Mike Pinera (Band)

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 ()

- Mike Pinera (ala Carlos Michael Pinera) -- vocals, guitar, bass,

  keyboads, percussion


  supporting musicians (1978)

- Faco -- percussion

- Duane Hitchings -- keyboards

- Donny Vosburgh -- drums

- Terry Weiss -- keyboards, backing vocals




- Alice Cooper (Mike Pinera)

- Blues Image (Mike Pinera)

- Thee Butterfly (Mike Pinera)

- The Classic Rock All Stars (Mike Pinera)

- The Fanz (Mike Pinera)

- Thee Image (Duane Hitching, Mike Pinera and Donny Vosburgh)

- Iron Butterfly (Mike Pinera)

- The New Cactus Band (Mike Pinera and Duane Hitchings)

- Ramatam (Mike Pinera)






Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Isla

Company: Capricorn

Catalog: CPN 202

Country/State: Tampa, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cutout notch in edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $25.00


Singer/guitarist Mike Pinera initially attracted my attention, not because of his musical talent, or extended recording career; rather as a result of his association with the tax scam Illusion record label.  In keeping with that notoriety, 1978's "Mike Pinera" was fascinating given it was billed as his solo debut.  In fact it was a repackged version of a 1975 album he'd recorded under the name The Image.  A trio featuring Pinera along with keyboardist Duane Hitchings and drummer Donny Vosburgh, all ten of these song appeared on The Image's 1975 album "Inside the Triangle" (Maticore catalog number MA6-506 S1).  Same track listing; same running order and as far as my ears can tell, the same versions of these songs.  Hard to imagine Capricorn didn't know what was going on here, but who knows if they were aware this wasn't original material.



As for the Pinera produced album, it was at best a mildly enjoyable mixture of blue-eyed soul, AOR rock with occasional Latin and top-40 moves thrown in.  As shown on performances like the cover of Sir Mack Rice's 'Nobody Wins' and 'Fly Fly Away' Pinera had a nice blue-eyed soul-tinged voice that was quite flexible, able to adapt to a myriad of styles.  Exemplified by 'It's You' and 'Good To You' his guitar work was first rate; melodic and economical.  His songwriting was professional, if derivative and seldom inspired.  The rest of the band were good; content to leave the spotlight to Pinera.  The top three performances were the opening single 'Alone with You', the atmospheric title track, and the Van Halen wannabe closing 'For Another Day.'


"Isla" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Alone with You (Mike Pinera) - 3:10 rating: **** stars

Given Pinera's discography, I have to admit I was flabbergasted the first time I heard 'Alone with You.'  Anyone expecting to hear something along the lines of his work with Blues Image, or Iron Butterfly was going to be surprised by this easy-going, commercial ballad.  Pinera's always had a tasty, soul-tinged voice and he's seldom sounded as comfortable as on this one.  Add in a some of his most melodic guitar work and you could see why Capricorn tapped the song as the leadoff single.  Easy to imagine this one being played in a small club. The irony is Manticore had already released the song as a single under Thee Image nameplate:




- 1974's 'Alone with You' b/w 'Far Away Places' (Marticore catalog number MA 7006F)



- 1978's 'Alone with You' b/w 'Lady Divine' (Capricorn catalog number CPS-288)

2.) Good Thing (Mike Pinera) - 2:50  rating: ** stars

Pinera getting earnest ...  Not necessarily a good thing.  LOL   The bouncy melody sounded like it had been stitched together from a number of other tracks.  The saving-power-of-music lyric was worthy of a "C-" in a high school English class. I took away a star for the heartfelt spoken word segment.  The track was released as a single off of the earlier Thee Image LP:





- 1974's 'Good Thing' (mono) b/w 'Good Thing' (stereo) (Manticore catalog number MQ 7005f)





3.) It's You (Mike Pinera) - 3:07 rating: *** stars

Geez, you couldn't be blamed for mistaking 'It's You' for a Tom Jones performance.  That's not meant as a criticism since I admire a lot of Jones' work.  I'm simply pointing out that on this mid-tempo ballad Pinera's vocals recalled Jones.  The song was quite pretty (in a MOR fashion) with his melodic guitar work providing the highlights.  Shame it faded out so quickly.

4.) Nobody Wins (Sir Mack Rice) - 4:08 rating: *** stars

I was actually familiar with the Sir Mack Rice original and while 'Nobody Wins' has been recorded dozens of times (including by Muhammid Ali), none comes close to the original.  Pinera was smart enough to stay true to the original arrangement, adding a touch of his sweet guitar work.  The track was also a nice example of how good Pinera's blue-eyed soul voice could be.  

5.) Must Get Thru (Duane Hitchings - Mike Pinera) - 3:30  rating: *** stars

The hard-rocker 'Must Get Thru' was more in keeping with my expectations for a Pinera album.  Mind you, the song wasn't anything great, but it at least demonstrated that Pinera, Hitchings and Vosburgh were more than a pop band.


(side 2)
Isla (Mike Pinera) - 5:25 rating: **** stars

Opening up with a spacey, atmospheric feel, 'Isla' could have momentarily been mistaken for a David Gilmour tune.  Of course when Pinera started singing that comparison went out the door leaving you a decent, mildly bluesy rocker that was probably the album's stand out performance.  For years I thought he was singing 'It's Love' rather than 'Isla'.

2.) Fly Fly Away (Mike Pinera) - 3:40  rating: ** stars

'Fly Fly Away' (the song was entitled 'Fly Away' on Thee Image album) found Pinera dipping his toes into light disco.  You weren't going to mistake this for Niles Rodgers and Chic, but the skittering guitar, synthesizer washes and bouncy melody made it dance ready.  

3.) Good To You (Mike Pinera) - 4:05  rating: *** stars  

I've always liked the tone Pinera gets out of his guitar and it's seldom been as clear as on the semi-funky 'Good To You.'  This track was the almbum's most commercial offering and the song that most reminded me of Pinera's Blues Image catalog.  The Latin percussion fade-out was kind of cool.

4.) Lady Divine (instrumental( (Duane Hitchings - Jamene Miller - Mike Pinera - 2:10 rating: ** stars

Opening up with some of Pinera's best soloing, the instrumental 'Lady Divine' then nose-dived into middling bar band territory.  Each member got a moment in the spotlight, but it was completely forgettable.

5.) For Another Day (Mike Pinera) - 4:03: **** stars 

'For Another Day' was my favorite performance.  The song had the most interesting melody and Pinera's vocals reminded me a touch of Sammy Hager-era Van Halen.  Like the best of Van Halen the track managed to combine a hard rock attack with a commercial, radio-friendly edge.  This one could have been a hit.