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JOURNEY

Journey

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Journey Journey album cover
3.45 | 142 ratings | 19 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Of A Lifetime (6:54)
2. In The Morning Day (4:27)
3. Kohoutek (6:46)
4. To Play Some Music (3:19)
5. Topaz (6:12)
6. In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations (5:01)
7. Mystery Mountain (4:23)

Total time 37:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Gregg Rolie / lead vocals, keyboards
- Neal Schon / lead guitar, vocals
- George Tickner / rhythm guitar
- Ross Valory / bass, piano, vocals
- Aynsley Dunbar / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Nancy Donald with Steven Silverstein (photo)

LP Columbia- PC 33388 (1975, US)

CD Columbia- 33388 (1990, US)

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JOURNEY Journey Music


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Reissued
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Sony Legacy 2014
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JOURNEY Journey ratings distribution


3.45
(142 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

JOURNEY Journey reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I must admit that I initially balked upon seeing Journey's inclusion on this website, but then I remembered their first few albums, how much I enjoyed them as a teenager, and how hypocritical I was thinking they did not belong here. If we judged every band for eventually becoming commercial, whether sooner or later, then we would find ourselves excluding Kansas, Yes, Genesis, and nearly every band that tread through the 1980s. Journey could have released many more progressive rock albums- they just got started a little later (1975). Early Journey was not only definitive progressive rock, but also highly enjoyable.

"Of a Lifetime" The quiet guitar that opens this album is repeated throughout the song, backed up by simple organ and a solid bass line. Greg Rolie's vocals are quiet and mystical in parts, in others, forceful and convicting. There is a different guitar riff in the middle of the song reminiscent of Pink Floyd, as well as a riveting solo to boot. The electrifying guitar solo at the end showcases Neal Schon's prowess as a musician.

"In the Morning Day" With a feel-good piano and organ introduction, not to mention the way the lyrics are sung and the bluesy guitar scattered here and there, this one brings to mind Peter Frampton. Everything after is a foot-stomping section with an uplifting guitar riff and organ and guitar soloing.

"Kohoutek" This is an instrumental, which has an electric piano riff a bit similar to Edvard Grieg's "Morning" (from Peer Gynt), but boasts soaring electric guitar and powerful drum fills. It begins like something The Alan Parson's Project might play (similar to Sirius), but evolves into something completely dissimilar and unique. Two minutes in there is a different riff altogether, still emphasizing the drums, and this time, it sounds more like Kansas's "Magnum Opus," even including a wild synthesizer solo. After a guitar solo, the piece fizzles out to reprise the quiet introduction. The ending is sudden but pleasant.

"To Play Some Music" This is a more conventional song, laden with organ, making use of a simple riff and lyrics typical of a seventies rock song. The second riff is much more creative than the first, and the organ and synthesizer solos midway through, not to mention a blistering guitar solo, is very good, if not just a tad uninspired. Speaking of Peter Frampton, there is what sounds like a talk box effect in one part of the song.

"Topaz" The second instrumental also begins softly, with calming electric guitar playing. It picks up in tempo and volume, alternating fiery electric guitar work over electric piano and softer jazzy sections. There is enough variation in the song to qualify it as genuine progressive rock, but it is without question an opportunity for Schon to run the show, and he does an excellent job jamming.

"In My Lonely Feeling / Conversations" This one is a bit of a cross between blues and R&B, with vocals and guitar work emulating bits of both styles. There are long instrumental passages, although this time the band is more in unison, even though Schon fires off some screaming guitar from time to time. The instrumental section suddenly gives way to quiet passage and soon ends; this one is a pleasing piece.

"Mystery Mountain" Here we're treated to a highly creative vocal melody over some fairly basic chords. Some of the guitar work gets stale quickly, so this time, it's Ross Valory's bass work and Aynsley Dunbar's drumming that shines. One criticism of this song (and much of the album as a whole), is that we are given some verses and then nothing more than music- it would have been more agreeable to have Rolie sing another verse later in some of these songs. Although "Mystery Mountain" is a great way to end this debut album, the song does taper off rather abruptly.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you knew Journey only after their albums in the 80s, I don't think you would never imagine that the self titled debut album plus another next two albums sound totally different in style and approach. Here with this debut album where the veterans of Santana (Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie) made something different than their later albums. The music in this album is much influenced by jazz-rock fusion with intense progressive rock elements. The jazz style is I think was pretty much influenced from Santana even though it's not pure a jazz band. From the opening track "Of A Life Time" you would hardly anticipate that in the future the music is more towards AOR. Another great track that's worth enjoying are: Kohoutek, Mystery Mountain, and Topaz. I like the way Neal Schon maneuvers his guitar solo brilliantly throughout most tracks in the album. Coupled with Rolie's inventive keyboard work, this is an excellent album that is worth-collecting. This is the only album that features "George Tickner".

