Author Archives: admin

DAVEY DODDS ‘THE SHAMAN’S SONG’ LIVE VIDEO!!

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Watch Davey Dodds perform the track ‘The Shaman’s Song’ taken from his new album ‘Kernowcopia’ available now from Angel Air Records.

Click here to order your copy of ‘Kernowcopia’ now!

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Angel Air News | Leave a comment

CATHÉDRALE J2=B2

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Complex in structure but hugely accessible in execution, the results could easily have seen Cathedrale share stages with the likes of Hipsway or Hue & Cry, although there’s an undeniably progressive edge also in play. “Element Of Surprise” walks that tightrope confidently, while the more keyboard heavy “A Trick Of The Light” adds a more obvious (if hardly dominant) 70s edge, a small window into the world of Yes opened onto what was undoubtedly an 80s vista.

Sea Of Tranquility (September 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in CATHÉDRALE, J2=B2 | Leave a comment

OVEREND WATTS He’s Real Gone

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

The album was originally intended to be called She’s Real Gone (the title of the lead track). But when Watts realized the album would be released after his passing, he opted to go with He’s Real Gone. So obviously this talented man’s sense of humor remained intact. Real nice that this release sees the light of day now, because it puts Overend’s contributions to the world of music in perspective. Yes, he is mainly known for his work with Mott The Hoople. But he was obviously much more than that. He was a songwriter in his own right. And he was also a friend and mentor to lots of people. Interestingly, this does not sound like a batch of tunes recorded by someone so late in their career. These tracks are upbeat, melodic, catchy, and bright. Hearing these songs with so much hit potential, we can’t help but think what could have happened if Mr. Watts had recorded more material while he was here on earth. Hats off to the fine folks at Angel Air for releasing this album. Thirteen cool tracks plus one bonus track (the original demo of “Born Late 58″). Rest in peace, Mr. Watts.

babysue (September 2017)


Recorded over a long period and indeed his only solo release Overend sticks to no genre but just gives us a lyrically light hearted, witty and humorous look inside his head, just look at a sample of titles ‘The Dinosaur Market’, ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’, ‘Caribbean Hate Song’ and my personal favourite, so far, ‘Belle Of The Boot’ which just brings a smile to my face, listen to it we’ve all been there! But this is no comedic album ‘Belle’ has a hook many songwriters would envy. Indeed all thirteen tracks are well crafted and Overend played (or programmed) all the instruments. Its in retrospect a crying shame it took him 40 years to make a solo album because based on this he had so much to offer outside of his fundamental contribution to MTH.

Like labelmates Stackridge I reviewed recently, Overend is a one-off defying putting in a ‘box’ quirky, delightful and yes heart-warming. Echos of glam, punk, jilted John tease thru the 60 odd minutes running time but in the end its a unique album from a unique artist who may have physically left us but whose musical legacy will live on to delight his many fans. If I have a down day I’ll be slapping this in the disc drawer without fail.

Ninebattles (September 2017)


Mott The Hoople bassist Overend Watts died in January, but he mocks mortality with a high-spirited posthumous album full of upbeat tunes and silly jokes. He even insisted that its name be changed from She’s Real Gone to He’s Real Gone. Determined to have a good time, he writes and plays almost everything himself, singing in a voice that welds Ray Davies, Syd Barrett and John Otway and penning rhymes that lead you to believe he’s about to say a filthy word, which he then swerves like a guitar-slinging Benny Hill.

‘Overend’s just a rock ‘n’ roll star’, Ian Hunter sang in Ballad Of Mott The Hoople, and there’s no arguing with that lore as he rips through cheeky riffs and rhythms. By the time he’s chanting ‘Prawn fire!’ repeatedly, you’re won over by the surrealism and resilient humour. His original demo of Mott’s Born Late ’58 is a bittersweet bonus.

Team Rock (September 2017)


An up-front streak of humour colours the material throughout, from the opener (and near-title track) ‘She’s Real Gone’, ‘Dinosaur Market’ with its nursery rhyme playfulness and the psychedelic surrealism of ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’. ‘Belle Of The Boot’, meanwhile, is a full-strength demonstration of glam-smeared rock ‘n’ roll firepower…Elsewhere Watts reveals a pronounced reflective side, as on ‘The Search’ or the penultimate cut ‘Miss Kingston’. A touching parting statement from one of British rock ‘n’ roll’s one-offs.

Vive Le Rock (September 2017)


Reading comments from those who knew Overend Watts that He’s Real Gone absolutely captures the spirit of the man who created it means that this solo album succeeds in a way that many, if not most, certainly don’t. For those not quite so acquainted with him the journey to discovery is a tougher one, an initially impenetrable set of songs only slowly revealing their charms. Still for an artist famed for his humour and uncompromising nature, should we have expected any else?

