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TANGIER Four Winds Reissue

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 4:15 PM


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TANGIER
Four Winds

Rock Candy Records
http://www.tangierband.com

The UK reissue label Rock Candy really dug into the vault of long lost but actually stunningly good 80's metal releases and came up with one of the better blues rock albums I've ever had in my collection.

Originally released in 1989 on the Atco Records label (thanks in part to the band's support from CINDERELLA's Tom Keifer), the Philadelphia based band TANGIER came along at a time when the "Metal Rules The World" banner was starting to fade. Thus the reason Four Winds ended up as something you might be lucky to find in a bargain bin if at all.

The sad thing is that if you haven't heard the CD, you are truly missing out. The best way to describe them would be to compare them to one of their most cited influences, BAD COMPANY. Vocalist Bill Mattson has that just right "first whiskey shot of the day" quality to his vocals to draw the comparison to BAD CO. vocalist Paul Rodgers.

Given the era, the music is a bit heavier than what you might find in most of the classic BAD COMPANY albums, but still there is a definite vibe here that instantly grabs the listener.

The remastered CD opens with the song "Ripcord". While it is an uptempo rocker, it is oddly restrained at the same time. It was as if the song was waiting to break out into a full blown in your face number but just never quite got there. It's still a good song and pretty smart way to kick off the album.

"Mississippi" is a slow burn number while the album's video hit track "On The Line" still holds up quite nicely all these years later.

The title track moves from a slow start to a more lively pace as the vocals from Mattson grow throughout the song from restrained to powerhouse by the end.

The album's producer, the late Andy Johns, was particularly enthused over the song "Southbound Train". This is according to the reissue's accompany essay/interview with Mattson and guitarist Doug Gordon. The song is one of the more overlooked tracks on the disc with an exceptionally well done chorus in both the lyrical and musical phrasing.

The last three songs on the disc are "Sweet Surrender", "Bad Girl" and "Good Lovin'". The trio of tunes show the band as a whole as a particularly adept balls out rocking unit. The guitar lines in the first two songs mentioned are especially noteworthy.

Four Winds has a good overall sound. The era of big production in rock and metal was still in full force but while the earmarks of the late 80's metal sound are in evidence, the band does not get drowned out by being overly flashy.

While the music was excellent, it was the vocals of Bill Mattson that really sold me on this album back in '89. This might strike those who were listening back then as a bit funny. I say that because it was apparently Mattson who was seen as the reason the album didn't do big sales and he was replaced for the band's second album.

TANGIER, at least on this album, was a much better than a lot of bands in the '80's metal genre they are somewhat erroneously labeled with. In another time or musical era, they could've been, to steal part of an album title from a BAD COMPANY album, merchants of cool.

**** Out Of 5


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