For those who appreciate jazz-rock progressive music, this is an excellent one to have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars After Santana's ultimate artiste success, two members of Carlos' band left and tried to go their own way, and this loss probably affected Santana forever. If then-teenager Neil Schon was part of the adventure, everyone had an eye on him since his brilliant appearance on Santana's third album, where he shone as precocious prodigy and his early-Journey performance was to prove the good everyone had predicted him. But more importantly Gregg Rollie was pretty well Santana's heart and also a good part of its soul: not only was Rollie an excellent singer, but his keyboard abilities (mainly on the Hammond organ, but piano as well >> check Treat on the debut album) were almost equal to Carlos' virtuosity on his axe. The two musicians met up mainstay bassist Ross Valory and a temporary drummer, later hooking up with rhythm guitarist George Tickner, before finding the excellent Ainsley Dunbar, freshly leaving Frank Zappa's ship, most notably after stand-out albums like Jaka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo. Dunbar's inclusion in the group is probably what gave Journey its power and unique sound, and propelled the group to an excellent debut album. Instrumentally they were a very strong band, which easily allowed them to record three instrumental tracks from the seven on the album. They found refuge in CBS's label (Santana's label as well), who placed high hopes in the band, hoping to duplicate Santana's sales, dwindling a bit after the duo's departure and the first three albums. Released in early 75 with a fun lunar mountain photo montage and cosmonaut clothes artwork, this album provided encouraging sales for any band, but not for their label.

Opening up on the fantastic and dramatic Of A Lifetime, the quintet roars like very few could. Propelled by Dunbar's incredibly powerful drumming and Rollie's excellent Hammond and Synth underlining the whole shebam, Schon's awesome guitar hovers over clear skies, soaring like an eagle, ready to pounce on its prey, your emotions. Rollie's voice is incredibly suave and fits the music so excellently that you'd almost forget the incredible finale where Dunbar pulls some of the best-placed drum rolls ever in rock's history. By contrast, Rollie and Valory's In The Morning Day and Play Some Music can only sound a bit tame instrumentally-speaking, obviously being rocking tracks aiming for AOR - FM airplay, with the former probably being a single that didn't find it's way. Kohoutek is a superb instrumental that takes a bit of time to expand, crescendoing to a climax, then stopping to restart, this time with Schon adding his guitar interventions and once they've climaxed again, the song really takes off for a good 4 minutes of heated exchanges from all parties concerned, before dropping to a halt and re-crescendoing, but this time to end it. The instrumental Tickner-penned Topaz follows a similar path to Kohoutek, but this time it's slightly jazzier ala Mahavishnu Orchestra

Among the three shorter tracks, Rollie's Lonely Feeling is indeed the better one, but it's linked by Valory's instrumental track Conversation, showing that indeed even him could participate to the group's instrumental prowess. The closing Mystery Mountains (obviously aiming at the sleeve artwork) starts as a pure rocker, with Tickner and Schon's crunchy riff providing the multi-vitamin

It's very difficult to describe accurately Journey's music, as I wouldn't call it jazz-rock, even if jazz is indeed one of its influences, but it's definitely not very Santana-esque, even if Rollie's voice does induce the thought into your mind. Losing Tickner after this album, the group will stay as a quartet and produce a fairly similar-sounding album, even if it's clear that they'd heard CBS's wish for a chart- breaking single. It's definitely not symphonic rock in either its US or UK versions and it doesn't particularly sound American either, even if early and epic Kansas are not that far away. Just excellent art rock that only waits for those not familiar to it to discover this sensational album.