Sea Of Tranquility (September 2017)


The different, sometimes conflicting, aspects of this lovably eccentric man’s personality jostle throughout intricately-constructed classic pop, gentle prog-tainted rock and quirky widescreen ballads; all crafted like stained glass windows into his idiosyncratic soul, tempered with surreal humour and buoyed by the malapropism he turned into an art form…The set’s inevitable poignancy is enhanced by its photo booklet and bonus track of Watt’s original 1974 demo for Mott’s Born Late ’58, recorded with school friend drummer Buffin; sadly also real gone in 2016.

Record Collector Magazine (September 2017)


There’s a definite sense of humour about the whole album that is offset by Overend’s quite impressive vocals and arrangements. Some of the tracks like “Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel” border on Python-esque humour, yet it’s played with sheer sonic accuracy. There’s plenty of Mott and Bowie inspired pop ditties and rave ups. Check out the Bowie-esque “There’s Berkeley Power Station”. Somewhere in pop heaven, Overend and Buffin are now jamming with Bowie and Ronno so keep the faith and crank up the volume. A stunning, ear-opening, posthumous pop-rock achievement, He’s Real Gone will long be viewed as a better late than never pop masterpiece from Mott The Hoople legend, Overend Watts.

MWE3 (September 2017)


Overend Watts’ solo album has been a long time coming. Something like eighteen years by my reckoning – he first talked about recording an album in issue 2 of Two Miles From Heaven magazine in November 1999…

Many of the songs are inspired by Overend’s varied life experiences, either from running his own shop (The Dinosaw Market, Belle Of The Boot) or pursuing his hobby of carp fishing (The Legend Of Redmire Pool). Overend plays all the instruments himself – normally my heart sinks when I read this, but here Overend acquits himself well. Even the drums are inventive rather than perfunctory, as are the keyboards. A true solo album but which sounds like a band – others should take note…

…Overend has said that when he started writing in earnest (for MOTT’s Drive On) he didn’t really know about hooks and choruses. I’m pleased to say he has got everything right here, with Rise Up being another strong track with a great hook and chorus. Rise up – before they shoot you down!

There’s a lot to like here. It took me two or three listens to “get it”, but get it I have. Recommended.

Hunter-mott .com (August 2017)


Recorded towards the end of his days, it would be lovely to report that He’s Real Gone captures everything that made Watts so unique, from the towering platforms and the silver hair, to the humor, artistry and vision that characterized his work way-back-when. Lovely, and true.

From start to finish, He’s Real Gone is a delight; lyrically light-hearted, buoyant as a balloon, and so determined not to take anything seriously that you almost overlook how magnificently constructed and exquisitely played the thirteen new tracks are.

The titles give a lot away – “The Legend of Redmire Pool”, “Prawn Fire on Uncle Sheep Funnel,” “There’s Berkeley Power Station”…there are few ruminations on life, the universe and everything here, and who’d have wanted them if they were? Watts’s onstage persona was almost cartoonish (how could it have been much else with that tailor?), and alone in the studio with a broad array of instruments, that’s the side that he indulges.

Yet it’s not an album you put on just for laughs. The songs are genuinely powerful (“Caribbean Hate Song” might be the best, but I’ve changed my time six times already), and the playing and production are spot on. Yes, there are certainly echoes of past friends and peers on display, including a touch of Roy Harper around the vocals, but it’s Watts’s album all the way through, still jammed with all the pleasures that were so much a part of his writing “back in the day,” and occasionally allowing them to shine through even louder than before.

“He’d Be a Diamond” has a hook and harmonies that the mid-sixties would have given their last pair of Beatle boots for; “Magic Garden” feels like a lost John Otway classic; “Belle of the Boot” is unadulterated punk rock. And the only regret, as the album comes to an end, is that Watts waited so long to make it. If this is the music he spent forty years bottling up, we lost out on some of the most extraordinarily enjoyable albums in history.

Goldmine Magazine (August 2017)


Bass player Pete “Overend” Watts is best remembered these days for his sterling exploits with glam rockers Mott the Hoople during the early seventies, and the Birmingham born musician did his best to keep the band’s name alive after creative mainstays Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs left the fold in 1974. His efforts were sadly doomed to failure however, and Watts took a back seat from performing to concentrate on record production, only completing “He’s Real Gone,” his first solo album shortly before his untimely death from throat cancer earlier this year. His musical epitaph is a typically quirky and unpredictable affair which should be required listening for MTH devotees everywhere.

