By Warren Kurtz
Last year, Goldmine spoke with Joe Cerisano about his band Silver Condor, with two albums on Columbia in the early ‘80s, including a Top 40 hit single. When the first album was released, promotion highlighted guitarist Earl Slick, who recorded with David Bowie in his mid-‘70s period and John Lennon for his final two albums. Now Joe Cerisano has released a 2-CD package including the demo tapes, featuring Cerisano and Slick, that landed Silver Condor a record contract with Columbia. Songs from the second album and previously unreleased Joe Cerisano compositions conclude disc one. Disc two is comprised of exciting performances from Silver Condor’s brief summer of 1981 tour.
Disc One – Studio Cuts and Rarities
Silver Condor’s early ‘80s demo tape successfully landed the quintet, featuring singer and songwriter Joe Cerisano, a record deal with Columbia. On this retrospective, we finally hear five songs from that demo, of which four songs made their 1981 debut album, including the opening song, originally intended to be their first single, “For the Sake of Survival.” The final song, from the demo segment of this 2 CD set, is the one song not on either of their Columbia albums, “I Wanna Thank You.” If “Goin’ for Broke” wasn’t such a strong closing number for their debut album, this energetic dance rock number would have been a great finale. Joe Cerisano vocally offers thanks, “for giving me a second chance” and “for letting me be your man.” On this new collection, “Goin’ For Broke,” which also served as the flip side of the group’s lone Top 40 hit “You Could Take My Heart Away,” follows, from the debut album.
By the time Silver Condor’s 1983 album was released, Joe Cerisano was the group’s sole survivor, surrounded by new musicians and some very special guests. Three songs from that album come next on the new CD, beginning with the title tune, “Trouble at Home.” Clarence Clemons provided a powerful saxophone break on this rocker, with traces of Bob Seger, Mott the Hoople and Mountain influences. The melodic “Goin’ Out on the Town” features powerful guitar chords from Waddy Wachtel. The dramatic second album closer, “Holdin’ On (Barely),” offers nice piano touches from Steve Goldstein at the beginning of the number. The song ends with some “Free Bird”-like guitar swirls from Neal Schon.
Five Joe Cerisano solo recordings conclude the first CD. “Healing Hand” is a nice slice of Americana, with a warmth on par with John Mellancamp’s “Pink Houses.” “Your Turn to Cry” could have been a catchy single. The gentle “That’s What Writes the Book,” with an acoustic guitar backdrop, is well suited for fans of the singer’s delivery of “Dream Child (A Christmas Dream),” which he recorded as a member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Disc Two – Live Across America
The second CD is comprised of eleven songs from Silver Condor’s brief summer of 1981 tour. “Angel Eyes” is a stand-out, with guitarist Earl Slick having plenty of room to demonstrate why David Bowie considered him a guitar favorite, playing on several Bowie albums. “Carolina (Nobody’s Right, Nobody’s Wrong)” is given an extended treatment, with Joe Cerisano bringing a bluesy vocal to the beginning section of the song, leading to an incredibly powerful finish.
With over two dozen songs on this anthology, old fans will be pleased, new fans will be created, and the listeners will feel fortunate to be transported back to the 1981 tour that they may have missed.
To win the Joe Cerisano’s Silver Condor 2-CD package, all you have to do is put your email address in the box below by September 30, 11:59 p.m. You will immediately be entered in the Giveaway and as a bonus you will receive Goldmine’s informative weekly eNewsletter (collecting news/tips and exclusive articles and interviews with your favorite classic artists). We will randomly draw a winner from the entrants. We have two copies of this 2-CD set to give away, so your chances are doubled.