Lake


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1973-74)

- Ian Cussik -- vocals, bass

- Freddy Graack -- drums 

- Oreste "Lilio" Malagia -- guitar

- Geoffrey Peacey -- keyboards

- Detlef Petersen -- keyboards

- Martin Tiefensee -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1974-75)

NEW - Dieter Ahrendt -- drums (replaced Freddy Garrack 

NEW - James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals

- Oreste "Lilio" Malagia -- guitar  

- Geoffrey Peacey -- keyboards  

- Detlef Petersen -- keyboards  

- Martin Tiefensee -- bass  

 

  line up 3 (1975-80)

- Dieter Ahrendt -- drums

NEW - Alex Conti -- guitar (replaced Oreste Malagia) 

- James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals 

- Geoffrey Peacey -- keyboards 

- Detlef Petersen -- keyboards

- Martin Tiefensee -- bass 

 

  supporting musicians (1979)

- Otto Waalkes -- percussion

 

  line up 4 (1980)

- Dieter Ahrendt -- drums, percussion

- Alex Conti -- guitar

NEW - Heiko Effertz -- bass, backing vocals (replaced Martin Tiefensee) 

NEW - Frank Hieber -- keyboards, backing vocals (replaced 

  Geoffrey Peacey) 

- James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals 

- Achim Opperman -- guitar, vocals

 

  line up 5 (1981)

- Dieter Ahrendt -- drums, percussion

- Frank Hieber -- keyboards, backing vocals

- James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals 

NEW - Josef Kappl -- bass, vocals (replaced Heiko Effertz)

- Erlend Krauser -- lead guitar, vocals (replaced Benrd Gertig)

- Achim Opperman -- guitar, vocals

 

  line up 6 (1981-85)

NEW - Thomas Bauer -- keyboards, sax, vocals (replaced Frank Hieber)

- Dieter Ahrendt -- drums, percussion

NEW - Bernd Gertig -- lead guitars, vocals (replaced Alex Conti)

NEW - Josef Kappl -- bass, vocals

- Erlend Krauser -- lead guitar, vocals

- James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals 

- Achim Opperman -- guitar, keyboards, vocals

 

  supporting musicians:

- John Groves -- keyboards

 

  line up 7 (1985-86)

- Thomas Bauer -- keyboards, sax, vocals (replaced Frank Hieber)

NEW - Udo Dahmen -- drums, percussion (replaced Dieter Ahrendt)

- Bernd Gertig -- lead guitars, vocals (replaced Alex Conti)

NEW - Benjamin Hüllenkrämer -- bass, backing vocals (replaced 

  Josef Kappl)

- James Hopkins-Harrison (RIP 1992) -- vocals 

- Achim Opperman -- guitar, keyboards, vocals

 

  supporting musicians (1986)

- Ludwig Gotz -- horns

- Madeleine Lang -- backing vocals

- Bob Lanse -- horns

- Ulf Meyer -- backing vocals

- Roland Schmitt -- horns

- Marion Schwaiger -- backing vocals

 

 

 

 

Atlantis (Alex Conti)

- Casten Bohn's Bandstand

- Curley Curve (Alex Conti)

- Every Which Way (Geoffrey Peacey (aka Geoff Peach)t)

- Mott the Hoople (Geoffrey Peacy)

- The Tornados (Dieter Ahrendt, Detlef Petersen and 

  Martin Tiefensee)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Lake

Company: Columbia

Catalog: PC-34763

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo timing sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4542

Price: $8.00

 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Lake

Company: CBS

Catalog: CBS 81661

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original German pressing; original inner sleeve with lyrics

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5508

Price: $15.00

 

This band's always been a personal favorite since the first time I heard them on Armed Forces Radio Network while living in Germany during the mid-1970s.  What made them interesting to me was the fact they were one of the few German (okay German and English) bands to get any kind of radio play on AFN.  They also had a unique sound - hard to accurate describe them ...  they were progressive, but with a clear top-40 sheen.  I know, I know that told you next to nothing.

 

Drummer Dieter Ahrendt, keyboardist Detlef Petersen and bassist Martin Tiefensee started their musical collaboration as members of the German cover band The Tornados.  By 1973 the three decided to strike out on their own, forming Lake.  Over the next couple of years the band underwent a steady stream of personnel changes, but by 1975 the band had coalesced into a multinational lineup rounded out by former Atlantis guitarist Alex Conti, Scottish singer James Hopkins-Harrison and former Mott the Hoople keyboardist Geoffrey Peacey.  The band spent several years working as sessions players, recording a series of demos.  Unable to interest a label in signing them, the band raided their collective savings to finance their own debut album.   

 

Recorded in England, 1977's cleverly-titled "Lake" was produced by Petersen (who also co-wrote all eight tracks with Hopkins-Harrison.  The result was an excellent and largely overlooked collection that effortlessly mixed pop and progressive moves - they got the mix right at least a couple of years ahead of Supertramp.  Propelled by Hopkins-Harrison's curiously accented vocals, the album offered up an engaging mix of commercial pop ('On the Run' and 'Sorry To Say') and longer, more progressive-oriented moves (the three tracks found on side 2).  The eight tracks were full of strong melodies, nice vocal harmonies and some interesting instrumental segments - probably explaining why progressive fans don't think too much of the set.  Propelled by the top-40 single 'Time Bomb' b/w 'Chasing Colours' (Columbia catalog number 3-10614) and an American tour opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd (!!!) the album still managed to sell well in the States, eventually hitting # 22.


 

 

 

- 1977's 'On the Run' b/w 'Time Bomb' (CBS catalog number CBS S4865)


 

 

 

 

 

"Lake" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) On the Run   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

2.) Sorry To Say   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

3.) Time Bomb   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

4.) Chasing Colours   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

5.) Do I Love You   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Key To the Rhyme   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

2.) Jesus Came Down   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

3.) Between the Lines   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 

 

 

Postscript - Imagine my surprise when I got an email from original keyboardist Geoffrey Peacey.  In an exchange of notes Peacey was kind enough to provide an update on what he and some of the other members were up to.

