Tag Archives: John Lawton

PETER HESSLEIN – Talks About New Solo Album & New Lucifer’s Friend Compilation

For Lucifer’s Friend fans, despite the recent deaths of both Dieter Horns and John Lawton [Dec ’20 / June ’21], there are a couple of upcoming releases that will [hopefully] lift fans’ spirits. October will see the second solo release – Night Drive 2, from guitarist Peter Hesslein, and in December there will be the Lucifer’s Friend compilation The Last Stand. In this exchange Peter Hesslein gives some answers regarding both of these new releases, as well as future releases that fans can look forward to.

*For pre-ordering of both of these CDs check out > http://www.cherryred.co.uk

Regarding Night Drive albums: 

How was response to the first one? 

The reaction to the first Night Drive album was a huge surprise for me, with unanimously positive reviews, I had planned the album for myself to relax and to bridge the gap until the next Lucifer’s friends album for the loyal fans, I was initially a little insecure as the rock lovers can be felt, I was immediately motivated to find a successor with many good reactions, especially since John still had not started with the vocals, although the playbacks were completely finished.

When was the 2nd Night Drive recorded? and does it differ much from the first one?

Night Drive 2 was finished in May 21st, it’s a little more rocking than number one.

After so many years of working in bands or with other people, how did you enjoy recording solely for yourself?  

Working while listening to top musicians from all over the world naturally shaped me, as I have already done everything myself for Lucifer’s Friend and John had given the vocals, it was a habit for me.

Do you foresee yourself doing another such solo album, or is there something else [musical direction] you’d like to record in? 

I finished the recordings for Night Drive 3 and I even aimed it towards Brazilian music, inspired by my long-time friend and percussion player Pablo Escayola

Nice. when is this planned for release?

In May 2022.

Lucifer’s Friend :

The Last Stand compiles songs from the LF albums ’94 to 2019. Is this basically your own choices or how did you choose the tracks? 

The Last Stand was supposed to be the new Lucifer’s Friend album, as this wasn’t possible now, management decided to turn it into a sampler of tracks from the last four albums. I chose these songs in the sense of being John’s favorite songs.

Is there more Lucifer’s Friend stuff in the vaults that could be released — be they leftover studio tracks, demos…? 

Lucifer’s Friend only have playbacks without vocals.

You had mentioned previously a LF recording from Japan. Might this be something you could still release, and is there any other live recordings that was  could be issued? 

There is a live recording from Japan, but unfortunately the quality is too poor to be released.

Regarding the unfinished LF album –  I understand that everything was done except for the vocals!? If so, is this something that could be finished musically OR with ‘guest’ singers? 

The management has decided to close the chapter of Lucifer’s Friend for the time being.

Curious if there were any song titles [?]

Since John always wrote his lyrics shortly beforehand, so unfortunately, none exist.

Is there any chance we could still get proper CD reissues of the entire Lucifer’s Friend catalogue? [maybe a box set]

When the management gets the rights for a box set from the different companies, maybe at the end of ’23.

Is this something that is being planned with a particular record company? 

That is planned with Cherry Red. 

Might you consider writing a memoir of your career in music? 

My rheumatism makes it difficult to write.

Links:

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/peter-hesslein-night-drive-2/

https://www.facebook.com/Lucifersfriendph

https://www.facebook.com/LucifersFriendOfficial

*Photos courtesy of Richard Wagner.

