Tag Archives: British Rock

PHOENIX – Out Of The Sun

PHOENIX formed after ’70s classic band ARGENT disbanded, as it consisted of John Verity, Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit. Verity had joined Argent for their last 2 albums, replacing Russ Ballard; the band took on a change of direction, but Verity wanting to get back to a more straight ahead rock band came up with Phoenix. The band debuted in 1976 with their self-titled album. Not sure how well it did, but it is a classic ’70s hard-rock album, full of great guitar, Verity’s distinctive vocals, and a killer rhythm section., and stand outs like “From The Ashes”, “Woman Like You”, and “Easy”. Highly recommended ’70s rock listening, with Verity putting out a 30th anniversary CD edition some years ago.

Anyway, the band went in to record a 2nd album (which is the topic here), which was shelved as the record company at the time wanted the band to take on a more American radio friendly sound, hence 1979’s flop – In Full View. The band would release 1 more single before disbanding.

Now, nearly 43 years later that 2nd ‘lost’ album has been rediscovered and mastered for release by John Verity. Titled Out Of The Sun, with a cover that resembles that classic album cover for the Phoenix debut album, featuring 8 tracks individually penned by each band member, as well as a track from Chris White (Zombies).

Upon first listen through, it is safe to say if you liked that first Phoenix album – you will really like this! A great mix of rockers, ballads, a bit of funk, blues… Out Of The Sun opens with “Are You Ready”, an upbeat heavy rocker, very fitting musically and lyrically here. (Can’t help but be reminded of Grand Funk’s song of the same title). There are a couple of piano based ballads [featuring Rod Argent] – “Fallin'”, which is highlighted by Verity’s vocal, harmonies, and a smokin’ guitar break, as well as the cut “When My Boat Comes In”, again with a great high vocal,, a bit of synths, – this one would’ve made a fine single. “Loser” is a rocker, with a good bit of attitude; this song really makes me think these guys were really having a blast recording this stuff. “Spider Woman” is a cool sounding slower number, a bit funky, great groove, one of my favorites here, as is “Take My Music”, a bit more of an uptempo rocker, complete with some nice backing harmonies, a few changes, killer guitar sound; too bad this one fades out so soon. “Winds Of Change”, followed by “You Got Soul” close out this disc, both strong cuts, a bit of blues, soul, funk, and solid rock.

It is a shame this album was lost for so long, because it is a fantastic follow up and equally as impressive as the debut. Not a dodgy cut here. Just a very cool sounding guitar rock album of the 70s, from a tight sounding band that ended too soon.

RIP Jim Rodford, 2018

Order at > http://www.johnverity.com

Kj, 01/’22

ROBIN GEORGE – An Exclusive Interview

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British guitarist / songwriter Robin George may be better known to many for his vast list of big name collaborations, but his output as a solo artist is often overlooked, and over the global pandemic he’s been busy adding to his solo discography with a number of new albums, remastered and reworked recordings, and a few surprises. One of his latest is Wilderness, (which I’ve written about previously), and here Robin answers my questions (and tosses in some press feedback) about all his new releases as well as his influences, and what we can look forward to hearing in the near future. *For more info and ordering of Robin’s new releases go to http://www.robingeorge.co.uk

The last time we spoke was around the time of the Byron Band release.  You’ve been very busy since then, and in particular since the release of History in 2014. Since then there’s been plenty of releases. Can you start with the History release and your working relationship with Angel Air Records?  

HISTORY MUSICIANS
DAVE HOLLAND, PINO PALLADINO, PHIL LYNOTT, MEL COLLINS, MARK STANWAY, MO BIRCH, TERRY ROWLEY, DANIEL BOONE, PETE WRIGHT, ROBIN GEORGE.

Words From the much-missed Malcolm Dome:

As you’ll hear on the ‘History’ album, Robin George clearly deserves such accolades and plaudits, because the quality and individuality of the music here is simply remarkable. More so, as the tracks here, remastered as one would expect, have been left as they were at the time and represent a fulfilling exercise in the combination of power, song writing and intelligence. What this album underlines is how creative he was even in his formative years.

There are clearly some hidden gems . For instance, you’ll get to hear the original version of ‘Heartline’ a single through Bronze Records in April 1985. If you want to appreciate every nuance and aspect of what makes this a truly great pop rock song, then this is the prime representation.

History is not a nostalgia trip. It’s a lesson in music for everyone.

Angel Air was an unusual deal, a partnership really, 50%50, which was unheard of, but as all musos know there is no real music industry anymore, the internet has put paid to that!

I wanted my music to be heard somehow so I signed to them. They released 7 of my albums, and my loyal friends and followers seemed to like them!

I have to say as a label the packaging/Artwork was very good indeed, and the valid re-releases, of course. They were honest which is rare these days; they always settle their debts. So, it did work in a strange but true way… Angel Air kept my name out there to the faithfuls amongst you. Thanks chaps!

Dangerous Music 2 came out.  That is a collection of songs that you’d originally hoped to be the sequel to your debut album in 1984!? Can you tell me a bit about this album – where the tracks come from and who’s all on it? 

Dangerous Music 2 was going to be the follow up to DM, produced with Gus Dudgeon at the fab Manor Studio, owned by R Branson, who popped in occasionally while driving his kid around to get him to sleep? Then recording continued at Maison Rouge Studio in London for backing vocals etc.

