Monday, February 4, 2013

Album Review: "The Firm"

Continuing on with Jimmy Page Throughout the Years, we arrive to The Firm. Until the pending release of "Celebration Day," when this ridiculous idea came to me, this band was completely unknown to me. Upon perusing Amazon, this album by The Firm popped up. Completely stymied as to whom they were. Never did KSHE play any tracks off of this, or their other album, nor did KHTR, KSD, or The Rock. (Remember, this author is a lifelong St. Louisan.)

This, for lack of a better term, Super Group was made up of some pretty heavy hitters: Paul Rodgers on guitar and vocals, Jimmy Page on guitar, Chris Slade of Uriah Heap on the drums, and Tony Franklin (who worked with many different artists) on bass. Both Rodgers and Page had stated they would play no material off of their previous albums in this project, though the final track on this album "Midnight Moonlight" was based on the Led Zeppelin song "Swan Song."

There is a little bit of everything on this album which is par for the course for Mr. Page. There are acoustic guitars, rock guitars, ballads, a cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," a horn section, and an epic at the end of the disc.

There are a couple things missing from this disc though, great music and great production. Everything that Jimmy Page does typically has outstanding production. He spoke at length for years about his work as the producer for Led Zeppelin, but this album is completely devoid of all that. From the opening track, "Closer," to the final, "Midnight Moonlight," the music contained on this disc sounds thin. It does not have that full and rich feeling that are ubiquitous on Jimmy Page's albums. This sounds more like music recorded in the 50's and 60's in terms of production.

One of the best compliments any piece of art can receive is that it is timeless and this record is anything but that. While it plays, it sounds like it's 1985. This record is the most commercial piece of music I have ever heard from Jimmy Page. So, when saying that the St. Louis Classic Rock radio stations never played this to me, I now understand why. The music they play(ed), more often than not, is the music that could survive the years. This could not. Really, a horn section on "Closer?" a cover of The Righteous Brothers? I can only assume Jimmy or Paul had seen Top Gun before they went into the studio to lay this down.

Upon researching for this review, I came across a quote from Paul Rodgers that said something along the lines of I was in a band with Jimmy Page and no one can take that away from me. You're right, Paul, we can't take that away from you. Do you know what else we can't take away from you?

My five bucks.

The only reason I can imagine to for someone else to buy this record is just to have it all. If you need every record Jimmy Page has ever played on, get it. If not, don't. I'm actually a little annoyed that I ripped this to my iTunes library.

Genre: Rock
Year 1985
Run time: 40:19

Track listing:

1) Closer
2) Make or Break
3) Someone to Love
4) Together
5) Radioactive
6) You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
7) Money Can't Buy
8) Satisfaction Guaranteed
9) Midnight Moonlight

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