KJ, 09 / ’21

LUCIFER’S FRIEND – The Last Stand

A new compilation from German progressive / hard rock band Lucifer’s Friend marks the end of this great band, following the losses of founding members Dieter Horns [bass] last year, and singer John Lawton earlier this year. The band had began in 1970, and continued until 1981 with Lawton leaving the band in 1976 to join Uriah Heep, then returning for one album in 1980 following the departure of his replacement Mike Starrs. The band regrouped in 1994 as Lucifer’s Friend II, minus founding member – keyboard player Peter Hecht, and with a new drummer, and released the album Sumo Grip. They disbanded again, but Lawton, Horns, and guitarist Peter Hesslein would reunite again in 2014 to record some new songs for the compilation Awakening in 2015. They then played some shows in 2015, when they would record Live At Sweden Rock [issued the next year]. 2016 also saw the release of a brand new studio album titled Too Late To Hate, which was followed by 2019’s excellent Black Moon album. During this time health issues prevented the band from playing live before the Covid pandemic started in 2020. At the time of Black Moon John Lawton stated that another album was largely done, and was just awaiting his vocals. But Covid had closed the studio John would normally work out of, so no chance to record seems to have shelved this project. Sadly, In December of last year Dieter Horns, who had had recent health issues contracted Covid-19, and passed away in hospital. Further tragic news came when John Lawton suddenly passed away on June 29 of this year, leaving fans shocked. Late last year Peter Hesslein released his first solo [instrumental] album Night Drive, and is set to release the follow up, Night Drive 2.

The Last Stand is a fitting touch to end the band’s catalogue (unless of course, there’s things in the vaults 🙂 ) . It is compiled by Hesslein, from the albums from Sumo Grip, up until Black Moon.

Track Listing:

1 Heartbreaker
2 Sheree
3 Ride The Sky ‘94
4 You Touched Me With Your Heart
5 Pray
6 Did You Ever
7 Demolition Man
8 When Children Cry
9 Straight For The Heart
10 This Time
11 Black Moon
12 Passengers
13 Call The Captain
14 Freedom
15 When You’re Gone (Live)

KJ, 09 /’21

JOHN LAWTON : 15 Classic Career Spanning Tracks

No description available.

It was just over a week ago that the shocking news that British singer John Lawton had passed away on June 29 came out. July 11th would’ve been John’s 75th birthday. Though best known for his time with Lucifer’s Friend and Uriah Heep, John had a very lengthy career full of great recordings — not only the 2 major bands he was known for, but plenty of one-off projects, solo albums, singles, guest appearances. One thing that is undeniable is that regardless of who John was performing with – it was his vocals that stood out. A buddy of mine used to say – “he could sing the phone book and make it sound great!”.

I’ve picked 15 tracks from throughout John’s career to celebrate his life and recordings. And this is just a scratch on how much great stuff the man was a part of. *Please leave a few favorite tracks in the comments.

Ride The Sky – Lucifer’s Friend

The best known song from Lucifer’s Friend, and probably the most well known vocal from John. He and the band sounding like they could fit in alongside the biggest names in early hard-rock / metal in 1970. Covered by a few bands, most notably Avantasia. One of a few LF songs that John would later include in his live repertoire for years. Lucifer’s Friend [II] would also re-record the song in 1994 for Sumo Grip.

Burning Ships – Lucifer’s Friend

From Lucifer’s Friend’s 2nd album – Where The Groupies Killed The Blues. An acoustic ballad that builds up. One of John’s trademark numbers, and many o’ Lucifer’s Friend fans’ favorite song. More recently Jason Kane & The Jive did an excellent cover of this. *I’ve included the 2015 live version here, as I’d previously included the original studio take in my post on John’s passing. I think the band still did an incredible job on this 43+ years later!

Mama Loo – The Les Humphries Singers

Many people may not realize that John’s main gig prior to Uriah Heep was recording and touring with The Les Humphries Singers, a pop band featuring a number of great singers, who played many top hits [covers], as well as songs written by Les Humphries. This was written by Les, and was the group’s biggest hit, with John singing lead.

High Flying Lady (Goodbye) – Lucifer’s Friend

From Lucifer’s Friend’s most ambitious album, and the one John cited as his favorite – Banquet. It was one album he’d have liked to have performed live in full. This is the a great upbeat rocker, full of brass, great production, and amazing vocal from John.

Little Chalk Blue – Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball

John sang on this track written and recorded for Roger Glover’s 1974 theatrical album The Butterfly Ball And Grasshopper’s Feast. A sweet orchestrated ballad. It was issued as a single and part of an EP, but not on the 1974 LP. John would perform it at the 1975 live staging of The Butterfly Ball, where he also sang the song “Love Is All”.

