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Meat Loaf - 'Blind Before I Stop' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e6/62/b1/meat-loaf-Blind-Before-I-Stop-97-1445546634.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2015    
 
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I have quite enjoyed checking out this re-issue of Meat Loaf's lesser known 1986 album.

I must admit I have quite enjoyed checking out this re-issue of Meat Loaf's lesser known 1986 album 'Blind Before I Stop'. As with the previous Cherry Red Records/HNE re-issue of 'Bad Attitude', it lacks bonus material, but comes, again, in a very attractively presented digi-pack which includes a sixteen page booklet with shots of contemporary memorabilia and sleeve notes from respected Rock journalist and broadcaster Malcolm Dome.

Incredibly, the eleven tracks presented here are the handiwork of eighteen different song-writers including Meat himself, Rick Derringer ('Masculine') and Nazareth guitarist Billy Rankin ('Burning Down'). Similarly the sleeve notes suggest a cast of around twenty musicians – though they are not clearly listed or credited here – with notable guests including John Parr, with whom Meat duets on the lead single 'Rock 'N' Roll Mercenaries', and saxophonist Mel Collins.

Production is by the renowned Frank Farian, famed for his work with Boney M and Milli Vanilli among (many) others. That explains the rather lighter, less Rocky feel of the album and the full embracing of 1980s Pop production values. If that doesn't sound quite to your taste, Farian should at least be congratulated for working with such a disparate range of songs and musicians and still managing to give the album a coherence and identity.

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Clearly the album was recorded with at least one eye on commercial potential. In the event, 'Blind Before I Stop' delivered three U.K. singles: the title track, 'Special Girl' and the aforementioned '...Mercenaries'. The latter charted highest at number thirty-one, with the other two charting at eighty-nine and eighty-one respectively. I suspect that both singles and album sales (around half a million) were, in the light of Meat Loaf's previous success, a bit disappointing.

So was this an artistically bold and creative move or an ill-advised attempt to embrace mainstream Pop culture? Dome calls it "a clash of ideas and ideals which works – brilliantly", and suggests that the album "deserves to be regarded as one of (Meat Loaf's) finest."

You will find alternative views, though to be fair, much of the material is stronger than I either remembered or expected. 'Execution Day' and 'Blind...' are fine tracks, 'Getting Away With Murder' is as catchy as the common cold, and in 'Man And A Woman', the album houses a minor AOR gem. That said, I'm personally grateful that Meat Leaf stopped indulging in "experimentation" of this sort with his vision still intact (it's a myth, you know) and started recording Rock albums again.

Michael Anthony

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