Cliff Magness – Solo [1994]

Country USA          

Style AOR

Rating 89/100

Band Members Cliff Magness – All vocals, Drum programming, Lead and rhythm guitars, Keyboards, Glen Ballard – Additional keyboards, Jay Graydon – Lead guitar, Aina Olsen, Martin Paige, Mark Mueller – Backing vocals

Tracks 01. Footprints In The Rain (4:45), 02. It’s Only Love (3:41), 03. Hold Me Lee Anne (4:52), 04. One Way Out (4:19), 05. Khalela (4:27), 06. Jenny’s Still in Love (4:24), 07. Only You (4:03), 08. If We Can’t Do It (3:33), 09. Flower Girl (3:47), 10. What’s A Heart To Do (4:05), 11. Solo (3:59), 12. Dreams Fade Away (4:48), 13. Ready Or Not (4:01)

Profile “Solo” is the AOR debut album by “Planet 3” vocalist Cliff Magness, originally released in 1994. Often regarded by melodic rock enthusiasts as one the top AOR albums of the `90s, “Solo” brought to front subtle songwriting/performances leaning more towards the west-coast sound than melodic hard rock.

This debut album is effectively a “Solo” offering as Cliff handles the biggest part of the production, recordings and instrumental performances, beyond his characteristic vocals. Specifically the singer handles drum programming and keyboards plus bass and additional guitars. Lead guitars are contributed by Jay Graydon while Glenn Ballard complements keyboards.

Clearly “Solo” is a keyboard-driven album and although one finds fair amounts of flamboyant lead guitar, rhythm parts are kept to a minimum mainly found in the verses and choruses of the songs. In addition drumming for its biggest part has been programmed, slightly undermining the album’s quality overall, as one can easily make out that the rhythm base of the compositions are mainly samples. On a personal level, one finds the harder songs on the album more appealing, in particular “If we can’t do it”, “It’s only love” and “Jenny’s still in love”.

Overall the Magness debut is a quality AOR album of the mid-90s proving that Cliff is more than capable of utilize the absolute minimum of resources and still deliver high quality work. Fans of west-cost, AOR and subtle melodic rock should definitely try the Cliff’s “Solo” album.

By Nikiforos V. Skoumas

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Rating: 9.2/10 (5 votes cast)
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Cliff Magness - Solo [1994], 9.2 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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