Wiseman – Uriah Heep

Written by Ken Hensley, “Wiseman” was a minor hit in Europe. It’s a classic Heep ballad, and John once cited it as the first song he sang with the band. He would keep it in his live repertoire years later, and re-recorded it with Steve Dunning for their 2002 album Steppin’ It Up. The song also earned Heep a spot on UK TV show Top Of The Pops.

Free N Easy – Uriah Heep

John wrote a few songs on the last few Heep albums, and a couple of them were the heaviest things the band did during this period. “Free N Easy” [co-credited to Mick Box] was a huge fan favorite, from Innocent Victim [altho’ “Free Me” was the massive hit in some countries during this era]. The band would bring this one back in more recent years, and it would feature on the band’s Live In Europe ’79 album, as well as John’s reunion album with Ken Hensley – The Return.

Hey Driver – Lucifer’s Friend

After leaving Heep, following the recording of a 4th [as yet released] album, John recorded a solo album [co-written with Peter Hesslein, and using Lucifer’s Friend as the backing band], followed by an awesome reunion album with LF – Mean Machine. A return to straight ahead hard-rock, influenced by the New Of British Heavy Metal at the time. One of my top 3 LF albums with so many great hard rockers to chose from.

Heart Of The Night – Zar

In the early ’80s John sang on an album by German hard-rock band Rebel, featuring Tommy Clauss on guitar. Another opportunity arose for John to step in and recording with Clauss again at the end of the decade with the band Zar. Released in 1990, Live Your Live Forever was a fairly commercial sounding heavy metal album, full of killer tunes. John proving he could still rock as hard as he did on the first Lucifer’s Friend album.

Don’t Stop Believing – Gunhill

Gunhill was the band John formed in the mid ’90s. They were primarily a working band, doing plenty of covers, some originals, and a few from John’s past. They did release a CD in 1997 titled Nightheat, which included this as the opener. Written by John, I really liked this one, and a the band’s few other originals here.

Tonight – John Lawton [solo] / Uriah Heep

John was extremely busy in the early 2000s, with Gunhill coming to an end, and a few other projects, a new band, and this solo album from 2000 titled Still Payin’ My Dues To The Blues. A great set of lighter blues and blues based tracks. This is an outstanding ballad that John originally wrote and recorded as part of the 4th [unreleased] album with Uriah Heep. John also re-did this one with Steve Dunning in 2002 Should be interesting to hear Heep’s version.

Written On The Wall – John Lawton Band

The short lived John Lawton Band followed Gunhill, and the band toured and would release this line album, as well as a live DVD . Sting In The Tale was a solid set of blues based rockers. This is the stand-out track for me, a nice heavy rock song.

Steal The Night – OTR

OTR [On The Rocks] was a short-lived project John did latter day Focus guitarist Jan Dumee, as well as a few Brazllian musicians in 2008. A very different album that showed again how much John could sound great in any type of music.

Fairytale – Intelligent Music Project [Diana Express]

Intelligent Music Project is a recording band that is the brains of Bulgarian producer / songwriter Milen Vrabevski . John sang on the first 2 albums in this act. The first one billed as John Lawton & Diana Express and titled Power Of Mind.was a concept album, Diana Express being the Bulgarian band playing here as well. Again, a very different album, more adult contemporary, hard-rock, orchestrations… The ballad “Fairytale” was the first song released from the album, and the standout track John did with these albums.

Passengers – Lucifer’s Friend

From the last Lucifer’s Friend album Black Moon in 2019. A fantastic album, showing John and the band could still come up with good, memorable songs. The band had re-grouped in 2015 for a compilation album [with 4 new tracks], a live album, and a studio album Too Late To Hate in 2016.

*photo of John – courtesy of Richard Wagner

07 / ’21

JOHN LAWTON – R.I.P. To One Of England’s Finest Singers & Gentlemen.

No description available.

