April 25, 2022

Now, a real biography of the American AOR maestros would most definitely be book length but we’ll suffice with a very compact history of the band which began life back in the 1970s.

Formed by the Fortune brothers, Mick on drums and Richard on guitar, they released their first and very well received self-titled album in 1978 but a succession of individual issues meant that by 1982 it was virtually a completely different group that released the second album in 1985 and to cause additional confusion this was also called Fortune. It didn’t sell well due to many reason not the least of which was record label indifference with the label then becoming bankrupt and the band called it a day as well. Strangely, time has treated the second album very well and this too is acknowledged as a classic melodic rock album from the 1980s. The Fortune brothers then resurrected the band in 2006 as a trio but did not release any new material and we then had to wait until 2016 which saw the band playing several festivals which brought them to the attention of the Frontiers label and they rapidly brought them into the fold. This led to the release of the album called Fortune II in 2019 which maybe was a bit of a joke given that there were two albums simply called Fortune and the new album was therefore number 3, it’s easy to get confused. The new album featured Mick Fortune on drums, Richard Fortune on guitar, Larry Greene on vocals, Ricky Rat on bass and Mark Nilan on keyboards and was an exceptional album of class filled AOR along the lines of Journey, Styx, Foreigner and Survivor which given the input of the Fortune brothers was only to be expected. They also recorded a live DVD/CD set at the Frontiers Rock Festival in 2019 but released in 2020 called The Gun’s Still Smokin’ Live and this showed that the band was still very much a valid outfit and remained a slick and smooth melodic rock band as good as any others out there.

Now we come to the band’s latest album in Level Ground and no prizes are giving for guessing that it is another stupendous slab of monumental melodic rock. They seem to have the knack of writing golden classic tracks that are soulful and intricate but still with all of the power expected from a rock band. The line-up hasn’t changed to much either which is good news with Richard Fortune on lead guitar, vocals and additional keyboards with Larry Greene on lead vocals and guitar, Mick Fortune on drums, Ricky Rat on bass and vocals, Bob Emmett on keyboards with Steve Porcaro guesting on piano and keyboards on I Will Hold You Up’. Larry Greene is exceptional on vocals and his voice is simply exquisite when handling the ballads that the band does so well and he delivers with real style and as much emotion as you can handle. He is also most adept when the power is cranked up and such an outstanding asset in the band. As usual, Richard Fortune is a sensational guitarist and blends in beautifully working perfectly with the melodious keyboards of Bob Emmett but really thrills when he lets loose with his soaring guitar breaks. There are no egos in this band, just quality musicians working together and relishing the simply perfect AOR that they are producing.

If you are into AOR then you will surely know Fortune and what they bring to the world of melodic rock but, just maybe, you need a reminder of what this fine band can do and with Level Ground they have shown that when it comes to stadium rock they are at the very pinnacle of the business.

Level Ground

  1. Silence Of The Heart (4:03)
  2. Judgement Day (4:19)
  3. Dangerous Things (4:48)
  4. I Will Hold You Up (4:39)
  5. Riot In The Heartland (5:05)
  6. Orphaned In The Storm (4:36)
  7. I Should Have Known You’d Be Trouble (5:09)
  8. Hand In Hand (5:01)
  9. Level Ground (3:38)
  10. Lunacy Of Love (5:34)