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Lips Turn Blue: Lips Turn Blue

Here’s another band I was previously unfamiliar with. Lips Turn Blue come from the upstate New York area and although they recently released their self titled album their roots go back many years and the band DDrive, formed by Don Mancuso. And going back even further, say the mid ‘70s, Mancuso was in the band Black Sheep, with none other than Lou Gramm on lead vocals. Gramm left Black Sheep to front Foreigner resulting in Black Sheep’s demise. Getting back to DDrive, who have since changed their name to Lips Turn Blue (LTB), Mancuso and Gramm have collaborated since those heady days of the ‘70s, including a lead vocal stint on the new album.

Unfortunately, the band’s lead singer Phil Naro passed away from cancer in 2021. Fortunately, he was able to see the album’s release, which is dedicated to him. Naro had a sublime voice, perfect for melodic rock, and his lead vocals put an indelible stamp on the album.

The disc begins with a couple melodic rockers; the single “Just Push” and the catchy “Build My Castle”. Both tunes are highlighted by fantastic lead vocals. Mancuso adds some fiery lead guitar on the former while the guitar and keyboard interaction on the latter is subtle, yet quite scintillating just the same. The band show their softer side on the pretty ballad “Pray For Tomorrow” where Mancuso breaks out the mandolin, followed by another catchy rocker “Sit Up” where the keys accentuate the band’s full sound, but with a nuanced approach. “Better Than I used To Be” features excellent keyboards from Bieber followed by the band’s fresh take on The Beatles tune “Hey Bulldog”. Ending the disc is “A Little Outside” featuring the esteemed voice of Lou Gramm who still sounds pretty damn good. When you combine the infectious guitar riffs and tight all around playing, what you get is stand out melodic rock!

Overall, Lips Turn Blue is a fine slice of AOR, although bittersweet with the passing of Phil Naro. Apparently, the band is soldiering on with a new vocalist and I wish them all the success in the world.

A MIG Music release.

Band members:
The late Phil Naro (lead and backing vocals, guitars)
Don Mancuso (guitars, mandolin, backing vocals)
Mike Mullane (bass, backing vocals)
Eric Bieber (keyboards, backing vocals)
Roy Stein (drums on tracks 6 and 12)
Special guests:
Lou Gramm (lead vocals on “A Little Outside”)
Mark Schulman (drums on tracks 1,4,5,7,9,10)
Joe Lana (drums on tracks 2,11,13)
Roger Banks (drums on track 3)
Jimmy Richmond (sax on track 8)
Steve Major (additional guitars and percussions)
Marlee Mullane (violin)
James Naro (backing vocals)
Michelle Chalmers (backing vocals)
Jim Crean (backing vocals)
Jeff Cosco (backing vocals)

Track Listing:
1. Just Push (3:20)
2. Build My Castle (4:10)
3. Pray For Tomorrow (4:38)
4. Sit Up (3:53)
5. Better Than I Used To Be (3:33)
6. Miles (3:10)
7. Chain On Me (4:04)
8. Crazy In Love (3:20)
9. Blood Moon (3:07)
10. No Need For You To Call (4:20)
11. Hey Bulldog (2:52)
12. Life’s Crazy Ride (3:54)
13. A Little Outside (3:40)

Added: October 24th 2022
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 281
Language: english

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