 

Sometimes at work when I have a couple of moments peace I brows the Internet for any new info on various things including Lake. So I came across your home page.

 

After leaving Lake I spent a couple of years as a freelance sound engineer. I then took a position at Peermusic-Hamburg as their sound engineer and I’ve been here since. I also function as  an IT engineer so I keep busy. It also gives me a chance to play on sessions one in a while. Detlef [Peterson] does film and tv music, Martin [Tiefensee] is a camera man with his own company and he gets to travel a lot. Dieter [Ahrendt] works for a advertising company and Alex [Conti] still plays in various bands. Jim [Hopkins-Harrison] died back in early 1990’s, he got onto the wrong side of life. (Sadly Hopkins-Harrison died in 1991, reportedly a heroin casualty.) We had talked about a reunion but due to the daily work pressures that everyone has it kind of got “Lost by the Wayside” . Well Scott if there any questions please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them

 

Have fun, Geoffrey Peacey

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Lake II

Company: Columbia

Catalog: PC-35289

Year: 1978

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo timing sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4590

Price: $12.00

Cost: $4.35

Anyone who liked 1977's "Lake" was likely to find the 1978 follow-on equally appealing.  In spite of the fact it was recorded  under considerable pressure  across sessions in Hamburg, Dave Edmund's Rockfield Studios, and in Colorado's Caribou Studios, the self-produced "Lake 2" sounded very much like a continuation of the earlier album.  Again largely written by singer James Hopkins-Harrison and keyboardist Detlef Petersen, the album managed to come up with another nifty blend of pop and progressive moves.  Propelled by  Hopkins-Harrison's unique voice and those trademarked group harmonies, tracks such as 'Red Lake' (with Beach Boy Carl Wilson on backing vocals), 'See Them Glow' (perhaps their prettiest song), and 'Scoobie Doobiesr' all featured memorable melodies that made them prime AOR radio fodder.  Needless to say, the latter's lyrical content guaranteed no radio station would play it ("we all love scoobie doobies ...").  To be honest, while it may not have been as consistent as the debut, there are times I actually enjoyed this one more than the debut ...  That made it even more mysterious to see that Columbia seemingly gave up trying to break the band in the States.  The label floated one promotional single in the form of 'See Them Glow' and apparently walked away from the album.

 

"Lake II" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Welcome To the West   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 5:06   rating: **** stars

A friend of mine described 'Welcome To the West' as progressive music for folks who didn't like progressive music.  I remember thinking that was a pretty dumb comment, but having heard this tune dozens of times, it seems more and more accurate.  Surrounded by an epic arrangement that actually recalled a western soundtrack, perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but the song has always struck me as being a none-too-subtle criticism of Western commercial values.  Lyrically it certainly hasn't aged too well in the wake of the collapse of East Germany and the Soviet Union, but I still love it.

2.) See Them Glow   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:58   rating: **** stars

If you were going to generate a Lake "best of" set, 'See Them Glow' would have to be on the list.  The combination of some blistering "showbiz" lyrics (even more on target in this day and age of celebrity worship), Hopkins-Harrison's voice, and those instantly recognizable harmonies made it one of the album highlights.   Easy to see why it was tapped as a single, though I've always wondered why Columbia didn't push the song in the States.

  US release

- 1978's 'See Them Glow' b/w 'Highway 216' (Columbia catalog number 3-10818)

  German release

- 1978's 'See Them Glow' b/w 'Angel In Disguise' (CBS catalog number CBS S 6688

3.) Letters of Love   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 3:38   rating: ** stars

A short, tight little rocker, 'Letters of Love' it was easy to see why CBS tapped it as the album's second single (everywhere except the States).

- 1978's 'Letters of Love' b/w 'Lost By the Wayside' (CBS catalog number CBS S6243)

4.) Red Lake   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Geoffrey Peacey) - 4:56   rating: **** stars

Lake meets the Beach Boys ...  One of their prettiest melodies and Beach Boy Carl Wilson was featured on backing vocals.

5.) Love's A Jailer   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Geoffrey Peacey) - 4:27   rating: ** stars

'Love's a Jailer' opened up with some nice keyboards from Geoffrey Peacey and Detlef Petersen but quickly went downhill  into a forgettable, overly sentimental, pop-oriented ballad.

 

(side 2)
1.) Lost By the Wayside   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:42   rating: *** stars

Sporting some nice guitar and keyboards interaction, 'Lost By the Wayside' demonstrated Lake could handle a conventional rocker without a sweat.  It also showcased the band's stellar harmony vocals.

2.) Highway 216   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Geoffrey Peacey) - 3:36   rating: **** stars

One of Lake's finest ballads, hard to believe that 'Highway 216' was never released as a single.  Okay, it was the "B" side to 'See Them Glow', but deserved so much more.  It also showcased on of Alex Conti's best guitar solos.

3.) Angel In Disguise   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:27   rating: *** stars

Kicked along by Martin Tiefensee rollicking bass line and Geoffrey Peacey and Detlef Petersen 's jazzy keyboards, it was nice to hear the band take on a more conventional rock song.  Besides, how could you not like a tune that include a reference to a "boudoirs'?  

4.) Scoobie Doobies   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Geoffrey Peacey) - 7:44   rating: **** stars

Regardless of what illicit substance the song was inspired (ironic given Hopkins-Harrison's 1991 death due to a heroin overdose), it was easy to see why this one never had a chance at radio airplay.   LOL   Always loved the pretty keyboard and guitar solo around the 3:20 mark and the stoned group chorus at the fade out was pretty funny.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Paradise Island

Company: Columbia

Catalog: JC-35817

Year: 1979

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: white label promo copy; timing strip on back cover; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4572

Price: $10.00

 

Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Paradise Island

Company: Columbia

Catalog: JC-35817

Year: 1979

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stock copy; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4572

Price: $10.00

 

In theory there's no reason why I shouldn't have enjoyed 1979's "Paradise Lake" as much as Lake's earlier albums.   Self-produced, musically the set didn't sound much different from "Lake" or "Lake II".  That said, in spite of repeated spins I found this one disappointing.  The difference may have been found in the fact that this time around the band leaned towards pop at the expensive of progressive moves. Not that Lake was ever a true progressive entity ...   Nah, in truth I think their formula had just began to turn cold.  Hopkins-Harrison didn't seem particularly interested in the material and his weird German-Scottish accent sounded shriller than unusual (check out his performance on 'Glad To Be Here').  Mind you there were still a couple of decent tracks in the form of 'Into the Night' and their peeping Tom ode 'Hopeless Love'.  Elsewhere performances such as 'Crystal Eyes' and 'One Way Song' were simply dull AOR.  For goodness sakes, even Jim McMullen's cover art appeared warmed over.