I remember I was adding guitar to my track ‘Streetwise’ when Quo burst in performing their famed guitar dance. Later I went into the pool room for a chat to find Rick & Francis gently lifting Bonnie of The Pointer Sisters, who was with me, off the pool table and placing her on a sofa… without waking her. Gentlemen indeed!

Dave Holland started the sessions as the drummer, but his commitment to Judas Priest meant he had to bail out.

Charlie has played on my last 7 albums, he is the best melodic rock drummer I ‘ve had the honor and pleasure of knowing and working with… he brings my songs to life, no less!

The superb Pino Paladino was playing bass, no way to be his talent could be wasted, so I prog’d a drum machine as a stop gap. Then Gus called in Elton’s drummer the fantastic Charlie Morgan, and the rest is history.

Adrian Lee played keys and was a big influence on the sound of the trax. Chris Thompson Daniel Boone and 3 girls sang backing vocals: Bonnie Pointer, the singer from a major power ad back then and a great session singer… I joined in with the girls of course! The master recording of them was lost somehow which is why I don’t remember all their names. Sorry, girls. So, I never heard them again, but they are always fab in my memory!!

Rogue Angels was issued in 2018, and if I’m correct – your first solo album of new material in 10 years[?]  Now, this album was just you and Charlie Morgan[?]   

 I think Steven Reid’s words say it all! Better than I could! :

Angel Air Music [Release date 18.05.18] George, Robin: Rogue Angels

Recent times have seen Robin George both reappraise his incredible back catalogue and release an impressive stream of new albums. Rogue Angels is his latest set of fresh recordings and for a man long known for high profile collaborations (Robert Plant, Phil Lynott, Glenn Hughes etc), there’s a certain irony that this almost purely solo effort is undoubtedly one of his best. Having worked together regularly throughout their careers, drummer Charlie Morgan is once again the man behind Robin’s beat, the kind of telepathic bond that only time can build hugely benefiting a set of songs that positively burst with vim and vigour. With Robin handling everything else, the cohesive and ‘band’ nature of Rogue Angels really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated; the fire that burns bright from the very second “Wild Eyed Beauty Queen” comes into being completely knocking you sideways with the pure energy it possesses.

That Robin is arguably best known for bothering the charts in the 80s, and his ability to write songs that show other artists at their best, it’s often forgotten that he’s a heck of a guitarist, and with his foot thoroughly stamped on the distortion pedal, the irresistible little guitar runs that add colour and intrigue to “Dangerous Daisy” and the album’s title track (which, if I’m not mistaken, cleverly nods towards George’s biggest hit, “Heartline”) instantly snag the ear and won’t let go. A second look over the shoulder arrives in the shape of “Go Down Fighting 2018”, Robin’s debut single given a meaty reworking here and thriving in this updated form. Throughout, Robin refers lyrically to his long held ethos of LovePower & Peace, the theme of love conquering all and having the power to bring about peace, if we’d only let it, revisited numerous times across these songs and lending them an uplifting quality in the process. Something which comes across again and again in the crafted layers that are used to accentuate the insistent vocals. However, when you feel the obvious love and joy that the likes of “Dancing Shoes Again”, “Rush” and “Surreal Dream” have all been created with, then the same ethos also comes across in the hook laden music and, dare I say it, some of the best guitar solos Robin has ever pulled from his fretboard.

Over a vast and varied career Robin George has created a hugely eclectic body of work, but with the hard rocking, blues edged energy of Rogue Angels it really feels like this singer, guitarist and songwriter is making music that completely satisfies his creative need. Surely it’s no coincidence that it also comes across as one of the most impressive albums he’s put his name to.


With Rogue Angels and Wilderness [and going forward] what’s changed in your approach to writing and recording over the years?  Listening to these albums, there’s lots of great guitar, groove, rock, a bit of funk, blues…

Even some soul with Ruby Turner! I was writing solo songs from around 14 for bands I formed, then later started co-writing with guys and gals I was producing. David Byron, Phil Lynott, John Wetton, Robert Plant, Ruby Turner, Marshall Law, Vix Fuzzbox, Pete Haycock, Pete Goalby and many more. I really enjoyed all those collaborations, but now, I write solo again, suits me these days.

Re-recording, I followed technology at it’s best, then went back to real talented musicians… far more satisfying and much more fun and inspiration.

Can you talk a bit about some of your early influences as a guitar player and what’s sort of influenced your sound and style to where you are today?  

Peter Green, Johnny Winter, all old blues players, Clapton with the Beatles, Gary Moore, Neil Schon, Joe Walsh et al were all great for me. Since my early days I don’t listen to much music, if I wanna hear some I make it 😉 What comes out is how I play today, using my Marshall combo amp & BC Rich, and Washburn, Suzuki and Yamaha acoustic guitars.

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On Wilderness there seems to be a lot of poetry and storytelling. Can you tell me a bit about what inspires your lyrics – where ideas come from ? 

Thanks for noticing, I am being named a ‘Rock Poet’ which is gratifying indeed!

I really care about my lyrics and the messages I share with my friends.

Inspiration arrives out of the blue then I have a vast bunch of words which I slice away at until they resemble a song, Then I improve on what I have until it is a song… then I record it.