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Journey - I never expected it. During the late 80's I dabbled with the first few Journey albums and a later 80's 'Greatest Hits' compilation, out of which this debut release became an instant obsession, the Perry-fronted line-up didn't. Anyway, I was really digging Hammonds and Moogs (strange, as I play the Bass), and a Drummer friend of mine was getting right into Bonham, Palmer and Bozzio - after hearing this for the first time, it was all about Aynsley Dunbar, quite a veteran Drummer, having experience with Zappa, fronting his own band Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation, Bowie, and going onto Jefferson Starship, Whitesnake and possibly many more. His refreshingly energetic and exciting Drum-work throughout this album gives most songs their sheer power, and together with Keys man Gregg Rolie, and Guitar prodigy Neal Schon (both having played in SANTANA), the compositions display a fine, technically proficient sounding work with accessible tendencies - we are closer to Kansas, than to Styx or Toto with this. One only needs to refer to Hugues fine review for an accurate track by track rundown, but I have to mention that it's exciting to hear Schon utilising some Guitar glissandos during the end section of Kohoutek, quite a cosmic sound which always reminds me of GONG !! And the track Topaz shows off amazing dynamics, and brilliant playing from all. Aynsley is amazing !! Not really a weak moment throughout. 4 stars.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Fair" is the best I can muster

Journey's debut is not as terrible as you might be expecting but nor is it the lost prog masterpiece you will see it often proclaimed. Back in these days the band were doing long hard rock jams in a fusion vein and had not yet honed their skill at writing those radio hits that everyone knows them for. The tracks were essentially springboards for the wailing guitar of Neal Schon. There's no denying Neal is a fretboard wizard and initially hearing "Journey" feels like a revelation. But after many plays the album becomes less interesting as the problems become apparent. The songwriting is not dynamic enough to hold your interest leaving the listener with not much more than the guitar wailing, which is all two gears for Schon here. His flashy solos are high calorie and lacking in the protein department, after listening several times there just isn't much of an emotional connection to these leads. Mostly repetitious guitar and keyboard noodling, these jams are supposed to be the best part. Certainly you will not hunt this album down for deep lyrics ("play some music, have some fun!") and amazing vocals because those are lacking as well. The biggest compliment I can pay is to the rhythm section who lay it down well, especially drummer Aynsley Dunbar who does play with nuanced dexterity. By far the highlight of the album was "In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations" which packed more than a few beautiful moments but it can't quite move Journey from "fair" to "good" in my book. If you're really a fan of serious guitar shred and want to hear Schon let it rip then I'd recommend trying this. But it didn't leave me with any lasting appreciation after the initial curiosity had worn off and I can't find much else to say about it. To be fair I think there was a time when I could have appreciated this album much more than I do now, but given the amazing things I've been exposed to at this site across almost every sub-genre, listening to an album like Journey feels like wasting valuable time. 5/10

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Bluesy, energetic, and ambitious, Journey's eponymous debut is a largely enjoyable bit of blues/rock/jazz fusion. Far removed from anything resembling the radio-packaged pop of later albums with Steve Perry-- Journey is essentially a collection of thoughtful instrumental music used to showcase Neal Schon's outstanding guitar virtuosity... and man does he wail.

Admittedly, this album doesn't touch the depth or artistry found in more pure prog or fusion albums of its day-- but it still a blast to listen to. Journey dances between styles with each track, from the moody and dynamic introduction, a few catchy sing-alongs, and some genuinely engaging instrumental compositions. Schon's guitar energy is pretty unforgettable-- and he gives us quite a bit of variety here with his solos and effects. Rolie's singing is hit-and-miss, but his keyboard playing is quite good. Rhythm section gives a fine performance, too, especially drummer Aynsley Dunbar (they should kept this guy!)

Classic rock fans who enjoy more technical proficiency than memorable hooks will likely find a lot to enjoy here.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was quite perturbed after the brilliant "Caravanserai".

Two members of my beloved "Santana" left. the band. And not the least ones! Greg Rollie, was not only the voice nor the superb Hammond organ player: he was alss a very influential song writer. As I wrote in my "Caravanserai" review, the man was good for having contributed to almost half of the songs so far in the "Santana" discography (sixteen out of thirty-seven songs to be precise). A HUGE input for sure.

