Author Archives: admin

MUTTER SLATER BAND The Champ

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

…His second sees a five piece band – subtle guitar, rich sax, hammond – used to startling effect; a progressive West Country reinvention of Gulf Coast roadhouse rock ‘n’ soul music. The slow arm title track would make Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham smile. ‘Why Are You Talking To Me?’ rocks with selfish abandon and yet ‘Even Love?’, with Mutter’s echoing flute, could eerily be a modern Stackridge number. All with one of the greatest unsung voices in British music at the fore.

Record Collector Magazine (November 2016)


Champ is an album of sophisticated rock with a retro feel. In fact, there isn’t that much flute and the chief instrument is Clive Ashley’s tenor saxophone underpinned by Tom Hughes’ organ and a solid rhythm section. Nor is there much of the eccentricity of Stackridge, although ‘Icing On The Cake’ could well date from them, cleverly playing with a pun on ‘counter culture’. It’s a great song, as is ‘A Day On The Town’, which reminds me oddly of Ray Davies – world weary and bluesy with its finger on the pulse of a seedy pub, and restrained lead guitar from co-producer Chris Cleaver. The title track is pure melancholy with sax and organ playing a tired duet. The band is extremely tight, as it should be after ten years and three previous albums, and it all sounds effortless. If I called it laid back you might get the wrong idea because there’s an edge to all the songs and a sting in the lyrics.

R2 Magazine (November 2016)


The name Mutter Slater is familiar to many people, mostly in Great Britain as Slater was the frontman and flute player for many years in the critically-acclaimed pop band Stackridge. Now that the band is sadly no more, individual members are (thankfully) continuing to make music. As you might expect, Slater’s music has changed and evolved since his days playing pure pop in Stackridge. The Champ finds him writing and recording songs heavily influenced by American blues, soul, and rhythm and blues. Slater’s voice adapts beautifully to this style of music. These tracks have a nice smooth sound, and an overall laidback vibe. Joining Mutter on these recordings are Chris Cleaver, Clive Ashley, Dan Wheeler, Tom Hughes, and Ian Oliver. Nine relaxed pensive cuts including “Even Love?”, “Icing On The Cake,” “The Champ,” and “I’m Not The Man.”

babysue (October 2016)


In sound it’s still the 70s, a blend of the folk, rock and the psychedelic that reminded us of Traffic. It could be a little heavy handed but it’s not, Slater having a good ear for melody and still wielding a mean flute. Opener ‘Even Love?’ is a slower, bluesy rock tune that’s not the best but does indicate what’s to come, with flute and sax. The next song, ‘Your Love Affair With Pain’, is funkier and more on the pop side, with some nice sax. Elsewhere, the upbeat ‘Icing On the Cake’ has some good Dylanesque organ. ‘Jesus In The Backyard’ mixes prog and blues and showcases all the instruments; take a listen to that or the jaunty country-tinged ‘Why Are You Talking To Me?’ Overall, it’s a strong album, and for fans of 70′s rock, a good one to buy and tell all their friends about. But don’t believe us; Uncle Billy Bragg says: “Mutter Slater has one of the greatest voices of British rock, and he writes a mean song, too.”

The Chronicle (September 2016)


The Champ is filled with fine British rock with a main influence from classic R&B of the ’60s. What hit me right from the start was Slater’s excellent lead vocals. His voice is deep and clear with excellent tone and depth of feeling. Every song is strong but if I had to pick a few favourites I would choose the heart wrenching balladic title track, the tender “I May Not Be An Angel” with its lovely organ and guitar and the catchy R&B of “Icing On The Cake” with its nice acoustic flavour.

The Champ proves the old guard can still make some great music. In this day and age when it seems substance and quality is sorely lacking in popular culture, it is refreshing to hear music full of soul and passion. Another highly recommended release courtesy of Angel Air Productions.

Sea Of Tranquility (September 2016)


With Cleaver and Hughes producing and engineering, the nine tracks on The Champ take the listener through all kinds of bluesy rock terrain and Mutter’s lyrics are key to understanding the power and the glory behind Mutter’s latest rock classics. Best listened to several times to gain the full impact, with The Champ, The Mutter Slater Band has produced a 21st century music classic.

