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5.0 out of 5 stars Bryan Adams' First Great Album,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Full "Team Effort" by Adams and company,
Bryan Adams has been fortunate to have nearly the same studio band for two decades. On "You Want It, You Got It" - keyboardist Tommy Mandel and drummer Mickey Curry were brought in. On "Cuts Like a Knife", Bryan went out and recruited Keith Scott for guitars and Dave Scott for Bass (Scott was very well known in Vancouver). Scott and Adams' guitaring combine for some incredible jamming - especially on this collection. These four band members would form the nucleus of Bryan Adams' studio band for the next 2 decades. This album features some incredible background vocals - two main background vocalists include Scott and Foreigner's Lou Gramm. Combine this with strong songwriting by the Adams/Vallance connection and Bob Clearmountain's mastery, the makings for a very strong album are clearly in play. A lot of why Adams really grew on this album are some of the contributions of Keith Scott, he was the perfect right-hand man for Adams.
Another staple of the Adams/Clearmountain connection is the ability to order tracks on the albums in a near flawless fashion. Once again Adams/Clearmountain have the perfect opening track in "The Only One" and the perfect closing track "The Best is Yet to Come" (ironically a great song title to end this album with 'Reckless', 'Into The Fire', and 'Waking Up the Neighbours' in Adams' future). On "The Only One", the team effort is heard right away - Adams and Scott have some great guitar work while Taylor's bass, Mandel's Keyboards, and Curry's drumming are in fine form. You'll also hear some of the nice background vocals that really make up this album from Gramm and Scott.
Want more great guitar work - "Take Me Back" is the song to hear. This song appears on the "Live Live Live" album and the that live version features Bryan starting the song "Take Me Back Keith". Although you don't hear that on this album, the song is still solid. And yes, same message as "The Only One" - full team effort. The third song "This Time" reminds me of a sequel to "Don't Look Now" - although no obvious lyrical connections they do have a similar rhythm. Other songs that really follow this Team Effort include "Straight From the Heart", "Cuts Like a Knife", "I'm Ready", and "Let Him Know". "Straight From the Heart" is the prototype for what is the classic Adams ballad. The provoking lyrics really shine here. This is the one song that wasn't co-written by Jim Vallance. On this song Eric Kagna is Adams partner, but not a beat is lost on this song. "Let Him Know" is a catchy song that often gets lost with some of the other monster songs that are on this album.
This is also a solid album in terms of the liner notes. All lyrics are included along with the appropriate songwriting and studio musician credits. This is something where "You Want It, You Got It" fell very short.
I'll emphasize the exceptional "Team Effort" that sets this album apart from the other Adams' releases. It is a must have for anyone building or keeping a Bryan Adams collection.
4.0 out of 5 stars Grade B+,
4.0 out of 5 stars A lightweight dry run to Reckless,
"Take Me Back" has a more slower bluesy rocking chug to it, the kind of track that would be more refined in "Heat Of The Night" from Into The Fire. However, the chorus has shades of Loverboy's early material, a rhythm like "Turn Me Loose."
Then comes the three big singles. The daydreaming rocker "This Time" is the second most engaging track here, and its musical tone at times reminds me of "Running On Empty." The ballad "Straight From The Heart" was a good proving ground for Adams doing great ballads such as "Heaven" or "Do I Have To Say The Words." Bryan does piano as well as the heartfelt vocals, and yes, it pales to the power vocals and instrumentation of his other ballads, but call this a nice little ballad. This song was covered by Bonnie Tyler on Faster Than The Speed Of Night.
The title track features the crunching guitar that only hints of Reckless. It's kind of leisurely but Keith Scott and Bryan Adams' guitarwork puts this above other songs here. The phrases "cuts like a knife, but it feels so right" is justified if one has done the best one could in keeping the twosome alive and failed.
"I'm Ready" is the most engaging rocker, with drums accompanied B-3 synth that Foreigner's "Feels Like The First Time". Titlewise and given the future, apropos. He was ready to move forward, all right.
The mid-paced synth-centered "What's It Gonna Be" sounds like something Journey could've done, like "Girl Can't Help It."
"Don't Leave Me Lonely", co-written by Adams, Vallance, and KISS's Eric Carr, was to have been included on Creatures Of The Night, but it wasn't used--hence its inclusion here. This mid-paced rocker would've been good for Creatures, and if it had been sung by Paul Stanley. "Separate lives and separate feelings" is all very well, but to Bryan, that's no solution.
"Let Him Know" as in "let him know that you love him", features backing vocals with a 60's girl-group type rhythm.
Another nice little piano ballad of being unable to change things, especially a missed opportunity: "In the moment that it takes/you find you made your first mistake/like the setting sun.../you turn around, it's gone." "The Best Was Yet To Come" is a very prophetic title, considering the album next to come. Laura Branigan did this song on her self-titled effort.
Yes, I know it's anachronistic to look at an album in comparison with a future album, but Cuts Like A Knife is indeed a dry run for the hard-rocking triumph of Reckless.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Was Yet To Come,
And don't feel bad, Bob, because until 2 nights ago, I didn't know what the song was really about either, and I have been an Adams fan since the early 80's - before the rest of the world "discovered him". In fact a good friend knew him when he played lead guitar in the club band Roxy Roller a long time back in Vancouver - when Keith Scott was touted as "the best guitarist to ever come out of the Vancouver music scene.....he's gonna be HUGE some day". Bryan later hooked up with Keith (with Keith as the lead guitarist in his band) on the album "Cuts Like A Knife", and fame and fortune soon followed. In fact, Keith is STILL with him to this day, and was unbelievable 2 night's ago. But I digress.
"The Best Was Yet To Come" was a song Bryan wrote about Dorothy Stratten. I can't recall EXACTLY word for word how he introduced the song 2 nights ago, but it went like this..."I'd like to play a song for you now that I wrote 20 years ago, about a Vancouver born girl, who went to Hollywood and found fortune and fame as a Playboy bunny." (Hoots and hollers from the crowd at this point.) "Her boyfriend murdered her, shortly thereafter." (11,000 people in the stadium, and I could have heard a pin drop.) "Her name was Dorothy Stratten, and I wrote the song after hearing about her tragic death to show people that fortune and fame isn't always what it's cracked up to be."
I always loved this song, but now listen to it a little differently, knowing what it's really about. Bob, go back and give it another listen now. What a powerful song.
Bryan became bigger and gained a much larger world-wide audience right around this time, but I'm glad that I can say I "knew" him when.......
And, yes, he has never outright admitted it, but he has never outright denied that he was the "un-named musician that is dating Lady Di"......in fact, dig through his 90's music - he has a song called "Diana" that was a hit in Canada (sorry don't remember the album it was on, but it's easily found), that pretty much confirms the "rumor" of him dating Lady Di.
Bryan Adams - a Canadian born and raised rocker. Keep going strong, Bry!!!!!
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Cuts Like A Knife by Bryan Adams (Audio CD - 2008)