|Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train - 'Round Trip' (Frontiers Records)|
|Written by Matt Blakout|
|Saturday, 26 June 2010 05:00|
Now I really like Tony Harnell. He's achieved some great highs particularly with Westworld alongside Bruno Ravel, who wrote all the great Danger Danger stuff. So yeah, I like Tony Harnell. Westworld did three great studio albums and a worthy live effort which strangely enough featured my favourite song, 'Uninvite' by Alanis Morrisette which is also revisited here.
Apparently these tunes are stripped down, rearranged and newly performed by a bunch of 'un rock' session guys. 'Somebody Told You' kicks off the album and, make no mistake, this is 'ROCK' - melodic, yes sure, but it's still rock and it's still Tony's unmistakable vocal lines.
'Intuition' from TNT's 1989 release sounds just as fresh here, actually better than the original. The same goes for 'Month Of Sundays' from TNT's 1997 release 'Firefly'. 'Lonely Nights' from TNT's 'My Religion' is another worthy interpretation. Now the more familiar of Tony's work, to me, is the Westworld material which is represented here by the great 'Shame', featuring guest vocals from Sandi Saraya. A little more acoustic than the original, but that's not a problem as the melody and performance are still great. Back to TNT with 'Northern Lights' from the seminal 'Tell No Tales'; I never really liked this tune on the album but here it's a little softer. It's lost that 80's over-production and all the OTT keyboards so it's now a stripped down version of a worthy song to revisit.
'Down To The River To Play' has some crazy ukulele before '10K Lovers' appears, probably one of the most well known songs on here and probably the most reworked, in fact reworked to a funky stylee which is pretty unrecognisable from the original. Sounds like a George Michael reworking should he ever feel the need to cover TNT songs! You know what, it really works - get the original track out of your head and take it for what it is. Now to one of my favourite tracks that Westworld ever did, 'Uninvited' - this is simply an awesome, awesome song which sends shivers up my spine. Gone are the electric violins and now we have crazy mantra sounding vibes coming out of the speakers but, you know what, simply awesome. Anyone who is interested in Tony should check out the Westworld live cd which you can pick up for 50p on Ebay and listen to Tony belt this one out; did I say it was awesome?
'Ready To Fly', from the 2005 TNT album 'All The Way To The Sun', is not a song I'm familiar with as my fascination with TNT was pretty much short lived and only took in three albums, but this is really great. Can't tell you about the original but this is a great song. Great melody lines from the female vocal really make this work and lifts it pleasantly upwards to the gods of AOR. 'When I'm Away' is a nice ditty and appears here as a bonus track. 'Song For Diane' from TNT's 2004 'My Religion' is soft melody which features lead flute! Don't knock it, it's working on this song a treat. 'Anywhere But Here' has that Beatles kind of feel to it and rounds off the album nicely.
Anyone looking for Harnell at his best should check out either of the first two Westworld albums but I think that anyone who follows Tony Harnell will certainly be aware of how great they are and therefore you need to indulge Tony on this one as it's a worthy addition to the collection.