Thursday, August 9, 2007

Grand Hotel - Grand Hotel (1979)

Grand Hotel were a british studio project who came and went so quickly that most people are completely unfamiliar with the name. Assembled in the studio by CBS Records, the sextet featured former Bandit guitarist, Danny McIntosh along with Colin Campsie, Robert Green, Ivan Penfold, George McFarlane and Graham Broad. Their sole effort hit store shelves in 1979, but despite major label support, the album slipped into obscurity shortly after its release, thus effectively ending this project for good. McFarlane and Campsie wnet on to form The Quick and later, Giant Steps. McIntosh joined Kate Bush as a supporting guitarist and continues collaborating with her at the present. Penfold kept a low profile until resurfacing in 1995 with Ivan's Head, who released one album that year. Broad has kept busy doing double duty with Roger Waters and Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. Green's whereabouts are unknown.

Despite their lukewarm reception, Grand Hotel were capable of creating some dazzling sonics, evidenced here by this fine album. With a potent blend of AOR, progressive rock and funk, the band brings tightness and sheer virtuosity to the fore, with only a handful of weak tracks. The opening track, "Stranger in a Strange Town", is a perfect demonstration of the band's driving rhythms and stellar vocal harmonies. Other highlights include the brass driven funk of "Lightyears", the straightforward punch of "Reach For the Light" and the swaggering "No Dice". The true standouts are "Somebody Please" and "Secret Life", both which are tailored for massive radio airplay. It's a real shame that this album didn't reach wider visibility, since the majority of music here is top notch. There's little to dislike about this fine obscure release from 1979. Check out this sweet transfer from reader 'aor66' and relish in the beauty of this true AOR rarity.

4 comments:

aor66 said...

can you tell me the Hero and Shabby Tiger albums tracklist? and watch out for Morningstar "Venus", Whiteface (both albums), Crowcuss "Starting To Show", Babyface and Ziggurat first album.
In the next days you'll have them all. Just give me time.

All the best

Anonymous said...

Danny McIntosh is not just Kate Bush's guitarist. He is also her husband.

Anonymous said...

The link to "grand hotel192.rar" doesn't seem to work. Is there another link?

Anonymous said...

I knew this album quite well and probably still have a copy of the tape somewhere. I vaguely knew Ivan Penfold through his then girlfriend, a Dutch painter. Quite a strong sound and robust feel.

TF