JOKER (USA) – Cool Deal [digitally remastered] (2017)
For years impossible to find except expensive used copies, the second and final album “Cool Deal” from Chicago-based melodic hard rockers JOKER has been reissued / remastered not so long ago.
Originally released in 1992, “Cool Deal” is one of the best indie released from the genre you can find, not only including a great set of songs but also a superb, first class production.
Joker made a name for themselves on the local circuit, but despite having the looks and sound that was perfect for early ’90s MTV, they never quite made the jump to the next level.
“Cool Deal” is a pretty strong example of what US melodic hard rock sounded like in 1992. Not quite as sleazy as the Hollywood hair metal of the late ‘80s, but with that scene’s rocking energy and some AOR-worthy melodies.
Given Tony Ingala’s vocal style, comparisons to Slaughter and Realized Fantasies-era TNT make sense, but Joker also has similarities to Wildside, XYZ and at times Lillian Axe.
Album opener “Stand Up, Shout It Out” could easily pass for a Slaughter anthem, and “Dry Your Eyes” has a great TNT vibe. Even their cover of The Sweet’s “Little Willy” is fun.
You know how this story ends. Despite having the talent and putting out good music, 1992 was just not a good time for a melodic hard rock band in America. The grunge scene pushed bands like Joker right out the door.
“Cool Deal” remains a terrific reminder of what made the late ‘80s and early ‘90s melodic hard rock sound so much fun though, and it’s an album fans of bands like Slaughter, Firehouse, Trixter, TNT, XYZ and Warrant ought to check out.
After a long time out of print and commanding crazy aftermarket prices, we finally got an official reissue of “Cool Deal”, remastered and with new artwork. Be aware there’s fake versions floating around, this is the real one. (thanks to Cray for it)
As said, production was first class, with that ‘major label’ huge polished sound I love. And the songs rocks, hooky n’ catchy.
01 – Stand Up, Shout It Out
02 – Little Willy
03 – Little Bit Of Heaven
04 – To The Bone
05 – Don’t Turn Away
06 – Stealth
07 – Dry Your Eyes
08 – October Wind
09 – Mackinaw Avenue
10 – Love Keeps
11 – Rock Tonight
Tony Ingala – Lead Vocals
Joe Miro – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nick Sikich – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Brian Smolar – Bass, Backing Vocals
Mike Stone – Drums, Backing Vocals
BUY IT !