Classic 80´s west coast aor group …
The music of the Ron Bolton Band is what AOR in the 80s was all about. Classic Rock with a touch of Pomp Rock and a little Power Pop and Westcoast thrown in for good measure. Toto, Dakota, Preview, Keane, 707, the B.E. Taylor Group, Franke & The Knockouts.
After a quarter of a century the Ron Bolton Band finally rises like a phoenix from the ashes of the high quality Melodic Rock obscurities. The sound of the band is deeply rooted in the AOR of the Eighties, enriched by a touch of Pomp Rock, Westcoast and Power Pop. The official CD release of the ultra rare vinyl private pressing will cast a spell over fans of Toto, Dakota, Preview, Keane, 707 and the B.E. Taylor Group as well as over friends of Franke & The Knockouts, Le Roux, Automatix, Balance, 38 Special and the Michael Stanley Band.
San Diego in sunny Southern California is the point of origin of the Ron Bolton Band. In the early Eighties the band was working hard to earn a good reputation as a live band. At first the gigs were performed by the trio of Ron Bolton (vocals / guitar), George Kosta (drums) and Robin Henkel (bass), about a year later Mike Peters joined on keyboards. The final line-up of the band was found when Robin Henkel left the combo and Dean Schulenberg took over the position as a bass player. Previously Dean was in a band called Prisoner, which was signed to Warner Curb, but they never released an album. The singer of Prisoner was James House whose solo debut for Atlantic is also a highly prestigious item among AOR connoisseurs.
Over the course of the next couple of years the Ron Bolton Band strengthened their great renown as a live band, playing their set of original and cover songs in sold out venues all over Southern California. At that time some of the multi-platinum Rock acts of the era like Foreigner, Loverboy and Def Leppard were among the musical favorites of the band members.
In 1983 the band finally entered the studio, recording ten of their original songs. The final result was incorporating different styles of Rock and setting great value upon elaborate, varied arrangements and vocal harmonies. The boys took the pressing and the distribution of the vinyl into their own hands, they sold it from the stage and through the local Tower Records stores.
The opener of the disc, “Maybe I’m Dreamin’”, is the dream of every 80s AOR lover. Stunning vocals with a catchy hookline, a perfect balance of rocking guitars and punchy keyboards, accompanied by a Rock solid rhythm section. The icing on the cake are Ron’s terrific guitar solo and an awesome recurring guitar riff in the background. The song got a lot of local Radio Airplay and to this day fans of acts like Dakota and Preview rave about it.
The AOR show goes on with the equally memorable midtempo tune “Do It All For Love” with which the band stakes out their claim in the territory of Franke & The Knockouts. With a certain Southern Californian nonchalance “Friends” is following on, before “Search Of The Kind” presents a composition back from Dean’s days with Prisoner. Written by himself together with Tony Talbot and James House, the track’s musical focus lies on Mike’s organ play and Ron’s guitar licks. Now it’s time for perfect Pomp AOR, delivered by the number “21” with its spacy keyboard solo and lots of “guitar action” towards the end of the cut. This is the perfect soundtrack for a trip to a gambling El Dorado.
A highlight of the disc is without a doubt “Livin’ On The Line”. Ron’s vocals are particularily versatile on this highly melodic Rock song and while George’s drum beat pushes on the track, you will enjoy the mighty guitar riffs, that Steve Lukather also preferred during Toto’s “Turn Back” era. After this adrenalin attack the AOR-Meets-Westcoast-Ballad “Midnight Lover” is very welcome. Introduced by a delightful keyboard intro and featuring a captivating instrumental arrangement and irresistable vocal harmonies, the song has “Radio Airplay” written all over it. Coming up next is “Little Girl”, which heads more into the Power Pop direction, while “Play Your Game” takes us back to the realms of Pomp AOR. “We’re Gonna Make It” is the rocking finale, showcasing again an impressive combination of rocking guitars, tasteful keyboards and polished harmonies, displaying the musical assets of the ensemble for one last time.
After the release of their sole album the band successfully continued to play live for a couple of years before they broke up in the second half of the Eighties..
Words by Gregor Klee from Avenue Of Allies Music.
Ron Bolton Band
Avenue Of Allies Music 2009
Tracks : Maybe I´m Dreamin´, Do It All For Love, Friends, Search Of The Kind, “21”, Livin´On The Line, Midnight Lover, Little Girl, Play Your Game & We´re Gonna Make It.
Musicians on the Ron Bolton Band album: Ron Bolton, Mike Peters, Dean Schulenberg & George Kosta.