PRIVATE LIFE

Shadows Private Life - Shadows (Warner Bros) 1988

1. Put Out The Fire (3:48)
2. Last Heartbeat (4:03)
3. Don't Blame It On Love (3:52)
4. Don't Let Go (4:12)
5. Rockabye Angel (4:28)
6. Spirit Free (4:06)
7. Hold On (2:57)
8. Runnin' The Race (2:50)
9. Spider (4:14)
10. Amazing Grace (1:17)

Private life is a 1980's Los Angeles quintet formed by guitarist Danny Johnson and keyboard player Jennifer Blakeman. Johnson has played guitar with Rick Derringer, Rod Stewart, Axis, Alcatrazz and on Alice Cooper's "Special Forces" LP. He was also rumored to be one of the guitarists being considered to fill Joe Perry's shoes in Aerosmith in 1979. "Shadows" is Private Life's major label debut and was produced by both Ted Templeman, and Eddie Van Halen. With a resume like Johnson's and Eddie Van Halen in the mix, one might expect a fairly upbeat, hard rocking affair. However, that is just not the case. The opening moments of the CD, when the guitars begin to wail, false hope may arise for a rockin' experience. However, once the actual song kicks in, "Put Out the Fire" is ultra-slick, keyboard-drenched 80's pop rock. Johnson lets out a few choice leads, such as the lead breaks on "Don't Blame It On Love", "Rockabye Angel" and "Don't Let Go". However, Vocalist Kelly Breznik is the star of the show. She has a great voice, sometimes reminding me of Ann Wilson. Actually, the Heart comparison isn't far off as long as you compare it to the more pop-laced songs from "Heart" or "Bad Animals". In fact, the up-beat "Don't Blame It On Love" sounds a lot like Heart circa 1985 - 1987. This is probably the closest the band comes to hard rock, but the production and keyboard melodies really rob the song of that 'hard' quality. The CD ends with a beautiful acoustic rendition of "Amazing Grace". Overall, "Shadows" is fairly typical 80's radio/pop rock. It's not bad, but nothing mind blowing either. For fans of Saraya , 1980's Heart and female-led 80's pop rock.

Private Life Private Life (Warner Bros.) 1990

1.      Touch Me (4:35)
2.      Domino (3:08)
3.      Fallin' Apart (3:38)
4.      Communication (3:39)
5.      Night All Night (2:52)
6.      Nothin' To Lose (4:21)
7.      Give It Up (3:44)
8.      Holiday (4:27)
9.      Cure For Love (3:54)

Released two years after the debut, the self-titled sophomore album from Private Life is more of the same glossy, melodic rock. Once again produced by Eddie Van Halen, the sound between the two albums is virtually identical. Just about any song here could have been recorded for "Shadows". I read a review stating that Private Life's second album showed a "harder side to the band". Frankly, if this one is 'harder' I'm not really hearing it. There are the straight-forward rock and roll songs like "Night All Night", the melodic radio-rockers like "Touch Me:, a blues-influenced rocker titled"Communication" and, of course, the mandatory ballad, "Holiday". Ptetty much a song for song comparison to the debut. Kelly Breznik is still the star of the show with her sweet, soulful singing. Comparisons to Vixen and mid-1980's Heart are not far off.