Once described as ‘one of the greatest unknown gems in UK’s AOR scene’, IF ONLY was the British answer to American female fronted bands in the genre like Vixen or Heart. Formed from the ashes of superb rockers Moritz by guitarist Greg Hart and bass player Ian Edwards, the band released their official debut ‘No Bed Of Roses’ in 1992 – only in Japan – with its subsequent European edition two years after. The singer in this disc was the fiery Tina Egan which joined the band around ’91.
But around 1989 / 90, IF ONLY recorded a complete take of these songs with original singer Jackie Bodimead who sang in Girlschool for a while. That version was finally released by a US indie label as “Destiny” in 2004, with the addition of 5 previously unreleased tracks plus two Live Radio Session cuts. I largely prefer these earlier versions, as Bodimead is one of the best and most underrated female vocalists ever. Her tone, expression and charm fits perfectly to this Melodic Rock / AOR style. Also to note is the excellent lead guitar work by Martin Chaisson. Both Jackie and Martin left the IF ONLY when this original take of the album was nearly completed. It was a devastating blow to the band when she quit at the eleventh hour. To be fair, Tina Egan was a quality replacement, but she was no Jackie Bodimead.
Alongside Greg Hart, Bodimead forged a songwriting partnership that should have gone far. Just listen to the likes of “Rock And A Hard Place”, the old Moritz song “Hearts On The Line”, the AOR bliss of “Hearts On The Line”, “If Love Could Last Forever” or the simply perfect “Ghost Of You”. It’s almost unbelievable they didn’t had their breakthrough in the USA back then, because the music was just so perfect classy ’80s Melodic Rock / AOR. Hard to find limited release, out of print….
01 – Destiny (Unreleased Demo).
02 – Voices Of The Heart (Unreleased Demo).
03 – Ain’t Nobody (Unreleased Demo).
04 – Hearts On The Line (Unreleased Demo).
05 – Change Of Heart (Unreleased Demo).
06 – Rock And A Hard Place (Original Version).
07 – Tumblin’ Dice (Original Version).
08 – If Love Could Last Forever (Original Version).
09 – No Bed Of Roses (Original Version).
10 – Forever My Love (Original Version).
11 – Loaded Gun (Original Version).
12 – Ghost Of You (Original Version).
13 – Red Hot Heaven (Original Version).
14 – All Over (Original Version).
15 – Man Against The World (Original Version).
16 – All Over (Live Radio Session).
17 – Ghost Of You (Live Radio Session).
Andy Elphick – Drums
Andy Stewarton – Keyboards
Greg Hart – Guitars
Ian Edwards – Bass
Jackie Bodimead – Lead Vocals
Martin Chaisson – Guitars
If Only – Destiny (2004)
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