“Michael Bolton” by Michael Bolton

Artist: Michael Bolton
Title: “Michael Bolton”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genre: Melodic Rock
Rating: 3.75/5

You might be thinking that I’ve lost my wits as you glance upon a review of a legacy piece by crooner Michael Bolton on a Metal and Hard Rock reviews website, but believe me there is a sound reasoning for my opting to do so. The self titled recording “Michael Bolton” is historic for a number of reasons, even though the original 1983 release that hit the shelves was the singer’s third actual solo album. The first piece of historical note was that this was the singer’s first usage of his stage name on a recorded work and the second was based on his music actually being a very melodic and catchy Hard Rock as opposed to what he eventually became known for. The album open’s up with “Fool’s Game” which is a pumping track for its time period and has a great “big” chorus that finds you singing along at the first listen. The tune was actually covered by the German artist Axel Rudi Pell a couple of years ago and this was part of the reasoning for my digging the album out of my musical archives. I always liked the basic groove of the opening track and the anthem-like “She Did The Same Thing” which seems to find a pair of guys comparing negative notes on a recent love. “Hometown Hero” is a solid number and could have worked on the conventional radio of the time period and it even had a great guitar solo. I’m not sure which guitar players did exactly what tunes on the release but the album features several of them in Bob Kulick, Aldo Nova, and Al Pitrelli. Perhaps you have heard of a couple of them and if not, do a little Google searching because they’re all worth learning a little more about.

Bolton’s vocals are really good on the album and his register while at times seems like he is straining, this is not really the case but instead his own unique style. He does seem capable of soaring higher into the skies for some high note moments as we find in “Fighting For My Life’ most specifically. “Paradise” is a steadily moving tune and the drums and piano leads the singer as he tells this particular tale. From beginning to end this is a classic example of your radio friendly Hard Rock material and that is what makes it so amazing, because I don’t recall ever hearing it on the airwaves when the album was out. I knew I liked it, and even had a band that toyed with the first two tracks on the LP in practice sessions. Drums are provided by Chuck Burgi who eventually would play with Rainbow and in later years Billy Joel. He keeps it as four on the floor and doesn’t go outside of the box but these are tunes that did not require wild technical display. Many of the other musicians in terms of bass, keyboards and synthesizers appear to be studio level players and not the singers touring band. If stuff from bands like Journey and Foreigner keep your interest you should at least dig into some of the tunes that I line out as the crème of the albums crop since they still sound good to my ears some twenty seven years after the original release. As you know Bolton is not in any shape a Hard Rock singer at this stage of the game, but it sure is interesting to see how his own beginnings were.

Full Band Members On This Recording: Drums: Michael Braun, Chuck Burgi, Bass: Mark Clarke, Scott Zito, Synthesizers: Mark Mangold, Jan Mullaney, Aldo Nova, Scott Zito, Doug Katsaros, George Clinton, Piano: Doug Katsaros, Jan Mullaney, Hammond Organ: Jan Mullaney

Track Listing:
1. Fools Game
2. She Did The Same Thing
3. Hometown Hero
4. Can’t Hold On, Can’t Let Go
5. Fighting For My Life
6. Paradise
7. Back In My Arms Again
8. Carrie
9. I Almost Believed You

Official Website: http://www.michaelbolton.com

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