Mogg/Way – Edge Of The World (1997)

MoggWay_EdgeWorld4 out of 5 Stars!

During one of UFO’s…hmmm…well, let’s just call them “time-outs”—sounds better than “recovering from a musician meltdown”—singer Phil Mogg and bassist Pete Way recruited ace guitarist George Bellas (Ring Of Fire/Palace Terrace) and legendary drummer Aynsley Dunbar (Journey/Jefferson Starship/Whitesnake) and issued Edge of the World, the first of two collections under the Moog/Way moniker.

Truth be told, however, either release could have easily passed for an album by UFO, which would reform at the end of the decade. So for fans who temporarily missed the “parent group” in the late ’90s for a handful of years, the Moog/Way albums helped to fill the gap. And with the new band even remaking the classic track “Mother Mary” for this album, and the quality of this release even surpassing some of the UFO albums from the early ’90s, the spirit of the “parent band” not only continued, but seemed rejuvenated, so no one experienced too much separation anxiety, I’m sure. I certainly didn’t.

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UFO – Misdemeanor (1986)

UFO_Misdemeanor4.5 out of 5 Stars!

Although many faithful devotees of UFO often provide Misdemeanor with a low score on music-related websites, I found those dismal ratings completely undeserved.

For this release, to replace Paul Chapman, the band hired a sorely underrated guitarist named “Atomic” Tommy M. McClendon (what ever happened to him???), who delivers some sizzling riffs and spirited solos that displayed “guitar idol” potential, and Paul Raymond’s keyboard contributions were never better, while long-standing vocalist Phil Moog provides some of his most heartfelt performances throughout.

Certainly a few of the tracks (“The Only Ones,” “This Time,” “One Heart,” and “Dream The Dream,” for instance) had more of an AOR feel with the almost pompish keyboards higher in the overall mix, which turned off many long-time UFO fans, but the songs were generally catchy and the songwriting well above average, with some of the finest, emotionally charged tunes the band ever recorded.

Therefore, in my opinion, this is hardly the worst album UFO ever released—far from it, not with the slick, polished production values, and certainly not with strong, driving tunes such as “Heavens Gate,” “Name of Love,” “Blue,” “Meanstreets,” “Night Run,” and “Wreckless” included. In fact, I love each song in this collection, which I can’t say for every other album in the band’s vast catalogue, so Misdemeanor is easily one of my “Top 5” UFO releases of all time.

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