1994 – Please Stand By… [Rock Candy remastered +4]
Fronted by the charismatic Karen Lawrence, 1994 were one, in a long list, of great North American female-fronted hard rock bands emerging on the back of the success of Heart and Pat Benatar. Their sophomore record “Please Stand By…” was one of the strongest albums in the genre from the era, superbly remastered by Rock Candy Records released for the first time on CD including 4 lovely bonus tracks.
Who couldn’t love the vocals of the lovely Karen Lawrence? A particularly versatile singer who could just as easily strip the paint off your woodwork with her throaty roar as caress your ears with her beautiful melodies. The main difference with 1994’s debut was new guitarist Rick Armand (and bassist Bill Rhodes, who plays more guitar than bass here), resulting in a little more varied material.
The opening title-track is a great upbeat song, and the track the original LP ended with – the raucous ‘Keep Ravin’ On’, is perhaps the heaviest thing 1994 ever recorded.
Both ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘Stop The Heartache’ are nicely arranged Heart-like mid-paced songs with soaring vocals and catchy melodies, whilst ‘Our Time Will Come’ is an impressive power ballad with an inspired guitar solo.
The highpoint of the album is the killer hard rocker ‘So Bad’ with it’s multiple stereo guitar parts and pounding bass lines, not to mention a brilliant vocal performance from Ms. Lawrence.
There are four bonus tracks on this Rock Candy reissue, of which ‘Back In Your Arms’ is the best, a poppy yet rockng mid-paced track that deserved to be included in the final tracklist.
‘Get It Up, Get It Right’ is a lively rock ’n’ roller in with a raw delivery, and 1994’s version of ‘You Better Run’, although good, trails behind the versions by Pat Benatar and Toronto. Also interesting to hear is the alternate ‘analogue’ version of ‘Our Time Will Come’.
With another great production job from legendary Aerosmith / Alice Cooper man Jack Douglas, this Rock Candy digitally remastered reissue sparkles with power and clarity and I’m still hearing sounds that I’d never heard before in the years that I’d been listening to the vinyl LP.
Paul Suter’s sleeve essay tells the usual sad story of lack of record company support and a band falling apart under the pressure, which is a shame because 1994’s sophomore release is still better than most albums of it’s ilk.
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01 – Please Stand By…
02 – Wait For Me
03 – Don’t Break Up
04 – Our Time Will Come
05 – Wild In The Streets
06 – Stop This Heartache
07 – So Bad
08 – Nerves Of Steel
09 – Keep Ravin’ On
10 – Back In Your Arms Again (unreleased outtake)
11 – Get It Up, Get It Right (unreleased outtake)
12 – You Better Run (unreleased outtake)
13 – Our Time Will Come (alternative analogue take)
Karen Lawrence (vocals, keyboards)
Rick Armand (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Bill Rhodes (bass, guitar)
Terry Linvill (bass)
John Desautels (drums)