 

"Paradise Island" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Into the Night   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 5:11   rating: **** stars

Opening up with some tasty Geoffrey Peacey organ and Hopkins-Harrison's instantly recognizable voice, 'Into the Night' started the set off on a promising note.  Not exactly a progressive song, but it was less outwardly commercial than most of the collection, with some interesting twists and turns and a nice end-of-song jam section.  YouTube has a clip of the 2012 line-up (with original guitarist Ian Cussik), performing the song at a December appearance in Hamburg.  It's a little ragged, but still enjoyable.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnqeDjgmqIE 

2.) Glad To Be Here   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen - Geoffrey Peacey) - 3:49   rating: ** stars

Hum, Lake decides to take over for The Beach Boys ...  Good example of the new, commercial band.  The harmonies were nice enough, but I can't say it did much for me.

3.) Crystal Eyes   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen - Geoffrey Peacey) - 3:58   rating: *** stars

For me Hopkins-Harrison's weird voice was always one of the band's biggest draws.  There was just something so strange hearing that weird Scottish-German hybrid and it was seldom as apparent as on the ballad 'Crystal Eyes'.   Pretty ballad with a beautiful Alex Conti acoustic guitar solo.

4.) Paradise Way   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:55    rating: **** stars

Shame the rest of the album wasn't as rocking as the title track.  Yeah, they seemingly threw everything they had into this one (including bells), but it actually exhibited quite a bit of energy and by the end of the tune you kind of hoped it wouldn't fade out.  The song served as the band's final US single:

- 1979's 'Paradise Way' b/w 'Crystal Eyes' (Columbia catalog number 3-11011)

 

(side 2)
1.) Hopeless Love   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:09
  rating: ** stars

I know its a favorite for fans, but I've always found 'Hopeless Love' to be irritating.  It sounded like they purposely set out to write a hit giving the tune a very calculated sound.  

2.) One Way Song   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Alex Conti ) - 3:43   rating: ** stars

Conti's guitar work was nice, but otherwise this radio-friendly ballad was simply bland and forgettable.  Imagine a bad Chicago/Peter Cetera ballad and you'll get a feel for this one.

3.) Hard Road   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen - Alex Conti - Dieter Ahrendt) - 3:34

At least it wasn't another ballad.  And, courtesy of Peacey, it had some cheesy '70s Moog washes.  I guess that's faint praise, but the best I can do.  The song was tapped as a German single:

 

 

 

 

- 1979's 'Hard Road' b/w 'One Way Song' (CBS catalog number 7284)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) The Final Curtain   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 5:04  rating: *** stars

'The Final Curtain' closed the album with a big, sentimental ballad that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Harry Chapin album.  No, that wasn't meant as a compliment.   Don't say anything, if you don't have something nice to say ...  well, the tune got a little better as it went along.  Once again Peacey showed a light touch on the Moog and  Martin Tiefensee's bass work was stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

  For hardcore collectors, there's also a German picture disc version of the LP (CBS catalog number P 83480):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ouch!

Company: Caribou

Catalog: JZ-37083

Year: 1981

Country/State: UK / Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 4751

Price: $15.00

 

 

Recorded in the wake of personnel upheavals that saw half the line up replaced, by all measures 1981's "Ouch!" should have been a complete disaster.  Instead, the resulting collaboration with longtime Chicago producer James William Guerico stood as at least a partial return to form.  Fans of the band's original progressive moves were probably disappointed by the band's continued drift towards a more commercial sound, but propelled by James Hopkins-Harrison's instantly recognizable vocals (his strange blend of Scottish and German accents always brings a smile to my face), material such as 'Celebrate', 'Listen To Me' (with a surprising pro-union message) and 'Living for Today' (nice harmony vocals) was catchy and radio friendly. Most of the nine songs (largely penned by Hopkins-Harrison and new keyboardist Frank Heiber) were at least worth hearing once or twice.  In fact the only true flops were the reggae flavored 'Jamaica High' (major lame) and the Peter Cetera/Chicago-styled ballad 'Amigo'. (Ask yourself do you really want to hear Hopkins-Harrison singing in Scottish and German accented Spanish?)  The album was certainly better than the previous 'Paradise Island' though it did nothing commercially.  (This is pure speculation on my part, but I'm assuming the connection with Guerico and his Caribou Record label stemmed from the band's friendship with Beach Boy Carl Wilson.  Wilson and the Beach Boys had worked with Guerico and recorded at his Caribou Studios.)

 

"Ouch!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Celebrate   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 3:49  rating: **** stars

Admittedly 'Celebrate' found the band shifting into what was clearly pop-success gear.  Luckily Josef Kappl turned in an amazing bass line and the accompanying guitar solo was wonderful.   Easy to see why the song was tapped as the album's second single:

- 1981's 'Celebrate' b/w 'Come on Home' (CBS catalog number CBS S-8568)

2.) Come on Home   (Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:38   rating: *** stars

'Come on Home' started out with a touch of their progressive roots, but the chorus was top-40 ready.  The song appeared as the "B" side to their 'Celebrate' 45.

3.) Listen to Me   (Haiko Efferz - Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:15

4.) Amigo   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 2:51   rating: ** stars

Pretty acoustic guitar opening that reflected kind of a Beach Boys feel.  Not sure the Spanish lyrics added much to the mix.  Guess Carl Wilson's backing vocals might explain the Beach Boys feel.  

