Forgotten Gem: Tobruk-Wild On The Run Reissue
(Parlophone / EMI) 1985
Majestic Rock 2007
Tobruk was formed in 1981 in England. A demo was released by the band and it brought them exposure on BBC's "The Friday Rock Show" in 1982. They played out as much as they could in an attempt to promote their debut single "Wild On The Run" with "The Show Must Go On" which was released on Neat Records around 1983. In 1984 the band was able to secure a record deal and after playing some dates with Diamond Head and UFO they headed into the studio to record Wild On The Run (the album). Recorded at the Warehouse Studios in Philadelphia the album was co-produced by Lance Quinn (Lita Ford/Bon Jovi fame) and Tobruk. Despite the fact that the band had released a single on Neat Records and are often associated with the NWOBHM movement Tobruk had more in common with American arena rock than anything else. Wild On The Run is melodic hard rock in the mold of Y & T, Europe, Autograph and Bon Jovi. It is flashy and keyboard driven. It is also quite a catchy album. "Wild On The Run", "Falling" and "Running From The Night" are as good as anything Treat or Europe every put out. "Hotline" is a fine little slab of rock while "Rebound" reminds me of a more pop AC/DC. "Poor Girl" rocks hard and features flashy AOR guitar playing. "She's Nobody's Angel" is one of those songs that has eighties rock written all over it. "Breakdown" features more of the fabulous guitar work the band had to offer melodic rock fans of the early eighties . "Going Down For The Third Time" starts off slow sounding more like Journey before it picks up and rocks. "The Show Must Go On" is tacked on as a bonus cut on current releases (along with the single version of "Wild On The Run") and while it was a B side cut for a reason it is still a good little rock number. Majestic Rock did a good job with the remaster of this album. It sounds nice and clear. The version I have features only the two bonus cuts ( as it is a download off of Itunes) but Majestic Records did release this album with a second disc of live material. Since I have not heard it I can't comment of it's quality. As for the band themselves they were unfortunately dropped by Parlophone in 1987. They had failed to chart in the UK where fan's accused them of sounding too American and by the time their sophomore record "Pleasure + Pain" came out they were pretty much done. Whether or not an ill suited tour with Manowar following the album's release had anything to do with their lack of success is any one's guess. Sadly vocalist Stuart "Snake" Neale died on December 20th, 2006 at the young age of 43 from congestive heart failure. If the band had been blessed with better fortune and found themselves more embraced by American audiences they could have been huge. As is they were at the wrong place and the wrong time it seems.
Metal Mark's view-
I never heard of Tobruk until I saw theirs discs listed from an eBay seller six or seven years ago. I frequently considered buying one of their discs without hearing a track figuring I'd like them, but for whatever reason I never did. I never heard them until the other week when Andy let me hear this disc. This album very much in the AOR style that was so poulare here in the mid-1980's. They do it very with catchy melodies, smooth vocals and songs that are instantly likable. It's not overly original or brilliant on any level, but certainly an album I could listen to multiple times. I had wondered before why AOR was so big here in the states in the 1980's and we had so many acts playing that style yet you didn't hear a lot of bands from other countries throwing their hats into the AOR arena. As for the the UK Def Leppard added an AOR feel around Hysteria and Shy started out with that style. Yet there sure were not many bands from the UK going that route. Teens over here were blasting the likes of Journey and Foreignor over here as they were staples of American radio in the 1980's, but I guess that style didn't appeal to everyone everywhere. For Tobruk they couldn't find and audience in their country. However today in many circles fans of this style hold this album in high regard. Their work may not have gotten the notice they wanted when it first came out, but there are still fans today that recognize their talent on this disc.