My inspiration is mostly from real life, I can hear a phrase or line in conversation that sparks an idea which lights a fire in me.

I don’t know how I do it, but I’m truly grateful for the gift of creativity.

You have a fairly unique vocal sound / style, and the only way I can describe it is sort of like Marc Bolan, fairly quieter , but not really soft. Can you tell me a bit about your vocal approach or influences? 

I never wanted to be a singer, I was a guitar player who sang a bit, but over the years I found only I could sing most of what I wrote, the way I heard it, so here I am, a song writing guitar player who sings a bit.

I have no real influences. The singers I admired were in a different league from me which I could never aspire to. Again, how I sound is what comes out.

I do think Marc was a great pop star though. I was asked to be Bolan 2 if I’d write more poppy songs, but not for me! He was a one off.

During the pandemic you’ve recorded 4 new albums, starting with Wilderness – can you give me a few lines on each of these releases – what each is about, in which order they were done, when did you come up with the ideas, and who else played on them? 

Robin has used Rockdown to nurture and finish some fantastic music, all of which is now available from Damage Control Music in Robin’s Online Store @ www.robingeorge.co.uk, and includes contributions from no less than Phil Lynott, John Wetton, Robert Plant, Sean Harris, Ruby Turner, David Byron, Glenn Hughes, Vix Fuzzbox, Pete Goalby & Pete Haycock to name just a few, Artist credits are also on site.

Robin says,

‘I’ve just remastered the Charity album LovePower and Peace that escaped about ten years ago; It’s now called RockinG LovePower with many new tracks, including a Rock Bangra Flamenco track with the major Bollywood star vocalist Mangel Singh! All Re-mastered & 2021 mixes.

I’m calling it a ‘sharing’ album because… My idea is that we retail at our cost price  (£5), then y’all who buy choose to support the causes closest to your hearts.

This is freedom of helping. I hope it works, If you can’t donate now, enjoy the music from these awesome musicians ‘till you can my friends. Then do please donate… every penny counts!’

Robin George should certainly be garnering applause as the musician who made the most of lockdown (by some long, album issuing way).

Hot on the heels of earlier 2021 releases Wilderness and Heartlines come the dovetailing pairing of Feed the Wolf and Surreal Six String; the former is the latest full length studio album from Robin George while the latter is his first fully instrumental offering (much as Heartlines was his first all acoustic release).

That his distinct and individualistic Dangerous Music sound and style is still alive and well is evident from tracks such as opener ‘Momma Sister Daughter’ (Bolan vocality meets guitaredged Robin George rock and roll), the muscly and, again, Bolan-esque (an oft-cited and valid comparison) title track and ‘Savage Song,’ a gritty, fast-paced number on which Mr George isn’t exactly hanging about.

‘Savage Song’ also highlights a major Robin George trait, that of reinventing & rerecording some of his older songs to suit his current state of musical mind (some may recall ‘Savage Song’ as a highlight of Damage Control, a supergroup of sorts featuring George, raspythroated Quireboys front man Spike, Chris Slade and the late Pete Way).

Other Feed The Wolf highlights include ‘Funky Rock Groove’ (which does exactly what it says on the tin), the bluesy sway of ‘Love is Blind’ (featuring some tasty guitar licks from Robin George), the edgy but melodic ‘Castles in the Sky’ (whose origins go back to the History of the Wolverhampton born musician) and the quirkier ‘Painful Kiss,’ originally from the album of the same name.

The album ends on the similarly quirky and very catchy ‘Early Daze,’ a looking-back and ‘If I knew then’ styled nod to more carefree and innocent times (a shorter acoustic version also sits on Heartlines).

Surreal Six String is a collection of primarily reworked numbers from across Robin George’s career and catalogue, instrumental-ised with the lyric-melody line played on guitar in effective and, on some of the tracks, quite expressive style.

Opener ‘Go Down Fighting’ was Robin George’s first major single release in 1983 but here is based on his later rocked up version; it therefore works well as a feisty instrumental.

It’s also nice to see a place for the atmospheric, tempo shifting instrumental ‘Charlotte Starlight,’ which goes back to the History album, and ‘Love Power & Peace’ (featuring Hammond fills from the late Ken Hensley and melodic guitar play from Robin George) from the all-star charity album of that name.

You’ll also find instrumental versions of Wolf numbers ‘Painful Kiss’ and ‘Love is Blind’ as well as re-workings of the more rock and roll styled ‘Dancing Shoes’ (from the Rogue Angels album) and a shorter take of the blues swaggering ‘Freedom,’ from last year’s BitterSweet HeartBeat album.

Other highlights include ‘Brandy Bottle Blues’ (another with a self-explanatory title), which features a couple of bars of blues blasting sax from Mel Collins, and album closer ‘Oxygen.’ Originally a love song, ‘Oxygen’ works equally well as an expressive guitar workout in instrumental clothing.     

So another brace of 2021 releases from a man who clearly wasn’t twiddling thumbs during lockdown/s.

Further proof of that ever-busy schedule?

Robin George has also released a fully remastered version of the Asia 2 Marquee gig from

1986 (of which he was an integral part), a Robin George & Dangerous Music Euro Tour Live CD, a RoxStar Legends compilation and a remastered retooling of the Love Power & Peace album as Rocking LovePower.

