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Circle Of Friends - 'Cherokee Moon'


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If you enjoyed the debut, you’ll love this!

A couple of years ago our Editor, Bruce Mee, put together a great little album as a personal tribute to his late mother, Margaret. Entitled ‘The Garden’, and released under the Circle Of Friends banner, it contained a vibrant mix of new tracks and covers, and featured an eye-catching list of guest singers and players. Suitably impressed by the reaction it garnered from the close-knit MHR community, he was determined to continue, and therefore is about to launch a follow-up, ‘Cherokee Moon’.


Following a similar format to the debut, ‘Cherokee Moon’ proves to be a more muscular album – more Classic Hard Rock than AOR – but under the aegis of Khalil Turk and Fredrik Folkare, it still has that wonderful, richly melodic sound that made its predecessor stand tall. Throw in another very impressive cast of vocalists and players and, to these old ears at least, it not only equals ‘The Garden’, it betters it by some margin.


Starting with the covers then; first up is a powerful Jeff Scott Soto take on the Saxon classic ‘Princess Of The Night’, some deft Hammond organ bringing it bang up to date. Also reprising her role from the debut, Tanya Rizkala (a girl from Lebanon) gives us a suitably impassioned version of Europe’s ‘Girl From Lebanon’, whilst Robin McAuley lends his inimitable tones to a smouldering, pomp-fuelled run through of Van Zant’s ‘Midnight Sensation’. Then Paul Manzi (Arena, Cats In Space) kicks Ten’s ‘The Robe’ up the jacksie, and last but not least, Harem Scarem’s Harry Hess fronts a brooding version of Rainbow’s ‘Can’t Let You Go’.


Not overshadowed in the least, the album’s six originals also stand proud in the presence of greatness. Bouncy opener ‘Starlight’ sees a great vocal from Olivia Dei Cicchi, whilst her mother Robin Beck duets with Mick Devine on the smouldering ‘Lying Here Beside You’ (which reminds me at times of a Blackmore’s Night/Blue Öyster Cult hybrid). Former Headpins chanteuse Darby Mills injects some grit into the down ‘n’ dirty ‘House Of Shadows’, Mark Boals provides a suitably histrionic ‘Eternal Love’ (with lyrics written by Bruce himself), Thomas Vikström harks back to his Talk Of The Town past with the Steve Overland penned ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’, and Rick Altzi adds real gravitas to the bombastic ‘Eye Of The Hurricane’.


If you enjoyed the debut, you’ll love this!


 

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