On July 5th, the sad news that English rock / blues singer John Cooper Lawton had passed away on Jun 29 was posted on the Lucifer’s Friend Official Facebook page. Lawton was known to rock fans for the albums he recorded with the German band in the early ’70s, and then for the 3 studio albums he recorded and toured with Uriah Heep in the latter half of the decade. There was very little details on John’s passing, but really it shouldn’t matter at this point – the world has lost an amazing talent, and more so to the fans who had any contact with him – a genuine great guy, and a true professional.

It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29. June 2021.Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed. A private funeral service to celebrate John’s life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending. We would appreciate that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.

No description available.

Jeff Scott Soto – “I’m so very sad to learn my friend John Lawton known most for his tenure with Uriah Heep, a KILLER singer and wonderful human being, has passed.”

John was born in Halifax, England July 11, 1946. He began singing at the age of 15, citing such early influences as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, and Chuck Berry. In the later ’60s he made trips to Germany while playing in such bands as West One and Stonewall, and it’s there that he would meet up with the members of a new band to be called Lucifer’s Friend. He also took part in a studio project – Asterix, and recorded the first Lucifer’s Friend album soon after. The band was a studio band who’d release very different and experimental albums each year. Between that John joined The Les Humphries Singers as his main gig – recording and touring. He was also introduced to the Deep Purple family through his appearance at Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball performance in 1975. It was a highlight of John’s career – “Actually standing on the same stage as David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord, all these people was great! And meeting Vincent Price of the horror films was great. Those are good memories, and something I won’t forget!”

No description available.

Axel Rudi Pell – “R.I.P. John Lawton! One of the nicest people in all music business and a great singer! We had the pleasure of getting him on stage for my 25 year anniversary show in July 2014 and rocking 2 songs together. You left us way too soon dear John! My deepest condolences to his wife Iris and his family.”

In 1976 he was called upon to replace David Byron in Uriah Heep, and went on to record 4 albums with the band, and one live album. Although Heep’s direction changed during this era, John proved an excellent singer in an era where the band’s popularity in North America declined. He remembered his first US tour fondly – “This was my first time in America, and I was touring with Uriah Heep, and we were the opening band to Kiss… Kiss were a good band – they were the biggest thing around at that time, and we still got to play to a lot of people.” In other countries though the band had some major success during this period, particularly with the hit “Free Me”, from 1977’s Innocent Victim. While the band’s direction in songs & production changed, many would agree that it was John’s powerful vocals during the late ’70s that held many songs together and provided much of the highlights. John also wrote and co-wrote on a few Heep classics during this era – “Free ‘N Easy”, “I’m Alive”, and “Woman Of The Night”.

Mike Starrs – “Another great singer has left the stage. John Lawton, You were the inspiration For many great singers and John you will be SO SADLY missed. Have a great trip my old friend. Und sehn wir uns.”

Following recording for an as yet released 4th album, and European tour, John left Heep, and went on to record a solo album, followed by a return to Lucifer’s Friend with an album in 1981. Throughout the ’80s & ’90s he kept busy on numerous recordings, and even made a brief return to Heep in ’95, filling in for Bernie Shaw for a South African tour and a few dates in Europe. During the ’90s and in to the 2000s John Lawton really warmed to the Heep fans through his band Gunhill, and appearances at Heep’s year end Magician’s Birthday Party shows in London. There was also a reunion show and tour with Ken Hensley, solo albums, another Lucifer’s Friend album …. Throughout John showed he was just a good, down to earth, and friendly guy to any fans that met him or had contact with. He attended fan conventions, remembered those he came in contact with, and despite being such a great singer with an amazing career, he seemed like more than an old friend to many.

No description available.

Mick Box – “The passing of John Lawton on the 29th of June came as a complete shock and has left me numb. John was a big part of the Heep family, and on stage when he was covering for Bernie, who was having hospital treatment at the time, he said over the microphone “you can check out, but you never leave Heep.” That was our John and he was one of the good guys. On a personal note we had some fantastic times in Heep, and some fantastic times too outside of Heep. On filming the movie ‘Love dot net’ and playing shows with him in Bulgaria we never stopped laughing, and I will always remember those joyous times. I enjoyed the songs we wrote together, and he had an amazing voice that was both powerful, soulful and with a bluesy edge. Rock music has lost one of the great rock voices of all time and his legacy will live on forever. Our condolences go to his wife Iris, their immediate family, and his German band ‘Lucifer’s Friend.’ John, may you rest in peace my friend.”

