Hobbit - 2008 Lost And Found

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ARTIST: Hobbit
ALBUM: Lost And Found
LABEL: Turnipland Records
YEAR: 2008

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Gene Fields - lead vocals, guitars * Paul 'Turk' Henry - bass * Tony Marsh - lead guitars * Timo Elliston - keyboards * Andy Stevens - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dialogue * 02 Can You Feel It * 03 Ticket * 04 Sadie * 05 On My Mind * 06 Rocky Was A Spaceman * 07 Burnin' * 08 Easy To Say * 09 The Noose * 10 T.M.T.S. * 11 Competition * 12 Dialogue

Background

Having given fantasy rock flavoured AOR their best shot from 1978 to 1983, success and a record deal had eluded Hobbit. Leave it to financiers, lawyers and inept recod label men to complicate a simple business situation.

Hobbit have in the past been one of the bands we championed here at Glory Daze (and Heart Of The Rock before that), their albums and history are recorded here. Suffice to say that by 1983 money was tight and a record deal was not forthcoming. Inevitably the members drifted away in search of income, ending a great era (until 2003 it turned out).

However Gene and Paul were not in hiding for long, and stayed in touch. In 1985 they managed to link up with three up and coming teenage whizzkids on guitar, drums and keyboard, and decided to give Hobbit another shot (after initially looking at calling the project something else).

Gone are most of the fantasy rock lyrics and structures, a more straight ahead 80's rock approach to the fore.

The Songs

After the expected spoken word intro, Hobbit launch into 'Can You Feel It', a prime time surge of show opening adrenaline sporting powerful riffing and a dizzying synth solo from 14yr old Timo Elliston.

This is power AOR territory, further invaded by 'Ticket To The Other Side', the catchy crunch of Journey meets Van Halen springs to mind here. Coffee meter redlining and two massive ticks so far.

'Sadie' is straight ahead hard rock, a little raunchy and reminiscent of what Turk would record with Lix in '88, catchy stuff and a sax solo that is not out of place.

'On My Mind' thumps you at John Bonham like half tempo, again classic hard rock but very assured in composition and delivery. There's a certain swagger going on here.

The somewhat quirky 'Rocky Was A Spaceman' returns us to gentle midtempo AOR with some bizarre twists in the lyrics (apparently autobiographical from Gene), thoroughly enjoyable though.

Randy Rhoads is tributed in the appropriately scorching 'Burnin', this is pretty hard and heavy stuff and some searing guitar very upfront in the mix.

'Easy To Say' delivers oceans of AOR synth and melody, that chorus from the Journey script, surely a hit in some other universe. Turk gets fairly epic in the very 70's sounding 'Tie The Noose', evolving into a very intense/atmospheric affair.

Earlier Hobbit material is plundered and resurrected for 'TMTS (Too Much To Say)', an early 80's sounding AOR/pomp rock hybrid that flourishes in it's mid 80's environment. The album closes with 'Competition', a real standout on the album.

The pulsing synth intro almost a dead ringer for Van Halen's 'Why Can't This Be Love' (but recorded a year earler.), it pounds along like VH crashing into Survivor wrapping up a powerful AOR disc in considerable style.

In Summary

This lineup played a few shows around East Texas and fans were happy to have them back even with lineup changes (remember they headlined large halls without ever having an lp on shelves).

Tragically, Gene suffered from a brain tumor around this time, putting paid to any further activity for this incarnation of Hobbit. He survived and returned to his day job, while Turk assembled Lix a few years later. Meantime, this is some blistering Texas AOR worth investigating, reissued for the first time on CD in 2008.


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