5.) Jamaica High   (Alex Conti - Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:46   rating: ** stars

Pop bands trying out reggae moves usually turn out poorly and 'Jamaica High' stays true to that pattern.  Clearly not a genre they should have purused.  

 

(side 2)
1.) Living for Today   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:30
   rating: **** stars

The a cappela opening was unexpected, but when you got through the first 30 seconds and the song kicked into gear it proved the band ha not lost their gift for catchy hooks.  Yeah, repeating the title time after time, after time didn't make for the most engaging set of lyrics you've ever heard, but it rocked with conviction. The track was also tapped as the album's leadoff German single:

- 1981's "Living for Today' b/w 'Jamaica High' (CBS catalog number CBS S-9427)

2.) Something Here   (Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:32

Built on a funky little Erlend Krause guitar riff, 'Something Here' was a nice, little throwaway rocker.    Perhaps the album's hidden gem.    rating: **** stars

3.) Hit Your Mama   (Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:17   rating: *** stars

Opening up the kind of cheesy, bubbly '80s synthesizers I love, 'Hit Your Mama' was a bland, corporate rocker.  Lake-decides-to-become-a-hair-band.    rating: **** stars

4.) Southern Nights   (Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:30

Be thankful it wasn't a cover of the Allen Toussaint song ... Pretty enough ballad with a nice chorus, though it was funny hearing a German/UK band singing about such a subject.   Over the years Hopkins-Harrison's Scottish accent has always been one of the band's selling points, but on this one it sounded like all those years of living in Germany had finally caught up with him.  Actually, it was clearly Hopkins-Harrison on the chorus, but the lead vocals sounded like someone else.   

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Hot Day

Company: CBS

Catalog: CBS 85 030

Year: 1981

Country/State: UK / Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing; includes original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6397

Price: $15.00

 

While I fully understand musicians need to pay their bills and feed their families, I've seldom encountered a band that's made as radical a change in musical direction as Lake did between the release of their fourth and fifth studio albums.  Never a good sign, the album was recorded after another significant shift in personnel with Josef Kappl replacing bassist Heiko Effertz and Erlend Krauser replacing lead guitarist Benrd Gertig. The cover photos showing fashionably coiffed hair and lots of leather and skinny ties was also an ominous harbenger of things to come.  Co-produced Udo Arndt and the band, I can distinctly remember putting 1981's "Hot Day" on my turntable and scratching my head wondering if CBS had stuffed some jittery new wave band's record into a Lake sleeve by mistake.  Could this really be the same band that recorded all those great mid-1970s progressive-rock songs ?   Sadly it was ...  Judging by these nine tracks you were left to wonder just how far Lake and CBS were willing to go in pursuit of popular success.  In this instance tracks like 'Sanford And Son', 'Escape' and 'Silicone Sally' found Lake all but abandoning the progressive-pop hybrid that initially made them so likeable.  In its place you got a jittery, new wave influenced brand of synth-pop that was mildly catchy ('Everyone'), but had the originality of a toothpaste commercial.  As front man singer James Hopkins-Harrison was particularly anonymous this time out.  For goodness sake, he sounded like middle of the road crooner Boz Scaggs on 'Silicone Sally'.    Sadly this is one of those albums where it's hard to come up with anything positive to say.

 

 

"Hot Day" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sanford And Son   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 3:47   rating: *** stars

I know that American television programs have long been a staple on German television, but I've got absolutely no idea if the '70s American television show Sanford and Son was the inspiration for this track.  I'm sure some Lake enthusiast out there has the answer ...   In spite of being one lyrically bizarre track, the song actually had a decent new-wave melody with a great pop hook-chorus and some of the cheesiest synthesizers you've ever heard.  That must be why CBS tapped it as the lead-off single.    

2.) Escape   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Erlend Krauser) - 3:36   rating: *** stars

With banks of synthesizers and at weird bell sounding guitar effect, 'Escape' opened up sounding like it had been lifted from an ABBA tune ...  Good if you were an ABBA fans, not so good for everyone else.   While this was far from the worst performance on the album, this one sounded very calculated - almost as if the band had been studying the Journey manual on AOR domination.  Quite commercial, in a music-as-product fashion.  I've always wondered why the album wasn't entitled 'Escape' since none of the songs were entitled 'Hot Day' ...  in fact the only reference to 'Hot Day' is in found in the lyrics to this song.     

3.) Everyone   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Erlend Krauser) - 4:05   rating: ** stars

I have an eight year old who is taking guitar lessons and once in awhile I have to drop him off.  This music school where he takes his lessons has a program where they team young kids into 'bands' and I can honestly tell you some of the stuff I've heard coming out of those jam sessions wasn't much worse than 'Everyone'.  Kicked along by some of the lamest drumming you've ever heard, this sounded like a song fragment that got added to pad the album's running time.    

4.) Silicone Sally   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Frank Hiebe) - 3:58   rating: ** stars

And just when you didn't think it could get much worse you got the band's stab at serious commentary - 'Silicone Sally'.  Imagine Boz Scaggs circa "Silk Degrees" singing a song about the evils of lonely hookers with silicon breast implants and you'll have an idea as to what this one sounded like.   Well, at least Erlend Krauser turned in a nice lead guitar solo on this one.    

5.) Goodbye Alexander   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:19   rating: *** stars

Judging by the lyrics, 'Goodbye Alexander' was biographical, though I don't know enough about the band to understand the inspiration ...  obviously someone associated with the band stumbled off the straight and narrow path.  Another track with a pleasant, but anonymous AOR feel, the song was rather ironic given lead singer James Hopkins-Harrison's future lifestyle choices.  

 

(side 2)
1.) The Sound Of America   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 5:02   rating: ** stars

Apparently meant as some sort of big statement, 'The Sound Of America' managed to epitamize everything wrong with Lake - tinny '80s sound, way too much bad synthesizer, anonymous AOR melody, etc., etc. ...  yech.   

