In 2008, to mark the 20th anniversary of her mainstream classic rock album 'Trouble or Nothing', Robin Beck, who most '80s music lover will know for the number one hit 'First Time' only, decided to re-release this underrated, overlooked record, by re-recording all of it's tracks.
I have to say that the Brooklin born rock-chick hasn't lost much in the way of her vocal power, and the fresh production of these quality tracks is faithful to the originals, and very well done.
'First Time', which the record buying public caught onto after hearing it being played over a television advertisement for Coca-Cola, is still a good song, but far from the best on this 1988 album, which should have made her a big star, with a reputation for delivering the same style of rock music that Cher and Bonnie Tyler did so brilliantly at the same time.
In fact, there are three Bonnie Tyler connections on here. The first is the powerful opening track 'Hide Your Heart', written for Tyler by Paul Stanley from Kiss. It was the title of her overlooked studio album, which was also released in 1988. The second is the Desmond Child penned ''If You Were a Woman and I Was a Man', a song Bonnie recorded some three years before Robin, for her 'Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire' LP, and a track which would be virtually re-written and re-titled as 'You Give Love a Bad Name', which became a major hit for Bon Jovi. The third and final is 'Save Up All Your Tears', another song on Tyler's 'Hide Your Heart' LP, though neither artists would have a hit with it, Cher would. If we were to compare the two singers, Robin initially delivered a better vocal than Bonnie on 'Save Up All Your Tears', but her version of 'Hide Your Heart' was notably much inferior.
Of the other songs on this album, all of them were fashionable for their time. Her cover of John Waite's 'Don't Lose Any Sleep' was impressive, and is still is, the Child/Alice Cooper written power ballad 'Hold Back the Night' is beautiful, and her stamp of Pat Benatar's In a Crazy World Like This' is such great fun. Four new songs are presented towards the end, and whilst listenable, they just aren't on par with the original playlist.
Here we have a lost jewel in the '80s AOR canon which proves time and time again than Robin was a much better artist than just one hit would suggest. Maybe Desmond Child, who produced the original 'Trouble or Nothing' could have given more original material to rock with, but nevertheless, the appreciably chosen songs on here gave her a platform to show off her voice. This 2008 edition is a nice re-working, she hasn't changed much, and so this isn't a completely different revamp, but merely a new lick of paint.
No, I'm not having it, It cannot be 20 years since this album came out, because that would make me [mental arithmeticking] old, and that can't be right. But this is labelled as a 20th anniversary edition. Oh. Bugger.
You know I really hated that Coke tune when it came out, and it wasn't until someone played me 'Save Up All Your Tears' that I got just how good a singer Robin Beck is. To be fair, it was hard to wrong when you look at the writers of the songs. You've got Desmond Child and Diane Warren at the top of their game, Paul Stanley, Alice Cooper and Steinberg / Kelly.
Strange then that this didn't turn Beck into the huge star she should have been, and that others would have hits with songs presented here, with Kiss and Pat Benatar getting the chart success with 'Hide Your Heart' and Benatar placing 'In A Crazy World' on her "Tropico" album. Because despite a couple of weak links, this was and is a tremendous example of melodic rock at its absolute best.
However, this isn't a reissue. It's actually a re-recording, whether for political or financial reasons (or both), which sees Robin Beck and her husband, House Of Lords front man James Christian, recreating the songs that saw her light shine briefly. And, you know what? It works. Now I didn't bother playing at compare and contrast, because I was enjoying the music too much, but this is still fabulous, with Ms Beck still in possession of a marvelous set of lungs.
There are also 4 new songs tagged onto the end, something rhat didn't really work for me. Yes, they were enjoyable, with 'Lost Summer Days' particularly poignant given how I felt at the beginning, and shows what a good song writing team Beck and Tommy Denander are, but it broke the flow, making the album too long. It might have been better to present them as a separate EP, but that would have probably pushed the production costs too high. However, it does serve to show that Ms Becks future isn't all in the past, and hopefully there will be more soon. Melodic rock fans should all be queuing up to buy this.
I have all of Robin's albums and enjoy them all and this reworking of her first mainstream album is fab all the songs sound much more up to date and the new tracks really rock but I wish they had blended them into the album instead of just plonking them at the end. My only complaint is that this was a great excuse to put the fab B Side of Save up All your tears on an album as a bonus song The song in question is called Jealous Hearts and is a great song a good rocker with a stomping chourus in it's own right and should be on an album somewhere so everyone can enjoy it I have it on the CD of Save Up all your tears but it should be easier to get. A real missed oppertunity. Still well worth your pennies and 5 stars though