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#/