Shooting Star: Van McLain (guitar); Gary West (acoustic guitar); Bill Guffey (keyboards); Ron Verlin (bass guitar); Steve Thomas (drums); Chales Waltz (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Stuart Epps (vocals); Gus Dudgeon (tambourine).
Audio Remasterer: John W. Edwards .
Right out of the gate on this self-titled inaugural, Shooting Star brings on the schmaltz but gets away with it because the tracks exhibit so much heart. Most of these well-aimed cuts concern surviving and prospering. Expert musicianship propels this Kansas City sextet through the general rock heartland on a holy crusade. No one else could have made "Just Friends" so poignant yet positive. "Tonight" is most excellent, the violin creating a pop Kansas (but way cooler). The porch-swinger "Rainfall" recalls prime Poco, and "Midnight Man" burns better than the James Gang number of the same name. At the end of the rainbow waits "Last Chance," flat-out one of the finest songs ever -- kettle drums, strings, and guitars build to a crescendo that will bring tears. This song ties with "When the Levee Breaks" as the greatest album-closer of all time (nullified by the CD reissue, which adds the worthy "Wild in the Streets"). Shooting Star doesn't get enough credit. ~ Doug Stone