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Koslen, Jonah (And The Heroes) - 1983 Aces
» Posted by Avatar

gdazegod
on July 14 2012, In 1983 Articles , 2 Comments , 2242 Reads , Print



ARTIST: Koslen, Jonah (And The Heroes)
ALBUM: Aces
LABEL: Ransom
SERIAL: 7883
YEAR: 1983

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jonah Koslen - vocals, guitars * Bill March - bass, vocals * Dennis Lewin - keyboards * Don Krueger - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Say I'm The One * 02 Wanted * 03 Try Baby Try * 04 Aces * 05 Sundown * 06 Lost Without Her Love * 07 Do It All Again * 08 Worthy * 09 No Way To Know

WEBLINKS: www.jonah.com.co


Background
Just quite how we missed reviewing this LP earlier on within this site remains a big mystery. It really is one of the most revered albums of 1983 from one of Cleveland's finest. As we know, Koslen was a cult figure thanks to his involvement with both Michael Stanley Band and Breathless. Having left Stanley's band in 1977, Jonah formed Breathless with an impressive line-up of personnel. Releasing two excellent but undervalued LP's, Breathless would unfortunately breakup in 1981. Moving onto The Heroes, it presented a new opportunity for Koslen to stretch out on his own with his own songs and personnel selections, not that it really mattered in Cleveland because everyone was playing on everyone else's records anyway. Koslen, on this record at least, is less about quirky pop and more about fashionable FM radio rock/AOR from the 1983 era. The inclusion of future Beau Coup main-man Denis Lewin helps soften the Koslen guitar roughened edge, and with a healthy dose of familiar 'Cleveland' elements such as handclaps and jangly guitar work, The Heroes strike a melodic chord in the same way as tapping a crystal glass.


The Songs
'Say I'm The One' with its pacy keyboards, accelerated tempo and desperate vocal (where Koslen mimics Michael Stanley's vocal style) typifies 1983 AOR/melodic rock within the space of three and half minutes. Next up 'Wanted' is very close to Beau Coup's brand of AOR, the la-la-la's on the chorus surely a contender for a tongue-twister award. 'Try Baby Try' takes us back out onto the freeway and into fifth gear. An urgent rocker which gives me the impression that The Heroes are late for an appointment! 'Aces' is a very pleasant melodic piece, not really a rocker in the truest sense, but makes for a good listen. The lyrics too are different, one would suggest 'aces' means some sort of gang or club, which makes this song a contrast. 'Sundown' is your typical summertime rocker from a different time and place, it's followed by the ballad 'Lost Without Her Love' which is full of melodrama and emotion. Dennis Lewin's piano opens up 'Do It All Again', and keeps things on the mellower side of the fence until it turns into a fully-fledged radio rocker. 'Worthy' is a jangly affair with melodies that combines power pop elements with radio rock. Hardly unexpected given the timeframe and locale. Finale 'No Way To Know' is another bright sounding pop rock event, with a good mix of guitar and keyboard melodies.


In Summary
Koslen released a second Heroes album called 'Orange' many years later, though it was recorded way back in the early 80's and remained unreleased until 2001, and from what I can tell, it was actually recorded before 'Aces' it would seem. On Koslen's website, he states that 'Orange' was a prequel to 'Aces', though 'Orange' features guitarist Danny Powers, though he's not on this one, nor is bassist Eddie Pecchio. The Heroes would not last the distance unfortunately, because the following year Jonah would uplift house and home and move to Los Angeles where he would hang out for many years until returning to Cleveland in the late 90's. Without hesitation, The Heroes two albums are well worth obtaining, though be mindful of any unofficial reissue CD's you acquire as they probably will be CDR's and not silver pressed. The current fileshares out there are sourced from vinyl and aren't the best quality. This is one album that is deserving of an official Rock Candy reissue..


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Comments
#1 | sabace on July 16 2012 21:59:43
I have never heard this but really like his stuff with breathless ! .
#2 | RobLynott on July 18 2012 00:04:27
Great album & review!

I doubt there will ever a high class RC reissue. It Seems that the master tapes got lost, because Koslen himself sells subpar mp3s (vinyl rips) on his own homepage. It's a shame...
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