Fandango - The Complete RCA Albums album review

Joe Lynn Turner’s band who tripped too light: Fandango

Cover art for Fandango - The Complete RCA Albums album

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Joe Lynn Turner describes his first band as “an eclectic mix of R&B, pop, country, jazz and melodic rock”. In fact, no style was off limits as New Yorkers Fandango pursued their rock’n’roll dream across four albums in the late 70s. They bent whichever way the breeze was blowing.

That’s not meant to sound cynical: Fandango were a tight musical outfit with a strong sense of melody and dynamics, and Turner was a nailed-on lead singer, whichever way they went. They had style but no real sense of direction beyond stardom. The record company took care of that – somewhat ham-fistedly.

So 1977’s Fandango has a kind of Boston/Toto vibe to it. 1978’s Last Kiss (by which time they’d expanded from a quartet to a seven-piece) has more of an Eagles/Fleetwood Mac feel, with some innovative disco tinges to keep it from getting too laid-back.

1979’s One Night Stand refines the disco and toughens up the rock with twin guitar breaks, and it looks like they may be finding a style of their own.

They should have followed the courage of their convictions on 1980’s Cadillac, instead of vacillating between glam metal and power pop. But by now a fatal flaw is apparent: while they can competently cover any style they want, their own songs can’t compete when it comes to writing hits.

Fortunately for Turner, he’s been spotted by Ritchie Blackmore’s roadie. For the others, the dream is over.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.