As we already know, 1993 was a very busy year for Jeff Scott Soto. He jumped from the Talisman ‘Genesis’ recordings straight in to the Axel Rudi Pell’s ‘The Ballads’ recordings and then had to fly to Japan to do a set of shows for Talisman. Not to mention the Takara album and even the Biker Mice from Mars soundtrack. It was a whirlwind. And then around February of 1994, an album of the Japanese gigs was released called ‘Five Out of Five (Live in Japan)’.
The original release of this album was called ‘Five out of Five’. The reissue I have from 2004 is a double CD that includes their album ‘Life’ (which we will review soon) and this one now titled ‘5 Out of 5’. It is strange the album is called ‘5 out of 5’ because there are only 4 members in the band at this time. So, what is with the ‘5’? Easy, Marcel Jacobs thought it would be funny. At first you think, how is that funny, but if you read Kerrang magazine, that is how they do their ratings ‘5 out of 5’ or ‘4 out of 5’, you get the idea. Marcel thought if it ended up being mentioned or reviewed in Kerrang, it would already read Talisman ‘5 out of 5’. Pretty clever!! Thanks to Frnak Tunny and Ronny Hahn’s Jeff Scott Soto Biography for that little nugget.
Talisman’s debut did quite well in Sweden, but for Jeff Scott Soto, it was only viewed it at the time as a side project as he was busy with his band Eyes. The band Eyes was frustrating for him so he left to work on a new band Slam. Marcel Jacob still kept Talisman alive. However, the label went belly up and Jason signed with Warner Sweden. With Jeff gone, Jason Bieler left to focus on Saigon Kick and everyone else left, Marcel needed a band. After much searching, he found 19 year old guitarist extraordinaire, Fredrik Akesson. Then shortly thereafter, he ran in to an old grade school pal, Matti Alfonzetti, who would join as the singer. They wrote and put some demos together for the label.
However, there was some management change at the label and they didn’t care about the success of the debut album as it wasn’t their baby so Marcel packed shop and left. They shopped the album around and after six months of nothing, Matti decided to leave and pursue other things. Marcel was not deterred and kept shopping the demo around without a singer. Finally Dino Records was interested in the band with one big catch. They wanted Jeff back on vocals. They knew about the success of their debut with Jeff and they loved that sound. That wasn’t a terrible thing for Marcel. Marcel decided to reach out to Jeff and catch up. And within 3 weeks of that call, the two were together again in the studio to record the next Talisman album. Why did Jeff join so quickly, well…the Eyes were done in his eyes and his band Slam was going nowhere as every door had been slammed in their face so what choice did he have. None really and we are all the better for it.
Talisman at this point was Marcel Jacob, Jeff Scott Soto and Fredrik Akesson (now in Opeth) and so they had enough players with just the three of them and they got to work. They didn’t have a drummer anymore as Jakob Samuel left to focus on finding a band where he could be singer so Marcel handled all the drumming through a machine as well as the bass work. They recorded the album in December 1992 and on July 7, 1993, the album was released. It actually got some international interest and not just in Sweden. A Japanese edition was done with a bonus track. My version is not either the original or the Japanese Edition. I have the 2003 Re-Issue that was a double CD. The original album with the Japanese Bonus Track, plus a Bonus CD full of demos and alternate mixes. You even get the songs that were sung by Matti Alfonzetti which for a collector is a pretty cool score.
“Time After Time” kicks off the album and it was a song developed during a sound check while on tour for the debut album. Marcel was playing around with it and took it back to the hotel and turned it in to a song with Jeff adding lyrics and vocals later. The song kicks off with some finger picking and then a funky bass groove and then BAM!! It explodes in to a heavy rock track that blows your head off as your mind tries to wrap around the greatness. Jacob’s bass is front and center laying down a nasty funked up groove and the riffs by this 19 year old virtuoso player a recipe for a masterpiece. Soto’s vocals are powerful and yet so melodic and the chorus is catchy and slick and pure bliss. What a way to kick off the album.
Next up is “Comin’ Home” which was actually the first song written for the album and is about finding that perfect place that is a part of you as much as you are a part of it. The combo of Jacob and Akesson are the new dynamic duo of bass and guitar. Together they lay waste to all that hears them. It is a smorgasbord to the senses. This stadium sized anthem is loud and features metal riffs while maintaining that melodic sound with Sotos smooth vocals. Check out the solo as Akesson shows what he is made of with this one. You do get Jakob Samuels on the backing vocals so he wasn’t totally gone yet.
