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For American Grammy and CMA nominated singer/songwriter James House, there was life before Nashville.
House is best known as a country star for his three hit Nashville records, recorded for MCA and Epic Records in the years spanning 1989-1994 and his Song Of The Year nominations for the likes of Dwight Yoakam (“Ain’t That Lonely Yet) and Martina McBride (“A Broken Wing”).
But before that, James House was a rocker, making his solo debut on Atlantic Records in 1983 with an acclaimed self-titled record that featured James co-writing the album’s 9 songs, plus a young Alan Pasqua on 2 co-writes.
The album featured a superstar lineup including Jimmy Haslip (Blackjack), Mike Baird (Journey, Rick Springfield, Van Stephenson), Alan Pasqua (Giant), Rick Derringer and more.
For whatever reason, it was never released on CD, with fans demanding its release for years.
“I did sessions, from vocal coaching Dustin Hoffman on Ishtar to singing opera-like tracks for a never released Zorro play” says House. “My Atlantic record was produced by Gary Katz who produced Steely Dan’s records. He brought in great musicians. One of my favorite guitarists Rick Derringer played guitar and David Sanborn played sax. That was an incredible experience as were all the sessions and recordings I did during this time.”
James House’s rock roots didn’t stop there. Over the next several years, James became one of the go-to writers and singers for those classic 80s soundtracks. Working with such notable studio musicians such as Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather (Toto) plus yet to be discovered artist Bruce Hornsby and others, James was in the writing and recording rock songs and movie soundtrack phase of his career. Songs were included in such high-profile movies as Dream A Little Dream, Gleaming The Cube, Teen Wolf, The Wraith and Fire With Fire.
MelodicRock Classics owner/A&R Andrew McNeice was obsessed with one particular ‘lost’ recording of James which got this project rolling. The closing credits for one of his favourite 80s movies, Scenes From The Goldmine featured the song “Time Enough For Love”, a heartfelt mid-tempo anthem that McNeice loved for years and was determined to see released officially.
A desire to release an official soundtrack for that movie remains unfulfilled, but a relationship with James was established and a new mission created – to put together an Anthology of James’ rock work, from the 1983 Atlantic debut, plus as many of the soundtrack songs as could be found.
Thus began a three year journey, trying to track down as many of the songs recorded as possible. Something that proved to be a bigger challenge than both anticipated.
Masters for all the material except for one song were lost, as were the masters for the Atlantic Records album. James managed to track down a still sealed copy of his LP, which was specially transferred and remastered for this release.
The soundtrack songs were a far bigger challenge. James managed to locate copies of several songs, including the never before heard version of a song he wrote for the Dream A Little Dream movie that was sung by Fee Waybill for the soundtrack.
Other tracks came from several sources thanks to co-writers tracked down by McNeice as well as audio sourced from original copies of the few soundtracks released.
Special thanks go to friend of the label, Ken Potocki, who tracked down two songs on the list himself.
The big hold out was James’ most popular song that has never been released previously – despite fan calls for it over the last 30 years! The sentimental ballad “In It For Love” from the Paramount Studios movie Fire With Fire, has never even been heard in full before, having just an edited version of the song featured in the movie.
But thanks to months of back and forth correspondence with Paramount, a master was found and is included in this set.
House said “It took years to find some of these songs. One of them “In It for Love” from the cult 80’s movie Fire with Fire was never released and took over 25 years to find. I have gotten a steady flow of fan letters and emails over the years asking for the full version this track. Only a minute from the movie clip was out there and over the years people have edited that version trying to make a complete recording. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever recorded. It was buried in the archives of Paramount Movie Studios and just this past year I was able to get help there in finding the master recordings. The brilliant Jeff Pocarro from Toto played drums on this track.”
There are two songs that remain elusive to all. No one with any connection to the songs or their movie use were able to find an original full copy of the songs; “Gleaming The Cube” (from the movie Gleaming The Cube) and “Running Out Of Time” (from the movie Cold Steel), but edited versions with a decent audio quality have been restored and remastered and added at the end of the album as a medley with a third edited tune “American Dream” – just for the sake of completing the full James House puzzle.
This compilation of his classic rock tracks is a time machine back into the 80’s music and teen movie scene in Los Angeles.
House still lives in Nashville where he is still in demand as a songwriter/producer. Lately he’s been writing with Blues Rock Titan Joe Bonamassa on his last 5 #1 albums and producing Australian country-pop singer/songwriter Zoee.
James House – The LA Tapes: Classic Rock Years will be released May 27 as a 2CD set via MelodicRock Classics. Pre-orders start April 19. CDs shipped out at the end of May.
The Full Track Listing is:
01. Cool Boy In Spain 4.28
02. Outside 4.39
03. Steal Your Love Away 4.01
04. Wait For Me 3.34
05. Hot On Your Tail 4.09
06. Jude 3.50
07. Bittersweet 3.47
08. Talk To My Machine 3.51
09. The Edge 3.50
The Soundtrack Cuts
01. Bad Mistake From The Movie “The Wraith” (1986)
02. Flesh On Fire From The Movie “Teen Wolf” (1985)
03. You Better Wait From The Movie “Dream A Little Dream” (1989)
04. Time Enough For Love From The Movie “Scenes From The Goldmine” (1987)
05. Listen To My Heartbeat From The Movie “Scenes From The Goldmine” (1987)
06. The Seeker From The Movie “Scenes From The Goldmine” (1987)
07. Leave My Heart Alone From The Movie “No Man’s Land” (1987)
08. I’m In It For Love From The Movie “Fire With Fire” (1986)
09. All The Money In The World From The Movie “Million Dollar Mystery” (1987)
10. Million Dollar Mystery From The Movie “Million Dollar Mystery” (1987)
11. Goin’ For Gold From The Movie “Million Dollar Mystery” (1987)
12. Born To Race From The Movie “Speed Zone” (1989)
The American Dream From The TV Movie “Jay Leno and the American Dream” (1986)
Gleaming The Cube From The Movie “Gleaming The Cube” (1989)
Running Out Of Time From The Movie “Cold Steal” (1987)