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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joe Lynn Turner

Second Hand Life

Review by Greg Olma

Joe Lynn Turner has been a solo artist for more than 20 years now. Since Rescue You, his first, he has been coming out with his own releases, guesting on other people’s records, and even hooking up for a pair of great albums with Glenn Hughes. The one thing that has remained constant is the quality of work he puts out. JLT is one of the few singers in the world that could sing the phone book and make it sound great. I think his whole catalogue is something that any musician would be proud of but Turner doesn’t rest on past glories. He keeps releasing new material and it seems that each one is a little bit better than the last. His last output, Usual Suspects, was a step back more into the melodic rock genre (even though the album contained its share of rockers). He also released Sunstorm which is basically his aborted second solo record that was supposed to come out after Rescue You. That record was sheer melodic heaven. With Second Hand Life Joe has gone even further into melodic rock territory by combining the best moments from both of those releases and coming up with a record that I would rate as one of his best. A number of the songs are from the 90’s; a couple were even things that were written during his time with Deep Purple, but it somehow sounds fresh and new. If you are a Joe Lynn Turner fan, this is a “must buy” but I would also say that this is a fantastic starting point for a JLT newbie.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Love Is Life
The album starts off in JLT rocker style and sounds like it could have been recorded in the 80’s (not production wise, style wise). Even the guitar solo has that 80’s sound. It’s melodic and fits the cut perfectly. It’s a great way to open this CD collection of gems. The chorus is catchy and almost effortless. No one can do this style like Joe.
Got Me Where You Want Me
This song sounds like something you’ve heard before but it is a new tune. I think it’s because I can picture Paul Rogers singing this one. It has a little bit of that Bad Company vibe but more melodic rock.
Second Hand Life
I can not picture this coming out of a Deep Purple session (info provided from JLT). This is just pure melodic rock genius. The chorus is extremely catchy and Turner’s vocals are so smooth. It’s amazing that he sounds this good after so many years.
In Your Eyes
I would say that this is the perfect song for slow dancing with your significant other. The lyrics are perfect for a romantic evening (if you know what I mean). If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this is a ballad. The vocal performance is perfect and don’t let the “ballad” tag scare you away, this is a great tune; from the vocals to the guitar solo.
Blood Red Sky
The guitar work is Ritchie Blackmore all the way and it has a “Gates Of Babylon” sound to it. The verses are very middle eastern flavored but the chorus is more straight forward melodic rock. This is one of the heavier tunes here.
Stroke of Midnight
If the riff sounds familiar it’s because it is from the Deep Purple cut “One Man’s Meat.” This is the original version that Turner wrote with Blackmore when they were recording the follow up to Slaves And Masters. I think it’s safe to say this is the heaviest track here and it probably has something to do with the Deep Purple connection. Aside from all of the guitar work, it does sound like a Purple tune, right down to the keyboard sound.
Over The Top
This one’s a bluesy rocker that has that Hughes Turner Project feel. The guitar work is really good and it has a nice fat groovy sound. I would have to say that this is the most straight forward rocker (not melodic rock) on the whole record.
Cruel
According to some info I received on Second Hand Life, this was a cut that was almost recorded with Deep Purple. I can almost see it but to me it sounds like a track that would have fit perfectly on Rescue You. It is a melodic rocker with an extremely catchy chorus.
Sweet Obsession
Anyone who has heard the Sunstorm album knows that it is an aborted second solo release from Turner. This tune is from those sessions and it would have fit perfectly onto that album (but also fits the style of this one). It has a very melodic chorus but on other parts it has a cool rock sound. I guess that’s why they call it "melodic rock."
Love is On Our Side
This cut has a very euro sound to it at the beginning and the chorus. While overall a ballad, this has more rocking segments. Like “In Your Eyes,” even though it is a ballad, no one does them better than JLT.
Two Lights
Here is another tune that could have come off of Sunstorm. It a melodic rock song that has a “Night Moves” feel to it. I’m surprised that this is a bonus track because it is as good as anything else on the CD.
 
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