In later years he had reunited with Lucifer’s Friend, and recorded a few studio albums, released a live album, and played a number of concerts (something the band didn’t do much prior to 1976). The band’s last album was 2019’s excellent Black Moon. At the time of my last interview with him, he had mentioned that there’d be another album, and last heard from him was that he was awaiting a studio to open (after Covid) so he could record the vocals for it. John was also very keen on seeing the 4th album he recorded with Uriah Heep get a formal release. Often referred to as ‘Five Miles’ he thought it was important this should see the light of day. I am sad that John, who was keen on it’s release (as were Lee and Trevor) won’t be here to see it, as I understand it is very good.

Jack Williams – “John was one of those rock stars who was extremely grounded & from what I saw never forgot where he came from, thus this great rock singer who had cut his bones in another huge rock band “Lucifer’s Friend” always treated me like I was always part of the “Heep” family, I will never forget the years I spent in the UK writing with Ken Hensley & watching John Lawton sing the hell out of my songs!!!RIP John Lawton.”

I was most fortunate to interview John on a good few occasions. He was always positive, and never spoke negatively about anyone. Speaking in 1997 John said – “I’ve done everything I set out to do when I was 15….I think I’ve been lucky, I’ve done everything I wanted to do musically. So, I just let life come at me these days, and it can throw at me whatever it wants, and if it’s to do with music, then I’ll do it.” And to think how much more he did after that! RIP John. Thanks for so much great music.

*Photos courtesy of Richard Wagner

KJJ, 07 / ’21

John Lawton Of Lucifer’s Friend : Black Moon Interview

Lucifer’s Friend’s brand new album “Black Moon” is out! [see my review], and fans of this well aged German band [fronted by an English singer] will be happy to hear it! Fan  and album artist Damian Bydlinski [of Lizard] also gives us a few words on how he got involved and his favorite LF songs!

Singer John Lawton was with the band in the beginning and has sang on all but 2 of the band’s 11 albums. Here John answer questions regarding the band’s brand new album and updates on members and future Lucifer’s Friend plans.

http://www.lucifersfriend.com 

LF black moon 1

LF has been back together for 4+ years and Black Moon is the bands 4th release. Did you forsee the band being so busy and are you happy with the reception overall that the bands return has received?

John: Yes I think so. After such a long time away fans of the band were naturally curious to see what we had to offer. That we could play Sweden Rock festival made it easier to reach quite a few new fans. Overall the reaction has been good plus the fact that it gave us the push to write new material.

The first thing that stands out on the new album is the artwork. I like how it ties in with the bands debut from 1970. Can you tell me a bit about how that piece came together and if bandmembers had much input (idea wise)?

John: Actually the artwork was put together as a backstage pass by Damien Bydlinski the singer with our support band Lizard on our Polish tour. He is not only a good musician but also a graphic designer. We loved the idea and after a few tweaks we had it…..

How do songs for LF come together nowadays – pieced together through emails or is there a time where you’re all in the studio together?

John: The days when bands spend time in the studio rehearsing before they record I think are gone. Firstly, the logistics of spending the amount of time it takes to go through say 10-15 songs arrangements, keys etc. is really time consuming. These days with so much computer stuff available to musicians, it’s easier to sit at home and fine tune everybody’s parts…..
It the same with LF, Peter Hesslein or Dieter Horns will forward to me the basic track which I can the add the vocals too. I record my vocals in peace 😎😎here in the UK and then via the wonders of the web, they are sent back for the guys to work their final parts. The only time we spend together apart from gigs is in the rehearsal room before the live stuff. But even when we are not recording or gigging we are on the phone to each other at least a couple of times a week…..

