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Witness – Witness [1988]

PhotobucketHere we have a rerfect example of female fronted AOR-hard rock. Debbie Davis is one of the most talented female singers I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s really a shame this record is the only one she ever recorded as a lead singer (she has done some backing vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd in the 90’s).

Originally performing under the banner of NATIVE, Georgia (USA) based quintett WITNESS moved to San Francisco after being signed by Arista Records in 1988. Fronted by female powerhouse vocalist Debbie Davis, the music was recorded with the help of Steve Smith and Neal Schon (both Journey), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Danny Chauncey (38 Special) and super guitarist Tim Pierce. Neither guitarist Damon Johnston (Renegade) nor bass player Eddie Usher are performing on the album even though being credited there. The band had tremendous support from famous rock stars like Desmond Child, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora who have written “You’re Not My Lover” and the duo Michael Bolton/Martin Briley co-wrote the song “Am I Wrong”, while Neal Schon wrote “Borrowed Time” and “Back To You”.
The music is straight ahead guitar-driven AOR with excellent keyboard work that enhances without overpowering. The female vocalist has a very powerful and melodic voice – as good as I’ve ever heard, actually.

Listen to “Desperate Lover” and you will be taken away by the huge chorus and the heartful vocal delivery of Davis. Definitely a song that will stuck on your mind for a long time. There are some incredibly powerful moments on here, with the songs being topped off by the class acts of Gillis and Schon in particular. You hear their trademark guitar signatures throughout, Gillis on the hard rock opener “Show Me What You Got” and “When It Comes From The Heart” while Schon blazes away on the mind blowing “Borrowed Time” and “Back To You”. “Let Me Be The One” is a monster track with big melodies, very catchy chorus and tones of keys, while the semi-ballad “Am I Wrong” really shows off the vocalists power, followed by the great “You’re Not My Lover” and its catchy chorus. Many keys, great guitar work and rhythm make it one of the album’s highlight. The Witness version of “You’re Not My Lover” completely blows Dalton’s out of the water. I almost cringe when I hear Dalton do it, and I like Dalton quite a bit, but they can’t touch the way Witness did it. After listening to a bunch of so-called classics recently I find one which almost lives up to the name. “Do It Till We Drop” is the kind of track I can do without, with those vintage keyboards sound and the hard edge guitars. The keyboard driven “Jump Into The Fire” and one of the best track of the album close this festival of melodic rock tunes. A real gem indeed!

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest melodic rock releases, with an all around-fine guitar work, lots of keys, clean sound and great vocals. Ten tracks and not a duffer in site. TOP CLASS female fronted AOR!!!…………That says it all.

Band Members
Debbie Davis – Vocals
Joey Huffman – Guitar, Keys
Damon Johnson – Guitar
Eddie Usher – Bass
Eddie Boyd – Drums

Neal Schon – Guitar
Brad Gillis – Guitar
Tim Pierce – Guitar
Steve Smith – Drums
Eddie Moody – Bass
Bill Drescher – Bass

01 Show Me What You Got
02 Do It Til We Drop
03 Am I Wrong
04 Desperate Lover
05 Let Me Be The One
06 You’re Not My Lover
07 Jump Into The Fire
08 When It Comes From The Heart
09 Borrowed Time
10 Back To You

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Rating: 9.5/10 (17 votes cast)
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Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
Witness - Witness [1988], 9.5 out of 10 based on 17 ratings
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