Hit after hit after hit, to my ears, and showcases Bonnet's incredible vocals quite like no other set of recordings he produced, before or after.
Anyway, Line-Up kicks off with arguably the best song on the album, 'Night Games.' [Incidentally, the video for this, where he and all his incredible, star-studded band mates are on stage singing, Bonnet's neck straining each lyric, is still embedded in my mind!] Following that single is the more melodic Russ Ballard-penned 'S.O.S.' which in turns gets followed by the mellow 'I'm A Lover.'
A cover of The Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' is next, and as much as it is truly out of place, 'That's The Way It Is' follows and gets us back on track. But it's another huge '80s hit, again penned by Russ Ballard, 'Liar' that truly sends us back in time. Man, what a crackin' song to have playing at full blast whilst driving, top down on a summer's afternoon! The swingin' rock of Chuck Berry's 'Anthony Boy' is next, before the complete rock out of 'Dirty Hand' is lovingly upon us.
'Out On The Water' provides us another look into the depth of Bonnet's gravel-laced voice, before 'Don't Stand In The Open,' with the bouncy, and Ray Davies-penned 'Set Me Free' rounding the album out just perfectly. Now complete with four (4) previously unavailable (on CD) tracks from that recording session, we are also now privy to 'Don't Tell Me To Go' (b-side), 'Bad Days' (b-side), 'Night Games (Single Edit)' and then 'Out On The Water (Single Edit).' In truth, there's nothing special here among the foursome, as I've got the singles the b-sides came from, and the Single Edits are just a massive they-sound-the-same-as-the-album-tracks cop out. That all said, Line-Up still stands the musical test of time and if you don't believe me, try it out for yourself one summer's day.
'Line-Up: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link