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Tornado

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Album Review

The Rainmakers' second album finds their basic Midwestern rock sounding a little tired, despite more studio polish and Steve Phillips' solid guitar work. While the band sounds more accomplished than on their 1987 debut, Tornado lacks anything as arresting as "Rockin' at the T-Dance" or "Let My People Go-Go" on that album, or "Reckoning Day" on their next one, although "Snakedance" and "Wages of Sin" come close. For most of Tornado, Bob Walkenhorst tones down his yelp of indignation, which is both the most distinctive and potentially annoying characteristic of the band's sound. The restrained "Small Circles" shows how conventional the band could be, suggesting how easily the Rainmakers could have carved out a comfortable career as a standard AOR act. Nice as that track may be, Tornado generally sticks to the Rainmakers' strengths: being wry, provocative, and confrontational. Only the overly long "I Talk With My Hands" is truly a poor effort, seriously bogging down the album with a misguided attempt at dance-oriented rock. Even when they come up short on melody, though, as on the bland "No Romance," Walkenhorst's lyrics usually provide something to listen for. The Rainmakers' next release, The Good News & the Bad News, would offer more of Walkenhorst's outrage, which may have been what Tornado needed to register as one of the band's better efforts. ~ James A. Gardner, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Prototypical Midwestern roots-rockers, the Rainmakers ironically achieved their greatest commercial success overseas, despite generally good reviews in their homeland. Chief songwriter Bob Walkenhorst's playful wit and topical lyrics set the Rainmakers apart from their Heartland bar band peers, though musically they drew from the expected roots rock influences (Chuck Berry, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, etc.). The band was originally formed in 1983 in Kansas City, MO, as a trio...
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Tornado, The Rainmakers
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