This album opens on a sublime and magical song: "Of A Lifetime" displays all the fantastic skills from Neal Schon (the second "Santana" deserter, for obvious reasons). This has nothing to do with "Santana" music, but it offers so splendid melodies (especially on the guitar) that one can only be charmed with such a huge song. THE highlight IMO from this album.

This album holds a definite jazz feel. The frenetic and obsessive "Kohoutek" is not too far from the direction that "Santana" will evolve: it is only more frenetic probably. Anyway, it is the second remarkable song from this album.

I wouldn't say that the whole of this album is of the same calibre than the ones of the former band from these two great musicians (as far as I'm concerned, it is impossible actually, since I have rated the first four "Santana' works with five stars). It is quite enjoyable, with some fine organ demonstration ("Play Some Music"): an incredible rhythm, good vocals (of course) and diabolic guitar.

One of my fave from this debut album is the smooth and jazzy "Topaz". It stars brilliantly on the guitar: slow, emotional, passionate. And all of the sudden, we are confronted with the wildest jam available. This is the most "Santana-esque" piece of the whole. Not that I want to compare this work with the great reference, but still?Sublime work from Neal. But this is just common sense: a superb guitar player can only play superb guitar parts, right? Another highlight. One more.

Some prog flavours can be noticed in this work but it leans more towards some soft symphonic jazz with brilliant guitar interpretation like the fantastic " In My Lonely Feeling". Another excellent and moving track but the second half is definitely much better.

The closing number "Mystery Mountain" leaves more space to Gregg's vocal abilities. It reminds me quite a lot "I Hope You're Feeling Better" available on the great "Abraxas" album. The guitar is again passionate and soooooo great.

This is quite a good album. I am rounding this one up to four stars (but seven out of ten would be my most sincere rating).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars The journey begins

When many people think about Journey they think primarily of albums like Departure, Escape and Raised On Radio. This leads them to think that Journey's output is rather homogenous and formulaic, but when one contemplates this self-titled debut album the impression becomes an entirely different one. This bluesy Jazz-Rock/Fusion article draws its inspiration partly from Santana (from which some of the members came). Needless to say, the music found here is very different from the music found on albums from Infinity and onwards. While this debut is perhaps Journey's most progressive album, it is not my favourite. We have here some nice keyboard work, mainly organ and electric piano but also some discrete synthesisers. The guitars are also good, but they do not have the cleaner and more powerful sound of later albums. The bluesy vocals are not bad but certainly leave something to be desired. The first appearance of the distinctive voice of Steve Perry is still a few years away.

The compositions here are quite meandering and have an improvisational character. They mostly lack strong distinguishing marks or truly memorable melodies. Instrumentally, this is a competent Jazz-Rock/Fusion album, but even within that subgenre (which is not my favourite to begin with) this is hardly among the better albums I've heard. I must say that I am quite underwhelmed by this album, even if I find it quite listenable.

I can recommended this only to fans of Santana and Jazz-Rock/Fusion

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
1 stars While JOURNEY's debut garners more respect than the mega hit output that followed a few years later, it suffers from an opposite problem, that of being seemingly unaware of the audience rather than pathologically aware. And superstar credentials won't change the simple reality that, unless you are a musician who likes to play along, JOURNEY's self titled debut has all the appeal of watching someone play....

The opening notes of "Of a LIfetime" show much promise, and indeed introduces a hypnotic melody carried through the remainder of the track with reasonable success, but sadly the group does not pick up on this approach for the remainder of the disk, a blend of faux-improvised hard rock, blues and jazz, performed by virtuosi but composed and arranged by fragile individualists.

If JOURNEY ever did strike a balance in terms of restraint and gentle respect for their audience, it was not on this debut or on any of their colossal hit albums of the 1980s. Even the longest journey begins with a single step, provided that step is not backwards.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars This debut album from the highly acclaimed AOR band Journey isn't really as progressive as I was hoping it to be, still I definitely consider it a nice addition to the prog related sub-category.

Like many starting-up bands from that time, Journey was going into many different directions with their self-titled debut album. The results feel definitely half-baked, but it's that one good side that makes the album somewhat worth a while. Those few moments of instrumental interplay that some of the lengthier compositions offer reveal definite signs of skill in the instrumental department. I guess that it definitely helps when you have former members of Santana aboard! Luckily not many of these original members were left once the band entered their career peak in the 80's so one can't really call Journey a sell-out to their progressive rock fans especially since there weren't many such fans to begin with.