Kevin Bryan, regional newspapers (August 2017)


“He’s Real Gone” is the long-awaited CD by the much loved Overend Watts, the bassist and founding member of the mighty Mott The Hoople who sadly passed away earlier this year. The CD contains eleven brand new compositions by Overend together with two cover versions plus the original demo of “Born Late ’58″ which dates back to “The Hoople” LP.

Imbued with Overend’s eccentric, warm hearted personality, “He’s Real Gone” is by turn quirky, amusing and, at times, it must be said, somewhat slightly odd. But beneath all that is a fascinating collection of songs that give you an insight into the World of Watts with wry, humorous tales of Herefordshire life, Car Boot Sales, ghosts, fishing, cups of tea in Acton and attractive young ladies in Tesco.

Musically, the album covers a wide range of styles from psychedelia (“Prawn Fire on Uncle Sheep Funnel”) to pop, rock and folk. There’s even a bit of faux jazz (Nice!) thrown in on “The Dinosaw Market.” There’s a distinct Sixties vibe to some of the songs especially on the harmonies and the jangling Byrds-like guitars. “Caribbean Hate Song” recalls Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd while “Belle of the Boot” somehow manages to sound like the love child of The Who and The Kinks.

The two cover versions included here also reflect Overend’s wide ranging love of music and his championing of less well-known acts. “Endless Night” was originally recorded by one of Overend’s favourites, the US psychedelic rock outfit the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, while “He’d Be A Diamond” written by Nick Saloman from The Bevis Frond, was covered by Teenage Fanclub, another band on who Watts was particularly keen.

Keith Smith, editor TMFH (July 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in He's Real Gone, OVEREND WATTS | Leave a comment

SNAFU Live Nottingham 1976

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Snafu’s blues rock inspired the legendary bands Little Feat and The Allman Brothers. The American blues with slide guitar and a funky rhythm also reminds us of Grand Funk Railroad. At the intro of this live album you can already hear the honest, pure sound of the group. Raw unpolished singing by Bobby Harrison and funky guitar by Micky Moody with Tim Hinkley at the Hammond organ. Bobby’s energy shatters his vocal cords, and Micky pulls excellent dirty sounds from his guitar. A few weeks later he switches from Snafu to David Coverdale’s Whitesnake. This also meant the end of Snafu. The recordings of Live Nottingham 1976 are beautifully honest, as pure as it was at the time – no technical gadgets or tricks, no, the music came directly from the heart and soul!

Keys and Chords (Translated – August 2017)


If you’re a Bobby Harrison, Micky Moody or SNAFU completist, then Live In Nottingham 1976 will prove a vital addition to your collection. For anyone else there’s undoubtedly a great hard blues rock act here to be discovered…

Sea Of Tranquility (August 2017)


It is a short set, only six songs, yet you get a good feel and sound of the band as they play blues rock set of covers and their own songs. Highlights include the slow blues burner ‘Every Little Bit Counts’ which highlights Bobby Harrison’s emotive singing and the rocking ‘Highway’, where Micky Moody plays up a storm.

Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Live Nottingham 1976, SNAFU | Leave a comment

JJ BARRIE My Canada

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

There’s a timeless quality to his songs, anchored to Canada with a link that’s bound to stay unbroken: that’s what it’s all about for this artist. 4/5 stars

DMME.net (June 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in JJ BARRIE, My Canada | Leave a comment

JENNY DARREN LIVE DATES!

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

JAZZ

With The Stroud Valley Arts Band
November 9th ‘Jenny Darren’
Stroud Valley Art Space,
4 John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA

December 2nd
Cafe Kino, ‘Barry Hill & Jenny Darren’
Xmas Album Launch

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Angel Air News | Leave a comment

STACKRIDGE The Final Bow, Bristol 2015

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Although those who love the music really, really love it, Stackridge has always been criminally overlooked in the big scheme of things. They’ve written and recorded some of the most credible/incredible pop music and yet, for whatever reasons, they’ve never really received the attention they deserve. The 2015 band was comprised of Andy Davis, James Warren, Clare Lindley, Glenn Tommey, and Eddie John. And what a band they were. On this hefty double disc set, the band plays twenty-two selections for audiences who were obviously very familiar with the material. Highlights include “Over the Horizon,” “Fundamentally Yours,” “Something About the Beatles,” “Boots and Shoes,” and “Do The Stanley Aviator Brass (Plus Audience).” Sadly it’s farewell to Stackridge after so many years and so much wonderful music. But thankfully the tracks they recorded will always be around for future generations to admire and appreciate. Recommended. Top pick.

babysue (September 2017)


Stackridge in 2015 retained the spark of the early 70s when music was still expanding and they could add solid rock, whimsy and assorted oddness to witty lyrics and fine playing. Mutter Slater guests on two tracks and if you want proof of fine playing just listen to the flute composition, ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’, With Mutter soloing.

