Tepper, Robert - 1986 No Easy Way Out

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset
edited August 2 in year-1986

image

ARTIST: Tepper, Robert
ALBUM: No Easy Way Out
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: BFZ 40128
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2009, Sony Music, ZK 40128 * 2010, Yesterrock, ZK40128

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Robert Tepper - lead and background vocals * Tim Landers - bass * Guy Marshall, Dann Huff, Eric Williams - guitars * Myron Grombacher - drums and linn programming * Alan Pasqua, Kim Bullard, Richard Gibbs - keyboards * Tom Kelly, Tom Funderburk, Karla DeVito, Beth Anderson, Van Stephenson, Tata Vega - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 No Easy Way Out * 02 Angel In The City * 03 Don't Walk Away (From Love) * 04 Your Love Hurts * 05 Restless World * 06 Hopeless Romantic * 07 Sole Survivor * 08 Rather Be Alone * 09 Domination

Background

As far as I'm concerned, this site wouldn't be complete without a mention of Robert Tepper who earns the right to reverential 'AOR demi-god' status courtesy of this album.

Hailing from Bayonne, NJ, Robert Tepper began his career as a staff writer in New York City, eventually uniting with singer Benny Mardones, writing, and playing bass.

Along with Mardones, he co-wrote the classic 'Into The Night,' which became a big hit and earned a Grammy nomination on its initial release in 1980.

He also played and performed on the album of the same name and it's follow up 'Too Much To Lose'.

After parting company with Mardones, Tepper relocated to Los Angeles in the pursuit of his musical career eventually inking a deal with Scotti Brothers, this album followed being produced by award winning Joe Chicarelli (Beck, Elton John, Hanson, U2 etc).

The Songs

Trying to look like an intense sultry character, Tepper manages to pull it off both image wise and musically as this dark intense mood is perfectly encapsulated within the grooves of this album.

Tepper's distinctive vocals also lend weight to the proceedings. The title cut kicks it off and is a glorious amalgam of bubbling synthesizer, pumping bass, strident guitar and a powerful chorus.

Sylvester Stallone chose to use it for Rocky IV and a Top 30 hit ensued early in 1986.

'Angel Of The City' (which appeared on the soundtrack to 'Cobra') is drenched in atmospheric keyboard textures and programming, but evolves from a haunting opening into a powerful rocker with some serious fret board action from Dann Huff midway.

The tempo is increased for 'Don't Walk Away' - the trickling synthesizer interjected with staccato guitar riffing.

Tepper's vocal stylings are suitably pained (if you'll pardon the pun) on the subdued ballad 'Your Love Hurts' whereas side one closer 'Restless World' is a bouncy high-tech affair.

The pile driving hard rocker 'Hopeless Romantic' features another scintillating solo from Dann Huff as does the punchy, energetic 'Soul Survivor'.

The ballad that follows 'If That's What You Call Lovin' is appropriately sombre and in keeping with the album's overall mood.

'Domination' closes matters with its choppy guitar and pounding drumbeat.

In Summary

It's hard for me to pigeon hole this album with other artists in the genre as Tepper has his own individual style of AOR.

Whilst it was undeniably mainstream unfortunately despite the initial chart success of 'No Easy Way Out' the American public at large failed to embrace the follow up single 'Don't Walk Away'.

His second album 'Modern Madness' was released unnoticed several years later to an indifferent response and protracted legal proceedings with Tepper's label ensued.

After a long hiatus Tepper culled together songs from the previous several years, issuing them as the set 'No Rest For The Wounded Heart'.

This proved to be a false dawn as subsequently he appears to be inactive. A unique and solely missed artist of the AOR genre.


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