The first single off the album and a classic Talisman song is “Mysterious (This Time It’s Serious)” and it keeps the party going. If this song would’ve come out 3 years earlier you would have an instant and massive radio (and MTV) hit. This Chic inspired song has some fun and funk that pays homage to them while still being a pure hard rock song. Jeff’s vocals soar and he has never sounded better. Talisman is the biggest showcase of the stellarness that is Jeff’s vocals. I think I’m making up words.
“If You Could Only Be My Friend” brings some more hot, sizzling, funky goodness. I guess when the main songwriter is the bass player, bass will be heavy in the songs and Talisman is certainly that. Marcel’s playing is so recognizable the minute I hear it, I know who it is. How many bass players can do that? This song is his showcase. The song is rick, textured and full of layers of goodness. Soto tackles the vocals with the veracity of those bass line. That chorus seeps into your ears and sets up shop to be sung long after the song is over. The guitar solo, with the heavy bass thumping along, slays and the album.
The bass keeps going straight into “All or Nothing” that explodes with a force that will shake the walls and rattle the floors. The lightning tempo will get you moving for sure. It is 100 mph rock frenzy as all the songs have been so far. The solo is a back and forth for the Bass and the Guitar before the Guitar solo knocks it out of the park. This 19 year old is a pure powerhouse and a major shredder. There is no time to catch your breath as it is pounding one song after the other. And Amen to that brother!!!
Then things finally slow down with the first ballad “All I Want”. The song is piano based which starts off with just the piano and Soto on vocals. The piano is actually played by Jeff’s girlfriend at the time Julie Greaux (Billy Idol & Axel Rudi Pell). The band comes kicking in and adds the power to the ballad. The song is quite nice with the emotive vocals that immerse you into the song. You have the obligatory solo and everything you want in a power ballad. It is a nice time to slow it down so you could catch your breath.
The next one opens with a bass solo accompanied by a heavy pounding bass drum. “U Done Me Wrong” kicks off the back half of the album as the first had started with power and energy. When these boys rock, the kick some major ass. The song follows the same formula as the rest and as a result works just fine. Jakob is back on backing vocals for this one too.
“I’ll Set Your House On Fire” is another rocker and this time the guitar riffs are nasty and a little gritty. There is a stylistic change, a more deliberate pacing, a darker tone and a heavier groove. The sound is crisp and clean and the guitar solo is short and sweet. Jeff’s vocals aren’t as sweeping and smooth as he adds some grit and gives a more serious delivery brings us one a really cool song.
Another rocker with “Give Me A Sign” was originally a Matti song that they tweaked the lyrics so Jeff could make it his own and he did. Not as heavy as prior songs, still a rocker though. Bumped up against the first half of the album shows the song is still good, but not as strong as the first half songs. Jeff’s vocals are melodic and strong, but the song itself is a little dull compared to the others. The saving grace is the guitar work by this kid at the end. It is stellar. But I still wouldn’t skip it.
More funky goodness comes with “Lovechild”. Marcel lays down some magic with those bass lines. Jeff turns the vocals into another melodic party. This one is a slower rocker with as not as much power, but more power than a ballad. It sounds like three guys playing and having fun making sound it so effortlessly and easy. When Frederik lays down that solo and has Marcel chugging along, it is fantastic. A great deep cut.
The dramatic, orchestrated keyboard opening of “Long Way To Go” is over-the-top goodness. The song then kicks in as the true rocker it is. Jeff’s vocals are on point and he delivers another great performance and just slays that short chorus with a scream of the song title. Another great solo and there are a lot of those. To think he was only around 19….crazy. Julie is also on this one but as backing vocals. What I like about this song is how different it sounds then a lot of the songs on here. I don’t know if it was a last minute add, but I am glad they did. It is great way to go out. Except not the end of the re-issue as we get a bonus track.
The Japanese Edition of the album had a Bad Company cover thanks in large part to Marcel who was getting in to Paul Rodgers at the time and loved this song. Jeff handles is beautifully as he can morph his vocals to fit almost any style and he takes this one and delivers an authentic Bad Company performance of the song with “Run With the Pack”. Okay his verses are pure Jeff, but I like the way he tackles the chorus with that deeper tone. It is great.
