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John Hall: Power [Expanded Edition]

Album Notes

John Hall left Orleans in 1977, a year after "Still the One" reached number five on the Billboard Top 40. He'd later turn his attention to politics, serving in the House of Representatives in the 2000s, but in the wake of departing the band he founded, he decided to keep his concentration on music. Power was the second album he released after leaving Orleans but in many ways, it's his definitive solo recording, capturing the exquisitely supple Southern California soft rock of 1979 while also touching upon his political beliefs. This is especially true of Real Gone's 2014 reissue, a CD that contains "Plutonium Is Forever" -- a protest song featured in the 1979 concert No Nukes -- as a bonus track, and the tune makes a good pairing with the album's title track, which also has energy on its mind. Hall might've been taking a stance throughout Power, but the album glides by easily, riding a slick Yacht Rock wave that's sometimes interrupted by a bit of reggae and tempered, Eagles-inspired rock & roll, not to mention the resigned sigh of the album's closer "Cocaine Drain." Think of that cut as a coda to an album that otherwise goes down exceedingly smooth, coating its passions and indignation in an appealing candy shell that sounds as sweet now as it did when it was released. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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