MWE3.com (September 2016)


The music can be described as “blue-eyed soul” and the lyrics are about human strength and tenderness, love, bars, train and bus rides, long walks and cosmic disintegration. Mutter’s voice has become more mature over the years, which is evident on “Icing On The Cake”. The title track is a ballad with a sax solo. “Jesus In The Backyard” is sometimes more rocky. For lovers of mixed forms of blues with soul and R & B.

Keys and Chords (September 2016 – translated)


The man who Billy Bragg once haled as ‘one of the greatest voices of British rock’ still turns out effortlessly melodic albums from time to time, marrying his enduring love of sixties blues and soul with a lyrical sensibility which couldn’t be more quintessentially English as he unveils the freshly minted charms of ‘I May Not Be An Angel’, ‘Even Love?’ and the majestic title tune.

Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (September 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in MUTTER SLATER BAND, The Champ | Leave a comment

SNAKE EYE The Journey

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

All written by Richardson, with the exception of a co-write with Hales (original drummer Jackson was replaced by Gary Burroughs on two tracks, liner notes misspell), half the number of tracks compared to Red Dirt’s debut signal the new direction. Pulsing Rickenbacker stereo bass opens the title track, joined by orchestral-like guitar and atmospheric harmonies, then the dreamy interludes of World In A Mountain build to fine solos. Twin guitars (both Gibson SG’s) swirl over a Nick Pickett-sounding vocal (Sweet Dream Lady), followed by shimmering cymbals with guitar-picking, power drumming and bass oscillating crescendo and interlude (The Heart Of A Young Boy). As it’s about a youth’s early death, the twin vocals haunt in their contrast fitting the tragic theme; one can even imagine the poor chap’s last breathing. This isn’t prog for its own sake but inventive creativity.

Energy is upped with prickly, staccato guitars reminding of Steve Hillage complete with some pungent riffing (Don’t Be A Fool), then atmospheric vocal and wide palette on the mystical 13-minute closer The Journey’s End. All combine for middle riffs as time changes stun by their variety, a hallmark of this imaginative combo. The bonus tracks are a surprise-but not if you have the Red Dirt album. The violin-led (by multi-instrumentalist Dave Richardson) group composition Tolly Cobbold, from early Morgan sessions in 1970, would have been perfect for a quirky single-think of a jam with East of Eden and Steeleye Span!

Psychedelic Baby Magazine (January 2017)


The album was recorded in 1972, but then, despite hawking it around various record companies, it failed to get a release and the band folded (until, that is, guitarist Ron Hales resurrected them with a new line-up this year). They deserved better, as this six track album, with its twin lead guitar form, is a pretty enjoyable listen…an interesting enough curio to invest in and see for yourself.

Classic Rock Society (January / February 2017)


If your hankering terribly for early-70′s twin lead guitars, you owe it to yourself to sniff out The Journey (****) – recorded in ’72 but unreleased until approximately this instant…Formerly trading as Red Dirt, under which name they issued a hugely collectible self-titled album for Fontana in 1970, Snake Eye played with a tenderness that whispers volumes about their maturity and discreet confidence. The title track and ‘Don’t Be A Fool’ are little paragons of jazzy, gentle sophistication, while you could play the dry and deliberate ‘World In A Mountain’ to any of your muso pals and tell them it was by Wolf People, and they’d believe you. Yep, it’s that good.

Shindig Magazine (December 2016)


…Strange as it may seem, the most elaborate and at the same time beguiling display of the group’s method is epic “The Journey’s End” where a psyched-up tension and romantic release bring out the best in them. The clarity is there, in the title track, whose two guitars – that Ron Hales and Gary Boroughs interweave in an intricate if loose pattern akin to early WISHBONE ASH – envelop a jazz-tinged rhythm and introduce mellifluous vocal harmonies, and in the intermittently effervescent “Don’t Be A Fool” that Dave Richardson’s pipes inform with a call to action.

DMME.net (December 2016)


The Journey was recorded in 1972 but never released. Dual guitar, changes of tempo with melodic to heavy elements of both British and American rock infecting their sound, allowing the listener to draw comparison to everyone from Blue Cheer to Wishbone Ash.

