White Spirit was around briefly during the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal era. The band’s time included a lone album in 1980, some line-up changes, and further recordings, which never saw the light of day then. The significance of those unreleased recordings was that they featured singer Brian Howe, who’d replaced Bruce Ruff, And guitarist Mick Tucker (ex Axis, pre Tank) – who’d replaced Janick Gers (who went on to Gillan and Iron Maiden) . Following the death of Brian Howe in May of 2020, Tucker, and (keyboardist) Malcolm Pearson (who is the lone original member of White Spirit on this album) set about finding the tapes and then getting the album done and out. (*see bio below for more details). Anyway, the album features newly recorded parts, including the recently recruited rhythm section of Russell Gilbrook (Heep) and Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Sabbath).
As a fan of Howe’s work with Bad Company – sure I would’ve loved to hear all of his vocals here, but from old tapes they couldn’t all be saved, and you can’t go wrong with the singers used to finish this album – Jeff Scott Soto and Lee Small (Lionheart) each sing lead on 2 tracks, while Steve Overland (UK’ FM) sings on an excellent new version of “Holy Water”. Right Or Wrong is classic British hard-rock, with easy favorites being “Runaway”, “Got To Get Out” and “Lady Of The Night”, the first 2 featuring grand keyboard intros, and all just really good tracks sang by Howe. This album is full of energy, great guitar and keyboard leads, melodies, harmonies, and solos. If these songs were originally written and intended for 1981, you would never know by hearing it!
Safe to say if you like Brian Howe’s era in Bad Company – these songs will be very enjoyable, as if they would’ve fit anywhere on one of the 4 Bad Co albums he wrote and sang on! Jeff Scott Soto sings the title track, which leads off the album – a strong melodic rocker, as well as the Rainbow-ish rocker “Better Watch Out”, while Lee Small sings the excellent “The Dice Rolls On”. My fellow Uriah Heep fans will dig Russell Gilbrook’s performance here, especially on “Rock n Roll (Is Good For You)”. Am thankful to hear this album, a very good album, and it’s release is a fitting tribute to Brian Howe.
“Right Or Wrong” is the title track of the new album from White Spirit, out now and features the colossal vocals of Jeff Scott Soto.
White Spirit’s self-titled debut album was released in 1980 to great acclaim, and a constant schedule of touring saw the band build up a large and loyal following. Line up changes introduced us to a then unknown singer named Brian Howe and the band entered the studio in 1981 to work on their second album, with then Gillan keysman, Colin Towns at the production helm. The album was never completed. The band broke up and Brian Howe went on to mega platinum success replacing Paul Rodgers as the singer in Bad Company.
Those 2nd album session tapes were rediscovered in 2020 and after a delicate restoration process, the performances were transferred to digital. Some of the sound quality had deteriorated over the years, so the musical backing was completely replaced by White Spirit veterans Mick Tucker and Mal Pearson, along with Russ Gilbrook (Uriah Heep) and Neil Murray (Whitesnake). Brian Howe’s vocals on five of the tracks survived well, but the other takes had too much degradation, so guest singers stepped in as tribute to the late singer who tragically died in 2020. Jeff Scott Soto was a powerhouse in replacing the original Brian Howe vocals on “Right Or Wrong”, delivering a performance that is as good as anything in his illustrious career.
Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall) mixed the album in Sweden, and the result is an incredible body of work with power, finesse, great songs, and amazing vocals.
Ten tracks with a nod to the past, but fresh and vibrant arrangements fit for 21st Century ears.
Be prepared for an album that, had it come out when it was originally written, could have placed White Spirit amongst the giants of melodic rock.
The album Right Or Wrong featuring lead vocals from Brian Howe, Jeff Scott Soto, Steve Overland and Lee Small, was released on 29th July 2022 through Conquest Music on limited edition CD and via the digital platforms.–