Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Steve Kipner - Knock the Walls Down (1979)

Japanese Import

Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

The following is openly plagiarized from myself:

An under-appreciated West Coast/AOR release with all the usual L.A. suspects: Jay Graydon, David Foster, Larry Carlton, Victor Feldman, Michael Omartian, Steve Lukather, Jeff Pocaro, and other members of Toto.  Kipner was an Australian singer/songwriter that never found much chart success as a performer here in the US.  After this solid, but unsuccessful, release, Kipner found great success as a writer, penning hits such as Olivia Newton-John's "Physical," Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break" and "Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera.

I purchased this album based on my appreciation for the work of Jay Graydon who co-writes, produces, and provides tasty guitar work throughout.  Sadly, I was unaware of this album until a few years ago, but it's gotten plenty of playing time since then.  If I'd had it in '79 though, it would have perfectly complimented my record collection at that time.  Recommended for any West Coast fans.

Billboard, June 9, 1979 (my 13th birthday, coincidentally)

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

  • The Beginning:  A smooth groove punctuated by great Graydon guitar licks, this album intro has a very Steely Dan sound to it.
  • Knock the Walls Down: Now we switch to a sound more reminiscent of Pablo Cruise.  Soft rock complete with synth string pads and more guitar from Graydon.
  • Lovemaker: The lyrics aren't great, but the music is good: the verse has a very danceable late-disco groove before dropping into a moody chorus then back again.
  • School of Broken Hearts:  The first real filler track on the album, saved by the chorus.  Can't figure out why they stuck a completely unrelated ending on it, though.
  • War Games:  The album's first ballad; solid playing tries but can't revive the weaker material.
  • I've Got to Stop this Hurting You:  Side two starts off with a funky shuffle.  This song was produced by Kipner and Tom Seufert and uses a different backing band, so I'm guessing it was from a different recording session.  Still, it retains the overall feel of the album.
  • Love is Its Own Reward:  Beautiful overdubbed vocal harmony compliment this midtempo soft rock tune with a very slight country feel.  Both this track and the title track were released as singles, neither charted.
  • Cryin' Out for Love:  Another shuffle with sax work from Don Roberts.  Wonderfully written with some unexpected chord changes and a beautiful upward-moving bridge.
  • Guilty:  A sappy ballad leads into a fairly good uptempo mid section, but then back to the ballad for the ending.
  • The Ending: A reprise of the first track, but ends with almost 2 minutes of one of the best guitar solos I've ever heard, courtesy of Mr. Graydon.
Let's rank 'em:
  1. The Ending
  2. Knock the Walls Down
  3. The Beginning
  4. Love is Its Own Reward
  5. Cryin' Out for Love
  6. I've Got to Stop This Hurting You
  7. Lovemaker
  8. School of Broken Hearts
  9. Guilty
  10. War Games
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Useless trivia: on the date shown on the obi strip (November 13, 2014), the price of ¥1,143 was the equivalent of $9.89.

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