Looking back on this album, I see it as the first collaboration between Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo. Deen would later join Neail Schon and Jonathan Cain in Journey (as well as many Schon side projects). This group serves as truly an Adult-Oriented Rock (AOR) super-group. Joining Schon, Cain and Castronovo are Jon Waite and Ricky Phillips. A bridge between The Babys (Waite, Cain and Phillips) and Journey (Schon, Cain, and later Castronovo).
There were a couple radio-friendly singles (similar to Journey) in “When I See You Smile” and “Price of Love”. The latter of which could have been plucked from any Journey album in the 80s or 90s. While these songs are the charting singles, my highlights are the more “rocking” songs like “Rocking Horse”, “Forget Me Not” and “Best of What I Got”.
Like many of the Journey offerings, some of the songs are a little too poppy for my tastes; however, you have to respect the writing, hooks and musicianship. Phillips and Castronovo are a very solid and capable rhythm section – they show it on “Ready When You Are”. Cain and Schon are always solid and Waite’s vocals are strong as expected.
Overall, a very solid AOR offering and this should go down as one of the best AOR albums of the 80s (released at the end of the decade). Schon shines as usual with his excellent guitar-driven AOR, excellent leads throughout (although somewhat misplaced on some of the tracks). Castronovo would continue to show up in my collection as he later played with Ozzy, Steve Vai and G/Z/R – before settling for good in Journey.
Looking back, I was just getting out of the Army when this came out. I remember buying the CD in California and it was in heavy rotation in my Nissan pickup as I drove back from California after being discharged. So it definitely brings back some memories.
Playing it now, it’s impressive that it holds up quite well. It’s not embarrassing to have in the collection and I’m not afraid or ashamed to play it loud. Much of what I listed to back in the late 80s and early 90s wouldn’t hold up nearly as well.
4 out of 5 stars – it serves the genre quite well. The only stinker on the album is the final track “Don’t Walk Away” which was one of only two tracks not written by members of the band – the other being the blockbuster “When I See You Smile”.