2.) Cities On Fire   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 5:11

Opening up with a dark melody and some nice acoustic guitar, 'Cities On Fire' seemed to hold promise.  Hopkins-Harrison even sounded like his old self.  And while it was far from earlier glories, by avoiding some of the AOR excesses that plagued the rest of the album, this one at least reminded you a little bit of the old Lake ...    rating: *** stars 

3.) Band At The Top   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:19   rating: ** stars

Clearly another autobiographical tale, 'Band At The Top' was a forgettable slice of top-40sh rock that managed to capture their corporate and creative plight in three minutes.  Should have taken some of their own advice and avoided the trap they fell into.  For some reason CBS tapped it as a German single.   

4.) We Can Try   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:29   rating: ** stars

We Can Try' was a nice enough ballad, but lacked a shred of originality.  Though penned by Hokins-Harrison and guitarist Achim Oppermann, it sounded like one of those '80s ballads hired hands like Diane Warren or David Foster churned out for hair bands. 

 

 

As mentioned above, the album spun off a pair of quickly forgotten German singles:

 

- 1981's 'Sanford and Son' b/w 'Escape' (CBS catalog number CBSA1195)

- 1981's 'Band At the Top' b/w 'Cities On Fire' (CBS catalog number CBSA1560)

 

For anyone who loved the first couple of Lake albums this was a major disappointment.  On the other hand, it you grew up loving new wave and '80s AOR, then this might have some appeal.






Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Live - On the Run

Company: CBS

Catalog: 88 594

Year: 1984

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: German pressing; double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $40.00

 

 

A band being allowed to release a double album, live collection has frequently been a sign their record label has lost interest in them as a viable commercial property  ...   And having released five increasingly less successful studio sets for CBS/Columbia, that pretty much seems to have nailed the situation Lake found themselves in with the release of 1982's "Live On the Run".  A 17 track, double album set, the collection pulled together concert material drawn from 1979 and 1980 tours.  For hardcore fans, most of the performances featured the original lineup, but at least a couple of the songs ('Rocky Mountain Way' and 'Glad To Be Here') featured the Lake MK III line up with bassist Heiko Effertz, keyboardist Frank Hieber, and guitarist Achim Opperman.  Probably not a major surprise, the collection was heavily focused on material from the first four studio LPs with "Hot Day" notable underrepresented.  From a marketing standpoint that was probably a pretty smart move since those albums featured what most folks would say was the band's classic work.  At the other end of the spectrum the emphasis on classic tunes meant there wasn't much that was new, or unexpected.  In fact covers of Steely Dan's 'Black Friday' and Joe Walsh's 'Rocky Mountain Way' were really t he only surprises.  While I have no idea how much post-production work went into the set, by and large the performances were pretty impressive.  Scottish lead singer James Harrison-Hopkins didn't have the most dynamic voice, but when he stuck to the range he was comfortable with the results were good.  The rest of the band were equally impressive with Conti getting an occasional opportunity to stretch out beyond the confines of his studio work.  None of the songs were radically different from the original studio versions which would probably please long standing fans.    

 

"No Time for Heroes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) On the Run   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:24rating: *** stars

Kicked along by Geoffrey Peacey and Detlef Petersen's gurgling synthesizers, 'On the Run' opened the album with one of Lake's classic tunes, but at least to my ears this version was simply a bit too fast ...  James Harrison Hopkins sounded like he was having a hard time holding on as the rest of the band rolled through the song at a double time pace.  On the positive side Alex Conti turned in a blazing guitar solo

2.) Red Lake   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen - Geoffrey Peacey) - 4:58rating: *** stars

I'm not sure where 'Red Lake' fits in the Lake discography (it was a new song to my ears), but it sounded a bit like a cross between Steely Dan and Pablo Cruise.  Again, Conti turned in some nice fretwork.  

3.) Hopeless Love   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:28   rating: **** stars

'Hopeless Love' was probably the best song on the "Paradise Island" set, capturing Hopkins-Harrison and company at their best ...   in this case a highly commercial melody with one of Hopkins-Harrison's best vocals and some of the band's sweet harmony vocals.

4.) The Final Curtain   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:53  rating: ** stars

Another track from the "Paradise Island" LP, 'The Final Curtain' was a pretty, mildly Gospel-tinged ballad.  The song was also notable for giving bassist Martin Tiefensee a shot at the spotlight.  r

5.) See Them Glow   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:25   rating: **** stars

Unusual for a live track, 'See Them Glow' was presented in a tighter, more focused arrangement.  Almost a minute shorter than the original studio version, Hopkins-Harrison and company seldom sounded as good.   CBS should have tapped this as a single.  

 

(side 2)
1.) Black Friday   (Donald Fagen - Walter Becker) - 6:29   rating: **** stars

As mentioned, the band's cover of Steely Dan's 'Black Friday' stood as the album's most intriguing performance.  Hardly the best Dan cover you've ever heard though Alex Conti turned in a blazing guitar solo, it was still a blast to hear their rocked-up version of the song.   

2.) Between the Lines   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 7:14  rating: ** stars

The rocker 'Between the Lines' started out as an above par Lake rocker, but the second half of the song became little more than a jam platform for band members to show off their technical proficiency.  While having  a couple of German beers in your stomach might have upped the enjoyment quotient, stone cold somber this one was borderline plodding.    

3.) Jesus Came Down   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 3:50   rating: **** stars

Also off the debut album, 'Jesus Came Down' has always been a personal favorite and hear they treated it to an almost verbatim version of the original studio track.   Nice.   

4.) Paradise Way   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 5:44   rating: **** stars

I'll readily admit the "Paradise Way" album was where the band started to lose creative steam and interest to me.  I remember thinking band had surrendered their uniqueness for a bland corporate sound.  So, this version of the title track came as one of the live set's biggest surprises.  In a live setting this one displayed far more energy that the studio original.  

 

(side 3)

1.) Rocky Mountain Way  (Joe Walsh) - 7:45rating: *** stars

The band's cover of Joe Walsh's 'Rocky Mountain Way' was another pleasant surprise.  Again, their cover won't make you forget the classic Walsh song, but they turned in a pretty decent version. 