Time After Time – Keeper
Comin’ Home – Keeper
Mysterious (This Time It’s Serious) – Keeper
If U Would Only Be My Friend – Keeper
All or Nothing – Keeper
All I Want – Keeper
U Done Me Wrong – Keeper
I’ll Set Your House on Fire – Keeper
Give Me A Sign – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Lovechild – Keeper
Long Way To Go – Keeper
Run With the Pack (Bad Company Cover) – Keeper
The Track Listing is 11.5 out of 12 or 96% which is almost flawless. But let’s be honest, this album is flawless. It is the perfect vehicle to highlight Jeff Scott’s vocals as this is his wheelhouse in style I like him the best. Fredrik Akesson is only 19 and he nails every note and solo perfectly. For a band that does this style of music, you need a gunslinger and they found it. Marcel’s bass playing might be one of my favorite things of Talisman. I love how prominent he is in the sound and he is the main songwriter along with Jeff. This is as close to perfect as you can get. My Overall Score is easily 5.0 out of 5.0 Starsand might be the best thing they ever did…I said might be.
The 2003 Reissue had a bonus disc of demos and rare cuts from the band and it is pretty great. It kicks off an early cut of “Time After Time” which is a rough mix and and a little more raw which is kind of nice. It is definitely not finished production wise and I like the feel of it. Then we get “Comin’ Home” which again, not finished so a little rougher around the edges but you can hear the magic of this one. “U Done Me Wrong” still has the bass solo opener, but the bass drum is weak and awful, probably a cheap drum machine place holder. Once the song kicks in it is back to what you know. “Give Me A Sign” is next and wasn’t my favorite song on the album, and still not here either. It still not a bad song, but weaker in comparison.
Then we get the Matti Alfonzetti sung songs. First up is “Fighting For Your Life” which is the original title of “All or Nothing”. Matti has a great voice and I do like this early version of the song. They completely redid the lyrics and Matti’s song writing credit with the studio album. Musically it is basically the same. This is a very rough demo and not produced very well (thus a demo I guess). It does have the energy of the final version though. Cool track though I see why the label wanted Jeff. Then we get his version of “Time After Time”. and I think it sounds great. Basically same song with re-worked lyrics as again, no Matti writing credit on the final version like their is with this one. I’m guessing he didn’t write the chorus cause that is no different. Strange. “Give Me A Sign” is back again with Matti and again, same song, reworked lyrics. The next Matti sung song is “Angel” which Talisman never actually recorded for a studio album because it was written by only Matti. It was released on a Bam Bam Boys album and a Matti solo album I believe. It is a cool song. “Lovechild” which is like the others, rough different lyrics.
The last song is a song called “Rainbow’s End” which is a rare Talisman holy grail type song. It was recorded with Thomas Vikstrom on vocals. Thomas was lead singer of a band called Horny Strings. He recorded some demos with Marcel, but little interest was ever gained on them. The song is a great hard rock song with a great solo by someone. Marcel’s bass work is prominent as you’d expect. This is a cool treasure. The last track is a video that can be played on your PC. It is for the song “Mysterious (This Time It’s Serious)” and a great piece to have as well all on one spot (and you can see the video earlier on in the post).
I’m not going to rate the Bonus disc because it is demos and not quite fair. But as a collector this is 100% cool!! And worth every penny to grab this if you see it. I hope you enjoyed this long run through the album. Thanks for hanging around this long.
If you follow this site at all, you know I am a massive Jeff Scott Soto fan and I am in the early stages of a Jeff Scott Soto Series where I am reviewing all of his albums in my collection. We are looking at over 70 reviews when all is said and done. I would love the opportunity to interview him, but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I did get to meet him. Jeff Scott Soto was in town with Jason Bieler (you know him, he is from Saigon Kick and wrote their massive hit “Love is On the Way”) and I bought tickets, of course. I also splurged and the the VIP package which got me in to the sound check and a Q&A.
Soto/Bieler played at a venue in NODA called The Evening Muse. A really small place and it holds about 300 people and it was packed which was great to see. I got there a little early as the VIP event started at 6pm. While I was walking from my car to the venue, I was crossing the street and who was coming the other way, Jeff and Jason. I realized it while they were passing me and Jason saw me do a double take and he said hello! It was cool. Then, while waiting in line, they came back from walking around NODA and while Jeff went in to get ready, Jason Bieler hung out and shook every one’s hand in line and talked for a few minutes.
For My Sunday Song #290, we are talking through the song “Humanimal” off the Talisman album ‘Humanimal’. The song is one of those songs that grabbed hold of me instantly and I was totally in love with this song and that feeling has never changed. I found the song because of Jeff Scott Soto and my quest to get everything he sang on and the song, along with album, are one of my favorites. The song was written by the late Marcel Jacob of the band. It is one of the few times it is just him and not both he and Jeff.
The song seems to be about the fact that no matter what we try and do, our inner instincts are to be predator and an outright animal. Underneath are facade is a little savagery, a little cruelty, a little greed. No matter how good we might be on the outside, this animal instinct is always lying underneath the surface, ready to strike, ready to emerge and be set free. And you know, he isn’t wrong as humans can be the cruelest animal to walk the face of the Earth.
