VIRGINIA WOLF – Virginia Wolf [Rock Candy remastered]
Both albums from excellent British AOR / Melodic Rock act VIRGINIA WOLF were remastered by Rock Candy Records, and the pair are essential into the genre’s fan collection.
Founded by guitarist Nick Bold at the end of the Seventies, it wasn’t until he joined terrific vocalist Chris Ousey that the Virginia Wolf style & sound truly take shape. Self-titled debut “Virginia Wolf” appeared in 1986 via major recording label Atlantic.
Riding the flourishing British AOR / Melodic Rock during the half of the ’80s, all members in Virginia Wolf (including Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin legend John Bonham) mixed their classic rock formation with the syle & sound having enormous success for US based acts such as Journey, Foreigner and Canadians Loverboy.
Virginia Wolf were, it must be said, very much at the cutting edge of the counter offensive in Great Britain, weighing in as one of the UK’s most promising new groups.
After years of struggle in their hometown of Manchester they eventually signed to Atlantic Records, by way of Genesis’ music publishing company, and quickly recruited drummer Jason Bonham (fresh from a stint with Airrace, another of the era’s brightest AOR hopes) plus bassist Jo Burt to record their debut album.
Co-produced by Queen drummer Roger Taylor and talented David Richards, the album hit all the right buttons and garnered critical acclaim with ease. Released in 1986, such was the furor surrounding the project that the band were quickly ushered Stateside to open the bill for guitarist Jimmy Page’s post Led Zeppelin outfit The Firm (featuring Paul Rodgers), a tour that played to thousands every night in cavernous arenas. For a relatively fresh faced band from Manchester this was indeed a moment to cherish.
The album combined catchy melodies, prominent keyboards and completely smooth vocals, and the songwriting and production were spot-on for the era.
‘Living On A Knife Edge’ is one of the greatest AOR songs ever to come out of the UK in history, and one of my favorites of all time.
‘Only Love’ is another winner, much more than just a mainstream melodic rock song with its complex arrangements, ‘Are We Playing With Fire?’ is punchy and rocking, and there’s a superb melodic line in ‘Make It Tonight’.
‘It’s In Your Eyes’ is the ballad, and Ousey shine here, while ‘For All We Know’ is another AOR little gem plenty of magic.
Regarded as one of the essential releases for the British AOR / Melodic Rock development in years to come, “Virginia Wolf” without a doubt includes some classic songs for the genre. I love the vocals, the overall atmosphere, the catchy yet elaborated songwriting. All tracks are great, not a single filler.
This Rock Candy remaster is pure gold with a balanced sound pretty much close to the original vinyl LP.
A CULT CLASSIC
01 – Are We Playing With Fire?
02 – Make It Tonight
03 – Only Love
04 – It’s In Your Eyes
05 – Waiting For Your Love
06 – Livin’ On A Knife Edge
07 – For All We Know
08 – Don’t Run Away
09 – Take A Chance
10 – Goodbye Don’t Mean Forever
Chris Ousey – vocals
Nick Bold – guitars
Jo Burt – bass
Jason Bonham – drums
Spike Edney – keyboards