RnR Magazine (September 2017)


None of their albums unturned, the ensemble concentrate on deep tracks from both distant and recent past, and throw into the mix a couple of pieces that didn’t make it to a studio LP. The quirkiest numbers aren’t performed here, though, stressing the set list’s sentimentality: from the translucent welcome of “Over The Horizon” to “Do The Stanley” which is passed to a brass section and audience singalong, there’s dewy-eyed nostalgia fogging up the proceedings, what with Mutter Slater’s flute returning to the fold for “Slark” and “Purple Spaceships Over Yatton” to help Andy Davis and James Warren close the decades-wide circle…

…Observing the group’s route from the vantage point of today, it’s almost impossible to avoid the wondering at how many songs in their repertoire bid farewell to a moment the artists’ inhabited at any given time, because the latter-day title track is only a reflection of the “Teatime” delicacy, and there’s a firm logic in placing Davis’ extracurricular “All I Do Is Dream Of You” alongside collective creations like “Fish In A Glass” whose insistent irony wouldn’t be lost on the crowd cheering their exit – because charisma still surrounds them.

The end of the story, then? Time for the band to go? Given their whimsy, here’s hoping they’ll be back one day. ****1/3

DMME.net (August 2017)


Clare’s violin leads ‘The Road To Venezuela’ from THE MAN WITH IN THE BOWLER HAT, one of the most impressive tracks, we also recognize the intro from ‘The Last Plimsoll’ is very BEATLES with always wonderful violin. The famous ‘Syracuse The Elephant’ from the second album is very oriental and sung in a very convincing way with the violin being a true revelation illuminating the concert. The delicious ‘Teatime’ from the same album is also featured, played energetically. If the violin is king, the piano and keyboards also have their time to shine. ‘God Speed The Plough’ has solo piano which is quickly joined by the violin, the piece gains in amplitude with layered keyboards…

Highlands Magazine (Translated – August 2017)


Coming with a booklet mixing a historical perspective with the thoughts and emotions of some of the band’s fans and which also pays respect to some of the more renowned former members, The Final Bow, Bristol 2015 is a wonderful two disc, twenty-two song strong celebration of a band who stuck to their guns and delighted many. It’s never too late to discover good music, and it has to be said that Stackridge’s final goodbye makes for just as strong an introduction to a vastly underrated group, as it is a fitting farewell.

Sea Of Tranquility (July 2017)


…At the end of a moving farewell tour, they decided to give a final concert at the Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19, 2015. That evening they were accompanied by Glenn Tommey (keyboards, vocals), old acquaintance who once played on the first album of The Korgis in 1979, Eddie John (drums) and Clare Lindley (violin, guitar, vocals)…long-time friend Mutter Slater honours the group with his presence on two titles, ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ and ‘Slark’. Still, with the same sense of derision, Stackridge offers a festive show where good mood is in order despite a palpable emotion…

Prog Female Voices (Translated – July 2017)


This new 2CD live set was recorded at Bristol and as the title says was their ‘Final Bow’ after 45 years the band have finally called it a day. I wish them a long and happy ‘retirement’. To those of you who are familiar with their output you will find, probably, a good few favourites here, remember ‘Do The Stanley’? If you are new to the band prepare to enjoy! I found myself repeatedly going back to CD2 tracks 4-6 and just smiling the tracks in question being ‘No Ones More Important Than The Earthworm’ ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Boots And Shoes’. ‘Earthworm’ was in fact written by Gordon Haskell (Fleur-dy-lys, Ruperts People) Gordon never became a band member but had many connections, but that’s another story! It’s just a delight of a song and a title! Those three tracks just sum up the band for me. But then there’s ‘Slark’ and ‘Dora The Female Explorer’ and…well its all just so bloody enjoyable. Its fitting this should also be Angel Airs 500th release, half a grand, but a whole grand time to be had by all. Enjoy!

ninebattles.com (July 2017)


…Mutter Slater returns to add flute to signature tune ‘Slark’, and the expansive ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’ but there are newer numbers too. A sad, beautiful farewell – but, given their past, one’s never certain that Stackridge have ever split up for good.

Record Collector (July 2017)


Andy Davis shines on so many tracks but Red Squirrel and The Final Bow glow to my ears. Of course we mustn’t forget little James Warren, who many consider to be the band’s Paul McCartney to Andy Davis’s John Lennon. Here that likeness is reinforced with sweet vocals and Beatlesque harmonies and melodic bass lines, amply showcased on Fundamentally Yours and The Last Plimsol. (And yes you do recognise James Warren’s voice – he sang lead on The Korgis worldwide smash Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.)

