Graf - Graf

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 1 in year-1981

LABEL: Precision/Epic
YEAR: 1981

LINEUP: Frank Pellino - vocals, guitars * Peter Tokar - vocals, keyboards * Tim Graziano - bass * Jose Ortiz - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Baby's Gone Home * 02 Come To My Arms * 03 Haydee * 04 Lovin' You Ain't Easy * 05 Wayward Sons * 06 Pork Chop * 07 Summers End * 08 You


Here's an obscurity from 1981 that came and went with little fanfare. Not much known about this lot, except that it appears these boys originated from the Ohio scene in the late 70's.

Graf as a unit, didn't go beyond 1981, but managed to strike up a deal with Epic. It seems also that Precision Records were involved - this was the same outfit that did some work with Pittsburgh based band X-15 - who we recently featured in some detail here at Glory Daze.

Of the better known names in this outfit, Frank Pellino reared his head previously with the Ohio band I Don't Care - who belted out a bluesy rock sound in the vein of Edgar Winter and Wild Cherry. As it turns out, both Tim Graziano and Jose Ortiz were also members of this band, who released a one-off album in 1976 called 'Ask Anyone'.

Changing gears and changing direction, these three would hook up with keyboardist Peter Tokar to form Graf, a band that gravitated to a very classy style of hard west coast, in the vein of Toto, Sneaker, Pablo Cruise and others of that era and style.

The Songs

The lead-off song 'Babys Gone Home' is a punchy tune that flies the flag in the same spirit as early Toto. The keyboard and guitar interplay should have many of you captured. 'Come To My Arms' features some pedal steel but the track is easy on the ear, commercial and chorus-friendly.

The same could be said for the delicate 'Haydee' which straddles the west coast-AOR fence easily. 'Lovin' You Ain't Easy' is a sassy workout that blazes with the same passion exhibited on some of Michael Stanley's earlier material.

One of my favourite songs is the 707 like bluster of 'Wayward Sons', definitely more AOR than west coast. Musical 'chops' is the name of the game with the cleverly titled instrumental 'Pork Chop'. Some very off-the-wall arrangements happening here.

'Summers End' has a very progressive jazz flavour about it - a la Al Di Meola. In fact, if this band had gone down the progressive path they would've done a great job, judging by this one track. The closer 'You' sprinkles many genres into one. Keys are prominent, it meanders through the verses, but the bridge and chorus are lifted to another level.

In Summary

Without doubt, Graf is a fantastic discovery, even if it is now decades old. There is a load of superb instrumentation on this album, Graf really should be better known among the AOR fraternity.

Certainly, Frank Pellino is still out there dabbling in music - not so sure about the others. From my perspective, this is one album that sits comfortably alongside the likes of MPG as a contender for a CD re-release.


Come To My Arms


Wayward Sons

Babys Gone Home

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