He is now looking at reissuing some Damage Control music and achieving an official release for the album he recorded with Glenn Hughes in 1989 (previously issued under decidedly dodgy and awful audio quality circumstances). 

No wonder he lives in Spain – he clearly needs, and deserves, the siestas.

Ross Muir , FabricationsHQ 

Feed The Wolf & Surreal Six String, along with all other aforementioned releases, can be purchased on CD direct from the artist’s website: http://www.robingeorge.co.uk/

You also issued 4 CDs of remasters and edits….  [again] can you tell me a bit about each of these? 

Early in Rockdown I realized the vaults contained some pure gold music with fantastic musicians and I thought, now’s the opportune time to get to work on them. So I did! All fascinating to work on but bittersweet at times because they were all my friends and I loved all. I know they all recorded with me because they wanted people to hear our music… and that’s the sweet part.

You also have a Live Asia release that you were on. Can you recall that show and how it came about and how well you got on with John, Geoff, Carl… Phil Manzanera was on that as well….

The gigs were for Nordoff Robbin, a charity close to John’s heart. They were a great group of guys. All well cool and in the groove. We got on great which I think shows in the Asia 2 Marquee gig video. John and I were introduced by Bryan Lane, Asia manager, and we hit it off straight away. John took me to his house and amazingly for me, had my single ‘Go Down Fighting’ on his deck… and he played it! John had rented a country house for the summer, and we spent lots of quality time writing, talking, practising, and planning for the gigs. We did 3 nights, JB’s Dudley and 2 at the Marquee London. Great nights indeed! John asked me to join Asia but previous commitments prevented me. Wrong timing or what!

Later he came to my Wolves studio and we recorded ‘Wasted Time’ which features on both

‘Roxstar Legends and RockinG LovePower’… far too good a track to waste! Plus, last time I spoke to John, he said he loved it, so it’s gotta be heard!

 So, aside from promoting all these new releases, what else do you have in the works or things you’d like to do down the road? 

A bit of time off I hope 😉. I’m writing new songs at the moment, so, ‘Only Time Will Tell’!

Any projects involving people you’ve collaborated in the past still in the vaults? 

Yep, the Glenn Hughes album ‘ Sweet Revenge’ is being remastered for the near future. It was bootlegged at appalling quality, don’t buy it; this is the real thing my friends!

Links:

http://www.robingeorge.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/RobinGeorgeMusic/

https://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/2020/07/album-review-robin-george-bittersweet-heartbeat/

https://www.youtube.com/user/damagecontrolmusic

*Photos of Robin: Fiona Bond

KJ, 12/’21

 

WONDERWORLD Pays Tribute To Ken Hensley as LIVE FIRE on New Album

WONDERWORLD is the name of the power trio consisting of Roberto Tiranti, Ken Ingwersen, and Tom Fossheim. From 2013 until last year the band played alongside Ken Hensley, as his LIVE FIRE band (including 2013’s Trouble album and 2019’s Live In Russia). During that time the band also doubled as their own heavy rock outfit releasing 3 albums under the Wonderworld name. So, it is most fitting that Wonderworld’s 4th album pays homage to their former mentor and band leader via a newly recorded collection of songs they performed as part of Ken’s support band, under the name Live Fire!

The album consists of 12 tracks – 6 Heep tracks, 5 from Ken’s later albums, and 1 instrumental opener to the album. It is essentially songs that the band (Live Fire) would’ve performed the most while with Ken Hensley. There are the Heep standards like “Gypsy”, “Easy Livin”, “July Morning”, “Circle Of Hands”, “Look At Yourself”, the first video “Sunrise”…. and despite Ken’s absence [there is a guest keyboard player on various tracks]. These are not simply tired ol’ rehashes, as the band really does an exceptional job performing,. Lots of energy. Both [singer] Tiranti and [guitarist / producer] Ken [Jr] Ingwersen sing and play with a lot of emotion and it shows throughout this album. I love this version of “Look At Yourself”, and how the band work out the ending here. Digging this version of “Gypsy” as well. [*There is No “Lady In Black” on this album! 🙂 ]

For me though the highlights are the post Heep tracks, notably “The Last Dance”, “Ready To Die”, and “The Curse” — 2 of the best songs Ken Hensley wrote in the last 2 decades. I will always hail Ken’s original take of “The Last Dance” as the best [with his own vocal], however Roberto pulls off a strong performance of it that I will gladly take. “Ready To Die”, from the Trouble album is also a favorite here; tho it lacks a bit of the weight without Ken’s Hammond organ, I think Roberto gives a better vocal here, and the band still delivers it with power; a great track for the heavy hitting drumming of Tom Fossheim here. And lastly – “The Curse” – what made this song so great the first time was the interplay from the 2 Ken’s during the 2nd half – the instrumental section of the song. So the keyboards take a different approach here, but Ken Ingwersen plays this so well, as his guitar stands out even more here, definitely the highlight of the album for me! The disc ends with “The Longest Night”, another track I think Hensley really liked from his latter days, and it is the only track here to feature him, as it’s a duet between Ken and Roberto. (not sure where Ken’s vocal came from – an alternate take from ’13?] , but it sounds great.

Cover art nicely done by Ken Ingwersen, which follows nicely in suit with the other Wonderworld covers.