The general rule of this album is that you can't go wrong with any of the compositions clocking at over five minutes. While the rest of material isn't hideous, it still has a dated commercial flavor to it and so it all basically depends on the listeners perception of '70s mainstream music. Since I'm not too keen on it so I tend to skip through these compositions most of the time.

It's difficult for me to recommend this album to anyone in particular since the hardcore Journey fans would probably dismiss it for being way too arty while fans of art rock would find this album very bland and unoriginal for their tastes. Which means that Journey fits well into the lower bracket of good, but non-essential category.

**** star songs: Of A Lifetime (6:50) Kohoutek (6:42) Topaz (6:11) In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations (4:55)

*** star songs: In The Morning Day (4:22) To Play Some Music (3:16) Mystery Mountain (4:22)

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Setting out

In 1973, Santana guitarist Neal Schon and keyboards player/vocalist Gregg Rolie put together a new band called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. The original intention was that the band would offer their services to artists based in the San Francisco area as backing musicians. This idea did not last long though, and they soon changed their name to Journey and set upon pursing a career as a band in their own right. Even before they began recording their first album a line up change ensued, with Ainsley Dunbar replacing Prairie Prince on drums.

The style originally adopted by the band is quite different from the one which gave them fame and fortune, and it is these early albums which led to their inclusion on this site. Released in 1975, "Journey" is a mainly instrumental affair, focusing on the skills of the two founders. Here they explore jazz territories, devoid of the AOR and pop which would become the Journey trademark.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are similarities here with the work of Carlos Santana, particularly in Schon's lead guitar sound and style. On the superb opener "Of a lifetime" Rolie adds some fine organ sounds as the backing instrument, his vocals being strong and melodic (but of course nothing like Steve Perry's). "In the Morning Day" is for the first part a fairly orthodox pop rock ballad, but midway through a burst of phasing introduces a much more exciting organ solo to fill the latter part.

The Schon/Rolie composed instrumental "Kohoutek" is not unlike the Argent track of the same name (from the "Nexus" album). Here, Aynsley Dunbar's drumming comes to the fore to drive on a dramatic fusion piece. "To Play Some Music" is the shortest and probably most commercial track on the album, being a Traffic like organ backed pop rock jaunt. "Topaz" is the second of the purely instrumental pieces, and is very much in the vein of "Kohoutek", Schon's screaming lead guitar being the feature here.

"In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations" is a pleasing if unremarkable song, with more of a rock orientation. The closing "Mystery Mountain" is the hardest song on the album, indeed it has similarities with the music of the fine band called Mountain. Schon's lead guitar on the track sounding like that of Leslie West (of Mountain). The only downside is that the track fades while in full flow.

In all, an excellent début album which showed Journey had great promise. The album gives the two founding members plenty of space to demonstrate their instrumental prowess. We should make the most of it!

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I would not call this a great album by any stretch of my imagination, but JOURNEY is a rather solid one. I like to think of this as Ambrosia's debut without the unnecessary moments. It's jazz-rock teetering in the slightest fringes of the outer regions of the grey matter of prog, but probably the big reason why Journey got the OK on PA. There are plenty of great piano lines and screaming-wild Neal Schon moments throughout the album, and the band can function as a unit. The music comes out to just mere good.

Keep in mind that there are some poppier moments like ''To Play Some Music'' that might make you think Perry is not far behind. ''Kohoutek'' and ''Topaz'' are pretty much answers to the more commercial moments as both take a bit of time to get going but put on a full blitz package when they do. There's some pretty fiery jazz-rock here that nip at pseudo-metal ambiences. You'll get a fair share of ''tweeners'' too like ''My Lonely Feeling'' and ''In the Morning Day'' as they both try pop but with some jazz flair.

It's notable for being Journey's first album and when they were still ex-Santana members and friends. No Steve Perry anywhere here, so if you hated that version of the band, you can relax. It's worth an ear if you like more prog and less pop in your music cup.