Both the two aforementioned songs though, first appeared on the George Martin produced The Man in the Bowler Hat, an album he held in much affection and is often considered to be one of the finest albums he produced outside of the Beatles.

In many ways the Beatles comparison is obvious and fitting, the constant need to develop and change, pulling in influences from disparate musical traditions but always remembering to write a killer tune. The difference of course is that no-one wonders why the Beatles are so under appreciated…

This parting gift is full of similar killer tunes, and after 46 years of loving them I am going to miss Stackridge live, but I have this wonderful memory of a wonderful day.

The Progressive Aspect (July 2017)


This 2-CD set captures the band at their final gig in front of a partisan and parochial audience just before Christmas 2015. Of course, we’ve had the previous live set ‘The Forbidden City’ in 2007 so this really is a gentle update as much as a poignant reminder of a great band…Fittingly, given Angel Air’s faith in the band’s more recent restoration, this is the label’s 500th release in its 20th year. Fan and manager reminiscences in the liner notes pad out an excellent souvenir. Stackridge may be history but their music lives on. ****

Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)


This recording of their final gig at Bristol’s Fiddlers Club marks Angel Air’s 500th album release and provides an appealing celebration of Stackridge’s quirkily melodic approach to music-making, with former frontman Mutter Slater rejoining their ranks for a couple of perennial crowd-pleasers, “Purple Spaceships Over Yatton” and the epic “Slark”.

Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (June 2017)


Stackridge are at the heart of Angel Air Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is now releasing their 500th album…The Final Bow was recorded at a packed Fiddlers Club in Bristol on December 19th 2015 as Andy Davis, James Warren, Clare Lindley, Glen Tommey and Eddie John were joined on stage by former member Mutter Slater. This double CD includes ‘Over The Horizon’, ‘Long Dark River’, ‘Fish In A Glass’, ‘Slark’, ‘Lummy Days’ and ‘Purple Spaceships Over Yatton’.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (May 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in STACKRIDGE, The Final Bow Bristol 2015 | Leave a comment

DAVEY DODDS Kernowcopia

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Where the Englishman’s erstwhile approach would be to weave his voice into a thick instrumental tapestry and tell a many-layered story, now Davey’s method is creating a threadbare, transparent, web-like experience of a song. It’s a cocoon of sorts, unravelling most impressively when the vocalist looks back on Dodd’s own classics such as “The Magpie” that THE UNTHANKS recently returned to the public attention: stripped of sonic assault and ensemble harmonies inherent to its “Sting In The Tale” original and left at the mercy of its writer’s a cappella choir that doesn’t require even the slightest strum, the tune is packing a mightier punch.

As only a couple cuts are given a group treatment, Davey’s ex-colleagues flocking in to adorn “Shoot The Gruffalo” and “Merlin’s Isle Of Gramarye” in an ethereal electric garb, most of the album numbers glimmer in the light reflected off Dodd’s mandolin and Martin Solomon’s fiddle and Celtic harp which make pieces like “Storm Cat Song” possessed with intrepid spirituality.

DMME.net (September 2017)


It is the harmonica of Kevin Taylor that stands out on ‘The Shaman’s Song’, it’s pretty serious music and full of mystery. ‘Shoot The Gruffalo’ is a sort of frenzied dance in the pure Celtic tradition, a successful way of finishing this beautiful album that at times reminds me of another English giant: JETHRO TULL, the influence can be heard in ‘Kick Off Your Shoes’. Unique music from an album with many traditional instruments – authenticity guaranteed.

Highlands Magazine (Translated – August 2017)


…The Magpie is a striking song because it’s all acapella. A full band version can be found on Red Jasper’s debut album in 1990. ‘The Shaman’s Song’ has harmonica in the arrangement, which makes a positive difference to the other songs of the album. Also remarkable is ‘Merlin’s Isle Of Gramarye’…The guitar and bass guitar are in the hands of Robin Harrison, while his Red Jasper mate David Clifford is on the drums…

ProgWereld (Translated – July 2017)


Davey admits that the prog-rock thing was self-indulgence on his part but some of Red Jasper’s music remains with him and several tracks are reworked on Kernowcopia. He’s also reunited with two members of the band…

RnR Magazine (July 2017)


Dodds enjoys revisiting some emblematic titles of the Red Jasper era. ‘The Magpie’ from Sting In The Tale (1990), recently released by the folk band The Unthanks on their 2015 Mount The Air album, ‘Jean’s Tune’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1993), ‘Ship On The Sea’ and ‘The Shaman’s Song’ from The Winter’s Tale (1994) are among them.

Located at the crossroads between Jethro Tull for music and Fish for voice, Davey Dodds returns to the front of the stage primarily for his own pleasure. And that’s fine!

