Hunter – Dreams Of Ordinary Men [1986]

HUNTER_DOOM

HUNTER was the moniker adopted by Down Under cult legends Dragon when in the second half of the ’80s their record company bet on the band’s international success. Originated in New Zealand during the Seventies, Dragon moved to Australia gaining great success.

After several albums and a move to more commercial sounds, in 1985 Polydor flew the band to New York to work with Todd Rundgren as producer for their new album “Dreams Of Ordinary Men”. With a big budget at hand, the result was a glossy recording which enhanced the already melodic, light AOR essence of most the songs. The album was released in 1986 as Dragon on the cover.

But Dragon’s label & management decided to launch the band as the new ‘Aussie phenomenon’, and not only switched the name to HUNTER (last name of founder Todd Hunter and his bro, iconic vocalist Marc), but also ordered the remix of the whole thing to turning it more appealing worldwide. This entire move in Dragon’s direction resulted in two interesting sides: some of the songs ended with a wonderful, elegant light AOR sound, some others with an insipid pop taste. Then “Dreams Of Ordinary Men”, the Hunter version, is a mixed bag.

I don’t care about the weak songs, because the good ones are really, really good. Opener and title track “Dreams Of Ordinary Men” is one of these, driven by a pumping bass line, catchy guitars – at charge of talented Tommy Emmanuel, and truly great vocals by Marc Hunter, with the characteristic tone that made him famous. At places, on this track Hunter evoke Scottish masters Strangeways. “Speak No Evil” has that ‘movie soundtrack’ feel so ’80s, with heavily processed drums and synth stabs. I love this one. “Nothing To Lose” is a fine poppy ballad, as it is the acoustically filled “Smoke”. Another favorite is the TOTO-ish gem “Western Girls”, plenty of terrific melodies, an increscendo pre-chorus and a bright, wonderful main chorus. It’s a very first half of the ’80s AOR tune, and a very good one indeed.

As you see, the first 4 tracks in a row, plus some in the middle are a true enjoyment for classic AOR fans, and these alone worth the disc. The rest (mostly the second half of the album) are pretty weak pop songs in my opinion, but there’s ‘something’ on “Temptation” choruses, and the cold yet good riffs of “Midnight Sun”. “Dreams Of Ordinary Men” as ‘Hunter’ appeared one year later (1987) and was released in Europe / USA with different cover artwork each.

Band Members
Marc Hunter – Vocals
Tommy Emmanuel – Guitars
Todd Hunter – Bass, Vocals
Doane Perry – Drums
Alan Mansfield – Keyboards
Todd Rundgren – Guitar, Backing Vocals

Tracks
01. Dreams Of Ordinary Man (4:03)
02. Speak No Evil (3:57)
03. Nothing To Lose (4:20)
04. Western Girls (4:02)
05. Rain (3:54)
06. Temptation (4:10)
07. Midnight Sun (4:11)
08. Intensive Care (4:24)
09. Forever And Ever (3:24)
10. Smoke (4:12)
11. Start It Up (4:20)
12. When I’m Gone (3:30)
13. Love Don’t Stop (3:42)

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