Wild Blue - 1986 No More Jinx

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

image

ARTIST: Wild Blue
ALBUM: No More Jinx
LABEL: Chrysalis
SERIAL: BFV-41510
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance, RMED-184

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Renee Varo - vocals * Joe Zanona - keyboards

Guests: Frank Barbalace, Gene Black - guitars * David West - keyboards * Mel Collins - saxophone * Mark Leonard, Pino Palladino, Mike Gorman - bass * Graham Broad, Ken Harck, Curly Smith, Pat Mastelotto - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Only You * 02 Fire To Fire * 03 Nowhere Left To Run * 04 When I Think About You * 05 Blue Daze * 06 Give Me A Reason * 07 Leather Blues * 08 Taboo * 09 International Language Of Dance

Background

Wild Blue were originally from Chicago, and were previously known as Jinx (hence the title for this album.. geddit?).

As history would have it, there appeared to be a lot of hi-jinx with this version of the band. Let's take a history lesson.

As mentioned, Wild Blue formed as a springboard from the band Jinx which performed locally in clubs in and around the Chicago area.

Their most formative period saw keyboardist Joe Zanona, bassist Terry Curtain and former Trillion member Frank Barbalace as key players; though the trio were still looking for a female vocalist and a drummer.

On board came drummer Mike Neff and Wisconsin raised singer Renee Varo. Wild Blue raised their profile locally, with gigs and then record deals.

The first (and ultimately the best) deal came from Chryalis Records, a label better represented in the UK with a strong roster over there.

The history books would show that this band was nothing more than a vehicle for singer Renee Varo, but this was not the case, as she was a late addition to the band lineup.

The band however struck problems when Chrysalis decided to take only Varo and Zanona to London to record one half of the 'No More Jinx' album with a spate of hired guns being used instead, leaving the other band members behind.

As a consequence, Curtain and Neff quit, leaving Barbalace to hold the fort back Stateside.

Varo and Zanona rejoined Barbalace and some local hired guns, including drummer Ken Harck previously from Off Broadway.

The resulting material though strong, was not cohesive. It certainly wasn't what Chrysalis were looking for, as the whole thing came off sounding overly slick.

My guess is they were looking for something a bit rockier, similar perhaps to the mind-blowingly successful Heart album the year before.

The Songs

If anything, the band take on a studio project sound, acts such as Scandal, Venus And Mars, Face To Face, and E.G Daily all spring to mind.

Talking of which, the opener 'Only You' has all the hallmarks that made Daily a sort-of cult figure among pop/rock fans. Probably not the strongest of starts however.

Next up is the track 'Fire With Fire', which was featured on the movie of the same name, and is, one of the strongest songs on the album.

'Nowhere Left To Run' is very 80's dance-oriented and has a cool hi-tech groove.

Things go off the boil slightly with the down-tempo 'When I Think About You', and improve markedly with the excellently titled 'Blue Daze', synth parps galore on this one.

One of the album highlights for me is the hard rocking 'Give Me A Reason', ahh this is what it's all about. Perhaps this is what Chrysalis wanted?

Unfortunately 'Leather Blues' does nothing for me, the sound completely at odds with the direction/flow of the album (remember I said 'no cohesion').

The perceived musical and lyrical snappiness of 'Taboo' doesn't convince.

However, the album finishes off with the atmospheric gloss of 'International Language Of Dance', a good track despite the lengthy title.

In Summary

All in all a mixed bag, but worth investigating for the few worthwhile tracks onboard, particularly tracks 2, 6 and 9. What happened to this lot?

Well, they lost impetus pretty quickly after the release. However, the band did find another home breifly with Pasha Records, but tracks scheduled for a second release never made it off the shelf.

After this disappointment, the band split. Not only would there be no more Jinx, but no more Wild Blue either.


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