Boston can lay claim
to take the blame - or the credit - for
the swathe of stadium rock that washed
over America in the late seventies. The
release of Boston's debut album in 1976,
paved the way for such bands as Reo Speedwagon,
Journey, and Styx, to follow in the masters’
footsteps. Like 'em or hate 'em, you cannot
fail to admire them for pure musical skill.
Boston was the vehicle for Tom Scholz
to become the Godfather of Pomp Rock,
in his early years better known for his
prowess on the basketball pitch. However,
he gave up enough of his time trying to
make the hoops to score big time on the
field of rock ‘n’ roll.
Boston's debut album sold over 17 million
copies and had a top five single with
'More Than A Feeling'. The second album
'Don't Look Back' was released two years
later, sold 7 million copies and had a
top thirty hit with the title track of
the album. This was followed six years
later by Third Stage (1986), which sold
4 million and did not yield a hit single.
The next album, the one under scrutiny
here, was a further eight years in the
making. 'Walk On' sold 1 million copies
and none of the singles bothered the Billboard
Does anybody notice a pattern developing
here? So, what is 'Walk On' like? Well,
it's a bit half and half. If you are a
first time buyer of Boston and the magical
sound scapes made by Tom Scholz and his
team, then you would be better off buying
the first album, or at a pinch the Greatest
Hits collection, but, as Greatest Hits
go, that album's tracks seemed to have
been picked with a pin rather than on
‘Walk On’ starts off in fine
style with a classy slice of Boston. 'I
Need Your Love' is a good emotional song
that catches you off guard as does the
first thrashing chords of Tom Scholz'
multi layered guitar. New vocalist Fran
Cosmo, a sound-alike for previous vocalist
Brad Delp, proves he more than adequately
fills those boots. Tom Scholz plays all
the instruments needed in the studio,
only picking up sidemen to go out on the
road. That’s pretty impressive considering
the standard of musical skills on display,
but no wonder it took him so long between
albums. The multi layered guitar tracks
alone would of tested the patience of
any normal mortal. So maybe it was better
that perfectionist Scholz did all his
own work, only needing a throat to put
on the voices.
'Surrender To Me' is over five minutes
of head bangin’ Boston rock, really
showing off the guitar orchestra style
patented by Scholz. Next is the album’s
obligatory power ballad which Fran Cosmo
sings with such pathos, the lyrics just
have to come from the heart or Fran is
just an old ham.
This is followed by over twelve minutes
of the glorious title track, probably
the best thing ever done by Boston (including
everything on the first album).
Split into four parts, 'Walk on' is really
just a good old excuse for Tom Scholz
to show off his ability on guitar and
keyboards, and his feel for writing a
good chorus. Part one, 'Walkin' By Night',
is a Blitzkrieg power blast on guitar
with all the amps turned up to eleven.
As Tom Scholz says in the liner notes
"Some people take their dog for a
walk at night, some people walk their
Part two brings in the chorus - and plain
and simple - it just rocks. The stadium
hoards would wait for the opening guitar
riff, before going totally ape (album
sales may have dropped in the eighties,
the very name “Boston” would
immediately sell out any arena).
Part three, subtitled 'Get Organ-ized',
is exactly as the title suggests, a frantic
workout on keyboards, and suffice to say
a Hammond B-3 is a big organ with a big
Part four is more of the same from part
two, only louder, harder, and longer.
It finishes up with a frantic musical
orgasm of sound.
Well worth the eight year wait between
products for the first four tracks, but
(there's always a but) the final three
tracks see Scholz and his co-horts totally
lose the plot. The three tracks take up
fifteen minutes of playing time and leave
you with a nasty taste in the ears. Just
musical fodder to fill up the album. It
sounds like Boston playing music in a
similar fashion to paint by numbers, or
join the dots. Total dross and a very
disappointing end to the album. But (there's
sometimes yet another but) turn the C.D.
back to the title track and all is forgiven.
In 2004 the pattern continues, ten years
after 'Walk On', Boston released their
next album 'Corporate America'. So far
sales have not reached 1/2 a million.
I doubt they bothered releasing a single.
Scattered by Mott The Dog
Settled by Ella Crew