NIGHT RANGER – Dawn Patrol [Rock Candy remastered & reloaded] (2023) HQ *0dayrox Exclusive*
No doubt: one the greatest Melodic Rock bands to emerge during the early Eighties was San Francisco based NIGHT RANGER. The band’s arsenal of formidable talent contained the twin lead guitar work of Brad Gillis & Jeff Watson and – unusually – two identifiable lead vocalists in bassist Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy. It was this combination that afforded the band a unique sound, giving them an edge that distanced them from other similar sounding outfits.
Their debut album produced by Pat Glasser (Giuffria, Refugee), 1982’s “Dawn Patrol” is regarded by many as their finest, pure rockin’ opus.
While “Dawn Patrol” already sounds great on vinyl and there has been fine CD reissues, now Rock Candy Records has released their own remastered & reloaded version. And let me tell you that this job – handled by capable Jon Astley – really convinced us with its brilliant, defined sonic output.
Night Ranger origins began from a very different musical background, most notably as members of a large-scale soul-funk cabal called Rubicon (a unit that had links to Sly Stone) who recorded two now largely forgotten, albums. Members of this unit coalesced under the handle of Ranger, and later, Night Ranger.
At one point, however, the band’s very existence was thrown into jeopardy when Brad Gillis was tapped to replace the late Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard Of Oz. Fortunately this only turned out to be a temporary arrangement.
Despite being turned down by every record company in the US, not once but twice, the band’s debut album ‘Dawn Patrol’, originally issued in 1982 on the newly-formed Boardwalk label, was an immediate critical and commercial success, and boasted a cache of supremely catchy tracks, led by the triple knockout blows of ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’, ‘Sing Me Away’ and ‘At Night She Sleeps’. A finer debut album you will not find easily.
“Dawn Patrol” is awesome in many aspects. With this first work Night Ranger were ahead of their time in the Melodic Hard Rock field in terms of arrangements, musicianship and production. The aim was to sound potent and rocking, but at the same time extremely melodic.
You have two fantastic lead singers in Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy providing variation, the guitarists are virtuosos but at the service of the song, and drums are thundering and heavy yet very dynamic.
One of the most notable ‘new thing’ in Night Ranger was the use of the keyboards: Alan Fitzgerald was one of the first musicians using digital synths in a commercial radio-ready Melodic Hard Rock band in America. His parping infusions are present on all songs, at places really taken a center role for great effect.
Dripping with killer hooks and irresistible choruses “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” “Sing Me Away,” and “Young Girl in Love” are simply outstanding songs. Anyone doubting the band’s ability to Rock-out need only listen to the vicious bursts of “Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight” and “Play Rough”.
“Dawn Patrol” is pure ’80s gold.
A MUST (contributors get lossless today)
Only at 0dayrox
01 – Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
02 – Sing Me Away
03 – At Night She Sleeps
04 – Call My Name
05 – Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight
06 – Can’t Find Me A Thrill
07 – Young Girl In Love
08 – Play Rough
09 – Penny
10 – Night Ranger
Jack Blades – bass, lead vocals
Jeff Watson – guitars
Brad Gillis – guitars
Alan Fitzgerald – keyboards
Kelly Keagy – drums, lead vocals
Mike Beard – effects