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The Story Of …  GAMBLER


The American Midwest in the late 70’s was a fertile breeding ground for AOR, Pomp, and Melodic rock. From BAD BOY to HEAD EAST, ROADMASTER and the MICHAEL STANLEY BAND, these any many other lesser known bands including Gambler, arose from the Prairies to create a sound and scene that has yet to be rivaled.

Formed in the Chicago area, Gambler began playing the Clubs, and Bars which lead to support slots with FLEETWOOD MAC, and STYX. The band recorded two excellent albums, which every serious fan of AOR should have in their collection.
The debut album “Teenage Magic”, was produced by Jeff Glixman. Not surprisingly there is a real KANSAS feel to many of the tracks. Lead vocals are shared by both Nathan Shaffer, and Warren Mays, and the Playing from everyone is superb. “This Time its Love” kicks the album off with an uptempo song that wouldn’t have been out of place on KANSAS’ “Masque” album. Love those keys! “Walkin’ the Streets”, and “Valerie” are both worth a mention as good uptempo tracks. In my opinion this album sounds as good today as it did nearly two decades ago.

1980 saw the release of the second and final Gambler album -”Love and other Crimes”. This time around the production chores were shared between the band and Phil Bonanno. The results are an excellent mix of straight ahead AOR and radio friendly tracks moving closer to JOHN SCHLITT era HEAD EAST, or REO SPEEDWAGON. Again, the opening track “Something Crazy” is one of the finest on the album, and features some great background vocals. Catchy chorus too! “It never felt like this” is a good follow up, again with an infectious hook. The final track “I put my Love” is a real nice ballad, with some fine Keyboard work by Bruce Breckenfeld.
EMI dropped Gambler shortly after the release of the final album. Not surprising in 1980, with New Wave starting to show signs of marketability, and AOR being pushed aside in favour of Thin ties, and simplistic songs. Oh well, at least we have these classic albums! Highly recommended!


Teenage magic                  (EMI Records/1979)
Love and other crimes       (EMI Records/1980)


Nathan Shaffer                - Lead Vocals / Guitar
Warren Mays                  - Lead Vocals / Guitar
Del Breckenfeld              - Bass Guitar /Vocals
Bruce Breckenfeld          - Keyboards/ Vocals
Chuck Schwartz             - Drums

(This story was made by Eric Abrahamsen)

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