*You can sign up for this CD release [4 days left!], as well as get other Wonderworld albums [LP & CD] here : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wonderworld-live-fire?fbclid=IwAR1D_-RHSAGxbaXX0Vi-fxrswh4fscpryy8263g_9dUX6TQaU_zLSkstBA8#/

KJ, 11/21

ROBIN GEORGE – Wilderness

Robin George – Wilderness

Released early this year, Wilderness was the first album recorded as the world went in to the Co-vid pandemic, and Robin would follow it up with 3 more albums since! He’s also edited and remastered 4 other releases during this time, so the man has been very busy! (All 8 releases available at his website). But going back a bit, British guitarist / songwriter / producer Robin George spent much of his career being more known for the names he had collaborated with early in his career – David Byron, Phil Lynott, Robert Plant, Glenn Hughes, Roy Wood,….. plus he had a huge hit in the 80s with “Heartline” from his 1984 debut album Dangerous Music. He remained busy, but his next solo album wasn’t until 2001’s Rock Of Ageist. Wilderness is the follow up to 2018 album Rogue Angels, and it’s a good rock album, with lots of great guitar work & mixes, lots of blues and groove throughout this album. There’s a great feel to the songs via Robin’s playing and the drumming of the legendary Charlie Morgan [Elton John] . For me the album starts out rockin’ with “Eyeball Kid”, and just gets better, with favorite tracks like “Deadwood”, “Freedom”, the title track, and “Belief”. Love the heavy riff that intros the outstanding “Cocoon”, as well. Robin’s vocals are kinda in that Marc Bolan style, which suits his songs, and there’s plenty of smooth backing vocals which add to the overall atmosphere, especially on the acoustic based tracks “Belief”, “Bittersweet Heartbeat” and “Rainbow Ridge”. Lots of stories told throughout these songs, with Robin being a poet and storyteller. Am looking forward to hearing more of his ‘rockdown’ albums that followed this.

*Wilderness comes with a 12 page booklet of poetry and words.

*for more info & ordering check out http://www.robingeorge.co.uk

nd visit – http://www.facebook.com/robingeorgemusic

KJ, 11/’21

YES – The Quest

The 2nd YES album to featured Jon Davison on vocals. I never did give it’s predecessor much of a chance [but have picked it up while enjoying this new one]. The 2nd video released “Future Memories” I really liked right away, and that got my interest. It is still the stand out song here, for me, a classic Yes ballad, and if the band ends tomorrow Jon Davison will have left an amazing mark with this one. Lead off track / video “The Ice Bridge” is a strong track as well, love Geoff Downes bright keyboards throughout this number, with the intro briefly reminiscent of ELP, and elsewhere this song reminds me a bit of Saga, and love Steve Howe’s riff and solo. Davison and Billy Sherwood co-write and share vocals on the upbeat “The Western Edge”. Though much of this album is near ballads or acoustic numbers, it is a pretty uplifting set of songs, as The Quest according to guitarist and producer Steve Howe – “The Quest is a strong album with a common theme: posing the great questions of life and finding that we have our destiny within our own hands.” The band also pays tribute to The Beatles in the track “Mystery Tour”. YES also pays homage to their won past according to Geoff Downes – “There’s a lot of retro sounds, reminiscent of some of the early Yes recordings. I was really a big fan of Tony Kaye, his style of Hammond playing, and even going back to the Drama album, the basic keyboard instruments – like the Hammond organ and acoustic piano – have really come out on this album..” The album also includes orchestra on a couple of tracks – Howe’s “Dare To Know” – “I wanted to augment what Yes does – To have something as beautiful as an orchestra was really appealing, and that was done remotely in Macedonia. Paul K. Joyce did the arranging for me.” The orchestra was also used on the Davison / Sherwood track “Minus The Man”. Howe’s “Leave Well Alone” is an epic Yes tune with a classy mix of vocals, and plenty of changes, and I’m pretty sure I hear a nod to “Starship Trooper” later on in.

As I’ve said previously, I never was a huge Yes fan, and post 90125 albums were hit and miss with me, but I did like The Ladder, and going back recently [upon hearing this] really liked Fly From Here, so I will put The Quest up there as my next favorite Yes album, despite being fairly laid-back, overall. There are a few songs that have jumped out at me, and there is lots to still get in to here. For all that’s been said of the line-up being without a few founding members, I am quite happy with this and look forward to more.

The Quest comes in various formats, colored vinyl, a box set… Beautifully packaged in Roger Dean artwork again.

https://yes-band.lnk.to/TheQuest?fbclid=IwAR0n1ojd5KpLGNPU-vwkJx1GlMlGeDF3jkxyr8LiGCpSs5Ob_0sAB9vyhyw

https://www.facebook.com/yestheband

http://www.yesworld.com

insideoutmusic.com

KJ, 11/’21

HODSON – This Strange World (Revisited)

This Strange World - Hodson | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic

British keyboard player [+ writer, producer, singer] Paul Hodson produced this album in 2004. Hodson recorded with the likes of Ten [Gary Hughes], Bob Catley [Magnum], Cloven Hoof, John Parr, and Peter Goalby [Uriah Heep]. I got this album well after the fact [British bands like Magnum and Ten were not in my collection til the mid 2000s], but it is a very strong album and heavier than the band’s mentioned above, which is due mainly to the guitar playing and sound of Vince O’Regan [Escape], as well as Hodson’s vocals, who at time can be as ‘eavy as Bruce Dickinson, but hey toss in the likes of Graham Bonnett and Gary Hughes too., …. But yeah, some huge guitar sound – riffs and big lengthy solos, love the lead off track “This Foolish World”, epic ” The Calling”, “Soulman”, and a pretty good cover of Rainbow’s “Light In The Dark”. 9 track album ends with the ballad “The Swan” [co-written with Eddy Morton, ex The Bushburys] – which features a nice fast keyboard/guitar break. Bass – Josie Vespa, drums – Lynch Radinsky.

