Favorite west coast/AOR albums

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JuniorNB, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    For those who don't know, the term "westcoast" is generally used to desribe a specific genre of music that was at its peak of popularity in the late 70's and early 80's.

    It was basically a fusion of the california soft rock sound, with some jazz elements thrown in. Some 'westcoast' records that went mainstream and charted were Lee Ritenour's "Is It You", Robbie Dupree's "Steal Away", Al Jarreau's "Mornin'" and George Benson's "Turn Your Love Around".

    As with all genres of music, the exact definition of 'westcoast' is very cloudy, so there will always be debate as to whether a particular song or album is actually westcoast. Those who enjoy this brand of music, can name great albums that most folks have never heard of.

    There were certain session musicians who seemingly appeared on hundreds of these westcoast albums. Among them were Steve Lukather, Dan Huff, and Jay Graydon on guitar, Leland Sklar on bass, Jeff Porcaro on drums, Michael Boddicker and Michael McDonald on keyboards, and Bill Champlain, Richard Page, and Steve George on background vocals.

    Anyway, are there any fans of this brand of music out there and what are some of your favorite albums?
     
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  2. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Where's Doug Sklar when you need him? Surely he has some thoughts on this topic.
     
  3. Grant

    Grant Back to the 60s!

    Location:
    United States
    Junior, I know that music as "Southern California", "Soft Rock", or "the Los Angeles" sound.

    I could say any 70s easy listening music. You know, of the singer-songwriter variety. I would also include the Stevie Nicks/Lindsay Buckingham era of Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Eagles, Orleans, Bob Welch, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bread, Eddie Money, Pablo Cruise, Toto, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins...and if you include soul music from the early 80s, I could name just about any act from the Solar Records stable of artists.

    Northern California had Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Santana, and Sly & the Family Stone, among tons of others.

    Not that a few artists I mentioned above may not have actually come from or recorded in California, but in my mind, the style of music fits.

    But, all in all, I just love that 70s era of 'soft rock".
     
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  4. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Many of the acts you listed ceratinly could be considered westcoast/AOR. While true 'westcoast' music has a bit more jazz-feel to it, every group you mentioned has songs that would certainly qualify. Especially Toto's IV album, which is considered one of the genre's classics.
     
  5. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Location:
    here
    'West Coast" in terms of rock usually applies to rock/psych of the '66-'72 California: LA, SAn FRan: Moby Grape, Airplane, Mad River, Big Brother, Sly, Doors, Byrds, Love, etc
     
  6. cnath

    cnath Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas TX
    A guilty pleasure for me :)

    Some albums that are considered to be the best of the genre ( and I would agree) are: "Airplay" - David Foster and Jay Graydon, "Pages"(1980)-
    became Mister Mister later..., "Knock the Walls Down" - Steve Kipner, "All Dressed Up" - David Roberts, and "Blue Desert" - Marc Jordan..

    A pretty wide range of music is considered "Westcoast" these days ( Gino Vanelli, Boz Scaggs, Ambrosia, America, Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, etc. plus even some contemporary country and christian music) - there's a lot of so-called " west coast" music being recorded here in Nashville due to the influx of California musicians over the last 10 or 15 years...
    Really, almost anything considered " soft rock" or AOR can be thought of by some people as West Coast pop...
    The ones I listed are usually considered the "classics" of the style..

    Cnath
     
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  7. chiagerald

    chiagerald Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
  8. elgreco

    elgreco Groove Meister

    That's a pretty broad scope to choose from, but apart from the usual suspects, here's a few of my favourites

    Greg Guidry - Over the line
    Ambrosia - Life beyond L.A.
    Player - Danger zone
    Gino Vannelli - Brother to brother, Gist of the gemini
    Bernard Oattes - Frame by frame (great 'westcoast' from Holland!)
    Randy Crawford - Secret combination, Windsong
    Al Jarreau - Breakaway, Jarreau, L is for lover
    Most Michael Franks records

    I'm sure there are many more, but these are the ones I'm thinking of right now.

    Hmm, I've never heard those Pages albums, even though I was a big fan of Mr. Mister back in the day. Makes me curious to give them a listen. I think Richard Page's solo album Shelter me is a minor masterpiece as well.
     
  9. cnath

    cnath Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas TX
    IMO the best Pages album is the one on the right in Chiagerald's post...released in 1980...

