Fireworks

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Mark Baker - 'The Future Ain't What It Used To Be' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     April 27, 2020    
 
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An essential purchase for anyone with an interest in classic AOR or Free in particular.

This is a very special release, and if like me you were a tape trader back in the day, then you are going to be thrilled with what is on offer. Mark Baker is the man behind the iconic 'Loud And Clear' album from Signal as well as the House Of Lords 'Demons Down' record. This is a compilation of Baker's eighties and nineties demos, and they have all been re-mastered and sound great.

Session vocalist supreme Mark Free features on no less than nine songs and kicks off the album with the brilliant 'Nobody Gets Out Alive' which is followed by the title-track. Both of these numbers are vintage AOR anthems that would not have been out of place on his classic 'Long Way From Love' opus. The Free anthems continue throughout the album with other highlights being 'Someday You're Gonna Love Somebody' and 'Runaway'. Having these tracks officially available is a dream come true for yours truly.

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On top of this we also get four songs featuring James Christian – the excellent 'Demons Down', 'No Pleasure Without The Pain', 'Cold Day In Hell' and 'Brighter Day' – of which the latter three appeared on his 'Rude Awakening' record in later years. It is also really good to have these versions to complement the originals.

However, the standout track for me is the sole contribution from Bill Champlin entitled 'Dream On Little Dreamer'. I have not previously heard this song and it will be one of your favourites for sure; this is pure AOR at its best. The album also features tracks from Freddy Curci, Gary O and a couple of others with unknown vocalists. These songs are good but not quite up to the standard of the others – however, they are certainly a worthy addition.

This record is an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in classic AOR or Free in particular. The re-mastering by JK Northrup from the original DAT masters is top-notch and to have these tracks at last in this official form is a joy. I take my hat off yet again to Andrew McNiece for getting this out and continuing to release quality albums from the archives that the fans want. It is certainly time to now replace those worn-out tapes!

Richard Epps

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