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10 Albums You Need To Hear # 1: N.E. 2nd Ave. by Young Turk

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Young Turk was a Miami, FL based hard rock band that was heavily influenced by classic rockers of the 60's and 70's such as The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and Mott The Hoople. Led by singer Rhett O'Neil, the band only released one major label album -- the brilliant N.E. 2nd Ave. The album is full of upbeat rockers and gentle ballads, visiting all points in between on a rock 'n' roll journey that should have brought along millions for the ride.

The album features excellent songwriting both musically and lyrically. Like Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, Young Turk is able to give us glimpses into the lives of everyday people and show us the individuality, oddity and uniqueness of each life they spoke about. Their songs are populated by your neighbors but your neighbors have never fascinated you like they do in these songs.

"The Saddest Song" opens the album, but rather than be the sappy ballad you might expect from the title, it is a kicking little rocker that is anything but sad and open the album with a bit of a bang. Things slow just a bit for the next track, "Wine," that explains love, "like wine, gets better with a little time." A message that has been passed on in many a rock song before, but seldom with the style and flourish done here.

"The Saddest Song" - Young Turk

The album continues with great songs like rockers "For No One In Particular," ballads like "What About You" and somewhere-in-betweens like "Blue Monday." Eventually you reach the heart of the album -- the three best songs that even if they had been surrounded by mediocre fillers would have still made this one a great one.

"Love American Style (N.E. 2nd Ave.)" is the centerpiece of the collection and ushers in this trilogy of perfection. It is a rocking tune that tells the story of Maria and her man who "might take a swing but he would never hit her." The song has a very "New York" feel to it, but most likely is set in Miami.

Next up is "Painting the Sun." This sweet ballad is the ultimate love song with Rhett proclaiming to his love "if fire decides to pour down from the sky, if that's where you will make our bed then that's where I will lie." The song focuses on a man's desire to be strong while facing the vulnerability he feels when dealing with love.

The third song is another rocker and the best song on the album, "Baby Ah." This is the song that Virgin Records should have pushed to get the album off the ground as it would have made a great MTV tune and video. As far as I know, it was never released and no video was made. I really think this would have been the song to generate initial sales on this record.

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"Take a Chance" - Young Turk from EP prior to N.E. 2nd Ave.

While the final three songs are not quite the caliber of the previous three, they are all quite good and finish the album out in style. The last song, "Long Way Back," is the only one I have any complaint about as it is a little long at over seven minutes when it really does all it can do in under five. But considering how great this album is, that is a very small complaint.

Do not feel bad that you missed this should-be classic. I was fortunate enough to pick up the CD at a used CD shop for $1.00 15 years ago. At the time it was released in May 1992, I was working in a music store helping with new release orders and I had never even heard of them prior to happening upon it at the used shop. Way to market a band, huh?

After Young Turk, Rhett O'Neil went on to sing in a band called Butter Club that released one album in 1998. I have only heard one track from that album and it was a great song though not quite up to the standard set by Young Turk. Currently, Rhett performs with Rhett y Los Borrachos Empenados, a group of Cuban-American musicians from Miami.

Comments

RattFann on April 21, 2016:

I used to have a copy of Train to Nowhere on tape. Does anyone know where i can download a copy? mp3s? I'd love to have another copy.

Nicole M. on November 20, 2013:

Loved them! Got to see them live a few times. Met them at Livestock in the early 90s Abbe got a signed promo pic from them!

J.N. on May 14, 2013:

My band practice next door to the Turks. We were all like 16 and 17 yr old, and though the Turks totally ruled. We would walk in their room while they were still in the writing process of (N.E. 2 AVE). Really fun times!! The (TRAIN TO NOWHERE) is as good a demo as you will ever hear, I have in a cassette form. Totally awesome:

reggie on March 03, 2012:

funny...ah a good three days spent on the road with these guys..played the cast bridge...max's in ithaca...and the limelight in NYC...have train to nowhere cassette...nice!...have demo copy of unreleased geffen album...2 copies Ne 2nd Ave...and the tour shirt...forgot i had all that till i read y'alls comments...familiarity...commonality with some folks from the past...thx...i needed that

Chachie Moe on January 25, 2012:

I got to work with these guys in Carbondale Pennsylvania @Carl Cannedy's studio.The bass player was a trip and Carl is really cool to work with

roger on April 26, 2011:

I met these guys in Memphis the Fall of 1990 when they were recording at Ardent Studio's as well as Kiva studios. I hung out with them the entire fall and really wished the best for them. I would love to get some of there music, we had some really good times. I think I actually made it onto the special thanks list, LOL.

Tymes on April 25, 2011:

So many memories. I was just forteen when I heard these guys rock. I went to every show. The only other band aside from the Stones that did it for me. Needless to say my close dear frind Eddy Oliva co-wrote all the songs. I have every recording they ever did and don't mine sharing. Spread the desease. R...

Jennifer on April 08, 2011:

I had this album when it first came out! I still sing the songs by head and I knew the name of the band but could never find it!! The entire ablum is AWESOME!! :)

Shalene on January 23, 2011:

"Train to nowhere" was one of the first demos. MY favorite!!!!!!!!!!! So many great times hanging with the boys.

Jim on December 27, 2010:

When I was Station Manager at WESS (East Stroudsburg University's radio station) I tried to get Young Turk to come play at our Spring Fling and their management wanted $10,000 for them to play. Needless to say it was a little out of our budget and a shame they didn't get more exposure. LOVE the cd!

DarkSinistar (author) from North Carolina on October 01, 2010:

Never say never, Pete. If I can find Knightmare's Louder Than Words demo, who knows what you might some day run across at the local pawn shop!

Pete on September 11, 2010:

RattFan, you won't find it. It was a demo from their sessions in Utica NY with Carl Canedy. I still have a copy on tape!

Kevin on March 20, 2010:

Seen them in concert in Davie Florida still have the CD from all those years ago, still listen to it!

RattFan on November 04, 2009:

These guys had an album before NE 2nd Ave. It was awesome. I can't seem to find it ANYWHERE. It was produced by Carl Canedy. I'd love to get my hands on another copy.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on August 08, 2009:

I've never heard of these guys, but will look into it. Thanks!