Prog Female Voices (June 2017)


I have always enjoyed Davey’s vocals, and the album certainly doesn’t give the impression that he has been away from the scene for so long, nor that he had to get himself a mandolin, as he is in full control, and it really was only yesterday that he was treading the boards (I commented that he didn’t seem to have changed much, and the response was “I have a painting in the attic”).
This is a truly beautiful album, and credit must be given to Derek Aunger who has worked with Davey to capture an incredible sound. The only real issue with it is that I have been playing it so much that it stopped me from listening to other material that I should have been getting on with! As to the album title, if you didn’t know, ‘Kernow’ is the Cornish name for Cornwall, so it is a play on that and “cornucopia” (an abundant supply of good things). Even though I’m from Devon, I must admit it’s not just pasties and the A38 that are the only decent things coming out from Cornwall, I’ll add this album to that incredibly small list. I love it.

MLWZ.pl (June 2017)


Often likened to Fish vocally, Dodds’ strong storytelling style comes through in this thoroughly stripped back setting where bodhran, mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle and even ‘bones’ are the backing for the vocalist to tell his tales – two of the musicians involved being Red Jasper men, Robin Harrison and David Clifford. The protagonist certainly hasn’t lost any of his acerbic edge, Dodds still turning a spotlight on what he views as social imbalances. The result is an album steeped in traditions, not just musically but also lyrically…an honest album that thrives on a clear love for the music and approach it employs.

Sea Of Tranquility (June 2017)


Dodds’ album is primarily Folk…drummer David Clifford is there on two pieces; guitarist and bassist Robin Harrison even features on “Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye”…otherwise, the album is dominated by Dodds’ vocals and mandolin with Martin Solomon’s fiddle…

Musik An Sich (Translated – June 2017)


Magnificent Cornish storytelling songs from prog rocker Davey Dodds! The best folk release of the last decade!

Keys and Chords (June 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in DAVEY DODDS, Kernowcopia | Leave a comment

RENAISSANCE ILLUSION Through The Fire

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Two bonus tracks are included: The first, ‘If There Was Something I Could Change’, contains excellent guitar parts by Dzal Martin, as well as a beautiful sequence of pan flute. ‘Moving On’ is quite similar with its beautiful guitar and piano, a delicious way of complementing the voice of McCarty…this music is sensitive, rich, and not to be judged on a single listen.

Highlands Magazine (Translated – August 2017)


…thankfully the music herein displays more creativity and imagination than the band name, as tracks like opener ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ and ‘Glorious One’ take obvious inspiration from McCarty’s beliefs, with much of the music on the record reflecting the peace and serenity and occasional almost trance-like feel of this philosophy…if you like those original Renaissance and Illusion templates, give this a try…it doesn’t stray to far from that template…

Classic Rock Society (July/August 2017)


It started out as a McCarty solo project – Jane Relf’s vocals are restricted to harmonies, but the dreamy, spiritual otherworldly atmosphere of Illusion remains, whether the floating soundscape of ‘Mystery Of Being’ (which turned up in a louder vein on The Yardbirds’ 2003 return ‘Birdland’), the eastern trills of ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ or the title track with its new age synth, this is far more than merely a casual reunion and it’s topped off with a couple of decent previously unheard tracks too.

Record Collector (July 2017)


From start to finish you are taken on a whirlwind tour of the exotic sounds and nuances of musical styles from peoples and cultures around the world. The Angel Air label’s decision to re-release this long unavailable album is to be warmly congratulated. It is captivatingly atmospheric, whisking you away to a decidedly gentler place and what feels like a much kinder space, where you can put aside the worries and complexities of the moment and enjoy the sounds of happier times.

The Progressive Aspect (May 2017)


Having recorded solo albums in the ’90s, Jim McCarty decided in 2000 to form Renaissance Illusion with his former bandmates Jane Relf, Louis Cennamo and John Hawken, who had all been with him in his bands Renaissance and Illusion, to record a new album.

That album was long out of print but now rereleased with two previously unheard bonus tracks – ‘If There Was Something I Could Change?’ and ‘Moving On’.

Bev Bevan, The Sunday Mercury (April 2017)


…meanwhile McCarty made solo albums and in an interview with Radio 68 he calls “Through The Fire” half solo, semi group. ‘Half solo’ because he wrote everything and sings most of the songs, ‘half group’ because he had, in his own words, not only the need for the talent of his old friends but also their ability to provide ‘chemistry’…The result is a piece that I would rather call spiritualistic than prog, also due to the spiritual message of McCarty’s lyrics: the imbalance in the world, the mystery of life (‘Mystery Of Being’), the importance of people with good heart (‘Good Heart’), the wisdom of the master himself (‘Glorious One’) and core elements such as karma and rebirth (‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’, ‘Through the Fire’).