Record Collector Magazine (November 2016)


Strangely for an album where they are buried deep within lengthy twin guitar interplay and booming rhythms, the vocals from Dave Ritchie offer a dreamy change of mood that fits the music well. Although there’s little doubt that it’s the fret work of Ritchie and Ron Hales, and how that melds keenly with Ken Giles’ bass, that is the key to what makes The Journey as engaging as it is. Drummer Steve Jackson holds up his end of the deal, eagerly adding emphasis and style – as does Gary Boroughs who appears behind the kit on two tracks to Jackson’s four…the six main album cuts are worth the price of entry alone, the easy mannered but pinpoint sharp and hugely memorable melodies this outfit were capable of weaving, really quite impressive.

Personally I’d never heard of Snake Eye before this welcome Angel Air release, something explained by the fact that these recordings have never actually seen the light of day before. The debut Snake Eye album coming some 44 years too late for them to hit the big time. Which when you consider just how good their music was, is nothing short of a travesty. Fans of Wishbone Ash will lap up The Journey and wonder at what could have been for an undiscovered band that deserved so much more.

Sea Of Tranquility (October 2016)


Lengthy tunes filled with extended, melodic guitar solos, more than a fair share of complex musical passages, strong vocals, and the occasional heavy riff…these are some of the characteristics that you’ll find on the one and only release from Snake Eye, titled The Journey. Originally recorded in 1972 but failing to secure a label for its release, this British band played numerous gigs with some of the heavyweights of the day but quickly folded, never allowing The Journey to see the light of day until now thanks to the folks at Angel Air Records. With a dual lead guitar attack that owed as much to Wishbone Ash as it did to the Allman Brothers Band, Snake Eye were ripe for stardom but it was sadly never to be. The album is an excellent snapshot of the times, the guitar interplay stupendous on tracks such as “World in a Mountain”, “Sweet Dream Lady”, the jazzy “Don’t Be a Fool”, and the epic Wishbone Ash-meets-King Crimson intensity of “The Journey’s End”.

Angel Air have added two bonus tracks here, “Tolly Cobhold” and “Hoe Down”, both brief tracks that are in a completely different style than the rest of the album, more of a country & bluegrass flavor than the progressive hard rock, blues, and jazz that you’ll hear prior. Apparently the band have reformed with original guitarist Ron Hales at the helm, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Snake Eye. In the meantime, any fan of early ’70s hard rock & prog will want to investigate this one.

Sea Of Tranquility – Staff Roundtable (October 2016)


With the song ‘The Journey’s End’, they prove their great potential and you can only regret that the band prematurely shut down. There are also two interesting bonus tracks that actually come from their folk roots. ‘The Journey’ may therefore tempt us. Singer Ron Hales has now brought the group back together and this re-release will be performed live in Hull on 14th October. Let’s see what happens after this reunion. To be continued!

Keys and Chords (October 2016 – Translated)


…The six main album cuts however are worth the price of entry alone, the easy mannered but pinpoint sharp and hugely memorable melodies this outfit were capable of weaving, really quite impressive. Personally I’d never heard of Snake Eye before this welcome Angel Air release, something explained by the fact that these recordings have never actually seen the light of day before. The debut Snake Eye album coming some 44 years too late for them to hit the big time. Which when you consider just how good their music was, is nothing short of a travesty. Fans of Wishbone Ash will lap up The Journey and wonder at what could have been for an undiscovered band that deserved so much more.

Sea Of Tranquility (October 2016)


With such a keen focus on progressive rock bands from the 1970s in the twenty-first century, this one ought to be an instant obscure favorite among music fans…Incredibly, the album has remained unavailable and stored away in the vaults until now. This is definitely one of those glimpses into a band that could’ve been huge…if all the pieces had fallen together like they should have. Sadly, the group threw in the towel not long after they recorded this album. But now (once again, thanks to the fine folks at Great Britain’s Angel Air label) the tracks can finally be heard by everyone. A true lost progressive gem. Fans and critics will love cuts like “The Journey,” “World In A Mountain,” “Don’t Be A Fool,” and “The Journey’s End.” Includes two bonus tracks: “Tolly Cobbold” and “Hoe Down” (recorded live).

babysue (October 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in SNAKE EYE, The Journey | Leave a comment