Musically, the song sounds just as savage as the lyrics suggest. It is hard and heavy with pounding of the drums by Jamie Borger, the incredible bass work by Marcel Jacobs and the blistering guitar riffs and shredding by Fredrik Akesson. The attack the song with such brutal force that you are overwhelmed by the aggressive nature of the sounds, but you are engrossed by them as well. They grab hold and drive through every inch of your soul. Jeff Scott Soto’s vocals are equally aggressive, but so smooth and melodic that you find it familiar and satisfying. It is catchy and you can’t but join in and singalong. It drives that animal in you out in to the open.
Welcome back. For this Bonus post in the Jeff Scott Soto Series, we are going to talk about a 7″ Single from the album ‘Talisman’ for the song “I’ll Be Waiting”. The single was released in Sweden and didn’t take off at first. There was a radio station in Sweden that normally played Kylie Minogue and that type of music, played the single and the response was tremendous. They played it again and the same thing happened. The song went all the way to #2 on the their charts and the album ended up selling over 50,000 albums. Not bad at all. Amazingly enough this was supposed to be a one-off project, but the response was so big Talisman went on for another 19 years and released 7 albums plus numerous live recordings.
The single I have is the 7″ vinyl single from Sweden. It is on the Airplay Recordings label and was released in 1990. The B-Side was the song “Dangerous” off the same album and was written solely by Marcel Jacob. “I’ll Be Waiting” was written by both Marcel and Jeff Scott Soto. The two songs are actually right next to each other on the album and a great 1-2 punch.
In 1989, Marcel Jacob had label interest but no band. You remember Marcel, he was in Yngwie Malmsteem’s Rising Force with Jeff Scott Soto. Although the two didn’t hit it off at first as their musical upbringing were so different. Marcel was a European music snob and Jeff was simple uncultured American. Over time, they became friends and Marcel needed help from his friend for a project he was working on that had no singer. He asked Jeff to sing the songs for the album.
Marcel’s project was originally called Guitars on Fire, but after the songs were completed and mixed, the name changed to Talisman. But the album almost didn’t happen. At the time of recording the album, Jeff Scott Soto was in a band called Eyes and his contract had him exclusively which means, Jeff can’t do anything outside of Eyes. At the time, Jeff was broke, and I mean flat broke. He needed money fast. So Jeff talked to his label, begged and pleaded and made them understand that this album is a one-off and wouldn’t compete with Eyes. It would have limited release only in Sweden so they had nothing to fear. And you know, they bought it.
Jeff went to Sweden and recorded the album with Jacob in 1989. For the album, you had Marcel Jacob on bass, drums (except for two tracks), keyboards and guitar. Jeff Scott Soto handled the vocals, Christopher Stahl on guitar, Mats Lindfors on guitar, Mats Olassaon on keyboard, and Peter Hermansson on drums for the two tracks Marcel didn’t play on.
For My Sunday Song #285, we are talking about the song “Outta My Way” by Talisman and another great Jeff Scott Soto song. The song was written by Marcel Jacob and Jeff Scott Soto and was off their stellar 2003 album ‘Cats & Dogs’. This was my gateway in to the band and might be the first one I bought. From there, it went nuts when it came to Talisman.
The song is an angry track and just seems to be about a guy that is ready to snap. He just needs that one push to send him over the edge and if he does, you better watch out as he will explode. It is as simple as that.
Musically, the song is explosive. It has a quick one two banging opening straight in to a Marcel Jacob bass solo then Jamie Borger goes ballistic on the drums with Fredrik Akesson throws down some stellar riffs. Soto attacks the vocals with so much angst and anger and you can feel the tension like he is going to explode. The song is a fireball of energy and its frantic pace is non-stop throughout. There is a great instrumental piece in the middle where Marcel and Fredrik trade bass and guitar licks back and forth and I love it. This song is a shining example why they were so great.
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.
Starting January 3rd, 2022, we will kick off the EPIC series covering one of my favorite singers, Jeff Scott Soto!! We will go through his entire career from where it all began in 1984 with Panther all the way to his latest solo album that came out this past October called ‘Duets’. Wait, I know it started with a band called Threshold in 1983 (not to be confused with the prog metal band years later), but I can’t find anything on that band or album so it is starting with Panther for this series as I have that album.