You write the lyrics – what sort of inspires you for ideas and topics these days?

John: A lot of the lyrics are based upon stories I hear in the news or read about. For instance on TOO LATE TO HATE some of the lyrics relate to the thousands of refugees trying to get to Europe for a better life. Even 2 years later this story is still making headlines….

Can you give me a bit of insight into particular songs on the new album – how they started, ideas – really like the title track, Call The Captain, Little Man, Passengers,

John: CALL THE CAPTAIN is based on recent stories again in the news about mental heath issues and how younger people are being manipulated by social media, wanting to be like the celebrity’s they see in magazines. The title is just about trying to reach parts of the brain (the captain and pilot) for the right direction….🙂🙂

LITTLE MAN relates to my 2 grandsons and watching the grow up. PASSENGERS is written to open people’s eyes to the shit we are doing to the world….

BLACK MOON – Really just about those days when everything seems doomed to failure but you struggle through….

Any others that you’re particularly happy with?

John: I’m happy with all of them, they all have meanings hopefully not only to me but also to the listener…..

There’s a number of guests on this album, really dig the horn solo on Black Moon – classic LF touch. Can you comment on how some these (or this one) come up?

John: On BLACK MOON Peter and I were talking about a particular solo part and we tossed around a few ideas until Stephan (drummer) suggested a trumpet player who was with the James Last Orchestra (Chuck Findley). He lives in LA but very kindly went in the studio and put down (I think) a blistering solo…
On FREEDOM Peter new Stephan (violin player) from studio days and again asked him to put something together….and he did and I think it’s one of the highlights of this album….

What can you tell me about Simon Hesslein and his involvement with the band?

John: Simon runs a very successful music business in New York and has hits under different names, he has always wanted to produce a Lucifer’s Friend album so we said hey go for it. Unfortunately, it was at the wrong time as he was also very busy so that’s why the delay in the release. Simon is very accomplished at what he does and we are very proud of the final mix….

How is everyone’s health?

John: Not so good actually. Peter really needs an operation on his shoulder as he is in pain daily. The only drawback is that the operation is very complicated and the recovery time is long…at least a year and the surgeons have told him there is no guarantee of a complete recovery…it’s very sad that it happened to Peter but we hold out for him to get back to playing ASAP ….
Dieter Horns has recovered well from his problems, which is a great relief and I’m getting there slowly….oh the joys of getting older 🤪🤪🤪🕺🕺

Will we see many LF shows this year and will there be plenty from Black Moon in the set?

John: For the foreseeable future we won’t be performing live, some people have said “we could get another guitarist to stand in for Peter or another bass player for Dieter” – but we couldn’t go out as LF without those 2. I am hopeful that one day we could be on stage again together….
We still have one more new album to release….I still need to do the vocals etc. but that looks like 2020 release…..

You’ve used Jogi [Wichmann] on keyboards over several LF projects, but he’s only a guest on BM. Was it just easier for Peter to do keyboards or something else?

John: Jogi was very busy doing studio work around that time and he was playing keyboards in the musical CATS…..
Peter had put down most of the keyboard parts that he wanted Jogi to play but his were really good, so we stuck with it….

One thing – there is no vinyl edition of Black Moon (or previous few releases). Any chance this can be fixed ? 🙂

John: At the moment I don’t think so, unless we sell quite a bunch of CD’s the company is a bit reluctant to go vinyl…..There was talk of TOO LATE TO HATE on vinyl but nothing concrete yet….

Next year Mark’s the 50th anniversary of the first Lucifers Friend album. (A couple of things) – do you have any long outstanding g memory or stories fro. Making that album?
Will there be any anniversary reissue or show to celebrate it?

JohnWow – is it that long [?]….it has stood the test of time, I think 🥳🥳
It was a strange time for me, coming off the back of doing vocals on Asterix and then going straight to something really heavy was a bit of a kick but a good one…..
Looking back, it was a great time and when I think that there was no rehearsal time, I was it in at the deep end with heavy lyrics 👹👹👹
The guys were looking for an English singer and I happened to be there at that time….
I don’t think there will be a re-issue as the there have been so many bootleg copies etc. down the years but it’s not such a bad idea….

