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Journey - Journey CD (album) cover




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3.41 | 177 ratings

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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!

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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