No stone will be left unturned! Okay, that isn’t true as we are not going in to any compilations or tribute albums where he wasn’t the featured singer as this will only be albums that Jeff is the Lead Singer and not just appearing on one song as we would be here forever if that was the case. We will also have some great little bonus pieces with Singles and E.P.’s I happen to have in my collection and interesting one-off projects he has done. Heck, I even have a digital bootleg of when Jeff Scott Soto toured as the lead singer with Journey. And as you can see below, it is quite a collection…if I do say so myself…
There will be over 65 Posts in the Series, you read that right, 65!! And that is at least 65 because I am sure he will release 1 to 2 to maybe even 4 albums by the time I’m done. I expect this to take over a year to complete because this isn’t all I’m going to do. No, not at all. We will still finish up the series of Cheap Trick and Aerosmith that we are currently doing in 2022 and when those end I am sure new series will be added in as well. Quite possibly Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Van Halen, Ace Frehley, Poison or even Def Leppard. It won’t be all, just a couple of them, but I can’t decide which ones yet. But heck, I do already have an idea of which epic artist I want to tackle after Jeff, but that will be 2023 and it could be huge. We will announce it next year.
Can’t believe it is time for another monthly wrap-up. This year has flown by in almost a blink. October wasn’t as fruitful as other months although it was still pretty good. I only actually hit a record store once during the month. The rest were all bought online whether Amazon, Discogs or directly from the artist.
The first batch is from a trip my daughter and I made to the local antique mall. This mall is really great as it has several booths strictly related to vinyl and that is always where I ended up spending all my time. My daughter wants to look at vintage clothing. It is sad when clothes from when I grew up is now vintage, but that is another story. First up are two Aerosmith releases. One I had on CD, but I had really been looking for a decent vinyl version and finally got one. The other release is a 12″ Maxi Single for “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”.
The other two items were 12″ Singles for ZZ Top and Bon Jovi. The Bon Jovi is an E.P. and one I had only seen on Mike Ladano’ssite when he wrote about a couple years ago. When I saw it, it was an easy decision.
There was only one more vinyl purchase for the month and this one is the coolest. It is the brand new E.P. from Billy Idol called ‘The Roadside’. I’ve ready written a review for it so you can check it out HERE!!!!!. This one is special because it is autographed by the man, the myth, the legend, Billy Idol. You know when you get some autographs they send a picture insert that the artist signs? Well, they do. Except for Billy. Billy sends an actual album jacket with no album and signs the jacket. Then they send a separate sealed album. Strange, but okay.
And that was the last of the vinyl for the month. The rest are all CDs. I have a wishlist on Discogs and this month, I decided each week I was going to buy something from that list. Easy enough right? Except when you decide which seller to use and find out they actually have several items from that artist that are on your list or other artist and that is where the trouble ensues. I figured, well, I have to buy them all because I will save a ton on shipping…and I’m right. There were three shipments and most were Jeff Scott Soto releases because I am wrapping up my purchases before we start the Jeff Scott Soto series in January 2022! It will be a great way to kick off the new year. Here is what I got…
And then there were a few more…and these last 3 came from France. I didn’t read the listing very well and didn’t realize he shipped these without their cases. I guess that is why the shipping was so cheap from France. Luckily I had some empty cases laying around.
Now a few of the first picture I bought and wound up buying stuff from another artist because I saved on shipping. It was two of Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N Outz side project that I had on CD at one and no longer do…but I do again…long story, sad, don’t won’t get in to it!!
And another purchase I ended up buying a Bonus E.P. from Needtobreathe’s album ‘Hard Love’ which I forgot I didn’t actually have on CD. What was I thinking. It is sealed and I’m trying to decide if I will keep it that way…
Then using MyPoints gift cards, I picked up a couple free things on Amazon. They are both from a band called Tait. The lead singer is Michael Tait formerly of the band DC Talk. His voice is like butter. He sounds like Nat King Cole, but rocks out. Really cool stuff. One of the CDs arrived sealed and autographed by the band. I must not have read the description too well because I don’t remember reading it was autographed. Cool enough. And thanks to Lori for getting rid of it.
And the very last thing I got were a couple of CDs from my pal who I mentioned earlier, Mike Ladano or LeBrain from the The LeBrain Train. He was kind enough to send me the new Max the Axe E.P. and threw in the debut Cars CD which for some reason I didn’t have on CD. I do on vinyl, but nice to have a remastered version as well. Thanks Mike. Now, the Max the Axe CD you just read about on Monday so you know all about that one now.
Not a bad haul I guess. It is just weird that most of these I bought online and not from an actual record shop. I hope I get to hit one or two in October. I know there is record show on October 9th, so I will at least hit that. Until next time, happy purchasing!! Here is everything one more time…