Michael Thompson Band – Future Past

 

Michael Thompson is one of the leading guitar players of the world. He was awarded the “Distinguished Alumni” award from his alma mater Berklee College of Music to commemorate his contributions to the music industry. Berklee’s program for the event noted that “he is widely regarded as being among the elite studio session players, and his amazing list of credits includes such prominent names as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, ‘N Sync, Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, the Scorpions, Vince Neil, Christina Aguilera, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Bette Midler, Madonna, Babyface, En Vogue, Gloria Estefan, Stanley Clarke and Ricky Martin.” Quite a list of luminaries to perform with/for!

Originally from New York, Michael moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to begin a studio musician career. In 1988, after working to try and get a deal with his band Slang, he finally got signed by Geffen Records to release one album entitled “How Long”, under the Michael Thompson Band (M.T.B.) monicker, and is one of the best examples of AOR/Westcoast from that era (or any era!), and it was reissued in 2007 with 3 bonus tracks

On “How Long” more great studio musicians appeared as guests, in particular drummer-maestro Terry Bozzio, singer Moon Calhoun (ex The Strand), Pat Torpey (later to be  drummer with Mr Big), bassist Jimmy Haslip, John Elefante (Kansas), Toto’s Bobby Kimball and Great White associates Michael Lardie and Wyn Davis (who also produced the album). Songwriters would include, among others, AOR luminaries such as: Jeff Paris, Mark Spiro, Billy Trudel and Brett Walker.

For ‘Future Past’ Michael has teamed up with singer Larry King from the band Soleil Moon. Larry brought a new and more rocking approach to the MTB sound but certainly the trademark elements of songwriting and melodies are still to be found in the new album “Future Past”. In fact the album plays on the up tempo sound of Toto, and the first Giant album, so that cant be a bad thing

‘High Times’ picks up where ‘How Long’ left off, as an up tempo rocking number full of an instantly catchy chorus and a great riff. ‘Can’t Be Right’ continues in a similar vein and shows why MT picked King as his vocalist of choice. ‘Future Past’ is a smooth as a velvet glove and really highlights Thompson’s guitar prowess. ‘When You Love Someone’ is just a delight of an emotional ballad and is swallowed whole by the excellence of ‘Here I am’
I have to mention the reworked ‘Can’t Miss’ from the 89 debut as I’m running out of superlatives for all the other tracks. It’s still a great song, and Karry King runs the original very close, but I will always prefer the original version. That said, ‘Future Past’ is a strong enough album without this reworked classic
On its first listen I wasn’t exactly over enamoured with it. However after living with this thing for a couple of weeks, it’s probably one of the finest AOR albums you (and me)will hear all year (and its only Feb). If I had to pick a winner between the Sunstorm and MTB albums, ‘Future Past’ delivers the goods in abundance
90/100

MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND
Michael Thompson     Guitars & Keys
Larry King                   Vocals
Khari Parker               Drums
Alan Berliant               Bass

Guest Performers              
John Blasucci – Keys
Dave Hiltebrand – Bass – When You Love Someone, Beautiful Mystery, Future Past, Here I Am & Break Me Down
Matt Walker – Drums – High Times
Sahara Thompson – Background Vocals – Can’t Miss
J.P. Delaire – Keys, Background Vocals, Sax – Can’t Miss

Produced By : Larry King & Michael Thompson

Tracklisting:
High Times;
Can’t Be Right;
Future Past;
When You Love Someone;
Here I Am;
Beautiful Mystery;
Break Me Down;
End Game;
Gypsy Road;
Can’t Miss 2012;
Fight For Your Life.

Author: barnstoneworthutd

Rock music lover from the age of 4 thanks to my dad. I migrated to the classic rock bands of the 70 (Rainbow, Rush, Lizzy, Purple etc) before discovering melodic rock and hair metal in the 80s and beyond. Also partial to a bit of prog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: