David Foster

Open Road

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It's not a surprise that parts of this first solo album from David Foster resemble the early work of Yes and Badger -- both were groups with which he was associated in the early '70s, the former as not quite a member and the latter as founder. The singer/composer/bassist (who also plays some acoustic guitar here) plunges right into that past with his own rendition of "Time and a Word," the song he co-authored with Yes lead singer (and longtime friend) Jon Anderson in 1969. But that's the last place where the album really crosses stylistic paths for more than a few seconds at a time with Yes. Most of the rest rocks harder -- some of it decidedly so -- and is closer to pop music, and where it does betray progressive elements further in, the latter come more from the pop side of that history, akin to the highly accessible late-'70s work of Genesis (and Phil Collins). He also shows a decided soul influence in parts of this album, especially "Days of Men and Women" and "If You Can't Have Love." There are also two great hook-laden rockers here, the title track (authored by Foster) and "Great Star of Fraternity" (written by guitarist Martin Stephenson). And the album closes with Foster's John Lennon tribute/remembrance, "Give It a Chance," which doesn't sound quite like anything else here (and is cleverly laced with phrases and references to songs from across Lennon's career). This CD, as a result of its origins, will appeal on its face mostly to Yes completists and longtime fans of Badger, yet, ironically, Foster has done his best to go past those boundaries, and come up with a solid solo effort.

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