Saturday, November 30, 2013

Morningstar Venus Columbia 1979

Morningstar Venus Columbia 1979 CAT # JC 35713

I can tolerate Kansas City's brief foray into the realms of arena and studio rock.  Shooting Star, whatever.  Missouri, better than you think.  Kansas, they got the prog rock thing and that's cool.  But, this band is awful.  The Kansas Music Hall of Fame states they barely missed their moment.  The band's contemporaries like Styx, Journey, and Foreigner had all opted for a ballad driven sound while the rest of the musical landscape was filled with disco and punk--the hard rock sound of Morningstar was destined to be overlooked.  Really?  That may have been true on the pop charts, but last I checked, AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Who, and Led Zeppelin were putting out "hard rock" albums and staying both successful and enjoyable without support of pop radio.  Last I checked, most of those bands put out good music in the late 70's.  Morningstar just isn't that good.

I mean, they seem like competent players.  They sound slick and polished.  They have cool facial hair and great bangs on the back cover.  One problem, they didn't write good songs.  What they do well is showcase the ineptitude of major labels, even at a time when record labels were still successful. The band  appears to be a case of major labels keeping up with the Joneses.  Whenever and wherever something is successful, the labels always find a way to saturate the market with sound alikes.  The band Kansas scored substantial hits in the mid-70's.  Shooting Star was signed by Virgin and being thrown out there in heavy doses.  The band Missouri had a moderate hit without even having major label support.  So, Morningstar seems like Columbia's attempt to cash in on the Kansas/Missouri rock sound.

Even worse, the label just threw them into the melting pot.  You can tell the band was forced to step outside their comfort zone in hopes of finding a hit song.  There's the Styx moments on the record, the moments that try to be the working man's tune, and the moments that get sappy.  This was their second album, so they tried everything.  Overall, it just created an uneven album and history suggests that Columbia gave up on the band shortly after it's release.


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