*Great cover art from Al Barrow [former Hard Rain bandmate, ex Magnum]. A shame there was no follow up, but an excellent one-off project / release worth checking out.

https://www.discogs.com/master/1195626-Hodson-This-Strange-World

KJ, 11 / ’21

MAGNUM – The Monster Roars Album Announcement

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The new Magnum album will be titled The Monster Roars, and will be to be released January 14 of next year. The single “I Won’t Let You Down” will be released (+video) on November 12 (less than a month away). And a tour will begin in March of 2022.

Fans of British rock band Magnum will have to wait just a little longer before they finally get their hands on the much-anticipated new studio album. Titled ‘THE MONSTER ROARS’ it will be released  January 14, 2022.

But there will be new music from the band this year: guitarist Tony Clarkin, singer Bob Catley and their comrades in arms Rick Benton (keyboards), Dennis Ward (bass) and Lee Morris (drums) have already announced a couple of singles: With the forthcoming ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ (including lyric video), out on November 12, 2021, Magnum present a typically deep melodic mid tempo song featuring a memorable chorus with stylish string accompaniment for added lustre. This will be followed five weeks later, on December 17, 2021, by a second pre-release track, ‘No Steppin’ Stones’, also including a lyric video.

‘THE MONSTER ROARS’ features twelve new songs in total, with a few little surprises thrown in! On top of the regular disc, Magnum are releasing a limited box set with three extra bonus tracks, including a new version of ‘Days Of No Trust’, the opener of the 1988 album classic ‘Wings Of Heaven’, a new remastered version of ‘Sweets For My Sweet’, the very first single of their career from 1975, and a previously unreleased track from the same era. And from March 2022, the band will finally be returning to Europe for a major tour (see below for dates).

Tracklisting:
1. The Monster Roars 3:57 / 2. Remember 5:05 / 3. All You Believe In 5:01 / 4. I Won’t Let You Down 3:57 / 5. The Present Not The Past 5:27 / 6. No Steppin’ Stones 3:57 / 7. That Freedom Word 4:52 / 8. Your Blood Is Violence 6:44 / 9. Walk The Silent Hours 4:51 / 10. The Day After The Night Before 4:23 / 11. Come Holy Men 5:01 / 12. Can’t Buy Yourself Heaven 5:00 “The Monster Roars” will be released on January 14th, 2022 through SPV/ Steamhammer in the following configurations:

=> CD DigiPak => Limited Box Set=> 2LP Gatefold, 140 g, red vinyl, printed inner sleeves=> Download / StreamingPre-Order Link: https://smarturl.it/MagnumTheMonster => Exclusive CD/LP Bundle with a shirt only at the Steamhammer shopPre-Order Link: https://shop.steamhammer.de/artists/magnum/store 
=> 2LP Gatefold exclusive coloured edition only at the Napalm shop
Pre-Order Link: https://napalmrecords.com/english/magnum  
=> Exclusive 2LP Gatefold exclusive coloured edition only for the UK
Pre-Order Link: https://www.plastichead.com/item.aspx?catno=244105 
Next

Regarding the album’s cover art and title, which generated plenty of fan discussion online, Tony Clarkin posted –

“We actually did have a conversation with Rodney regarding the cover, and an exchange of ideas. Following this we set up a photoshoot that was originally intended to become a part of his artwork. Shortly after this Rodney called me very apologetic that he didn’t think he’d have time to do the cover as he was too busy with a children’s animation project he is doing ‘Yendor’ http://yendorsadventures.com/. But we loved the end result of the photoshoot so much we had decided to use it as the cover on its own instead, with no embellishment. We thought it was much more powerful that way. Plus we didn’t want to end up with some sort of poor imitation of Rodney’s work but rather go with something completely different instead. The monster is inspired by the lyrics of the title track and is a creature from a child’s nightmare. The monster was created by Kelly O’Dell, played by Martin Brennan and photographed by Rob Barrow. Rodney wants fans to know that he wishes the band all the best with ‘The Monster Roars’ and looks forward to working with them again in the future. In the meantime Magnum fans might like to know that Rodney’s 2022 calendar, featuring a couple of familiar images (Foundation box set cover and Magnum II), is now available to pre-order at: https://www.rodneymatthewsstudios.com/collections/calendars

10/’21

YES – Release New Video from The Quest

YES launch video for ‘Future Memories’

I’ve picked up almost every Yes album over the years, and since the ’80s I often wondered if I was picking up Yes albums more so for the Roger Dean artwork than the music, which (for me) didn’t always grab me from album to album. The first 2 singles from The Quest I enjoyed, and the new video/single for the ballad “Future Memories” is the most likeable and memorable Yes song in decades. Jon Davison, who joined the band in 2012, penned the song and delivers a fantastic vocal, with such a great melody. The video itself appears to be a tribute to the band’s collaboration with Roger Dean over the past 50 years, as it features images of the album covers he’s done for the band, flowing along with band member pics, colors, and ongoing paint strokes.