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's often forgotten(mainly by their own fans it seems) that Journey, an outfit who practically invented the soft- rock genre during their dollar-soaked 1980s peak, started out as ambitious, fusion-tinged progressive rock group in the heady days of the 1970s. Yes, their origins are slightly dubious, seeing as they were formed at the behest of a record company looking to make a quick buck, yet the facts speak for themselves. Journey would come together in San Francisco, circa 1975, the five original members - Neal Schon(guitar), Ross Valory(bass), George Tickner(guitar), Gregg Rolie(keyboards, vocals) and Aynsley Dunbar(drums) - featuring an impressive collective pedigree after stints playing with the likes of Santana, Frank Zappa and long- lost psych-rockers Frumious Bandersnatch. After securing a deal with Columbia Records the group released their first, self-titled effort in 1975 without causing too much of a splash. Despite selling around 100,000 copies, 'Journey' was regarded as something of a failure and Tickner soon left, slimming the group down to a four-piece. A second album, the excellent, slightly more refined 'Look Into Future' soon followed - again failing to hit the commercial heights expected - before a third, and final, effort from the original line-up entitled 'Next' did the same. Columbia then gave the group an ultimatum: get a new lead-vocalist or you're dropped. Alien Project front-man Steve Perry was thus selected and the rest, as they say, is rock 'n' roll history, as Journey morphed into one of the most successful American rock acts of the last thirty-five years. But what of their debut? A strong, emotive and much more adventurous album than one would expect, this is progressive rock American style. Stylistically, 'Journey' isn't a million miles away from the Likes of Kansas or early Styx, just with a slick, hard-rock veneer and the occasional foray into complex jazz-fusion territory coating their guitar-and- keyboard heavy sound. Opening track 'Of A Lifetime' provides a strong start, with Schon's fluid guitars soaring between Rolie's psych-tinged organs and powerful vocals, yet the album really comes to life on the energetic workout 'Topaz', a track featuring some excellent Mahavishnu-style interplay. Closing piece 'Mystery Mountain'(one of the few tracks to consistently appear during Journey's live shows) also impresses, adding yet more hard-rock guitars and anthemic choruses to the mix, yet it's all a far cry from the likes of 'Escape', their blockbusting 1983 album made famous by the incredibly popular 'Don't Stop Believin'. Despite what you may think, all three of Journey's progressive-styled albums are well worth checking out, showing a brief glimpse of a band in creative transition. The production is top-notch, the actual musicianship impressive and fans of classic American rock should seek them out immediately.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Quite a big surprise for a lot of people who were not aware of Journey´s roots long before their multi platinum Steve Perry period. But I did get to hear about them from the early times, and I knew they were formed by ex Santana bands Greg Rolie and Neil Schon. What I did not know it was that Schon was that young (barely 16 years old when he joined Santana) to be so good. And after getting bassist Ross Valory (from Steve Miller Band) and english drummer Ainsley Dunbar (Bowie, Zappa and many more) set out to make a jazz rock outfit. A kind of Santana band without the latin percussion of sorts. Later rhythm guitarist George Tickner would join the group.

And indeed the jazz rock fusion style is in here, but from the beginning it was obvious that it would be songs, instead of just jamming. That´s what set them apart from the very beginning. And also it would feature vocals on most tracks. Rolie was the singer in his former band and he shows that if he does not have a very strong voice, he is more than competent to handle the job. Of course there are lots of great soloing and virtuosity around, but not a lot of self indulgence. The fantastic rhythm section holds it all together with great skill too.

I was quite impressed by the first track, Of A Lifetime, a powerful song that opens the original LP very nicely. Unfortunately the remaining tracks are not as good as this one, although none are really bad either. In fact, apart from the mediocre To Play Some Music, the rest is quite interesting, specially the instrumentals Most of all there are fine keyboards lines and great melodic guitar leads by Schon.

So in the end I was quite pleased with this CD. For such a young band, they sound quite tight and self assure. It is clear that they needed more time to mature and to hone their songwriting skills, but it is also obvious they had something special too.

Rating: 3 stars. Promising stuff indeed.

Review by Necrotica
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Anyone who knows and likes Journey must know that this is not the usual Journey. The way Gregg Rolie started the band was not what people had in mind. Yet this is SO much better than Steve Perry's work with the band. Here, the band showcases more skill and seems to craft better songs. Plus, this is where Neal Schon really gets to show his musical virtuosity and fusion background. Here's the line-up:

Gregg Rolie: Keyboards/Vocals Neal Schon: Lead Guitar George Tickner: Rhythm Guitar Ross Valory: Bass Prairie Prince: Drums (Ansley Dunbar is still better)

Since this band's next two albums seem to gain some steam, this one is often overlooked. However, this is probably the best album they've created. Plus, in fact, this album has a lot of the blueprints for their next recordings. This one balances the fine line between fusion and pop/rock.

