After leaving westcoast fans longing for a follow-up to the fantastic 1982 album “All Dressed Up”, Canadian artist DAVID ROBERTS all of a sudden has released two CD’s in 2008! Previously there was the new studio album “Better Late Than Never” (you can find a review by Kaj Roth on this site) which included an excellent mix of AOR and pop. This time David has been turning back in time, putting together demo versions of songs over the years. The album is called “The Missing Years” (Vivid Sound, VSCD-3365). From the sounds of these songs, I guess these songs were recorded between the late 80’s and the mid-90’s or so.
When the album starts it’s more AOR, with “Run Back” sounding a lot like mid- to late 80’s STARSHIP. It’s followed by two westcoast dominated tracks; “Misunderstood” makes my mind wander into GRAHAM GOBLE’S ENCOUNTER with its nice beat, whereas “Gone but not forgotten” is similar to the great songs on the “Original demos” CD by ROBBIE BUCHANAN. The latter means westcoast/pop with a slightly soul filled beat and nice strings to back it up. Even though these are demos, you really get nice arrangements on this album. Same goes for the semi-ballad “Run Away With Me”, and this one would fit a singer like PEABO BRYSON perfectly. Track 6 is the highlight of the album, even though this one’s actually the most AOR dominated song. It’s entitled “Forbidden Fruit” and this song is just as good as the best BAD ENGLISH tune you have (n)ever heard! Absolutely fantastic.
OK, I can’t go on writing about every single song. I’ll just finish off by asking every westoast and light AOR fan to buy this one right away. Sure, since these are demos you’ll hear a few performances that could have been done better – but believe me, these moments are not many. All the positive sides about this album easily over-weigh this. I wish more artists would dig up old demos and unreleased stuff. There must be hundreds and hundreds of songs or even albums by all our hero artists from the 80’s out there! For starters; TOTO still owes us at least two CD’s of unreleased stuff. Their “XX” album from 1998 was originally meant to be a 3-CD box, which I was told by a Swedish colleague at Sony at the time. So, there’s a lot to be dug up. Start shovellin’.
Oh, one final note: it´s good thinking and rather humoresque that the album cover shows Mr. Roberts in a sofa - quite similar to the album cover from 1982...