Tangier formed in Philadelphia by songwriter and guitarist Doug Gordon and grew up in the clubs with bands such as Cinderella, who would later help the group out by having Tangier open for them on their second major tour.
After an independently released debut, they signed to the ATCO label. Veteran producer Andy Johns was selected for their major label showcase, Four Winds. Released in 1989, this album holds a special place in my heart, as I was just starting college and rock was my biggest passion (as it still is, all these years later).
The album was of its time, with a huge sound and the blues seeping out of every pore. The album seemed to keep the image of scorched earth western towns with its ZZ Top saunter and the best damn vocals of the era. Bill Mattson was an amazing singer on this record, roaring out the finest set of blues rock tunes this side of Whitesnake or Led Zeppelin. His soulful sonic made this album, along with Gordon‘s fine guitar playing (lots of slide on the side).
The aural delight begins with the catchy “Rip Cord” and bleeds on into the stone cold classic “Missippi“. This is one of the best two punch openers in rock. I believe that this type of rock inspired newer bands such as Killer Bee – tell me I’m wrong.
The atmosphere gets distinctly chilly with the epic “On The Line“, evoking small town terror. The singing and guitar weave around some amazing Jon Lord-like Hammond organ. So good. The solo here also sings itself.
Boogie bars and sweaty love get evoked by “In Time“. This may be track four, but this is no filler, with another sweet sounding guitar solo. The end breakdown is also so soulful and full of emotion…It is like listening to gold.
The full on Southern rock of “Four Winds” swaggers on next, like a song from Cinderella‘s Long Cold Winter, but only with more melody. Added to the slide guitars is tasteful piano and keyboards. I am just as much in love with this song as when I first heard it as a spotty teen. This still gives me shivers, especially the barnstorming slide guitar solo. It actually made me buy a slide for my guitar, which I never figured out how to play properly!
Side Two (as it was then) starts with the swampy ferocity that is “Fever For Gold“, which is gritty as the sand being dug. The chorus is catchy as a dose of something nasty and the song stomps like a bar full of drunken miners.
The collection heats up again with “Southbound Train“. This is an absolute anthem to shout along to. It is tailor made for the huge arenas that never materialized.
“Bad Girl” brings to mind some good Led Zeppelin (circa Houses Of The Holy) and “Good Lovin’” is an adrenaline rush to sign off a great rock and roll ride.
Man, is it really so long ago that this album grabbed me? Highly recommended and the band should have been huge. This album has it all – attitude, songs and a great image..What happened? Oh – and how about an Albums Unleashed on this one?