ROCK CITY ANGELS – Southern Vision (Lost Recordings 1989-1992 VOL.2 remastered)

ROCK CITY ANGELS - Southern Vision (Lost Recordings 1989-1992 VOL.2 remastered) full

ROCK CITY ANGELS released one of my favorite R N’ R albums ever in ‘Young Man’s Blues’ back in 1988, which we featured here in its remastered form. Also, the compilation of unreleased material ‘Midnight Confessions’. But few know there’s a new CD titled “Southern Vision (Lost Recordings 89-92 VOL2)“, presenting more recordings the band was working on for Geffen Records for their second album that never got to be released.
The sound quality is very good, and despite album’s title title, musically it’s pretty rocking and more commercial, catchy than the previous set of unreleased stuff.

The excellent ‘Young Man’s Blues’ included 15 songs of rocking bliss that put Rock City Angels apart from their contemporaries by mixing so many different influences from hard rock to the blues to some dance-able rhythms with Bobby Durango’s (RIP) unmistakable vocals laid over the top.
Geffen Records even indulged the band by letting them put 15 songs on their debut album instead of the industry standard 10 at the time. Possible reasons for this vary, but I subscribe to the theory that Geffen did not want this band out there competing with Guns ‘N Roses moving forward at the time.

The band made one video for ‘Deep Inside Your Heart’ and was then put on tour for about the next 4 years even though you would struggle to find the album in the stores at that point. ‘Young Man’s Blues’ received a ton of plays by me back when it was released and continues to add more to that total every year.
‘Southern Vision’ presents the second collection (‘Midnight Confessions’ being the first) of pre-production recordings the band was working on for their second album.
What immediately stands out in these recordings is the passion this band had for classic rock n’ roll music, and it is criminal that the second album for the major label never materialized.

‘Going Fast Slow’ gets this started with a solid straight ahead hard rocking beat with Durango’s drawl in full effect. The guitar riff is catchy with the solo begging for air guitar participation. Drums welcome us to the boogie of the title track with its bluesy guitar riff finding the band taking elements from ‘Young Man’s Blues’ and pushing the sounds even further. The smooth sounding chorus fits perfectly with a great Durango ad lib kick starting the killer guitar solo.

A huge guitar riff rings in ‘Lower East Side’ and features the band at their “heaviest” really with the song recalling an assertive hair band song, but this still drips with passion even if the sonic quality drops a little bit here.
‘All Our Tomorrows’ is driven by a nice guitar riff and provides a catchy midtempo anthem that could have ultimately been pushed as single from the album back in the day. I could have seen them adding some additional instrumentation in the studio to the album version, but this would have been terrific as a live song as is.

Acoustic guitar introduces rocker ‘Lost Generation’ where the band indulge their hard rock side on the verses and contrast it with an excellent chorus that sticks long after the album is done playing. This would have likely been a live staple and an album favorite. My favorite part is actually how they use the bridge to transition over to the guitar solo.
Changing gears completely, the band slows down with ‘Dark End of the Street’ capturing the spirit of late Seventes classic rock. This track is simply magical in its feel.
‘Saving Grace’ moves back into some rocking blues with some catchy guitar picking and Durango sounding excellent.

On ‘Halfway to Heaven’ the band show they had quality catchy hard rock songs spilling out of the speakers at this point. Where a lot of the hair bands of the day lost their footing with the emergence of grunge and alternative, the Rock City Angels might have actually been able to carve out a whole other identity that would have carried them through because of their roots.
The quick tempo of ‘Take Me’ sounds better and better with repeated listens. It would have been a deep album track that I would have loved which excels due to its simplicity and fun.

‘The World of Today’ is a slow rocker that has some ballad qualities but carries more musical weight and power. The guitar work is awesome within this one capturing a classic arena rock feeling.
Closer ‘New Hope for the Dead’ is ironically titled given the passing of Durango several years ago. This sleazy rocker highlight showcases what a special band this was, and the final shout by Durango at the end causes me to both smile and feel sad as it is the perfect last thing to hear.

‘Southern Vision’ sounds excellent given the time period and what was likely available to the band. The label has clearly taken measures to make this a worthwhile release for the fans of the band. Geffen Records did some phenomenal work with artists around this time, but that clearly didn’t happen with these guys for whatever the reason was.
The passing of time has only continued to heighten my love for the ‘Young Man’s Blues’ album, and ‘Southern Vision’ provides evidence that the band was writing excellent songs for the second album that deserve to be heard.
Only at 0dayrox


01 – Going Fast Slow
02 – Southern Vision
03 – Lower East Side
04 – I Confess
05 – All Our Tomorrows
06 – Lost Generation
07 – Dark End of the Street
08 – Saving Grace
09 – Halfway to Heaven
10 – Take Me
11 – The World of Today
12 – New Hope for the Dead

Bobby Durango – vocals, percussion
Mike Barnes – guitar
Lloyd Stuart Casson – guitar
Doug Banx – guitar
Steve Nolan – guitar
Rick Steff – keyboards
Andy Panik – bass
James Cooper – bass
Ringo Jukes – drums, percussion


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