Rudy's Journey - Rudy's Journey

Year of Release: 2002
Label: SB Records
Catalog Number: 4019 1 0910010 4
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:25:00

There were times while listening to Rudy's Journey that I was transported back to the early to mid-1980s. And in particular, to some of the "new wave" music that was being released at the time. Oh, not the arty rock of Duran Duran, but more of those once classic rockers whose music was swimming in shallower waters ? Eddie Money, for example ("Take Me Home Tonight" was not "Two Tickets To Paradise"). Or the artists whose music provided the atmosphere into which these once classic rockers found themselves ? Corey Hart, Paul Young, Rick Springfield? Though I'm not really knocking 80s pop, as I listened to my fair share of it at the time (and some of it now ? my music collection will lay bare the truth of my lifetime of listening habits). The liquid guitar parts that conclude on "Blindman" remind me of Danny Kortchmar's similar phrases on Billy Joel's "This Is The Time" (The Bridge). See, it's not music or influenced by music aimed at your average teen, but at a more adult audience ? whatever passed as Adult Contemporary in the early 80s.

Fans of the softest of progressive rock might find Rudy's Journey a little too much soft rock with little that could be called progressive. Um, yes there are times when guitarist Rudi Buttas plays in a style similar to many a "neo-prog" guitarist (Rothery, Groom, Chandler, etc), but? that alone doesn't even make this "neo." Surprisingly, this thought comes in the radio ready "Radio" which reminds me both of a mellow version of Queen's "Radio Ga Ga" with a strong southwest feel about it ? well, it evokes the image on the album's cover actually? the endless ribbon of highway that runs through California and into Arizona (that same image Marillion evoked in "Afraid Of Sunrise").

Rather, listening to the album is like listening to US Top 40 radio, when in any hour you could hear the top rock, soft-rock, country and pop songs one after the other. Though that time started to fade about the mid-80s, a change I've commented on before elsewhere. Most of the music on this release falls into mid-tempo range ? The Eagles, Linda Rondstadt, Fleetwood Mac, for example. "Mona" has a modern blues-country rock sound that has been forged by folks like Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, maybe even Faith Hill and Shania Twain when they inject more rock into their songs (not that I listen to a lot of any of these ladies except Raitt). Here "Mona" is sung wonderfully by Michelle Young, who has the right kind of voice to carry it off ? one of the highlight tracks of the album. Such a shame the lyrics are banal and trite ? though Young has a co-writing credit on this, the perspective seems so "typically" male that I'm not sure she had much? well, at least I'm hoping?

Truthfully, most of the lyrics are at times turgid, to often relying upon clichés. Or, in some cases, other people's words. And if you think my references to Mr. Joel are off the mark, the first lines of "Pretty Lies" are lifted right from "My Life" ? compare "Got a call from an old friend / we used to be real close?" with "Got a call from an old friend / we used to be real close?" Don't wonder which I was quoting first, it doesn't really matter ? though rather than the "American way" (Joel), "old fashion way" is substituted. From there the words are different, but the sentiments the same. Ah, a little too alike for homage, methinks.

Lyrically, "Harder Day" is the easiest to digest, where they suffer mostly from awkwardness, and probably he best song lyrics-wise is "Just Pink Friends" ? it doesn't have any. I doubt, though, the song is meant as a pro-Soviet statement, whites-only statement, or? um ? a pro-porcine statement. Ah, perhaps "pink" refers to a certain well-known progressive-psychedelic band with porcine mascot, as this guitar lead piece (with atmospheric keys providing atmospher) has glimmers of Gilmour? Speaking of Floyd, by the way, "Peter Pan" is Floyd-esque, though Young sings much prettier than Roger Waters or David Gilmour. The though that struck me just now was that not only does this song sound Floydy, but like a mellow, slowed down, Floydy version of "Summer Nights" from the Grease soundtrack ? maybe because Young here reminds here me of Olivia Newton-John somewhat.

Having said all that, if you don't look at the lyrics too closely, you realize that there are some really good performances here, especially from Sadler and Young. There are two other vocalists involved in this project, too. Jochen Schild, who sounds and looks uncannily like A.C.T.'s Herman Saming (separated at birth? Nom-de-vox?), and David Hanselmann, who has a pleasant if non-descript voice.

And see, here's the thing. This is what the whole thing's about. This journey is on two levels, one is the "cosmic journey" (through life), the other is more literal, though even then it is more implied by association, rather than each song being about a point along a long, real-world, road. The first of these levels is the most directly stated, most certainly in the opening track, "Long Day's Journey" (as in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night), though the connection with the play stops there. Sadler's presence gives a couple of his performances a Saga feel. But, the lyrical heft isn't here to match the concept.

If you're looking for mellow MOR (that is, middle of the road) stuff to play while making your own long day's journey into night ? cruising up the coast or any other stretch of highway ? and you just want to be entertained, then this sunny and upbeat album is just the ticket. Those looking for something a little deeper, will need to look elsewhere.

Released also by Tempus Fugit

Long Day (3:29) / Radio (4:20) / Pretty Lies (4:) / Breath Of Life (4:58) / Blindman (5:14) / Mona (3:04) / One More Chance (5:08) / Friends (3:05) / Peter Pan (7:20) / Fly (3:45) / Harder Day (4:56) / In Concert (4:52) / Just Pink Friends (2:54) / Radio (Long Version) (5:34)

Rudi Buttas - guitars, keyboards, bass
Michelle Young - vocals, flute
Michael Sadler - vocals
Jochen Schild - vocals
David Hanselmann - vocals, keyboards
Torsten - keyboards, bass
Klaus Dieterle - keyboards
Gunter Bartl - keyboards
Markus Mai - keyboards
Bodo Schopf - drums
Van Romaine - drums
Joe Crawford - bass
Rolf Kersting - bass
A. Hess - bass

Rudy's Journey (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: March 24th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 668
Language: english


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