LOVE LIFE – Goodbye Lady Jane [Remastered & Expanded] (2019)
Originally released in 1991 and since then deleted, “Goodbye Lady Jane“, the only album from US melodic hard rockers LOVE LIFE has been meticulously remastered & expanded including previously unreleased material, and featuring upgraded artwork.
Considered the CCM version of Slaughter / early Skid Row, they rock hard on this disc with that early ’90 American production sound for the genre. If you never heard this band you’ll be be surprised by its quality musicianship, great songwriting and killer hooks.
Back in 1991 at the time of its Blonde Vinyl Records debut full length “Goodbye Lady Jane”, Love Life might have been a small fish in a big pond of other commercial to hair to pop metal & hard rock bands but more than held its own with its big hook, soaring to gritty vocal penchant and bluesy guitar take on the form.
No, nothing unique or outside the box but still highly regarded enough (at least to our ears) to bring the musical aptitude not to mention the songwriting depth and lick and chops to complete with its contemporaries of the time.
This is where 2019 Roxx Records re-issue to ‘Goodbye Lady Jane’ comes in, which with its remastering to provide a much needed coat of polish allows for the more arresting low end and guitars that deliver added edge and bite.
Improvements are such it makes for the remastered version an essential purchase even to those that own the rougher sounding (not to mention long out of print and hard to find) original CD – difference in sound quality between the two is that stark.
This Los Angeles, CA based four-piece traces to the late Eighties and founding member and guitarist Darin Eby, whom placed several ads in a local classified paper, which led him to drummer Gary Hanson and vocalist Larry Worley.
With bassist Rod Romero later rounding out its line-up, the group got its start under the Forever moniker before changing its name to Love Life and signing to Blonde Vinyl.
Opener “Real Love” proves commercial Eighties melodic hard all the way, with open-air guitars and a soulful ‘oh, yeah’ to start before dashing ahead in elated fashion to all the hooks you could ask (riffs are catchy as it gets) and enough harmony / backing vocals to taste. Worley, in particular, puts in a strong showing with his raspy but melodic vocal style perfectly in step with the music at hand.
If properly promoted, this would have been a hit.
Up-tempo sentiments carry over to “Do You Love Me”, another melodic rocker with a radio potential, some kind of Slaughter meets Poison, or Stryper’s ‘In God We Trust’ sound.
“Heart On Fire” uplifts the guitar inclining in trending the mid-tempo but with a bluesy metallic vibe. Of note is how Romero’s animated bass helps anchor the low end, while Eby accents the bluesy tendencies with his gritty playing, both rhythm and lead.
“When Loneliness Comes Knockin’” is a classy power ballad done Poison style. Acoustic guitar carries the emotional distance mixed with sparse suggestions of feedback and rhythm guitar, both of which combine to buttress the prodigious melody to play a commanding role. Put this on mid-eighties FM radio and/or MTV and it would have more than held its own.
“Girl Gone Bad” represents a return to the vibrant. With its hard rock ardor – in somewhat similar vein as Stryper and Van Halen – the song grooves with its striking low end and non-stop hook focus.
“Fill ‘Er Up”, several seconds of open-air guitar, gives way to album’s title track.
“Goodbye Lady Jane” separates as albums heaviest, traversing high-energy territory as Eby showcases his flashy guitar abilities (some of the riffs divulge a driving quality) and a bass heavy low end sen\t the unwavering tone. Front to back, Love Life puts it all together on this one.
I define “In Blue Again” as bottom heavy and straight on hard rock with a mid-tempo edge. Bluesy grit imparts a raw feel to the guitars (an effect to be quite flattering), while contrasting elements shine in terms of the refined backing vocals (allowing the Love Life commercial sentiments to reveal). In the end, a quality deep cut allowing a very good album to separate that much further.
Same applies with second ballad “1000 Reasons”, much more meaty and a heavier edge in comparison to “When Loneliness Comes Knockin’”. It allows rhythm guitar to make every bit the statement and provides more muscle to the song.
There’s The Beatles cover “A Hard Days Night”. Yes, Love Life imbues its signature melodic hard rock qualities and mirrors the upbeat aptitude to the original, but I would preferred another original song.
Despite its title “Do You Believe In Love” ends the album on a heavuer note. With drum solo to start, the song compels its length as trouncing guitars strike in and out but also does not forsake the accessible, made plain in the ever present Love Life glowing backing vocals.
As bonus material we have the demo Love Life recorded in 1990 to shop record labels. The sound quality is very good. 2 of these tracks are not present on the main album, with the rest are early versions quite different to the definitive.
All previously unreleased material and really worth to listen.
If interested in quality and quite rare melodic hard rock rooted in the late Eighties, then Love Life and its debut ‘Goodbye Lady’ Jane fits the bill. The talent, songwriting and performance no doubt are in place to compete with the best the era had to offer.
The original tapes received a welcome upgrade as part of this Roxx Records re-issue. My advice is to pick up a copy before it – similar to the Blonde Vinyl version – goes out of print.
01 – Real Love
02 – Do You Love Me
03 – Heart Of Fire
04 – When Loneliness Comes Knockin’
05 – Girl Gone Bad
06 – Fill ‘Er Up
07 – Goodbye Lady Jane
08 – In Blue Again
09 – 1000 Reasons
10 – A Hard Day’s Night
11 – Do You Believe In Love?
12 – Blue Again (Demo)
13 – Do You Believe In Love? (Demo)
14 – Real Love (Demo)
15 – Believed In You
16 – Lonely
Larry Worley – vocals, guitar
Darin Eby – guitars
Rod Romero – bass, backing vocals
Gary Hanson – drums, backing vocals