From the Album’s Cover Artist – Damian Bydlinski : 

“I am a big fan of Lucifer’s Friend. The proposal to make a cover was a great honor for me. 

I love all their albums. But for the best, I think – two albums: “Banquet” and “… Where the Groupies Killed the Blues”.
With favorite songs – it’s harder because there’s a lot of them and a derivation from different albums. But the most important ones are:
Hobo, Burning Ships, Ride the Sky, Groovin Stone, Spanish Galleon, Dirty Old Town, Fugitive ….
However – there is a song – at which time since I heard it for the first time – I always have shivers and I am overcome with emotion –
“Thus Spoke Oberon” – amazing melody, arrangement and brilliant singing of John.

The history of the cover is quite simple. Two years ago – LF and my band Lizard – we played three concerts in Poland. For this occasion, I designed a poster and tickets – the project appealed to John and asked if they could use it for the new LF album. After introducing some changes in the color scheme – this cover was created.”

For more on Damian’s art [he does most of the art for Lizard albums] and to check out his band, visit –  http://lizard-band.com/index.html

 

For more reading:

https://glassonyonpr.com/2019/04/27/lucifers-friend-releases-new-studio-album/

http://www.grande-rock.com/interviews/lucifers-friend 

http://www.roadtometal.com.br/2017/11/john-lawton.html 

https://www.artrock.pl/artykuly/1211/lucifers_friend_lizard_wroclaw_firlej_14_paxdziernika_2017_roku.html

KJJ, 05/’19

LUCIFER’S FRIEND : Black Moon

Since German based rockers Lucifers Friend reunited 4 years ago they’ve been very busy. what started out as a ‘best of’ compilation with a few new songs grew into a few live shows, a live album, more live shows, a new studio, and now their latest – “Black Moon” – the band’s 4th release in as many years. Founding members – Peter Hesslein [guitar, keyboards], Dieter Horns [bass], and John Lawton [vocals], along with [drummer] Stephan Eggert, and a handful of guests on this album.
First off – love the album artwork, paintings by Damian Bydinski. LF had a few classic album covers in the 70s, and I love this one, even including the original characters from the debut album [nearing 50 years]. My only beef is there’s no vinyl LP available for this album. Oh well…

LF black moon
Too Late To Hate was released in 2016. It was a decent album, but I think Black Moon is a step up. The title track is great opener; LF fans will easily dig this rocker; added trumpet solo and congas are a nice touch [this band usually mixed it up with brass, and different instruments on early albums]. The 2nd track here is “Passengers”, a more progressive rocker, love the lengthy intro; this one bounces along with Lawton’s vocals coming in and the song building back up. In their earliest days LF drew comparisons to the likes of Deep Purple & Uriah Heep, and certainly the first few songs will impress fans looking for those sounds. Black Moon keeps up a pretty good pace with “Rolling The Stone”, “Palace Of Fools” and “Call The Captain” – another favorite here, a bit of a pop-rocker, but a good tune and memorable chorus. There’s some decent more poppy tunes in “Behind The Smile” and “Glory Days”, these remind me a bit of the band’s “Sumo Grip” stuff. Featured ballad is “Little Man”, a bit of blues and soul – perfectly suited for Lawton’s voice, and a brief / cool guitar break from Hesslein.

Interesting thing about this band is they could never be categorized. Starting out as a very heavy band, then veering in to jazz, fusion, pop, prog,.. so aside from good songs and great vocals, don’t have any pre-conceived ideas of what to expect. [And here one could easily stick a good few tracks amongst their early LF favorites]. Yeah – I’d like this band to make a really heavy album [and turn up the guitar], but Lucifer’s Friend is not that band this time out, and those that like the band’s past albums will be quite happy with Black Moon.

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/lucifers-friend-black-moon-cd/

http://www.lucifersfriend.com

https://www.facebook.com/LucifersFriendOfficial/

KJJ, 05/’19