Robin George : Dangerous Music
(Bronze - 1985)
Category : overlooked
For fifteen years 'Dangerous Music' remained Robin George's last recording. That's without counting his appearances as a guitarist or backing vocalist on albums of Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Glenn Hughes (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple,...), Marshall Law (an American Heavy Metal band), The David Byron Band (Uriah Heep), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Magnum and Asia, to name but a few. Throughout his carreer he was also a producer for many other bands whose names will ring a bell to fans of vintage Hard Rock and Heavy Metal (Quartz, Witchfinder General, Wrathchild, Diamond Head, Waysted,...). I guess this proves that he was (is) well known and respected among fellow musicians but ignored by Rock critics and unknown by Rock fans.
'Dangerous Music' is an excellent 80's radio Rock album. In fact it's one of the best slabs of vinyl I have ever heard in its genre. Quite an accomplishment if you know that I've heard hundreds of albums like it, but that only a handful of those reach the same level of song writing and musical performance. That last part won't come as a surprise if you know that Dave Holland (Judas Priest) and Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) were among the recording musicians on this album.
So what happened? Why wasn't this record the start of a stellar carreer? Why didn't he become the giant that kicks Bon Jovi's ass?
I actually found the answer to that question on his website. His record label went bust just after the release of 'Dangerous Music' (which was just the start of a series of misfortunate events).
If you're into slick FM Rock, AOR and Melodic Hard Rock then 'Dangerous Music' could be a hidden gem to you and certainly a more than worthy addition to your CD collection. It has the same pop sensitivity as the best material ever released by Aldo Nova (the artist to which Robin George probably bears the strongest resemblance), Billy Squier, Kim Mitchell, and Billy Thorpe or (if those names didn't mean a thing to you) a higher quality version of early Bon Jovi or latter day Foreigner.
There were indeed more bands around that sounded vaguely like Robin George, but whereas many (if not most) of those slick FM Rockers and Hair "Metal" bands got no further than penning cliché ridden nothings, Robin George took the same building blocks and made something new and exciting out of it, something worthy of respect. The fact that he did this without coming across as arty or overdone, makes it even more impressive. In fact, the album sounds very radio-friendly and proves that mainstream music can be at a high level if it's written by someone who's concerned by the added value of what he creates.
Contemporary Rock fans will probably wonder what I'm going on about. By 21st century standards 'Dangerous Music' of course sounds a bit dated. It's very sweet, extremely slick and in fact not "Dangerous" at all. The only real difference with similar Hard Rock bands of the era lies in the simple fact that your average Robin George song has better hooks, stronger melodies and more memorable choruses and that Robin George had a way of making his music sound fresh.
Need I say more?
Robin George's website: http://www.robingeorge.co.uk
Damage Control website: http://www.damage-control.co.uk
Note 1: although the album as a whole is consistently strong, the standout tracks are the friendly semi ballad 'Spy', 'Stolen from my Heart' (with its surprising oriental melody) and the strong mid tempo rocker 'Heartline'.
Note 2: There's good news if you want to get to know this artist, as 'Dangerous Music' has been re-released on CD. Also, Robin George "recently" started a new project called Damage Control with Pete Way (UFO), Spike (Quireboys) and Chris Slade (AC/DC). Let's hope this finally gets him more attention.