    Not much like Mister Mister or " Shelter Me", it was produced by Jay Graydon, and the material and production sounds like " Breaking Away" and"Jarreau" ( also produced by Graydon).... good stuff, though...

    Cnath
     
  10. whaaat

    whaaat LT Fanatic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Good to see some love for Pages. I only have the one mentioned in cnath's post.

    If you're interested in a modern twist on that 70's soft-pop west coast sound, I highly recommend Lewis Taylor's "The Lost Album". It's a great blend of Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, CSNY, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac with some Love and probably a dozen other references that I don't get. Essential.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. punkrok78

    punkrok78 Forum Resident

    ahhh yes, smooooth music. Yacht Rock !!!!!!!

    My Faves:
    Breezin - George Benson
    Minute by Minute - Doobies
    Gaucho - Steely Dan
    Howzat - Sherbet
     
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  12. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Cool. I'm glad to see this thread got a little bit of play last night.

    I agree with the posters who mentioned the Pages albums. All three a great.

    Of the others mentioned, Airplay, Greg Guidry, and Al Jarreau are faves of mine.

    Some other great westcoast albums:
    Bill Champlain- Runaway (1981)
    Eric Tagg- Dreamwalkin' (1982)
    John O'Banion- John O'Banion (1981)
    Nielson & Pearson- Blind Luck (1983)
    Robbie Dupree- self-titled and Street Corner Heroes ('80 & '81)
     
  13. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Ok, I guess it won't hurt to admit this....


    I really dig the Pablo Cruise album "Worlds Away". Just played it a few weeks ago. :thumbsup:
     
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  14. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Yeah...the term "Yacht Rock" is now applied to this genre of music. I'll throw in another lost gem:

    Larsen-Feiten Band's self titled and Full Moon
     
  15. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Anything up through 1983 would fit the bill.
     
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  16. Dr. Bogenbroom

    Dr. Bogenbroom I'm not a Dr. but I play one on SteveHoffman.TV

    Location:
    Anchor Point
    Hahaha "Yacht Rock". That's a new one for me. I'll have to add that to my
    Kraut Rock (or Krautrock)
    and
    Butt Rock

    I too am a fan of yacht rock. Sometimes there's nothing better than some Ambrosia, Seals & Crofts, Al Jerrau...etc.
     
  17. Soundman

    Soundman Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K. / U.S.
  18. chiagerald

    chiagerald Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    haha... the yacht rock episodes are funny!
     
  19. elgreco

    elgreco Groove Meister

    Oh yes, forgot about that one. It's great, too. Produced and arranged by Lee Ritenour. I picked up a mint Japanese vinyl copy of this album a few years ago. I haven't played it very often yet, but from what I remember it sounds terrific as well. Time for a needle-drop.
     
  20. Nostaljack

    Nostaljack Resident R&B enthusiast

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I love pretty much anything Jay Graydon touched. That would include the "Airplay" album he did with David Foster, Al Jarreau's albums up to "L Is For Lover" (my, how the mighty fell), Steve Kipner's record, and George Benson's stuff (okay, not "Twice The Love" but the stuff he did with Graydon before that).

    BTW, if you really love this sound, it can be found in abundance on Jay Graydon's "Past To Present: The 70's". Great album and essential listening for lovers of West Coast Pop.

    Ed
     
  21. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Love for this sound also got me moving outward into mid-to-late 70's era Crusaders and early Spyro Gyra as well. Though it gets tagged as "smooth jazz", I hear more than that.
     
  22. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I can get that to you if it's a hassle. Let me know.
     
  23. JuniorNB

    JuniorNB Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    AIrplay's 1980 album is considered the Holy Grail of westcoast music.

    Another great one is David Roberts- "All Dressed Up" from 1982. This album features many of the Toto guys on instrumentation. Really good.
     
  24. westcoastkid

    westcoastkid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nacka Sweden
    If you're a fan of Jay Graydon you should check out the newly released JaR - Scene 29 CD, which is Jay Graydon and Randy Goodrum playing together. Brilliant songs sounding a bit like Steely Dan but mostly like themselves. It's also a fantastic sounding CD, with almost no compression according to themselves. They actually write a page in the CD booklet on their thoughts on the loudness war. Check them out at www.jarzone.com
     
  25. Grant

    Grant Back to the 60s!

    Location:
    United States
    :thumbsup:

    I also forget that a lot of this type of "lite jazz" primarily came out of the west coast.
     
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