By 1990, Jeff Scott Soto was basically a journeyman as a singer. He would take any job as long as he could sing. He went from Panther, to Yngwie, to Kuni, to Kryst the Conqueror and now we have the band Eyes. Jeff wasn’t the original lead singer, that belonged to James Christian who left the band to go join this little band named House of Lords…probably a smart move on his part as House of Lords did way better than Eyes. Which is a shame because this album is a lost classic of the late 80’s Hard Rock sound. Think Bon Jovi, Danger Danger, Firehouse and any other band from that time period.
The biggest problem this album had was only timing and the fact there were 100’s of bands out there that were all the same. These guys had the sound as they had the rock anthems, they had the ballads and oh my god…they had the hair!! They weren’t on a major label which probably got them lost in the shuffle. They were on Curb Records which back in those days was not a rock label. Without the major label push, they fell to the wayside and were overlooked by most…heck, I didn’t discover them until sometime after the 2000’s began.
The band consisted of Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Steven Dougherty on guitar, Aldy Damian on drums and Jimmy O’Shea on bass. From what I can find, it looks like Jimmy only played bass on two of the songs as the rest were played by a name I told you to remember from an earlier review…Marcel Jacobs. Marcel didn’t join the band as he was busy with another band at the time which we will discuss very soon. The album came out some time in 1990 as a specific date can’t be found on the web anywhere for its actually release. And as I said, it didn’t go anywhere but as you are about to find out, it still kick some major ass!!
The album opens with a balls-to-the wall rock anthem, “Callin’ All Girls”. It is a great party song full of bluesy guitar licks, great harmonies, head banging drums and full on sleazy lyrics that wouldn’t do well in the #MeToo movement of today. Jeff’s vocals soar and is right in his wheelhouse of vocal capabilities. When he sings this type of music, he could sing the phone book and I would be on board. The production layers tons of backing vocals (all sound like Jeff) and the sound is immense. You get your typical guitar solo break and the catchy choruses, everything you want in a melodic rock song.
Next up is “Every Single Minute” which doesn’t slow things down. It picks up right where the last song left off giving us more of the rock and roll party train. Soto belts out another smooth vocal and again the production makes him sound huge with all the added layers of his vocals. It doesn’t have the full punch of the first song, but it still rocks hard.
We then get to the first ballad, “Don’t Turn Around”, which is a cover of the Tina Turner song written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond and also covered by Aswad and Ace of Base. It is an interesting take as it has Soto opening with an a cappella vocal before we get some keyboards. Soto is so soulful and really captures the essence of the song. It really showcases his true vocal ability which is second-to-none. When the full band finally comes in they add the power in to power ballad. This is definitely an album highlight. In my humble opinion, might be the best cover of the song…EVER!
Then we get more sleaze with the Danger Danger type song of “Miss Demeanor” which would’ve felt right at home on their debut album.. It is playful, a little dirty and a whole lot of fun. I do love the word play with the title and who doesn’t love a good sex song full of all those female orgasmic sounds…yowzers!!! Throw in a killer guitar solo and crank it up baby!!!
“Young And Innocent” doesn’t let off the gas. A heavy bass song, pounding drums and Soto’s vocals dominate highlighted by the crunchy guitars. The chorus is catchy as hell and so melodic. The backing vocals add so many layers and give it such a full sound. Another rousing song that makes me wonder how did we all miss this back in the day. This stuff is way better than a lot that was on the radio and plastered all over MTV.
The song opens with Jeff calling out Stevie who lays down so riffs and has Soto screaming when the band kicks in . “Walkin’ Fire” sees Soto change up his deliver a little on the lyrics as he gets a little more gritty. However, the song is a little generic and I would say probably filler. When you compare it to some of the early stuff, not as solid and developed. But still not too bad.
“Wired 4 Love” is a little heavier and the drums are louder and more destructive. The bass is thumping and the vocals are even more melodic and Soto has such a great tone. Not the most original song, but the band sounds great, the solo is great and I sort of dig this one. Another fun rocker!
Then we get to the albums 2nd ballad, the stellar “Nobody Said It Was Easy”. It opens with Soto and a piano accompaniment. When we get to the chorus, it goes big with the full band joining in, but Jeff still delivers the emotive vocals. The song is a little cheesy in its overdramatic delivery, but Jeff still draws you in with his vocals and he hits some crazy high notes. With the full backing vocals you could see everyone hold up their lighters, wave them back and forth and sing along. Plus, throw in the obligatory guitar solo and all is right in the world.
The rock comes back with “Can’t Get Enough” not to be confused with Winger’s “Can’t Get Enuff” from the same year. Although at times, it does seem similar. More filler than killer and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
The bells toll and then a scream of “Midnight” and the song goes crazy full of the drums and guitar riffs for days. “Start Livin'” has this anthemic chorus that feels huge, some great guitar riffs between verses and although not the strongest song, it still packs a punch and a nice way to close out the album. An album that should not have been overlooked.
Not credited on the track listing, we get a Jeff Scott Soto a cappella of “Somebody to Love” with finger snapping and Jeff’s beautiful vocals. It is a soulful take and tribute to the late, great Sam Cooke who was a big inspiration for Mr. Soto. A beautiful take and a nice surprise on the album.
- Callin’ All Girls – Keeper
- Every Single Minute – Keeper
- Don’t Turn Around – Keeper
- Miss Demeanor – Keeper
- Young and Innocent – Keeper
- Walkin’ Fire – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Wired 4 Love – Keeper
- Nobody Said It Was Easy – Keeper
- Can’t Get Enough – Delete
- Start Livin’ Keeper (1/2 Point)
The Track Score is 8 out of 10 or 80% and what a solid 80% it is. This album was such a surprise when I heard it the first time. I didn’t expect it to be as good or better than a lot of stuff that came out in the 90’s. Like I said earlier, they didn’t have a good enough label that could influence radio or MTV to play so they had no way to break through from the 100 of other bands out there clogging up the scene and killing it at the same time. Jeff Scott Soto’s vocals are on full display and you can really hear how great he is, his range and his ability to hit some killer high notes. His vocals were smooth, melodic and downright awesome. This is another shining example of how great he can be. My Score is 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars and maybe should be higher, but there are still too many albums to go to know for sure. Definitely an album worth checking out if you can.
UP NEXT: EYES – “NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY” (1990) – 7″ SINGLE – BONUS EDITION
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Five Out of Five (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Live as Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)