MORNINGSTAR – Venus [Rock Candy remastered & reloaded]
MORNINGSTAR is one of those Pomp AOR bands that acquired cult status over the years, and it was time for their two celebrated albums to be reissued / remastered. Specialists Rock Candy Records just did it, and “Venus” is the second Morningstar album.
As far as major label obscurities go, Kansas City five piece Morningstar must surely rank as one of the most underground of them all. Having issued two albums of period pomp rock, the band barely registered a blip on the radar, but in the UK and Europe some fans of this type of music started to take notice of their records, because a number of import shops were stocking them.
It was also helpful to their discovery that the album sleeves seemed to indicate that this was a band that followed in the footsteps of other late Seventies musical champions such as Styx, Kansas and REO Speedwagon.
“Venus” was the band’s second album, issued in 1979, on the Columbia label and like their debut, it failed to bother the charts despite the quality of their music.
However, to a select few, the band’s penchant for playing in a style later labelled as pomp rock (think Trillion, Roadmaster, Starcastle) gave them an undeniable edge, creating the small but dedicated following; one that would grow in later years with the Internet helping to tap into a scene ripe for reappraisal.
Recorded in Louisiana, the album built on their debut but it has a slightly more mainstream approach, best exemplified by the epic, Foreigner-esque vibe of ‘Never Meant To Be’, the poptastic vibe of ‘Rosie’ and the classical pomp rock of ‘Let Me Dream’, with its majestic finale.
If it’s a rock power ballad you seek, look no further than ‘Angel’, one of the earliest examples of that style.
“Venus” is a much more glossy-produced record than Morningstar’s debut, with that bright sound which was arriving in the early ’80s. Hence, the Rock Candy remaster here is focused in ‘punchy dynamics’.
This is a really welcomed remaster / reissue, an album that deserve a proper listening from all AORsters out there.
01 – Angel
02 – Everybody I Love You
03 – Lady Love
04 – Rock & Roll Rodeo
05 – Never Meant to Be
06 – Rosie
07 – Gimme Some Lovin’
08 – Hard Bargain Driver
09 – Let Me Dream
Rick Bacus – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Jerry Chambers – guitars, vocals
Michael Edmunds – guitars, vocals
Greg Leech – bass
Greg Harris – drums, percussion