Going through the Jeff Scott Soto Series, we have now been through every Talisman Studio album so I figured, let’s go ahead and rank them rather than wait until the end of the series. Talisman is a band started by the late Marcel Jacob. He recruited Jeff Scott Soto as they became friends while working with Yngwie Malmsteen. The original band also had Christopher Stahl on guitar, Mats Lindfors on guitar, Mats Olassaon on keyboard, and Peter Hermansson on drums. But for me, that isn’t the classic line-up. Nope. That would Marcel, Jeff and then Fredrik Akesson on guitar and Jamie Borger on drums. Heck, I even loved when Pontus Norgren replaced Fredrik on guitar. I mean, let’s be honest, all versions of the line-up were great. Who are we kidding.
The band started in 1989 and released their first album in 1990. They had moderate success in Europe but did best in Sweden. Not much noise at all here in the States as the music had changed too much for them to succeed. For a band that was together for around 20 years, we only got 7 albums which isn’t near enough in my opinion. They were really busy with side projects that seem to consume their time. Or maybe, Talisman was the side project. Whatever it was, I was always glad to hear new Talisman music. In 2009, Marcel Jacob passed away before they could start on an 8th album and that was the end of Talisman. I don’t suspect Jeff will resurrect it without Marcel and I don’t think he should.
With that, let is get to the ranking of their studio albums from the Worst (which really isn’t) to their Best (which really is)…
THE WORST – ‘LIFE’ (1995):
I do have some issues with this one as I thought the mix on my version was bad and that mostly comes with the uneven transitions between songs. It is very inconsistent. There are only a handful of standout tracks such as “Tears in the Sky”, “Crazy”, “Body”, “Soul 2 Soul” and “A Life”, but otherwise the rest of the album could be forgettable. It does have its moments though and is above average which is why My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars. I don’t know if it was for the fact they felt rushed or production, but the quality of the songs on this weren’t there. It could also be they didn’t perform this one live in the studio together which I find can hurt the vibes of the album. So, out of the 7 albums. This I would categorize as The Worst, but still an above average score.
Talisman didn’t waste any time between their last studio album, ‘Cats & Dogs’, and this one, ‘7’. It is amazing they had time to even do an album as Jeff Scott Soto’s schedule was quite busy with his solo album & touring, his work with Soul SirkUS and then his stint as lead singer of Journey. It was a hectic and crazy schedule. Somehow they did it. The band was back together with Jeff, Marcel Jacob, Frederik Akesson and Jamie Borger and heck, even Pontus Norgren was there to help mix the album. The family was back for one last hurrah as it would turn out as this is the very last studio album by Talisman. A few years later, there were talks of doing another album, but before they could get to it, Marcel Jacob passed away in 2009. This was the end of Talisman and I still get sad thinking of it as I really do enjoy this band.
The original title of the album was called ‘BAR’ which was an inside joke with the band as it stood for ‘Bitter-Angry-Resentful’ which apparently was their outlook on certain life events…who knows if that is true, but I like it. They settled on ‘7’ which is actually the 7th Studio album of the band and they chose the theme of Lucky 7 with all the gambling pictures and Vegas pictures in the album artwork. The album was released on October 20, 2006 by Frontiers Records and they intended to do a tour with the release, but Jeff’s Journey commitment kept getting in the way. The tour was postponed until later in 2007 and by that time, Jeff was let go from Journey as we discussed in the last post. No need to rehash that story. We might as well talk music.
The album kicks off with the most upbeat, happiest guitars with a killer riff at a tempo that will have you flying down the road at 100mph if you are in your car. “Falling” is a modern sounding song while still holding on to the great melodic rock sound. There are keyboards in there (not credited) that really add a great punch to the song. I don’t know how Jamie Borger keeps up the pace he is going pounding those drums. It might be the fastest song they’ve done. Jeff sounds great and the melodies in the song are wonderful. What an astounding opening track.
For My Sunday Song #282, we are going to discuss the song “Nowhere Fast” by the Jeff Scott Soto fronted band, Talisman. The song was off their album “7” (of course, their seventh album) and was released in 2006. The album is the last studio album by Talisman as bassist and founding member Marcel Jacobs passed away a few years later before they could do another album.
The song “Nowhere Fast” was written by Marcel Jacob and Jeff Scott Soto. The song is lyrically simple. It actually starts out with the chorus and does a 3 line verse back to the chorus. It repeats this process several times and does it effectively. It makes the song catchy and memorable. Lyrically, the song is about a woman he wants to be with but she doesn’t necessarily want to be with him. His friends warn him that the relationship would go nowhere, but he is bound and determined to make it happen. First, he has to change her mind to wanting him. We don’t know now if he ever does, but it sounds like it was a valiant effot.
Musically, it is a juggernaut of infectious hooks and catchy choruses all encompassed in that Marcel Jacob bass sound. That funky bass sound opens the song and then Jeff Scott Soto’s vocals come in so smooth and melodic. Is it funk? Is it melodic rock? Well, it is both and so full of life. If I had to pick a song on what I loved about Talisman, this is one of them. It is full of pleasure and a sound that is music to my ears…literally!! And you know what else I like, guitar solos! And Fredrik Akesson lays down one that fits the song so perfectly. This song is total perfection.