The first song is Once in a Lifetime, and you just know this is nothing like Journey's peak albums. It's very interesting because you'd expect their first song of their first album would kick off things in an energetic, fast sort of way. It doesn't. It is actually a dark, jazzy, sprawling, and slow 7-minute track that serves as a sort of preparation for everything on the dark road ahead. It is definitely a great start. In the Morning Day starts out sounding like a progressive Elton John song, with a catchy, poppy paino chorus and all. However, it then turns into a fast improv piece for the second half of the song. It has a lot of memorable moments overall.

Then there's Kohoutek. Wow. Such a great instrumental track. This is another 7-minute track, but so much better than Once in a Lifetime. It starts out with a light piano part, and it's just a bit unnerving. However, it builds up and gets pretty intense, especially for a Journey song. This song is considerably jazzier than most of the songs on here, only beaten by Topaz. After the slower sections, it then picks up the pace, and Neal Schon's distorted guitar work takes the cake here. Afterwards, there's a massive and undeniably amazing improv solo between Schon and Rolie as they're switching off between each other. Meanwhile, Prince keeps a good, steady pace in the back, and so do the rest of rhythm section. Then the song fades away and goes back to the light piano part to close the song.

Then all of the intensity finally lets up with the next track, To Play Some Music. This song could have been a pretty good fit with one of Steve Perry's Journey albums, particularly Infinity. This one is just a calmer, more laid back song about happy thoughts and playing music. It's also a solid track. Topaz goes right back into the intensity again, yet, like Kohoutek, doesn't go head-on. It still stays calm to begin with. However, when it starts getting faster, it's a crazy yet amazing jazz piece. A lot of the track feels like one big improv solo. Also, as I mentioned, it is definitely the jazziest song here. This could've been on a Brand X album if they wanted it to, although Prairie Prince isn't nearly as good as Phil Colins when it comes to drumming.

My Lonely Feeling sadly didn't measure up to my expectations. While it's an ok song, it actually lacks some feeling, despite the title. The improv part doesn't help too much, either. It's already been heard quite enough on this album, apparently with Kohoutek and Topaz. Luckily, Mystery Mountain helps redeem a bit of this with a solid ending to the album. It seems to add all of the elements of the previous songs and melds them, while also having it's own sense of energy. It's a great way to end the album with flavor and feeling.

While this isn't the most essential recording to come by, it's rare to have a band begin this well. While most arena rock bands didn't make very good debut albums, this band remains an exception. This is recommended for either fans of fusion, or people interested in knowing what Journey originally were until Steve Perry screwed them over. Very nice debut for a now well known band. So then, this one deserves a solid 4/5 or 8/10.

Latest members reviews

4 stars How thrilled I was in 1975 to read that Gregg Rolie and Neil Schonn had founded a new band, with drummer Aynsley Dunbar (ex-Zappa), wow, two ex-Santana members and one ex-Zappa, high expectations, wasn't that a supergroup?! Well, for me Journey their eponymous debut album is still their best effo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1871183) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Thursday, February 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Journey was basically a prog/fusion supergroup, and they did what few supergroups do; they recorded a classic album. 1. Of A Lifetime One of the early Journey classics. George Tickner's odd phrasing on the guitar is highlited in the intro. There was something otherworldly about Tickner's pla ... (read more)

Report this review (#194559) | Posted by sixpence-guy | Sunday, December 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very, very solid debut by a band that would soon make pop albums. I never thought that a fusion band like this would become a pop band. Once in a Lifetime: An awesome power ballad. I find myself listening to this song many times, because of its emotional melodies and good lyrics. A very go ... (read more)

Report this review (#192126) | Posted by pinkpork | Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very impressive debut album one that immediately stands out as progressive in nature and probably a good reason why Journey were added I would say, there isn't much of a hint of AOR what we have on this recording is prog rock with some added jazz fusion for effect. My favourite songs from this ... (read more)

Report this review (#182591) | Posted by Yorkie X | Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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