ARTICLE ABOUT Journey FROM SOUNDS, April 26, 1975

I am afraid that the reviewer hit the nail fairly right on the head with this one. Journey started out with an album that didn`t exactly set the world on fire. This album is never mentioned in any top 100 albums in rock or hard rock for a reason. I think it would be lucky to even end up in a Top 1000 poll. But in the interest of history, here is the original record review.
Read on.


Album Review:

Journey: `Journey` (CBS 80724).

By Rob Mackie

A couple of ex-Santana journeymen meet up with the mighty biceps of Aynsley Dunbar and the result is kind of predictable. The drumming is as dynamic as ever, coming over as the dominant instrument at times. On occasions, the interplay with a spacey lead guitar can suggest the understanding of McLaughlin and Cobham, but Journey seem to have a far less clear idea of where they`re headed than the Mahavishnu had. Too often there`s no centre to this band – the musical ability is there all right, but the vocals and the singing sound equally muzzy and unappealing. Attempting a spacey concept, Journey come over sounding a little old-fashioned. Competent. Uninspired.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Frank Zappa, Gladys Knight, Women In Rock, Betty Wright, Steve Harley, Peter Frampton, Labelle, Peter Skellern, Ray Davies, Larry Uttal, Chris Spedding, Anne Murray, Sweet Sensation, Bernard Purdie, Mike Harding, Ronnie Lane, Yes.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
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ARTICLE ABOUT Journey from New Musical Express, June 21, 1975

For historic purposes, it is interesting to see what they said about the first Journey-album, and here it is for you to digest. It has to be said that the Journey reviewed here in no way resembles the Journey that came later. Mr. “Headache”, AKA Neal Schon, made a fine career for himself with Journey and as a solo artist, but this shows you how music journalists can miss the target completely when judging someone. The brouhaha was there for a reason when it came to the talents of Mr. Schon.


Album Review

Journey – “Journey”

By Andrew Simmons

How San Francisco`s newest golden boys fall into exactly the same traps after six months that Santana managed to avoid for six years viz: self-indulgence.

Comparisons with Santana are inevitable given the presence of Gregg Rolie on vocals (he played Keyboards on Santana`s early albums) and Neal Schon`s guitar. Schon and Rolie abetted by Aynsley Dunbar on drums have roped in on bass and rhythm respectively, two Bay area stalwarts Ross Valory and George Tickner.

The result is a bland, straightahead progressive rock sound that veers between heavy rock thrashing and more lightly textured, jazz-flavoured muzak. And for this Gregg Rolie must shoulder a large part of the blame.

Rolie has a hand in writing all but one of the eight tracks, he takes all the lead vocals and his keyboard playing is mixed to the fore throughout. It`s another case of a minor talent being given full rein and producing only lameness.

The album opener “Of a Lifetime” sums up all that`s worst in this band. Basically the idea is to take a simple riff (melody is too grand a word here) and play it to death for six minutes. Rolie has an inherently weak voice which is dolled up with double tracking and reverb and then not helped by being placed well back in the mix. Consequently his lyrics are rendered indiscernible and his intonation and expression ratings reduced to practically zero.

After the vocals are through, 20-year-old guitar hero Neal Schon comes howling in like a manic hyena spitting out insanely high guitar runs at top speed. Rolie then pulls out all the stops on various keyboards and eventually the band returns to the original riff, plods on for a couple more verses and fades away. “Kohoutek” – from the Comet – is another overlong instrumental excursion.

The second side is a little better. There`s “To Play Some Music”, a good stomper, and “Topaz”, which although written by George Tickner is the cut that comes closest to Santana.
It`s full of shimmering organ chords, floating guitar notes and splashing cymbals, and there`s a neat juxtaposition of light and flowing jazz progressions with some scorching heavy rock. Aynsley Dunbar copes deftly with the time changes and even Neal Schon restrains himself enough to allow a little delicacy into his playing.

Quite frankly I don`t understand all the brouhaha over Mr. Schon. Almost every solo of his is an exercise in horrendously high-pitched wailing. He`s very fast and certainly furious but the lack of melodic content and variation in his playing is a crippling restriction. Ultimately he gets to be a headache to listen to.

Very much on the plus side is Aynsley Dunbar. Although his drum sound is akin to soggy cardboard he is a powerful spur to the band. There`s an engaging will-he/won`t-he make it quality to his fills as he goes rolling and tumbling around his kit.

Bassist Ross Valory does a good job keeping up with him. George Tickner the rhythm guitarist is only intermittently audible, content as he is with playing back-up chords the whole time.

All in all, for a band which has credentials as impressive as the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a sadly flawed debut album.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Can, Phil Spector, Elton John, Greenslade, Beach Boys, Elvin Jones, Bad Company, Alan Stivell, Uriah Heep, Jackie Wilson, Fairport Convention.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.