2.) Glad To Be Here   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen - Geoffrey Peacey) - 3:44rating: *** stars

'Glad To Be Here' was one of the most commercial songs off their third set and the concert version doesn't stray far from the studio arrangement.  Hopkins-Harrison turned in one of his better performances on this track.

3.) Scoobie Doobies   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Geoffrey Peacey) - 11:20   rating: **** stars

Yeah, it was ironic in the face of Hopkins-Harrison's tragic death, but I always took 'Scoobie Doobies' as an anti-drug song and gave the band credit for be willing to take such a stance when it wasn't particularly popular.   The live version slowed the song down and inserted a truly beautiful keyboard solo and some more dazzling fretwork from Conti.   

 

(side 4)
1.) Celebrate   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 3:55rating: *** stars

'Celebrate' was another song that actually improved in a live setting.  The studio version (off of 1981's "Ouch!") never did much for me.  While still a bit on the pop side, Conti's guitar solo added a bit of much needed muscle to the tune.   

2.) Living for Today   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:08   rating: **** stars

Written by Hopkins-Harrison and guitarist Achim Opperman, was a bit short on the lyric side - basically the title chanted over and over, but it had one of Lake's best melodies.  Very infectious.  

3.) Jamaica High   (Alex Conti - Frank Hieber - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 5:05  rating: ** stars

Hum, Scottish - German band decided to incorporate reggae in their repertoire ...  Yeah, the results were about as lame as you'd expect.  Who ever thought that 10 c.c.'s 'Bloody Tourists'  would sound good compared to this ?   

4.) Key To the Rhyme   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 5:12rating: *** stars

'Key To the Rhyme' was another classic tune off the debut LP.  It was also one of the tracks that showcased the band's early blend of progressive and pop genres.  The live version was pretty good with Conti and the keyboardists getting a bit of spotlight time.  

5.) Chasing Colours   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Detlef Petersen) - 4:12  rating: ** stars

Another favorite off the debut, the live version of  'Chasing Colours' seemed to drag a bit.  Blame Hopkins-Harrison who simply seemed to have run out of steam. 

 

Clearly not a breakout set, CBS didn't even bother releasing the set in the States, explaining why it takes a bit of diligence to track down a copy. (Nice to see the company spent lots of time and money on the cover art.)  Not a big surprise, CBS subsequently dropped them Lake its recording roster.

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  No Time for Heroes

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 821 834-4

Year: 1984

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing; x's next to track listing

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 6379

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

1984's "No Time For Heroes" marked Lake's first new studio set in three years; a new label (Polydor), and introduced what was basically a new lineup.  This time around drummer Dieter Ahrendt, longtime singer James Hopkins-Harrison, and guitarist Achim Opperman were augmented by newcomers Thomas Bauer on keyboards and sax, lead guitarist Bernd Gertig, and bass player Josef Kappl.  Produced by John Groves and the band (former keyboardist Geoffrey Peacey engineered the recording sessions), musically the album found the band seemingly trying to find a balance between a return their mid-1970s blend of top-40 pop-rock and light progressive moves and opting for a more audience friendly brand of mid-1980s AOR.  While you certainly couldn't begrudge Lake for wanting to enjoy renewed commercial success, slathered in cheesy synthesizers and an occasional nod to dance clubs ('Lady Divine'), a couple of tracks brought them awfully close to vapid studio hack status - you're liable to find yourself thinking of Pablo Cruise, or even Toto when listening to 'Heroes'.  At least to my ears, they were much more enjoyable on tracks like 'Tell Me Why' and 'Lorraine' when dialing down the updated sounds in favor of a more streamlined pop-rock orientation.  As lead-vocalist and lyricist, Hopkins-Harrison remained the prime draw.  His weird voice has always fascinated me - how often do you hear an English guy who sounds like he's singing with a German accent ?  Technically he wasn't the greatest singer you've ever heard, but when he got going, the man could inject considerable energy into the proceedings.  Nothing wrong with the rest of the band, though some of the 1980s production effects haven't aged all that well.

"No Time for Heroes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Continental Vagabond   (Achim Opperman - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:32  rating: **** stars

Even though the sax-powered opening made it sound like a slice of adult contemporary pop, when it shifted into gear 'Continental Vagabond' served as a nice reminder of the band's knack for catchy melodies mixed with a slightly harder rock sound.  Yeah, the title and lyrics apparently lost something in the translation, but the melody was highly commercial and if you weren't careful you were liable to find yourself singing the hook.

2.) Dreams In The Night   (Achim Opperman - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:11  rating: *** stars.  

With guitarist Achim Opperman handling lead vocals, 'Dreams In The Nigh' was a mid-tempo AOR ballad.  Technically Opperman may actually have had a better voice than Hopkins-Harrison, but he also had a much heavier accent so the results kind of balanced themselves out.  Pretty song, but maybe a touch too radio friendly for their own good.  Yes, it was released as a German single:

 

   

 

- 1984's 'Dreams In he Night' b/w 'Instrumental No. 1' (Polydor catalog number 821835-7) 

3.) Tell Me Why   (Achim Opperman - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 3:42  rating: **** stars

Perhaps the album's most overtly commercial track, 'Tell Me Why' had a breezy, top-40-ish melody and one of Hopkins-Harrison's most assured vocals.  Lightweight and fun with some wonderful backing vocals ...  

4.) Heroes   (Josef Kappl - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 3:59   rating: ** stars  

Kicked along by Josef Kappl's bass and some gurgling synthesizers, 'Heroes' exhibited a curious reggae-tinged rhythm with an AOR feel arrangement dumped on top of it.  Strange mash-up that didn't do a great deal for me, though lots of folks seem to think it was one of the album highlights.  

5.) Never Say Never   (Josef Kappl - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:20   rating: ** stars  

As much as I loved Hopkins-Harrison's weird voice, he simply couldn't save a faceless AOR track like 'Never Say Never'.  This one sounded like it was literally stitched together from a slew of then current sources including a touch of AOR, a dollop of dance music, and even a little bit of progressive influences.  It was also one of those songs that really suffered from an extremely dated mid-1980s production sound - what was with the flat drums ???   