MIKE HURST Producers Archives Volume 4 1966-1980

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

On the album you get twenty-two short tracks with a brief synopsis on each one by Hurst. I like the fact he is brutally honest in his descriptions even to the point of not liking some of the tunes. The disc opens with two tracks by the band Fancy, a version of “Wild Thing” and “Touch Me”. Both tunes have sultry female lead vocals that add a certain sexual element and I can see why teenage boys back in the day probably dug these tunes. The next two tracks by the Fingertips, “You Put The Magic In Me” and “Anyone You Want Me To Be” are breezy pop tunes with a hint of disco…New World’s “Somethings Wrong” is in the style of say America or James Taylor and are pleasant enough as are the two Billy Fury tunes “Old Sweet Roll” and “Paradise Alley”. One of the best tunes is the irresistible pop of “Face To Face” by Sprinkler. Other good tracks include the psychedelic rock circa 1968 of “Pink Dawn” by New Zealand’s The Human Instinct and The Beatles-like “Top Girl” by The Cymbaline.

…if you dig ’60s and ’70s pop music Producers Archives should be worth checking out. Released on Angel Air Records.

Sea Of Tranquility (January 2017)


Seven years down the line from its predecessor, this disc could have been a barrel-scraping effort if it wasn’t so consistent quality-wise, despite the mostly non-familiar names on display. Focused for the most part on MOR, now the standout tracks are those that Mike Hurst had a hand in writing of, while covers such as Billy Fury’s barrelhouse take on “(Hi-De-Ho) That Old Sweet Roll” or an attempt to glamorize “Wild Thing” by FANCY firmly remain in the sweet early ’70s pocket. FINGERTIPS’ cheerfully delicate “Anyone You Want Me To Be” may be a prime example of the period’s light side, but the song’s title is also a possible motto for the producer’s method of bringing out the best in artists he worked with, and the same goes for his own projects, as suggested by 1969′s “Wednesday’s Child” – credited to MIKE HURST ORCHESTRA – which, drenched in strings, had emerged like a space-era answer to Strauss’ waltzes…

DMME.net (November 2016)


Billy Fury’s 1970 takes on two City-era Carole King songs, ‘Old Sweet Roll’ and ‘Paradise Alley’, are pleasant enough… Kiwi psych-poppers Human Instincts’ ‘Pink Dawn’ still sounds as tough and assured as the first time most will have heard it on Rubble Volume 12, 20 years ago…

Shindig Magazine (November 2016)


Mike Hurst has over the decades produced a massive amount of music. Mike was originally a member of The Springfields…and they were the first British vocal group to have a top 20 single in the USA, with ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’…Mike then turned to producing and initially worked with Andrew Loog Oldham and Micky Most. He then went on to produce The Wizard for Marc Bolan and Cat Stevens’ ‘Matthew & Son’ and ‘I’m Gonna Get Me A Gun’…his production work included ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ by P.P. Arnold, ‘The Mighty Quinn’ by Manfred Mann and ‘Curly’ by my old band, The Move.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (November 2016)


The Briton Mike Hurst has been an important person in the music industry for more than 40 years. He was originally part of the group The Springfields, with Tom and Dusty, and they were the first British group who had a single in the top 20 with “Silver Threads”. At the end of 1963, the group broke up, and Mike started playing for producer Andrew Loog Oldham and Mickie Most, and in 1965 he produced ‘The Wizard’ by the young Marc Bolan. He formed his own company, discovered Cat Stevens and produced his first five singles, including ‘Matthew And Son’ and ‘I’m Gonna Get Me A Gun’. Later, he would take care of PP Arnold’s ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’, The Move’s ‘Curly’, Manfred Mann’s ‘Mighty Quinn’, as well as Spencer Davis Group, New World, Hot Sounds and Alan Bown Set. During the following decade he founded, Showaddywaddy and produced a string of hits such as ‘Under The Moon Of Love’, ‘Three Steps To Heaven’ and ‘When’. At the end of the ’70s he signed Shakin’ Stevens and produced his debut album ‘Hot Dog’. The fourth producers archives volume features tracks from the period 1966 to 1980.

Keys and Chords (October 2016 – Translated)


This fourth collection contains some well-known artists such as The Bachelors, Billy Fury and
Russ Abbot. There is also the presenter of TV’s ‘Lift Off’ Ayshea Brough and Aussie ‘folkies’ New World. Sprinkler was Dennis Waterman’s backing band, they went on to back Bucks Fizz and leader Alan Coates was a member of The Hollies for many years. Some fine recordings here too: ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ comes courtesy of The Bachelors and the Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields song ‘I Won’t Dance’ is well sung by John Henry. The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ gets a seventies make-over by Fancy, whose lead singer was a Penthouse Pet! Add to this a couple of Carole King songs and you can’t go wrong.

