Boz Scaggs: Down Two Then Left (1977)

This album was always going to be a slightly tricky sell after the genius of ‘Silk Degrees’. For me this is not as good as that album or the one that followed it ‘Middle Man’, but it is still Boz Scaggs and it is still an excellent album.

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Producer: Joe Wissert

Musicians:
Drums: Jeff Porcaro
Guitars: Jay Graydon, Ray Parker Jr., Steve Lukather
Bass: Scott Edwards, David Hungate
Piano: Jai Winding
Keyboards: Michael Omartian
Percussion: Bobbye Hall
Horns: Chuck Findley, Steve Madaio, Ernie Watts, Fred Selden, Don Menza, David Duke
Background Vocals: Carolyn Willis, Jim Gilstrap, John Lehman, Venetta Fields, Phyllis St. James, Myrna Matthews, Julia Tillman

Tracklist:
1. Still Falling For You
2. Hard Times
3. A Clue
4. Whatcha Gonna Tell Your Man
5. We’re Waiting
6. Hollywood
7. Then She Walked Away
8. Gimme The Goods
9. 1993
10. Tomorrow Never Came

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Charlie Dore: Listen (1981)

This album is in my top ten albums of all time. It’s great! The songs are fantastic, the singing is brilliant, the production by Stewart Levine is exemplary and the musicianship is near perfect, as you would expect from one of the best line ups ever assembled.

Favourite tracks are the title track and the understated “I’m Over Here”.

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Producer: Stewart Levine

Musicians:
Drums: Jeff Porcaro
Bass: Mike Porcaro
Guitars: Steve Lukather, Caleb Quay
Keyboards: Robbie Buchanan
Synthesizers: Robbie Buchanan, Ian Underwood
Percussion: Jeff Porcaro, Lenny Castro, Victor Feldman
Background Vocals: Donny Gerrard, Carl Graves, Jay Gruska, Charlie Dore

Tracklist:
1. Listen
2. Do Me A favour – Don’t
3. You Should Hear (How She Talks About You)
4. Falling
5. Don’t Say No
6. Wise To The Lines
7. I’m Over Here
8. Like They Do It In America
9. Sister Revenge
10. Didn’t I Tell You

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Jackson Browne: Lives In The Balance (1986)

This is my favourite JB album. Admittedly it’s a bit more AOR than Westcoast, but that was the era it was produced in. I’m sure that many of his fans did not like the album when it came out (or even now), but for the tunes stand up well and the lyrics make the album timeless. The message and questions raised in ‘Lives In The Balance’, still stand up today.

Anyway, as always the musicianship and songs are great. If you haven’t heard it already, give it a try.

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Producer: Jackson Browne

Musicians:

Drums: Ian Wallace, Russ Kunkel, Stan Lynch & Jim Keltner
Bass: Jennifer Condo, Bob Glaub, Jorge Calderon & Phil Chen
Guitar: Gary Myrick, Kevin Dukes, Steve Lukather, Jackson Browne, Rick Vito, Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel,  Jorge Strunz, Kevin McCormick, Bernie Larsen & David Lindley
Piano: Jaï Winding, Jackson Browne & Bill Payne

Synthesizers: Jaï Winding, Bill Payne & Craig Doerge

Organ: Ian McClagen
Alto Sax: Phil Kenzie

Harmony Vocal: Doug Haywood, Kevin McCormick, Bonnie Raitt, Jorge Calderon, Deborah Dobkin, Mindy Sterling & Jackson Browne

Tracklist:

  1. For America
  2. Soldier of Plenty
  3. In the Shape of a Heart
  4. Candy
  5. Lawless Avenues
  6. Lives in the Balance
  7. Till I Go Down
  8. Black and White

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Joseph Williams (1982)

 

I think most fans of Westcoast music would put this guy in their top three vocalists, definitely top five. This album, his first, really shows off his range.

The album is produced by Jay Gruska, of Maxus fame and features a stellar cast of musicians and singers: Michael Landau, Steve Lukather, Michael Omartian, Michael Omartian, Lenny Castro, Richard Page, Steve George and Tom Funderburk.

The music itself is standard fare for the time, but there are some really good songs, like “Takin’ It” and “Something Special”. This version also comes with a couple of extra tracks as well.

