Artist: Jef Scott 
   Title:  Ten Stories
   Label: Yesterrock  
 

Listen carefully, I will only say this once....... THIS IS NOT JEFF SCOTT SOTO!!!! Never has been, never will be, it is NOT Jeff Scott Soto. Ok, rant over, folks. THIS Jef Scott's career kicked off in the late 70's, playing the bar and club scene of San Diego, U.S.A. before moving to L.A. where he joined the band Geisha.  It wasn't until 1984 that Scott was signed as a solo artist by Epic Records, and in 1985 his album 'Ten Stories' emerged on vinyl.  Now in 2013, the remastered version has been released on the Yesterrock Label on CD and again on vinyl, so how does it compare to today's scene?  The first thing that comes to light is how cold and repetitive 'One By One' is as it opens the album.  Scott's vocals are quite gruff in places, not too far away from Bryan Adams style as an example, and if it wasn't for the repetitive riff scraping through the song, it's a case of ... this is gonna be a long, long journey...  Oh well, here goes.                                  

'I Watch My City Sleep' has the same feeling of emptiness in parts, though Jeff Foreham's keyboards are a saving grace as it punches in and out now and then, but it's all so... bland! You can tell that this is originally an 80's album just by the 'vibe' given off, the seriousness of the tunes and lyrics really passionless in the way they're presented, no more so on 'Mega-Millionaire', where at least Scott's voice seems to have a different tone to it at the beginning, in fact it may have some passion in it!  Still, you can't escape that desolate aura that surrounds the song, and it's not pleasant at all.

You'd think that the man was actually reading this as it's being written, because as if by magic, the album turns itself around and becomes 'normal' all of a sudden! 'You Are The Only One' has Scott sounding like he's just been reborn on this radio-friendly track, the gloomy shackles lifted and he can now get on as the light shines on through the cracks, in fact you could say from now it's like listening to a whole new album.  Someone's been listening to ZZ Top's 'Eliminator', haven't they! The intro to 'Relative To You' screams out 'LEGS', that staggered riff-meets-keyboards so recognisable from that band's huge album and it's songs, well.. a complement of sorts in a way, yet a sign of the times when bands jumped on each others 'wagons' to get what they need.

That uplifting feeling shines on with the powerful 'Graceland', Bryan Hill's drums centre of attention here, as they pound their way non-stop on this Then Jericho sounding track, the keyboards doing their bit to add to that effect, a total change from how this all started off from track 1.  'Only You' and 'It's Not Funny' follow suit, both good songs that should have been used earlier than they are, the latter verging into Hall and Oates territory due to the laid back attitude of the tune and the way the harmonies are set up, and even if there's a solo on the guitar to give things a boost, you can't get away from that H&O comparison.  

You want something with balls? Well you got it!!  It may be slightly tinny, but 'I'm Only Sleeping' bursts into life with a powerful drumbeat and scratched six-string combo that gets the adrenalin running, (on the spot!), and the frown-inducing 'New Found Pounder' (wassit mean??) kicks in with a riff that belongs to another album, surely? This rocks like a bugger from the off, lightweight maybes, but it's just what this CD needed for some kind of credibility and to get that feeling of ... thank god for that ... from any listeners who have stuck with things all the way to get to this track. Scott's solo even sounds as if it's enjoying the freedom it has been given to let rip, giving the song that ballsy touch it was meant to have.

It's a strange album 'Ten Stories', one where a few people would probably give up on as early as track 3 because it is so desolate to begin with, then for some reason Scott comes to his senses and from there, the rest of the songs take the album on a much brighter journey.  Maybes it is an 80's thing to sound so harsh and cold because of what the world was like at times back then, but being like that song-wise constantly would damage your chances of getting somewhere in the music world, unless you're Depeche Mode!!  The jury is still out for this album, and it'll be interesting to hear/see what other people think of it.

Review by: Robb Baldwin 

Tracklisting:

1.  One By One
2. I Watch My City Sleep
3. Mega-Millionaire
4. You Are The Only One
5. Relative To You
6. Graceland
7. Only You
8. I'm Only Sleeping
9. New Found Pounder
10. It's Not Funny Anymore  

                    

 

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