DAKOTA – Runaway [Rock Candy remastered +3] *HQ*

DAKOTA - Runaway [Rock Candy remastered +3] *HQ* lossless

A milestone in AOR history, DAKOTA 1984’s album “Runaway” is a must have into any ’80s AOR collection. Yeah, it was reissued on CD by Rock Candy Records, remastered, including bonus tracks, and truly makes justice to the fuller sound of this incredible masterpiece for the genre. Founded by vocalists / guitarists Jerry Hludzik and Bill Kelly, DAKOTA had their roots in the ’70s as ex members of The Buoys and Jerry/Kelly Band, before signing to Columbia and releasing their eponymous debut in 1980.
In 1984 Dakota released this, their 2nd album “Runaway”, now regarded as an ’80s AOR milestone. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, the album contains some of the most celebrated AOR / Melodic Rock tracks ever recorded.
It is the songwriting of Hludzik and Kelly that makes an immediate impact; laced with copious melody, huge hooks and musical support from a long list of the best L.A. Session cats.

You will recognize all the players that were involved in this album such as Paul Jackson JR, Steve Porcaro, Richie Zito, Neil Steubenhaus and Bill Champlin to name few.
The sound is a fine blend of Pomp rock, catchy Melodic Rock and sumptuous AOR, with touches of Trillion, Styx, Peter Frampton and Toto.
Superb melodies with stylized layered harmonies, twin guitars balanced with two keyboard players, and solid bass and drums that provide a dynamic rhythm.

RICHIE KOTZEN - I'm Coming Out (2011)tracks

The album opens up with the classic tune “Runaway”. This is a perfect AOR-song that has everything from big hooklines, fluffy keyboards and harmony vocals. Pure ecstasy.
“Heroes” is a lovely mid-tempo song with great piano / keyboards in the background through the whole song. In some moments it sounds very much like Meat Loaf going AOR. “Into The Night” goes in the same style as “Runaway”. The sound is huge and filled with awesome hooklines ala Survivor. Bill Kelly sings like a God on this one and the harmony / background vocals are fantastic.

“Angry Men” starts off slow with Bill sounding like David Brickle but turns out to a rocker in the chorus. The whole song smells Survivor for a long way and I’m sure that Peterik & Sullivan would have loved to have this song on the ‘Vital Signs’ album.
The guitar / keyboard interplay stands out on “When The Rebel Comes Home”, then “Love Won’t Easy” is another big, monster AOR song, and “If Only I’d Known It” is more of a ballad, with a delicious melodic guitar solo.

This 24-bit Rock Candy remastering from original source tapes is just awesome.
Not only the sound is terrific, the reissue includes two excellent bonus tracks as well; “Believin`” is a straigh ahead AOR-rocker with lovely keyboards and a killer chorus with great background vocals. “More Love” sounds kinda like a Franke & The Knockouts tune, very ’80s radio friendly.

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Dakota’s “Runaway” is an AOR masterpiece that should belong to any AOR collection, indeed any music collection in general.


01 – Runaway
02 – Tonight Could Last Forever
03 – Heroes
04 – When The Rebel Comes Home
05 – Love Won’t Easy
06 – Into The Night
07 – Angry Men
08 – If Only I’d Known It
09 – Over And Over
10 – Believin’
11 – More Love
12 – National Runaway Radio Spot [Hidden]

Jerry Hludzik: vocals, guitars
Bill Kelly: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Rick Manwiller: piano, keyboards
Neil Stubenhaus, Bill McHale: bass
Danny Seraphine: drums
Steve Porcaro, Chris Pinnick, Richie Zito: add. guitars
Paul Jackson Jr.: add. guitars & bass
Jeff Mitchell: electric piano on track 11
Tony Romano: drums on track 11
Bill Champlin: backing vocals



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