(side 2)
1.) Instrumental No #1 (instrumental)   (Achim Opperman) - 3:50   rating: ** stars  

Penned by Opperman 'Instrumental No #1' was in fact a jazz-rock flavored instrumental that would probably appeal to folks into that particular genre.  Some nice lead guitar and the classical tinge reminded me a bit of an up-tempo Focus song, but otherwise it didn't do a great deal for me.  

2.) Johnny Don't Go   (Thomas Bauer - Achim Opperman - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:12  rating: *** stars.  

AOR, but quality AOR !!!  Yeah, 'Johnny Don't Go' was kind of generic, but it had a breezy melody and would have sounded good on top-40 radio.     

3.) Lorraine   (Thomas Bauer - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 3:21  rating: *** stars.  

'Lorraine' was simply a  fun pop-rock song with one of the album's best hooks.  Nothing more; nothing less.   

4.) Scotsman   (Thomas Bauer - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:11  rating: **** stars

Obviously autobiographical, 'Scotsman' managed to mix up a bit of rap, bagpipes, and a Big Country-styled anthem.  You wouldn't think mixture would amount to much, but it somehow worked, standing as the album's goofiest and simultaneously most intriguing number.   

5.) Lady Divine   (Thomas Bauer - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 3:16   rating: ** stars  

Yeah, 'Lady Divine' started out sounding like a Chic outtake and never really managed to overcome that disadvantage.  

6.) Fight It Together   (Josef Kappl - James Hopkins-Harrison) - 4:07   rating: ** stars  

'Fight It Together' found Lake taking a stab at Genesis-styled relevance with the usual sophomoric condemnation of mankind's foibles.  Bad decision since the results came off as heavy handed, plodding, and mildly pretentious. 

  

A surprisingly assured comeback, that hardly anyone noticed ...  good luck finding copies of the album since nobody bothered to pick up American distribution. 






Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Voices

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 827 458-1 Y

Year: 1985

Country/State: UK / Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $25.00

 

I'll readily admit that I thought 1984's "No Time for Heroes" was a pretty good return to form for Lake.  Unfortunately, at least on my part, a quick look at 1985's "Voices" gave rise to concerns ...   with very '80s packaging including that hideous COBOL-styled font for the liner notes, you were left with a sinking feeling that these guys had finally thrown in the creative towel and decided to pursue popular tastes at whatever costs.   Co-produced by guitarist Achim Oppermann and singer James Hopkins-Harrison (the pair were also responsible for most of the nine songs), that's pretty much what you got with this outing.  From a business and marketing standpoint I guess you couldn't really blame these guys for becoming increasingly desperate to find an audience.  Lake sales had followed a downward progression and Polydor management was clearly putting pressure on them to come up with a more commercial sound, or suffer the consequences - and who wants to be an unemployed musician in your mid-30s ?   So the bad news is this album has a very dated mid-1980s sound - lots of that busy, tinny production sound with heaps of synthesizers and way too many big ballads that were meant to attract top-40 play lists, but came off as being flat and insincere.  A sure sign of growing panic, 'Alright' even found them trying out dance music.   Even worse, on tracks like the jittery new wavy 'Nervous Breakdown' and '' you were hard pressed to tell this was actually a Lake composition - numbers like 'Echo Of The Melody' could have just as easily been Hall and Oates, or even Whitesnake.

 

"Voices" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Alright   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 3:36

Seriously, complete with universal uplifting lyrics, bubbling synthesizers and pop bass, the opener 'Alright' found the band sticking their collective toes into dance music territory ...   Even sadder, 'Alright' was one of the album's better tracks.  The song was tapped as a German single:

- 1985's 'Alright' b/w 'Alright' (instrumental) (Polydor catalog number 883 330-7)  rating: *** stars

2.) More Than A Feeling    (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:26

A faceless AOR ballad, ''More Than A Feeling' had an okay chorus (though after hearing the phrase for the 500th time it started to outlast its welcome), but the rest of the tune was a complete waste that only served to underscore Hopkins Harrison's weird voice.   Easy to picture this one having been comped on one of those John Hughes mid-1980s teen flicks.  This one was also  released as a German single:

- 1985's 'More Than a Feeling' b/w 'Nervous Breakdown' (Polydor catalog number 883 881-7)   rating: ** stars

3.) Comedy Of Love   (J. Hopkins-Harrison - Thomas Bauer) - 3:44

Somewhere amidst the aural wreckage there was a good song embedded in 'Comedy Of Love'.  As recorded for the album you were left with an amazingly bad mix of cheesy synthesizers, new wave angst, and Hopkins Harrison struggling to get through the song ...  you were left to wonder if he was actually going to make it.   rating: ** stars

4.) Echo Of The Melody   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:27

The ballad 'Echo Of The Melody' found guitarist Oppermann taking over lead vocals.  Not sure why, but this one's always reminded me of a bad Hall and Oates tune.     rating: ** stars

5.) I Don't Wanna Lose You   (J. Hopkins-Harrison - Thomas Bauer) - 3:44

'I Don't Wanna Lose You' was another faceless power ballad  ...  like Chinese food, two minutes after the song was over and you'd be hard pressed to remember anything about it.     rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Nervous Breakdown   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 3:12

Possibly the nadir of their catalog, the skitterish, new-wavy 'Nervous Breakdown' was clearly meant to capture the attention of a younger audience, but I suspect all it managed to do was piss off older fans.  Personally I hate it ..     rating: ** stars

2.) Chase The Dragon   (J. Hopkins-Harrison - Josef Kappl) - 3:53

Probably the album's most tuneful song, 'Chase the Dragon' was also the most disturbing in view of Hopkins Harrison's future death as a result of a heroin overdose.     rating: *** stars

2.) Who Do You Love    (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:46

More skitterish dance pop ... 'Who Do You Love' was another low point in their catalog.      rating: ** stars

4.) Love's a Game   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Josef Kappl) - 3:34

While it was easily the album's most commercial number, 'Love's a Game'  certainly wasn't anything to write home about.   Still, it had a nice melody and for once the band didn't sound like they were trying too hard.  rating: *** stars

3.) Music's A Way Of Life   (James Hopkins-Harrison - Achim Oppermann) - 4:43

I'm sure lots of folks will disagree, but to my ears 'Music's A Way Of Life' was simply hideous.  Meant to be inspirational, the results were simply insipid - imagine one of those epic Michael Jackson songs that were meant to make you feel like you were a contributing part of mankind and you'll have a feel as to what to expect here.   rating: ** stars

 

 

The band apparently toured Germany in support of the LP (my copy of the album included a sticker with their touring itinerary), but that seemingly didn't do much for sales - finding a copy of this album is quite a challenge.