Musically the group finds a nice balance between the atmosphere needed to create such a spiritualist foundation on the one hand and the needs of a progressive rock album on the other. McCarty sings the praises of Louis Cennamo and especially the classically trained pianist Hawken, who then turned a song with two chords to a charming song (‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’). ‘Good Heart’ and the two bonuses certainly provide the necessary rhythm…

Keys and Chords (Translated – April 2017)


…the surviving members of the original Renaissance line-up did reconvene three decades later to record a splendid new album in the shape of ‘Through The Fire.’ As an exercise in melodic soft-rock this tastefully constructed package was well nigh faultless, with ‘One More Turn Of The Wheel’ and ‘Mystery Of Being’ emerging as two and the stand-out tracks.

Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (April 2017)


As with most of this version of Renaissance (and Illusion), the basis of this album may be more song based than many will expect, memorable and gently hook laden choruses sticking long in the mind as the likes of “Good Heart”, “Glorious One” and “My Old Friend” play out. The latter a beautifully poised selection that conveys loss and time passing in a cleverly accessible manner, even as its pace refuses to rise above an engaging crawl. With “Beyond The Day” a gentle sway that incorporates pipes and whistle and “Through The Fire” almost a casual jaunt that possesses a decided glint in its eye, while this album could never be seen as anything other than reserved and controlled, it is somehow surprisingly diverse. This Angel Air reissue adds two previously unheard bonus selections in the shape of “If There Was Something I Could Change?” and “Moving On”, which thankfully don’t break the album’s spell, fitting the mood and atmosphere perfectly. As such they are both welcome additions and, rather pleasingly, just as good as anything the original release contained.

They may have been overshadowed by the band they formed and then left behind and their reappearance as Illusion. However, with this solitary album Renaissance Illusion created a worthy legacy of their own and one that in this hectic world provides an excellent opportunity to slow down and relax with some beautifully poised and memorable music.

Sea Of Tranquility (April 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in RENAISSANCE ILLUSION, Through The Fire | Leave a comment

SHOOT On The Frontier CD

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

On this CD debut (with 2 extra items), the compositions per se still shape up to confident and often unorthodox arrangements, passing any artistic litmus test if stripped down to just voice and piano, as is actually the case for half of waltz-time ‘Old Time Religion’, a most immediately memorable opus along with ‘Ships And Sails’, guitarist Dave Greene’s brief ‘Head Under Water’ instrumental, the understated tension of ‘Sepia Sister’ plus the title track (and spin-off single)

R2 Magazine (May/June 2017)


Released in 1973, it keeps a wide berth from the sort of sweeping acoustic-based prog of that early Renaissance in favour of a largely soft-rock approach which yet lurches wildly and unpredictably into country-rock, blues, folk-boogie and even some art-pop, worthy of the nascent 10cc. The latter is best represented by the opening track and probably the standout, the very cleverly composed and played ‘The Neon Life’. Other highlights are the subtle yet charming ‘Sepia Sister’ and the lengthy closer ‘Mean Customer’.

Classic Rock Society (May/June 2017)


It’s a shame that Shoot’s flame burned out so quickly, as this debut showed a lot of promise but ultimately it was to be the lone recorded output from the band before they broke up. Angel Air has gone to great lengths to make On the Frontier’s first appearance on CD a good one, complete with a detailed history of the band and photos. It’s well worth investigating for those always searching for rare ’70s rock.

Sea Of Tranquility (April 2017)


‘The Neon Life’ is responsible for opening the album and it is particularly well placed, led by Jim’s piano. The saxophones of Lyn Dobson and Bob Birtles give a jazzy colouring…We notice the importance of Jim’s dominant voice, with beautiful vocal harmonies on ‘Ships And Sails’ combined with sumptuous arrangements, and wonderful guitar. ‘Living Blind’ has electric piano bringing a funky side, also enhanced by the saxophones and feverish guitar. Jim’s voice is warm and melodious.

All the sound of the west coast of the United States is honoured on ‘On The Frontier’ where BJ Cole plays the pedal steel guitar. In 1973, this track was offered by Jim to Renaissance for his fourth album ‘Ashes Are Burning’…two bonuses are included from radio sessions…a beautiful version of ‘The Neon Life’ where guitar and piano are worth the detour. One wonders why this album has gone completely unnoticed, certainly hidden by the stars like Roxy Music, Queen and Genesis.

