JEAN BEAUVOIR – Rock Masterpieces Vol. 2

Back in August, song writer/guitarist/singer Jean Beauvoir released the compilation album, humbly called Rock Masterpieces Vol. 1 and now in November, only three months later, the sequel is out. Why he didn’t decide on making it a double album, I don’t know – maybe a third volume will be out soon? With a such a treasure-chest of Melodic Rock, AOR and Pop pearls as Beauvoir’s only one compilation volume isn’t even remotely enough. Two is almost too little. On the other hand – and this is only a matter of taste – there were songs on the first volume that I wouldn’t have picked and – it would turn out – it’s the same case with this volume. Not that I can find any bad songs on either albums but as I read the tracklist here, I see that there are still songs I miss on an album like this. But you can’t please everyone and what I dig someone else might not and vice versa.

Opener “The Healer” is taken from Crown Of Thorns’ self-titled 1993 album – an upbeat, catchy rocker that lands somewhere between Melodic Rock and Hard Rock with a refrain that holds lots of hooks and a huge hit-feel. A brilliant tune. “Lost Cathedral” is also a title-track taken from Crown Of Thorns’ third record. It’s a heavy and dark track with Metal influences but still very much in the Melodic Rock category. The refrain brings on some AOR nuances and is very catchy although it might not cut it as a single. Nothing wrong with that, it’s an album track and a very good one. “Live And Die” is taken from the same album as its predecessor. The tune holds a punchy rhythm on the heavier side of AOR and a great keyboard arrangement. The verses are really heavy here but the refrain is a bit lighter – still very memorable. A really good tune.

“This Is Our House” is from JB’s debut solo album Drums Along The Mohawk (1986), an I album that holds lots of great songs but a poor production – too thin and plastic. This is an awesome song, a ballad that’s melancholic and gloomy but also very emotional and honest. Yes, it’s a moody song but it’s also very memorable with a very catchy main melody and refrain. “Motorcycle Loretta” (Lost Cathedral) is a rough and bouncy Hard Rock tune with JB’s very personal vocal melody arrangements. It’s a pretty heavy tune with a refrain that sticks but also one of the songs that I hold as just “good”. “I Won’t Wait” is from the second Crown Of Thorns album Breakthrough and one of this album’s more obscure songs. It comes in a slower pace, heavy and hard rocking but still with a smooth melody and a catchy refrain but again, it’s one of the “only good” tunes.

“A Lover Like You”, the big Pop song on Voodoo X’s only album Vol 1: The Awakening, on the other hand is magnificent. Sure, it’s a total 80’s AOR/Pop/Rock tune, but it also stands out with JB’s typical lugubrious melody arrangements – and a refrain so catchy it’s ridiculous. Co-written by Kiss’ Paul Stanley, the fact that this was never released as a single is a mystery. Back in 1989, this could have been a smash-hit. “Missionary Remedy” from Crown Of Thorns’ 4th album Destiny Unknown is straightforward, punchy and dark, a quite heavy but also a bit monotone song. It’s ok but it’s not a song I would have chosen for a record like this. “I’m On Fire” is the opener on Voodoo X’s album and it should have been the opener here. It’s a fast paced, heavy and ballsy knock-out song with a heavy riff, clearly nicked from Deep Purple’s “Burn”. It’s punchy and direct where the verse and pre-chorus is catchier than the actually chorus, but that chorus does its job – and then some. A real killer.

“Never Went Down” (Drums Along The Mohawk) is a slow, ballad-like, melancholic and saddening tune. It’s quite mournful but still with a huge melody and a chorus that sticks right away. Brilliant! “Winterland” (Crown Of Thorns), another Paul Stanley co-write, is a Melodic Rock tune in mid-pace that holds clear Hard Rock vibes. It’s quite smooth but it do rock – and the main melody and refrain is damn catchy – very good. “Same Song Plays On And On” (Drums Along The Mohawk) is in the same morose vein that most of the songs on his solo albums are. It’s a Pop song but with the dark atmosphere that hangs over it makes sure that no cheesiness comes close. It’s a brilliant tune with shitloads of hooks. The exact same thing could be used to describe “Searchin’ For A Light” from his second solo album, the ever so underrated Jacknifed. This is so awesome!

What follows next is two more songs from Crown Of Thorns’ self-titled debut. The ballad “Till The End” is a huge, late 80’s sounding power ballad that hadn’t it been released in 1993, it would have been all over MTV and shipped the album quadruple platinum. Or something. The song is of the kind that love it or hate it but listen once and the refrain will stay forever. If that’s not catchiness, I don’t know what is. I think it’s a great track. “No You Don’t” is a cover of The Sweet’s Fanny Adams (1974) song. Sung originally by bassist Steve Priest, the tune suits JB’s somewhat sullen voice perfectly. Crown Of Thorns stays true to the original but still manages to make the tune their own. A fantastic song originally and a damn good cover as well. Closing track, the ballad “Happy Birthday”, is a Voodoo X tune. It’s not so much a birthday song as a broken love tune, very melancholic and mournful but still catchy as hell and full of hooks with lots of hit-potential. Why this wasn’t released as a single back when is a mystery.

Compared to the volume one, I find this one slightly better but that said there are still a bunch of songs I’m missing and some songs here I could have done without. But what strikes me is just how high Beauvoir’s lowest level is when it comes to song writing and I find it strange that the guy isn’t more known. On the down side, the Voodoo X album isn’t featured enough – only five songs out of 30 and it’s also a shame that Jacknifed is so ignored –  only one song is featured on the two records. While I still believe that rerecordings by Beauvoir and his back-up band would be to prefer – to get all the songs closer to each other style- and production wise – I know that the two compilation albums are a great way for JB newcomers to get an insight of how JB and his previous bands (except for The Plasmatics, thank God) sounds. For any Melodic Rock/AOR fan who don’t know JB’s stuff, these records are a must. The question is, will there be a third volume out later on?

8/10

More Jean Beauvoir reviews:

Rock Masterpieces Vol. 1

Tracklist:

1. The Healer
2. Lost Cathedral
3. Live And Die
4. This Is Our House
5. Motorcycle Loretta
6. I Won’t Wait
7. A Lover Like You
8. Missionary Remedy
9. I’m On Fire
10. Never Went Down
11. Winterland
12. Same Song Plays On And On
13. Searchin’ For A New Light
14. Till The End
15. No You Don’t
16. Happy Birthday

 

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