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  So What

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 831 164-1

Year: 1986

Country/State: UK / Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing; original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 

Catalog ID: 1640

Price: $30.00

 

So here's the executive summary on this one - it's shite.  You only need to buy this one if you're a hardcore Lake fan, or have some inexplicable need to hear truly bad mid-'80s tunes.

I guess the anonymous and totally forgettable album artwork should have been a warning that 1986's "So What" wasn't going to be a life changing experience.  Co-produced by guitarist Achim Opperman and singer James Hopkins Harrison, this was probably Lake at their creative nadir.  The band seemed completely lost in terms of  how to adapt to changing audience tastes.  Tracks like 'In the Midnight', 'My Emotions' and 'Thick and Thin' offered up tired mishmashes of disco and new-wave influences without the slightest bit of energy, or enthusiasm.   Normally a gifted singer, Hopkins Harrison seemed bored out of his mind; frequently singing in a strange, nasally pitch that sounded more German than his Scottish roots.   I can usually come up with at least a couple of nice things to say about an album, but this collection leaves me at a complete loss ...  I guess the chorus of 'In the Midnight' grows on you if you listen to it enough.   

"So What" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) In the Midnight   (Achim Oppermann - James Hoplins Harrison) - 3:39    rating: ** stars

Geez, amazing how James Hopkins Harrison seemed to sound more and more German with each Lake album.   Not that it really mattered on an anonymous,  throwaway slice of  disco-tinged new wave dreck like 'In the Midnight' - what was with the tortured English?   Sad to hear how far down this promising band had fallen.   Thanks to YouTube you can see their promotion video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM-Mp3k77To   The tune was also released as a German single:

- 1986's 'In the Midnight' b/w 'Children of War' (Polydor catalog number   )   

2.) So What   ( Achim Oppermann - James Hoplins Harrison) - 3:40     rating: *** stars

Ah, nothing like a bunch of mid-aged rock stars lecturing younger folks on how to behave.  Well, at least the young girl backing singers were kind of cute.   

3.) My Emotions   (Bernd Gartig - James Hopkins Harrison) - 3:56  rating: ** stars

To my ears 'My Emotions' sounded like a bad English new wave band - lots of anonymous, slightly ominous synthesizers and punchy horns seemingly trying to make up for the fact the song was bankrupt in terms of ideas, or even a halfway decent melody.  Where were The Art of Noise when you needed them?   

4.) Thick and Thin   ( Achim Oppermann - James Hopkins Harrison) - 3:45    rating: *** stars

Syndrums, cheesey synthesizers, slap bass ...  this one was a perfect example of how dated the album sounds.   Shame since buried in this stinkaroo arrangement was a halfway decent tune.  

5.) Children of War   (Bernd Gartig - James Hopkins Harrison) - 4:08    rating: ** stars

One of the unwritten rules in the Lake catalog was the requirement to include at least one heavy soical statement song.  In this case it was 'Children of War'.   Bless their collective souls for being willing to address the issue of child soldiers decades ahead of the folks who took it on as a hobby..   Unfortunately it was packaged in a dark, heavy, and completely forgettable  song.  The female backing singers (Madeleine Lang and Marion Schwaiger) actually blew Hopkins Harrison off the stage.  

 

(side 2)
1.) Inside To Outside
   ( Achim Oppermann - Colin Pearson) - 3:15     rating: *** stars

Opening up with Bernd Gertig churning out some Niles Rodgers styled guitar moves, 'Inside To Outside' served to underscore the fact these guys were totally out of their league when trying to work in a jittery, new-wave dance mode. Compared to everything else on the album it wasn't bad, but it wasn't going to win any awards.  Funny thing is that for years I didn't even know this was a Lake original tune.  Both Lady Violet and Kajagoogoo frontman Limahll had big hits with their covers of the song and those were the version I was familiar with.   

2.) Feel You In My Arms - 3:46   rating: ** stars

Literally the album's dullest tune.  20 seconds after you'd heard it, you couldn't remember a thing about it, other than it was boring.  

3.) Voices In the Wind   ( Achim Oppermann - James Hopkins Harrison) - 3:55    rating: ** stars

I'm guessing 'Voices In the Wind' was intended to be their big radio ballad.  The fact it was simply horrible probably put an end to that train of thought.  maybe it was just me, but Thomas Bauer's jazzy sax solo sounded totally out of place here.  Hopkins Harrison sounded bored (or stoned) out of his mind on this one.  

4.) Big Brother   ( Achim Oppermann - James Hopkins Harrison)  - 4:03    rating: ** stars

'Big Brother' seemingly found the band trying to toughen up their attack.   Give them credit for a lyric that anticipated the state of affairs by about twenty years.  

5.) Laura   ( Achim Oppermann - James Hopkins Harrison)  - 3:26     rating: *** stars

'Laura' was interesting as one of the few songs Hopkins Harrison didn't sing.  I'm not sure who handled the vocal ...  maybe writer/keyboardist Achim Oppermann?  Someone out there will know.   Anyhow, it was the album's prettiest ballad and the singer didn't sound half bad.  Certainly more enthusiastic than Hopkins Harrison.

 

 

And with that Lake finally decided they'd reached the end of their initial run.  They probably should have called it quits a couple of years earlier, but kudos for knowing when it was finally time to call it quits.

 

 


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