15th October 2021: YES, who are Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood, recently released their new studio album The Quest on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music The album was produced by Steve Howe. “Much of the music was written in late 2019 with the rest in 2020. We commissioned several orchestrations to augment and enhance the overall sound of these fresh new recordings, hoping that our emphasis on melody, coupled with some expansive instrumental solo breaks, keeps up the momentum for our listeners,” said Steve.


Today the band are please to reveal a video for the track ‘Future Memories’, watch it now here: 


‘The Quest’ also sees its physical release in North America, as of today. Pick up your copy here: https://yes-band.lnk.to/TheQuest
The album has also been hitting charts worldwide, find a selection of them below:
#7 German Album Charts, #20 UK Album Charts, #1 UK Rock Album Charts, #5 Swiss Album Charts, #8 Japanese International Weekly Charts, #23 French Physical Album Charts, #37 Belgian National Album Charts, #54 Dutch Album Charts, #60 Italian Album Charts.

Previous video singles from The Quest include “Dare To Know” and “The Ice Bridge”

https://youtu.be/hhzKdB6ftsc
https://youtu.be/PbGEa7ju8bg

The Quest was recorded across the globe, The sessions took place in the UK with Steve Howe, Geoff Downes & Jon Davison, while Alan White & Billy Sherwood got together in the studio in the US. “Billy Sherwood and myself did all the rhythm sections, bass and drum, in America,” says Alan White, “down in Los Angeles at Uncle Studios, where he works a lot. It helps when you’ve got a good place to work,” Alan laughs, “and Billy’s really good on the recording desk, so we got things down relatively quickly. I spent quite a while studying the music before I went down to LA so I was prepared.”

The Quest is also now available for pre-order on various formats, including a Limited Deluxe Box-Set that features a Gatefold 180g 2LP on exclusive colored vinyl, 2CD+Blu-ray Digipak (featuring 5.1 mix & backing tracks), 36-page perfect bound booklet, enamel pin badge, 60x90cm poster, slipmat & hand-numbered certificate of authenticity, all housed in a rigid lift-off box.

Containing 11 songs, 8 on the main CD with 3 extra tracks on a bonus CD, The Quest will also be available as Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook, 2CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+2CD & as Digital Album. Order now here: https://yes-band.lnk.to/TheQuest

CD1: 01. The Ice Bridge 7.01, 02. Dare To Know 6.00, 03. Minus The Man 5.35, 04. Leave Well Alone 8.06, 05. The Western Edge 4.26, 06. Future Memories 5.08, 07. Music To My Ears 4.41, 08. A Living Island 6.52
CD2: 01. Sister Sleeping Soul 4.51, 02. Mystery Tour 3.33, 03. Damaged World 5.20

Formats are: Limited Edition Deluxe 2LP & 2CD plus Blu-ray Box-set, Limited Edition 2CD & Blu-ray Artbook, Gatefold 2LP & 2CD plus LP-booklet, 2CD DigipakDigital Album.

The current line-up of YES was completed in 2015 when Billy Sherwood replaced founder member Chris Squire, at Squire’s insistence, as he bravely fought a losing battle with leukemia. Since then, YES have concentrated on touring with their Album Series tours, each featuring a classic YES album in its entirety. During this period YES have released three live albums Topographic Drama – Live Across America (2017), Yes Live 50 (2019) and The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas (2020)

YES Online: http://yesworld.com/https://www.facebook.com/yestheband/https://twitter.com/yesofficialhttps://www.instagram.com/yesofficial/https://www.youtube.com/user/yesofficial

INSIDEOUTMUSIC Online: http://www.insideoutmusic.com http://www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV  http://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic, http://www.twitter.com/insideouteu 

Yes Announce New Album ‘The Quest’

10/’21

JOHN SLOMAN – New Album, Two Rivers to be Released Soon

John Sloman is firmly established as one of the ‘voices of rock’. Famed for his octave straddling voice, John has performed with Gary Moore, Uriah Heep, Lone Star and UFO, among many others, and he is to release a new album titled ‘Two Rivers’. Two Rivers will be preceded by a 2 track digital single on Red Steel on October 29th 2021.

Lifted from his magnificently strange and exquisite album Two Rivers the single is called “This River Is A Time Machine”. This digital-only 2 track single is backed with an alternate take “This River – The Instrumental”, as the ‘B-side which is not included on the forthcoming album.

Please credit Jeff Moh

The album is described as – “having traces of a major stage production with elements of acoustic Zeppelin evident along with several other references. Even Zapperesque at times.”

John is also working on a retrospective collection with tracks drawn from his deep well of solo albums titled ‘Conspectus’. Furthermore, there is a full series of back catalogue remasters for release in 2022 as well as more new material to follow…

The album’s cover-art is based on a photo by Jeff Moh then painted by Callum Fernandes-Clarke, all put together with Callum and John.

https://www.facebook.com/johnslomanofficial

ALAN LANCASTER : RIP Original STATUS QUO Bass Player

My friend and major STATUS QUO Fan Alex Gitlin looks at the career and highlights of the band’s founding bass player.

