SHAW BLADES – Hallucination [Rock Candy remastered & reloaded]
Rock Candy Records also released their own remastered version from SHAW BLADES collaboration project debut “Hallucination“. Formed by Damn Yankees’ Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger), these two Melodic Rock geniuses created a wonderful album here plenty of melody and showcasing not only their terrific voices, but also the duo’s amazing songwriting quality.
When it comes to extracurricular collaborations and spin-off bands, they are, more often than not, prone to malfunction or disappointment, the sum of the parts normally being far inferior to the main attraction.
In the case of Shaw Blades this wasn’t the case as the partnership produced a surprisingly attractive musical communion, with enough of their familiar styles mixing with a fresh approach.
The collaborators in question here are guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw, previously a lynch pin with multiplatinum pomp rockers Styx, and bassist Jack Blades who infiltrated the charts as a member of melodic rockers Night Ranger.
The two initially worked together (alongside Ted Nugent) as members of the platinum selling hard rock band Damn Yankees, before embarking, during a lull in DY activities, as the high-profile Shaw Blades partnership.
It was, in many respects, a marriage made in heaven, the two musicians being uniquely compatible and they produced songs of a timeless and compelling nature.
With Journey drummer Steve Smith providing the beats (and Damn Yankees Michael Cartellone on 3 tracks), the record was produced by Don Gehman (best known for his work with John Cougar Mellancamp) and issued in 1995.
Shaw & Blades set about constructing a record that was less melodic hard rock and more rootsy, inviting comparisons to similarly less ‘full-on’ acts, such as Riverdogs, Tesla acoustic, Rick Springfield, Eagles and more.
Above all, the album is a terrific vehicle for the duo’s magnificent, mostly acoustic driven songwriting abilities, including the stand out tracks: ‘My Hallucination’, ‘I Stumble In’ and ‘I’ll Always Be With You’.
The vocal harmonies are simply gorgeous: check “Blue Continental” and “Don’t Talk to Me Anymore.” As far as Classic Rock / breezy AOR / MOR ear-candy goes, this is about as good as it gets.
“Hallucination” is a neat little package that recalls, in about equal measure, Styx’s radio-friendly balladry and the soaring, melodic powerplay of Damn Yankees. This is a mainstream pop/rock album in the best way possible, big on hooks, sing-along choruses and melodies that grab hold first time around and don’t let go.
I always loved Shaw Blades “Hallucination”… I don’t know if it needed a remastering job, but I lost my original CD many years ago so ordered this Rock Candy reissue, and it sounds million bucks.
01 – My Hallucination
02 – I’ll Always Be With You
03 – Come To Be My Friend
04 – Don’t Talk To Me Anymore
05 – I Stumble In
06 – Blue Continental
07 – Down That Highway
08 – How You Gonna Get Used To This
09 – The Night Goes On
10 – I Can’t Live Without You
11 – The End
Jack Blades (Night Ranger) – vocals, bass, percussion, guitar
Tommy Shaw (Styx) – vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion
Steve Smith (Journey) – drums
Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees) – drums on 4,6,7
Jol Dantzig – guitar tones
The Neverleave Bros – background vocals
John Kalodner : John Kalodner