Blues Messenger

The Examiner CD Review – Richie Onori’s ‘Days of Innocence’ CD Is Sweet

From William Phoenix of the LA Music Examiner:

Richie Onori still rocks! Onori, perhaps best known as the drummer for the iconic 1970s band The Sweet–“Ballroom Blitz” and “Fox On The Run”—he first hit the scene at the age of 16 as a member of ? and the Mysterians (famous for the classic 96 Tears). He was also in the group Satyr where he opened for such other acts as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.

In fact, Onori has also appeared with other artists such as Dio, Keith Emerson, Richie Sambora and Slash to name a few. Onori, who is also a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, was biding his sweet time waiting for the right time to release his new solo CD Days Of Innocence. The work is comprised of 13 cuts inspired in part by the California blues/rock scene prevalent in L.A. in the 1960s and 70s.

RIchie Onori
RIchie Onori
Photo credit:
Courtesy of Richie Onori and/or Original Owner

While a few of the tracks were collaborative efforts, Onori penned the bulk of the tunes himself. Onori, much like Genesis drummer Phil Collins, steps out of his comfort zone to produce music that is both expressive and sincere. Onori leads the way on an emotional audio adventure singing lead vocals, playing guitar, harmonica and of course the drums.

Onori’s publicity folks state he is “assisted by the talents of a roster of heavy hitters with whom he has played over the years”. Unfortunately, promo copies of the work do not include credits. Still, one can simply hear the professionalism and classic rock riffs embedded in the music.

The disc’s lead-in, the tuneful, titular “Days Of Innocence”, confirms this immediately as the co-composed cut comes off as being both refreshingly new and yet somehow simultaneously very familiar. The second selection is his first solo composition “It’s Raining In Hollywood”. Here Onori seems to consider the present and past of his hometown.

It is followed by the second collaboration on the CD, “Gypsy Rose” , and “Goodbye Cruel World” which includes a simple yet effective bass line, a rockabilly-blues tinge and a commercial pop hook. The next number is “Runnin’ Down The Devil’s Road” which has a country-western theme and an almost Cash-like vibe to it.

The 1960s-70s inspiration continues to pervade in pieces such as “Space Boogie Woogie”. It’s a fun tune in which Onori seems to enjoy himself. “Critic’s Choice”, however, goes to “Party Queen” which almost seems like an old Mott The Hoople hit or certainly something from that era. It takes some of the same elements of the previous piece one step further.

“Best Years Of Our Lives” follows. This, too, is a co-written cut. It nevertheless seems to easily fit into Onori’s personal musical vision to focus on what he prioritizes in life.

“I Don’t Want To Lose Me” is next. It has an interesting perspective on a relationship that might easily be overlooked on the album. “Mend My Broken Wings”, “All Go Home And Play” and the ballad “Candle In My Heart” while dissimilar are further examples of what Onori and friends are capable of when put into a recording studio.

Onori has compiled a collection of songs that paint a picture of his “multifaceted life” that he hopes will communicate something special to his audience. Complete with touches of David Bowie, Elvis Costello and maybe some Van Morrison, Onori is out to demonstrate that while “The Days Of Innocence” may very well be gone he is obviously not ready to surrender and cry out “Goodbye Cruel World”.

My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.

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