RIP Alan Lancaster, the original bass player of Status Quo, the British blues-boogie institution, and the irreplaceable 1/4 of the Frantic Four

He passed away from multiple sclerosis on 26th September 2021 in Sydney, Australia, aged 72.

During their incredible run between the first album in 1968, Picturesque Matchstickable – Messages from the Status Quo, and his somewhat acrimonious split from the band in the mid-80s (he’d relocated to Australia in 1977), he performed on 12 top 10 UK albums and 17 top 10 UK singles.

Alan’s last gig with Quo, prior to the reunion in the 21st century, was opening the Live Aid at the Wembley Stadium in London.

In 2013-14, the original Frantic Four reunited for one last fling, touring the UK, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France.  Each gig was greeted emotionally by fans who’d been waiting for this reunion since 1981, the year drummer John Coghlan departed.

Although by now there were signs of his debilitating disease beginning to show (at one point there were rumours of the pick being taped to his hand), he soldiered on with the “no time like the present” attitude, giving the fans exactly what they’d come for. His bass, alongside Coghlan’s drumming, was the locomotive engine that was the classic Quo rhythm section.

It was around 1970 when Quo had disposed of psychedelic frills and kaftans, replacing them with denim and growing their hair long. For the band’s third album, Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon, which tentatively pre-defined their to-be trademark sound, he wrote Daughter and Is it Really Me/Gotta Go Home.

The following year’s Dog of Two Head, the wheels were fully in motion, and here Alan contributed Umleitung (a co-write with keyboardist Roy Lynes), Something’s Going on in My Head, and Someone’s Learning.  This was also their last album for Pye, in 1972 Status Quo were signed to Vertigo.

On their breakthru 1972 Piledriver album, Alan co-wrote A Year with Bernie Frost and All The Reasons with Rick Parfitt.  He also sang lead on the cover of the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, which became a live staple for the band.

On the 1973 stone-cold classic, Hello, the entire band wrote Roll Over Lay Down, UK No. 9 and top 10 in many countries in Europe; on Blue Eyed Lady, co-written by Alan and Rick Parfitt, the vocals were shared by Alan and Francis Rossi. And also he had a hand in writing Softer Ride (sung by Rossi).

On 1974’s Quo, he handled the lead vocals on four tracks, Backwater, Just Take Me, Drifting Away, and Don’t Think It Matters, and co-wrote six.

As the band was in the middle of a purple patch of hit singles and albums, 1975’s On The Level, considered by many as the finest in the band’s entire catalogue, he wrote Broken Man (also singing lead) and Over And Done.  And he handled the lead vocals on another cover, Chuck Berry’s Bye Bye Johnny, also a great live favorite.

1976’s Blue For You has Alan on lead vocals and writing contributions on the opener, Is There a Better Way, the seminal and bluesy title track, Rolling Home and Ease Your Mind.

By 1977, the tide was turning, Quo were a mainstay on the European rock circuit, selling out arenas in Germany, but their sound became a bit softer, although the writing quality remained steadfastly top-notch. Here on Rockin’ All Over The World Alan contributed Let’s Ride, You Don’t Own Me, co-written with Mick Green [of The Pirates], and Too Far Gone.

They continued to pursue the same direction of commercial British pop-rock with a boogie edge in 1978, with If You Can’t Stand the Heat…, here Alan’s contributions are Gonna Teach You To Love Me and Stones. By this time, Alan had moved residencies to Oz, while the relationship between the dynamic duo Rossi-Parfitt had soured due to the out-of-control use of drugs.

In 1979, Whatever You Want (the album) reached No. 4 in the UK, and here Alan contributed Who Asked You and High Flyer.  And the following year, on Just Supposin‘ – Over the Edge (a co-write with Keith Lamb), The Wild Ones and Name of the Game (co-written with Rossi and the band’s keyboardist Andy Bown).

1981’s Never Too Late also had two of Alan’s songs, Mountain Lady and Don’t Stop Me Now (once again a Bown co-write). And the following year’s cleverly titled 1+9+8+2 (equals 20, commemorating the twenty years since the band’s inception in 1962) had Alan’s I Love Rock and Roll, I Want The World To Know (another one co-written with Lamb) and Big Man (once again co-written with Mick Green).

Back To Back in 1983 became the final album for Alan Lancaster, who contributed Ol’ Rag Blues (co-written with Lamb) and Your Kind of Love, while he was reportedly distraught over Rossi’s Marguerita Time betraying the band’s classic heads-down no-nonsense boogie sound. When they appeared on BBC’s Top of the Pops to mime to the single, his place was taken by Jim Lea of Slade. Elsewhere on other television appearances, he was replaced with a cardboard cutout.

R.I.P. to the diamond geezer and the seminal part of classic Quo. Whether it’s his singing, bass playing or songwriting, he didn’t do things by halves, putting his heart and soul into what’s now regarded worldwide as the British rock legend.

Written by Alex Gitlin. Alex is part of the band Mad Painter – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1688232924794537/ . You can also check out his rock history & review site – https://alexgitlin.com/

Links:

http://www.statusquo.co.uk

http://www.quogigophry.net

http://www.statusquo.org.uk

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2021/09/28/alan-lancaster-bass-guitarist-underpinned-status-quos-hard-driving/

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-58698864

09 / ’21