FORTUNE – II [Japan Edition +1] (2019)
Creators of one of the greatest / most revered AOR albums in history, FORTUNE are back with a new studio album after all these years, simply titled “II“. The record will be released by Frontiers Music at the end of this month. Tomorrow, this advanced Japanese edition will hit the streets including a bonus track.
The seeds of Fortune were planted by brothers Richard and Mick Fortune, who came from a
family of professional musicians. The brothers formed Fortune in the late ’70s and released a self-titled album for Warner Brothers in 1978, but by the early ’80s they had revamped their group via the acquisition of keyboardist Roger Scott Craig, vocalist Larry ‘L.A.’ Greene (of Top Gun soundtrack fame), and bassist Bob Birch (who had played with Elton John).
Fortune released a second self-titled album in 1985 (not to be confused with their debut!) to a
warm reception, especially in Japan and Europe.
It is still highly regarded by fans of the genre as being a crucial AOR / melodic rock release of the time and for many is actually considered the best AOR album ever.
You can hear the excellent AOR Heaven Classix remaster HERE.
Camel / MCA Records (who had also launched Night Ranger and Giuffria to stardom) was the label home for the 1985 album, but unexpectedly declared bankruptcy not long after the Fortune release and refused to give up the masters of the album, rendering a reissue impossible until recently.
The band subsequently remained silent for years until the Fortune brothers started the band up again as a trio in 2006, while a proper band reunion finally took place at the Rockingham Festival in Nottingham in 2016.
It went so well that they returned the following year, with these shows leading to discussions with Frontiers about a new album.
That album is ‘II’, and it’s one of the AOR highlights of 2019 folks.
With little doubt, one spin of this album will put a big smile on your face.
This pure first half oo the Eighties American AOR with the quintessential ingredients from the genre: velvety vocal harmonies, lively guitar lines with soaring solos, strong beat and groove from the rhythm section, and vivid keyboards, which go beyond mere embellishment.
You’ll find superb arena rockers with ‘Shelter Of The Night’ (that keyboard driven intro worth the album alone), the Survivor-like ‘Overload’, the superb What A Fool I’ve Been’ (Giuffria would be proud of it), and the atmospheric ‘All The Right Moves’.
‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ is pure 1984 US AOR, and if you need ballads, check ‘A Little Drop Of Poison’ and the Jimi Jamison styled ‘Heart Of Stone’, both driven by a piano line but quickly swelling with riffs, synths, and drums with a guitar solo to follow.
While that ’80s synths are ever present, you’ll discover a solo within ‘The Night’. another winner with some Arc Angel on it, about two minutes in.
Across the album, I was also impressed with Larry Greene’s strong voice still in top form, Richard Fortune’s stirring guitar solos, and the crisp clean production.
Almost 35 years have passed since ‘Fortune I’, but this incredible band have not lost an apex of their magic.
“Fortune II” is the logical continuation of that seminal LP, and captures the ’80s AOR spirit like few.
01. Don’t Say You Love Me
02. Shelter Of The Night
03. Freedom Road
04. A Little Drop Of Poison (For Amy W.)
05. What A Fool I’ve Been
07. Heart Of Stone
08. The Night
09. New Orleans
10. All The Right Moves
JAPAN BONUS TRACK:
11. Livin’ In A Dream World (Live)
Larry Greene – Vocals
Mick Fortune – Drums
Richard Fortune – Guitar
Ricky Rat – Bass
Mark Nilan – Keyboards