Bonfire – Pearls 2016 album review. 4 star rating.

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Bonfire

“Pearls”

2016 release from UDR.

Bonfire – Strike Back music video.

David Reece – Vocals. Hans Ziller – Guitar, backing vocals. Frank Pane – Guitar, backing vocals. Ronnie Parks – Bass, backing vocals. Tim Breideband – Drums.

Artist location: Germany.

4 stars out of 5 stars rating.

Reviewed by David.

Disc 1: Rock Pearls:

  1. Strike Back.
  2. Under Blue Skies.
  3. Diamonds In The Rough.
  4. Sweet Home Alabama.
  5. Proud Of My Country.
  6. Don’t Go Changing Me.
  7. Sweet Obsession.
  8. American Nights.
  9. Good Time Rock ‘N’ Roll.
  10. Heat In The Glow.
  11. Can’t Stop Rockin’.
  12. Down To Atlanta.
  13. Loaded Gun.

Disc 2: Classic Pearls:

  1. You Make Me Feel.
  2. Give It A Try.
  3. Who’s Foolin’ Who.
  4. I Need You.
  5. Good Night Amanda.
  6. Southern Winds.
  7. If It Wasn’t For You.
  8. Why Is It Never Enough.
  9. Let’s Fly Away.

 

The newly retooled Bonfire are back in just under a year after their first David Reece (Bangalore Choir) fronted album, “Glorious”. 

I am a big fan of Bonfire and I am a big fan of Reece, so when I first heard about the marriage of these two outfits I was intrigued and excited by the prospect. “Glorious” was a great record and a very strong release, but, as I am with any band that gets a new lead singer, I was very curious about how David would sound on the band’s back catalogue. Let’s face it, he and original Bonfire vocalist Claus Lessmann have widely differing styles of voices.

This two disc set boasts a total of 21 of their greatest hits redone with new arrangements. Disc one are the rockers. Songs like “Heat In The Glow”, “Proud Of My Country”, “Down To Atlanta” and “Under Blue Skies” get a terrific treatment and sound excellent under the new vocals. Reece brings a heavier edge and a new feel to the songs we already know and love and with the new arrangements we are treated to a fresh, new sound to these classic songs.

Also included on disc one is a cover of  Bangalore Choir’s “Loaded Gun” from their debut album, “On Target”. This whole first disc is fantastic and the songs translate great with Reece behind the mic.

I will admit that I have never particularly been a fan of the band’s cover of “Sweet Home Alabama” with Lessmann. I am not saying anything against Lessmann in any way, shape or form, he is a terrific singer and did some outstanding work with the band, but I just never cared much for this particular cover. That being said I was all prepared to hit skip on the CD when this track came on. And then I started listening and I’ll be damned if the new arrangement and with Reece isn’t a damn good cover of this classic song. Very well done.

Disc 2 are the ballads. Again, songs like “Who’s Foolin’ Who”, “You Make Me Feel”, “Give It A Try” and “Good Night Amanda” sound great here but this disc is the only complaint I have with the album, and the only thing holding it back from a perfect rating. There are just two of the ballads on the last half of the disc that I have never cared much for myself. Personally I would have liked to have seen a few more of the rockers thrown in, like the classics  “Sword And Flame” and “Tony’s Roulette”, two of my personal favorites from the band. But even with the two ballads, this is an outstanding release and a job well done by Ziller and the rest of the band.

Reece is not the only star here, Ziller, Pane, Parks and Breideband all sound superb, truly a group of extremely talented musicians. They blast their way through the 22 tracks with precision and sound fantastic on every single track, backed by top of the line production. Between this group of amazing artists and the vocals of Reece, you cannot go wrong.

With the exception of “Sweet Home Alabama” I won’t say the songs included here are necessarily better now then they were, they are just different with a much different feel. And that is not a negative by any means at all being that both versions are utterly outstanding, though I do find myself prefering the original arrangement of the music on one of the ballads, and that by only a very small percentage.

We likely all own these songs on other  Bonfire greatest hits collections, but, as previously stated, these songs are all newly arranged and with David Reece behind the mic they all have a different sound to them then what you may own already. If you are a Bonfire fan and a David Reece fan then pick this one up right away. Minus the previously mentioned two ballads that are not of my personal preference, this is a hell of a good collection that definitely is worth the price and deserves far more than one listen as these classic songs are reborn with a fresh new sound and a hell of a good singer at the helm backed by an outstanding group of musicians.

Don’t mistake this for just another greatest hits collection, with the differences here it is basically a brand new album from this amazing band that you need to add to your music library and do not want to miss out on.

A superb band, an excellent vocalist, fantastic production and a group of phenomenal songs make this one damn good album.

Highly recommended.

 

Standout Tracks:

 

Strike Back.

Under Blue Skies.

Sweet Home Alabama.

American Nights.

Heat In The Glow.

Down To Atlanta.

You Make Me Feel.

Give It A Try.

Who’s Foolin’ Who.

 

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