Fiona - 1986 Beyond The Pale

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: FionaALBUM: Beyond The PaleLABEL: AtlanticSERIAL: 81639-1YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2004, Wounded Bird, WOU1639 * 2014, Rock Candy Records, CANDY236COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Fiona - lead vocals * Beau Hill - keyboard, keyboard bass, drum programming, percussion, horn programming, horn arrangement, background vocals, production * Bobby Messano, Mike Slamer, Reb Beach, Nile Rodgers - guitar * Benjy King - keyboards * Joe Franco - drums * David Rosenberg - drums, drum programming, percussion * Donnie Kisselbach - bass * Harlem Katzenjammer Horns - horns * Kip Winger, Stephen Benben, Louis Merlino, Sandy Stewart - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tragedy * 02 Hopelessly Love You * 03 Living In A Boy's World * 04 Thunder & Lightning * 05 Tender Is The Heart * 06 Running Out Of Night * 07 In My Blood * 08 He's On My Side * 09 You Better Wait * 10 Keeper Of The Flame



We've got a couple of articles of Fiona Flanagan in the system at GDM, and we continue to complete her AOR discography with the remaining albums we've yet to cover. Coming to the fore with her 1985 debut which drew some worthwhile applause and some support shows with Canadian hot-shot Bryan Adams, the follow up 'Beyond The Pale' wasn't so successful by comparison.

Not that the record is a complete write-off. Far from it. Future hubby Beau Hill handles the production, there's a superb guest list that have turned up to play (check the line-up above), plus some of the outside songwriting contributions are top-notch. But the end result is more of a synth pop outing with busy arrangements while a lot of the guitar work doesn't bear the type of fruit that one would have hoped for.

The Songs

Some songs work better than others. The opener 'Tragedy' is an organic guitar rocker which highlights Fiona's rock vocal to good effect. The first of two singles 'Hopelessly Love You' is where the hi-tech synth pop comes into play, and settles for most of the album. 'Living In A Boy's World' written by the Austrian pairing of Ina and Peter Wolf is a familar tune to most AOR trainspotters, as it was the lead track and album title for Norwegian damsel Aina (Olsson) on her 1988 effort.

'Thunder And Lightning', a song written by noted female pianist/vocalist Chi Coltrane is a reasonable perky offering, the 80's pop overkill reinforced by 'Tender Is The Heart', written by Simon Climie (Climie Fisher) and Billy Steinberg (Billy Thermal, I-Ten). Good credentials indeed.

'Running Out Of Night' is a good pure AOR effort, though the drum programming became a bit tedious after awhile. 'In My Blood' returned to guitar oriented rock, whereas the ballad 'He's On My Side' was pretty decent, a track written by Fiona and Preview's Ernie Gold.

Mike Slamer gets the chance to shine on 'You Better Wait', one of the album highights for mine. The album concludes with another AOR offering in 'Keeper Of The Flame' written by Fiona and bassist Donnie Kisselbach. The keyboards on this one were provided by Scandal's Benjy King.

In Summary

As mentioned, it's a fair album, and it might take a few listens for you to get into the heart of it, like it did for me. With song like 'He's On My Side', 'You Better Wait', 'Tragedy' and 'Living In A Boy's World', there's more than enough to enjoy.

During this timeframe, Ms Flanagan was also involved with TV and movie work (Miami Vice and Hearts On Fire), but it would be three years later in 1989 that we saw her again with a third studio album 'Heart Like A Gun'.

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