Highlands Magazine – Translated (March 2017)


Jim’s former group would cover the title piece of “On The Frontier” a few months down the line, but there’s a charged urgency to the ivories-driven original to send ripples across the tracks and veer away before voices elevate the country-tinctured “Midnight Train” above the painstakingly textured surface of the record – best felt on “Sepia Sister” which, in its grand understatement, could shine on McCarty’s next venture, ILLUSION. In a SHOOT context, though, the momentum-gaining “Living Blind” unfolds as a demonstration of the band’s jazzy edge, from electric keyboard strokes to the shards of brass that are also sprinkled over Greene’s acid-kissed six strings to add a touch of psychedelic delight to “The Neon Life” whose previously unreleased live-on-radio version extended it to highlight the collective’s interplay and vocal harmonies.

Another bonus, “Storms As Sorrows” where wah-wah has a field day, didn’t make the cut, but if it did there would be a nice arc between this number and an almost orchestral “Ships And Sails” which is weaving acoustic lace around the same bobbing bass. Just as majestic, and helped by a new RENAISSANCE’s John Tout on piano, “Old Time Religion” paints patinated lines over a hymnal swell, but it’s “Mean Customer” that rhythmic wonders are housed in to shake off the cobwebs and welcome raga into the fold.

Slightly exotic, although not going all over the place, the album would struggle to find a listener, so after a handful of concerts, the players became disillusioned and soon went separate ways; their only collaboration remains an essential piece of British art-rock rock puzzle. ****

DMME.net (March 2017)


This in fact is mostly soft rock with hints of country, psych and prog here and there, with only ‘The Boogie’ being somewhat in blues mode…Dave Greene plays incisive guitar on ‘The Neon Life’ and is excellent throughout; on some tracks the exceptional Lyn Dobson (ex-Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames) and Bob Bertles (ex Max Merritt & the Meteors) augment on horns; there are two bonus tracks, from radio sessions.

Blues In Britain (March 2017)


Their one and only album…now released for the first time on CD, Jim McCarty has added 2 previously unreleased radio session bonus tracks – ‘Storms As Sorrows’ and ‘The Neon Life’.

Bev Bevan, The Sunday Mercury (February 2017)


The band made only a scant number of live appearances and managed only a single album, On the Frontier, now reissued by Britain’s highly laudable Angel Air label with two radio sessions tagged on for good measure…a closer listen reveals several hidden gems – the supremely melodic “The Neon Life,” “Ships and Sails” and the title track (belatedly covered by a McCarty-less Renaissance) among them…there’s something to be said for the album’s sensual sound, making it more than a mere curio and a still-worthy part of the Yardbirds’ lingering legacy.

Goldmine Magazine (February 2017)


It’s a shame that Shoot’s flame burned out so quickly, as this debut showed a lot of promise but ultimately it was to be the lone recorded output from the band before they broke up. Angel Air has gone to great lengths to make On the Frontier’s first appearance on CD a good one, complete with a detailed history of the band and photos. It’s well worth investigating for those always searching for rare ’70s rock.

Sea Of Tranquility (February 2017)


This is the first time that this album has ever been made available on CD. Shoot was a short lived band. During the time they were together, this is the only album they released in 1973. The band was comprised of Jim McCarty (lead vocals, keyboards, percussion), Dave Greene (vocals, guitars, banjo), Bill Russell (bass), and Craig Collinge (drums, percussion). Principle songwriter McCarty is best known as the drummer in The Yardbirds and Renaissance. But he has also released solo albums and played in Together, Illusion, Box of Frogs, Stairway, The British Invasion All-Stars, and Pilgrim (whew!).

This is one of those cases in which this album will probably find an entirely new listening audience in 2017. It seems sad that these tracks have been unavailable for such a long time. Although recorded decades ago, these recordings have lost none of their magic over the years. The playing is precise and inspired, and the vocals are simply amazing. Recorded at Abbey Road studios, these cuts still sound amazing. In addition to the original ten tracks on the original album, this reissue also includes the bonus tracks “Storms As Sorrows (radio session)” and “The Neon Life (radio session).” Listening to this, one can’t help but wish these guys had kept things together longer to record more music. Another true gem unearthed by the folks at Great Britain’s Angel Air label.

babysue (February 2017)


A forgotten jewel of former Yardbirds and Renaissance drummer Jim McCarty. ‘Shoot’ missed the commercial goal in the seventies but is nevertheless an impressive album.

Keys and Chords (January 2017)


This album will tweak the interest of classic rock fans, featuring the drummer from The Yardbirds and the original line-up of Renaissance, Jim McCarty.

Originally released in 1973 it failed to make much of an impact; the band hardly gigged to support it. However, now on CD for the first time, it is something of a lost psychedelic progressive rock gem.

Southern Daily Echo (January 2017)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in On The Frontier CD, SHOOT | Leave a comment