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Producer: Jay Gruska

Musicians:
Drums: Mark T. Williams
Bass: Dean Cortez
Guitars: Michael Landau, Steve Lukather
Piano: David Garfield, Joseph Williams, Michael Omartian
Keyboards: Jay Gruska, Joseph Williams
Synthesizers: Michael Omartian, David Garfield
Percussion: Lenny Castro
Sax: Steve Tavaglione
Horns: Jerry Hey, Chuck Findley, Larry Hall, Larry Williams, Jim Horn
Background Vocals: Richard Page, Steve George, Tom Funderburk, Jay Gruska

Tracklist:

  1. What Is She Hiding
  2. That First Night
  3. Takin’ It
  4. One  More Chance
  5. I Didn’t Do It
  6. This Girl
  7. Something Special
  8. Nothing’s Lost
  9. Make Some Time
  10. Takin’ It (demo)
  11. Make Some Time (alternative)

 

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Wilson Bros.: Another Night (1979)

Classic Westcoast album for you here. Very much an AOR album, in the style of the day, not a million miles away from the type of music that the likes of Hall & Oates and Christopher Cross were pumping out around this time.

Steve and Kelly Wilson managed to persuade Steve Lukather to contribute some chops but he was the only member of Toto to be included.

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Producer: Kyle Lehning

Musicians:
Drums: Kenneth Buttrey
Bass: Jack Williams, Bob Wray
Keyboards: Shane Keister, Kelly Wilson
Guitars: Jon Goin, Steve Lukather, Steve Gibson, Steve Wilson, Kelly Wilson
Sax: Ernie Watts, Billy Puett
Trumpet: Don Shefield
Trombone: Dennis Good
Lead Vocals: Steve Wilson, Kelly Wilson
Background Vocals: Sherri Kramer, Diane Tidwell, Lisa Silver, Donna Sheridon, Denny Henson

Tracks:
1. Feeling Like We’re Strangers Again
2. Another Night
3. Thanking Heaven
4. Shadows
5. Just Like A Lover Knows
6. Lost And A Long Way From Home
7. Can We Still Be Friends
8. Ticket To My Heart
9. Take Me To Your Heaven
10. Like Yesterday

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Patti Austin: Every Home Should Have One (1981)

As Quincy Jones’ female voice of choice on ‘The Dude’, which was also released in 1981, it’s little wonder that he ended up producing this album for her. It’s silky smooth soul/funk not dissimilar in places to Q’s album.

It features the usual cast of musicians to ensure her Ms Austin’s Westcoast credentials. Also, listen to ‘The Genie’ and tell me Michael Jackson isn’t singing backing vocals.

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Producer: Quincy Jones

Musicians:
Drums: Chris Parker, John Robinson
Bass: Anthony Jackson, Louis Johnson, Eddie Watkins
Guitars: Eric Gale, Steve Lukather
Piano: Richard Tee, Bob James
Keyboards: Bob James, Greg Phillinganes, Richard Tee
Synthesizer: Michael Boddicker, David Foster, Bob James, Hillary James, Rod Temperton
Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Ralph MacDonald
Sax: Ernie Watts
Background Vocals: James Ingram, Patti Austin

Tracklist:
1. Do You Love Me?
2. Love Me To Death
3. The Way I Feel
4. Every Home Should Have One
5. Baby, Come To Me
6. The Genie
7. Stop, Look, Listen
8. Symphony Of Love
9. Oh No, Margarita
10. The Island

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Night Plane (1982)

This is one of those collaborative albums between Hayden Gregg (Starwood) and Jim Dykann, which includes a number of star session players like Steve Lukather, Russ Kunkel, Danny Korchmar and the aforementioned Craig Doerge.

It won’t set your world on fire, but it is a pleasant Westcoast/Lite AOR album for when cruisin down the highway. I’ve converted it to a bitrate of 320, so you’ll have to let me know if you think it sounds ok.

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Producer: Jeffrey Weber

Musicians:
Drums: Russ Kunkel
Guitars: Steve Lukather, Haden Gregg, Jim Dykann, Danny Kortchmar, Kenny Edwards
Bass: Bob Glaub
Keyboards: Craig Doerge
Percussion: Russ Kunkel
Sax: Bryan Savage
Background Vocals: Haden Gregg, Jim Dykann, Rosemary Butler

Tracklist:
1. Night Plane
2. Slow Down
3. Out of Control
4. Tried Too Hard
5. Cheated
6. Don’t Be Fooled
7. Illusions
8. Line of Fire
9. Another Hotel
10. Who Knows ?

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