'Journey - In The Beginning II, 1978-1981 (1982) Remaster (2011)'!

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"Journey / In The Beginning II (1982) Remaster (2011)" Review!

Yet another "Journey" compilation, YOU say?  Not a "Greatest Hits" package, but, yes, well worth a listen!  "In The Beginning II" is the obscure companion set to the original "In The Beginning, 1975-1977" released in 1980.  After the success of "Escape" in late '81 - early '82, this set was released in parts of the world where some people may have forgotten how the band sounded after that Jazz Fusion period but before the Ballads and Pop melodies started flooding the Radio airwaves, so hence, "In The Beginning II, 1978-1981".  Yes, there are Top 40 singles like "Any Way You Want It" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" crammed in between the album's twenty tracks, rest assured.  However, one finally gets a good, long listen to some of the great Blues Rock tunes the band were churning out like butter in these still formative years.  Plus, officially one gets to hear some classic Blues wailing a la Albert King's "Born Under A Bad Sign" from their "Super Jam II" stint with Tom Johnston of the "Doobie Brothers", the "Tower Of Power" horns, and two fine singers from the Bay area band, "Stoneground", the late, Jo Baker+ and the exciting Annie Sampson on background vocals.  There are also some rare, live performances from the PBS Soundstage performance in Chicago, and a nice and nifty instrumental version of the epic, "Winds Of March".  All-in-all, a nice sampler of what the band were groovin' on in the late seventies - early eighties before they became Casey Casem's favourites at "American Top 40".  lol  Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, Ansley Dunbar and/or Steve Smith, as well as the banshee, Steve Perry, in their heyday, in their prime, and all on my dime.  By the way, go out and buy "Eclipse" when it comes out later this month, and let's see some proper stars for once back in the charts instead of all this "American Idol", "Glee" nonsense!  In any case, keep on Rockin'!  - Rick Wilson, former Rock Radio Journalist with Radio Canale Grande.

A quick review:

01) Any Way You Want It (Departure) 1980 ***** Great opener, and I sang this with one of my early bands in Germany!
02) Where Were You: live '80 (Captured) 1981 ***** Fast and furious concert opener that will get YOU on your feet in a hurry!
03) Just The Same Way (Evolution) 1979 ***** IMHO, Gregg Rolie was the heart and soul of the band, and when he left in 1981, nothing has been the same; check out Gregg with his band, The Gregg Rolie Band, of course, with many new tunes and some great "Santana" songs of his, as well.
04) Feeling That Way (Infinity) 1978 ***** The best song with vocal that the band, "Journey" ever recorded!
05) Line Of Fire (Departure) 1980 ***** Ah, YOU were expecting "Anytime" perhaps?  They fooled YOU here, but it still works!
06) Lights: live '78 (PBS Soundstage) 1978 ***** This version has an even better Blues feel than the polished version on "Infinity", and Neal Schon is right on the money, as usual!
07) Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' (Evolution) 1979 ***** I first caught the band on that PBS show one lazy Sunday afternoon (Thanks, Steve Marriott!), and promptly proceded to purchase "Evolution" and became a fan!  By the way, did anyone ever feel that "Infinity" should have been called, "Evolution" and "Evolution" - "Infinity"?  lol  It just seems to fit better that way!  'Nuff said!
08) Anytime (Infinity) 1978 ***** Here it is!  lol  Gregg Rolie claimed in a recent interview that this one nearly didn't make the cut, because of those mighty yet difficult tandem harmony vocals in the intro; thank God for small favours! 
09) (I'm A) Roadrunner: live '78 (Super Jam II) 1978 ***** Nice, rare performance of this Junior Walker & The All-Stars classic that Pater Framptunius covered just a wee bit before they did, possibly the reason for a lack of official release...until now!
10) Do You Recall? (Evolution) 1979 ***** Ross Valory pounding that bass of his into submission has got to be anyone's fantasy!
11) Walks Like A Lady (Departure) 1980 ***** Classic Blues feel again featuring Ross thumping away, and the master of the Hammond B3, Gregg Rolie accompanied by the karma Chameleon (Did I just say that?  lol)...er, not Boy George, in any case, but rather Neal Schon brightly shining on his Stratocaster!
12) Born Under A Bad Sign: live '78 (Super Jam II) 1978 ***** Excellent reworking of the Albert King original!  Gregg Rolie owns the vocal, and "friend" Tom Johnston (he of "Doobie Brothers" fame) adding some nice licks!  Later that year, the band were on stage with Mr. King for the PBS show.
13) Wheel In The Sky: live '78 (PBS Soundstage) 1978 ***** I love this intro, and what a year 1978 was for "Journey", eh?
14) Destiny (Dream After Dream) 1980 ***** This lengthy number from the obscure Japanese soundtrack is the band's take on a "Stairway To Heaven", "Heaven & Hell", etc. type number, and the closest they came to their great numbers like "Kohoutek" or "Of A Lifetime".  Just make it past the slow part to the pandemonium section where all Hell breaks loose!
15) People & Places (Departure) 1980 ***** Danger!  Danger!  Don't try this at home, Will Robinson!  Neal Schon on lead vocal, later joined, of course, by Steve and Gregg and, I believe, some nice ones from Ross, as well; a la "Uriah Heep".
16) Daydream (Evolution) 1979 ***** What would "Journey" sound like if they ever wanted to sound like the band, "Rush"?  This is it!
17) Winds Of March (instrumental demo) 1978 ***** Now, I like the vocal version, but this instrumental certainly is a holdover from "Next", and a nice alternate view of a great epic.
18) Dixie Highway: live '80 (Captured) 1981 ***** Gregg Rolie really lets the keyboards do the talkin' on this one; and, see if YOU can spot Steve Perry's secret message to all of the ladies!  And, some great drumming by Steve Smith, as well!
19) Patiently (Infinity) 1978 ***** This was recorded as a tribute to the band, "Lynyrd Skynyrd", after their fateful airplane crash, and a moving song just the same.
20) People Get Ready: live '78 (Super Jam II) 1978 ***** Steve Perry takes the band into Gospel territory on this cover of the Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions Hit; and, some mighty guest vocals from the band, "Stoneground".
Journey - In The Beginning II, 1978-1981 (1982) Remaster (2011)/01 - Journey - Any Way You Want It.mp3 8.057 MB
Journey - In The Beginning II, 1978-1981 (1982) Remaster (2011)/02 - Journey - Where Were You- live '80.mp3 8.097 MB
Journey - In The Beginning II, 1978-1981 (1982) Remaster (2011)/03 - Journey - Just The Same Way.mp3 7.901 MB
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