BILLY THORPE – East Of Eden’s Gate [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]
This one was requested by one of you, and certainly deserve a place in this blog and your collection: BILLY THORPE‘s Eighties album “East Of Eden’s Gate” ‘Remastered & Reloaded‘ by Rock Candy Records.
The name Billy Thorpe may not have made much of an impact in Europe and America, but in Australia he is a veritable legend, having carved out a highly successful career since the late Sixties in a seminal and raucous hard rocking band called the Aztecs.
By the ’70s he’d outgrown his home grown popularity and moved lock, stock and barrel to Los Angeles, recording a gold selling album helmed by producer Spencer Proffer, titled ‘Children Of The Sun’, that established him in the USA as a rising star.
Indeed, if it were not for the collapse of his record company, Capricorn, Billy’s follow up album ‘21st Century Man’ might well have established him as a major star.
But retreating to Spencer Proffer’s studio, Billy cut two further albums for the CBS backed Pasha label. The last of these two works was this brilliantly crafted “East Of Eden’s Gate”.
The album had the promise of being Thorpe’s masterpiece. The music was at times, ethereal, yet contained enough of a hard rock, melodic base to make it relevant in the day’s musical landscape.
Originally issued in 1982, and again produced by Spencer Proffer who was riding high on the success he had producing Quiet Riot’s Metal Health, it’s not strange that Thorpe had an all-star cast that included QR’s drummer Frankie Banali and keyboardist Pat Regan, plus stupendous John Waite / David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick, Bill Cuomo (Steve Perry, Whitesnake), Danny Spanos, Jude Cole and Randy Bishop providing backing vocals, and more.
Together they created a complete and well-polished rocking album.
The album is bookended by the title track a true epic cut that exemplifies the energy and talent Thorpe was in possession of at the time, and the excellent ‘Dogs Of War (Flesh And Blood)’, two longer tracks that exude broody atmospherics and are probably the highlights, giving full reign to Proffer’s widescreen approach to making records.
Between those it’s mostly melodic hard rock built around clever arrangements, great musicianship and Thorpe’s immediately identifiable vocals, like the catchy ‘Hold On To Your Dreams’, the rock&pop ditty ‘While You’re Still Young’ and the cool bluesy swagger of ‘No Show Tonight’.
Thorpe’s voice was quite original and may seem a little bit of an acquired taste at first, but you could easily imagine Eddie Money singing ‘I Can’t Stand It’ or ‘Cruisin’ (The Town In The Heat Of The Night)’, which is as high a recommendation for this catchy, superb sounding album as you could get.
I must humbly admit that Howard Johnson’s liner essay in this complete Rock Candy 12 page full colour booklet has opened my eyes to a truly eclectic and quite unknown artist, from the success of his 60s band Billy Thorpe And The Aztecs in Australia and his prolific solo career after a move from Melbourne to L.A., to subsequent TV soundtrack work on series like Star Trek : The Next Generation and Columbo, co-writing a series of Children’s books and even owning a soft toy business up to his death in 2007.
“East Of Eden’s Gate” is a really good album, a different beast for 1982, and one that readers of this blog will immensely enjoy.
The Rock Candy remaster is pristine, crystal clear, enhancing the already great production value of this recording.
As extra, we added another version of title track ‘East Of Eden’s Gate (Euro promo mix)’, taken from a rare sampler disc for radio stations.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – East Of Eden’s Gate
02 – Edge Of Madness
03 – Hold On To Your Dream
04 – While You’re Still Young
05 – No Show Tonight
06 – Can’t Stand It
07 – Night Rites
08 – Cruisin’ (The Town In The Heat Of The Night)
09 – Dogs Of War (Flesh And Blood)
10 – East Of Eden’s Gate (Euro promo mix)
Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer – Billy Thorpe
Drums, Percussion – Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot)
Bass – Jim Johnson (Quiet Riot)
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar – Earl Slick (John Waite, David Bowie)
Synthesizer – Bill Cuomo (Steve Perry, Whitesnake)
Synthesizer, Keyboards – Pat Regan (Quiet Riot)
Backing Vocals – Danny Spanos, Jude Cole, Bart Bishop, Nigel Bauer, Randy Bishop, Tony Rita
BUY IT !