Cast your mind back thirty years When the debut album came out. It’s the late ’80s Bon Jovi and their ilk ruled the airwaves so maybe the time was right for Portlands premier Funk Rock radio-friendly rockers Dan Reed Network to walk right through that open door. With a suitably big production and tours with the likes of Bon Jovi Dan Reed Network were the perfect blend of musicianship and showmanship and offered something different to the AOR radio-friendly market we can debate all night and day with regards to their best record be it that ground-breaking debut or the awesome follow up ‘Slam’ both lovingly remastered at Abbey Road by Mike Showell.
Quite why its taken thirty years to remaster the first two albums is a mystery but with no bonus material, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher for sure but brings back some lovely memories of hearing the perfect blend of pop, rock and funk. Maybe the intention of reissuing these first two is simply because they can and that’s it or the chance of having them Remastered at Abbey Road and released on CD and Vinyl as well as streaming and downloads. Perhaps the intention was to bring the funk to a new generation and the time is right for a resurgence in Radio Friendly Funk Rock thirty years after its birth. Sure there is a tour on the horizon but going from analogue to digital my hearing can’t really tell the difference (audio dudes don’t hate on me) sonically speaking I guess it depends on what you’re playing these back on in 2019. But, these albums haven’t aged badly at all. I’ll admit I’ve not played these for quite a few years so I was really pleased how good they sounded in 2019regardless of it being stream or the CD.
The radio-friendly funk meets pop meets rock was always a niche market and nothing has changed with those keyboard stabs of the debut albums ‘Get To You’ mixed with the funky chic bass guitar work still sounds fresh and innovative much like a lot of the production tricks used when making this record. So I guess Abbey Road is the place to give Big sounding records like these two a new lease of life. The perfect example of this would be ‘Forgot To Make Her Mine’ with those slaps and lush keyboard fills still sound huge. Let’s not forget having Nile Rodgers produce your record and take you under his wing is still a big deal and on merit, the band did that huge New Jersey tour with Jon Bon Jovi and the boys which then lead to hitting the road with none other than the Rolling Stones. Why not pick up the albums and pop along to one of the tour dates this December and recapture the magic of ‘Ritual’.
Of the two albums ‘Slam’ is a masterpiece, sure the debut self-titled record paved the way buy they perfected the songwriting side on ‘Slam’ from the Bon Jovi stylings of the opening track ‘Make It Easy’ the band were really rocking it on this sophomore record. ‘Rainbow Child’ is as good as AOR got with hints of Prince thrown into the mix Dan Reed could cross many genres and did and this was the proof. The band had also got much better at writing from the hard groove of ‘Under My Skin’ to the big ballad of ‘Lover’ via the epic ‘Stronger Than Steel’. ‘Slam’ had it all and it’s great to be reacquainted. Now, where are my fingerless gloves and waistcoat I’m heading down the front.
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Author: Dan D