1994 - 1978 1994
SERIAL: SP 4709
CD REISSUE: 2005, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY006
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Karen Lawrence - vocals * Steve Schiff - guitars * Bill Rhodes - bass, guitars, vocals * John Desautels - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Once Again * 02 Shoot To Kill * 03 Sing To Me * 04 Heleana * 05 Bring It Home * 06 Radio Zone * 07 Hit The Hard Way * 08 Read Up * 09 Anastasia * 10 Shoot To Kill (Live Bonus) * 11 Find It In The City (Live Bonus) * 12 Hit The Hard Way (Live Bonus) * 13 Bring It Home (Live Bonus)
BackgroundA shortlived outfit from the USA were 1994. Formed initially by singer Karen Lawrence, who was previously with the band L.A Jets. After their one and only album for RCA (1976) failed to take off, she and drummer John Desautels commenced a bout of songwriting. One of their colloborative efforts came from 1977, being the Love Theme 'Prisoner', which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie 'The Eyes Of Laura Mars', and was sung by the timeless Barbra Streisand. They also wrote another called 'Out Here On My Own', but I've yet to see this turn up anywhere. While all this was going on, the duo decided to put a band together called 1994, bringing in Schiff and Rhodes to complete the line-up. Their sound was a fantastic mix of hard edged rock with Heart and fellow L.A rockers Storm being the main influences. Karen's vocals had an infusion of Ann Wilson, but there is no doubt her overall power was comparable, perhaps even stronger.
The SongsThe debut album starts out strongly with the track 'Once Again', the Heart similarity strong, even the Roger Fisher like guitarwork from Schiff. 'Shoot To Kill' despite the name, has a 'slow burn' feel to it, rather southern-tinged as well. 'Sing To Me' has a quirky feel to it, the dizzy-like chorus heading off down the same street as Kate Bush or Jeanette Chase's Storm. Brad Whitford lends a hand on the thoughtful and evocative 'Heleana'.. the guitar lines borrowed from his former outfit. Side Two opens with the magical 'Bring It Home', one for the pomp rockers to get excited about. They change tack for the enormous power-pop/rock frenzy of 'Radio Zone'. You could easily throw this on the first Storm album and get away with it! Meanwhile the contrasts continue with the swamp rock flavour of 'Hit The Hard Way' while 'Read Up' borrows heavily from the Storm handbook of rock n roll.
In SummaryThe band toured with Aerosmith on their 'Draw The Line' tour, but by the time album #2 'Please Stand By' arrived the following year, Schiff had left to be replaced by Rick Armand. These were the only two albums released by the band. After the efforts of 1994, Desautels moved onto the New Riders Of The Purple Sage, while Karen Lawrence did a new wave stint with her next band The Pins. After many years though, she hooked up with former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay to form the blues oriented band Blue By Nature, who are still a going concern. When we look back on it as a historical retrospective, both 1994 albums are a worthy of a CD re-release, and so it proved during 2005 with fledgling label Rock Candy Records doing the honours and getting both this album, and its follow-up out into the digital domain. Hmm.. I wonder if it's time to talk with Karen Lawrence about these albums.. what do you think?
Copying of material without permission is not permitted.