Amplified Magazine (October 2016)


Here we open with a monster American hit single, Fancy’s 1973 soft-porn reworking of the Trogg’s “Wild Thing”, still riding the squelchiest, filthiest bass line ever to get past the Thought Police, and its “Touch Me” follow-up, too. New World resurface with a James Taylor b-side; and fifties rocker Billy Fury, making a comeback in 1970.

There’s another late-in-the-day revival…the Bachelors from 1977 (“they were…on their last legs when we made this,” Hurst’s refreshingly honest liner notes admit), and also a handful of cuts by bands which he acknowledges he simply doesn’t remember. But we also hear Human Instinct, a New Zealand psych band that you need to hear; and the Cymbaline, who Hurst describes as a Beach Boys style band from England’s industrial north east.

And more and more and more, twenty-two tracks in all, that also see Hurst at the helm for singles by TV comedians (Russ Abbot’s rather spiffy “The Space Invaders Meet The Purple People Eater”) and presenters (Ayshea Brough’s “Moonbeam”); a youthful Gary Barnacle and even his own pop orchestra. Add this disc to the other three volumes and you’re on the way to a lesson in British pop history that nobody else could tell.

Goldmine Magazine (October 2016)


Hurst must have been great to work with, because all of these artists sound like they’re having the best time playing in the studio. Hurst’s involvement in music has touched millions upon millions of listeners and yet his name probably doesn’t ring a bell with most…Volume 4 of the Producers Archives focuses on the period from 1966 to 1980. We never heard most of these tracks so this serves as an introduction to some wonderfully entertaining music. Groups in this collection include Fancy, Fingertips, Billy Fury, Mike Hurst Orchestra, Hit & Run, The Speedos, The Bachelors, John Henry, and Russ Abbot. We’ve rarely heard any various artists compilation as thoroughly entertaining as this one. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.

babysue (October 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in MIKE HURST, Producers Archives Volume 4 1966-1980 | Leave a comment

RENAISSANCE Live Fillmore West 1970

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Of documentary as well as recreational interest are additional numbers that embrace ‘Try Believing’ (reminiscent faintly of Steams ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’) – a McCarty-Relf collaboration from the Yardbirds-Renaissance interregnum, and three demos from the period between the group’s return to England (and subsequent disbandment) and the 1975 reformation (as Illusion) of the surviving personnel of this original, and as far as I’m concerned, finest edition of Renaissance.

R2 Magazine (November 2016)


…this CD catches their performance live on stage that night, 46 years ago. The 4 tracks that they performed were ‘Innocence’, ‘Wanderer’, ‘No Name Raga’, and ‘Bullet’. Also included as bonus tracks are original demos and one previously unreleased song ‘Statues’, which was recorded in London on their return from that American trip.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (November 2016)


This disc showcases the talents or the early short-lived Renaissance line-up – the band formed by ex-Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. There’s a gentle, trippy, spiritual vibe to all of this, far removed from the heavy blues rock vibe of The Yardbirds. It’s an earnest kind of prog-rock – very much of its time, but none the worse for that. It’s easy to imagine the switched-on Fillmore audience nodding appreciatively to the gently shifting grooves and intertwining melody lines of guitar, bass and keyboards.

Shindig Magazine (October 2016)


‘Try Believing’ by Relf-McCarty presents a more cheerful, rocky face, with rhythmic guitar teeming with percussion as well as bass – Louis Cennamo thank you! Although this piece may have benefitted from more elaborate arrangements, it is eminently friendly and concludes this pleasantly unexpected album, including its share of nuggets. Fans of original Renaissance, you know what you have to do! 4 stars

Highlands Magazine (September 2016 – translated)


The demos are listed as ‘bonus tracks’, but with better sound quality these quickly become the selling point of the set. Less than twelve minutes between them, these tracks could have easily worked as B-sides, possibly A-sides, but unfortunately were lost in the annals of time until the turn of the millennium. Statues is a marvellous ditty with a subtle 7/8 time chorus, showing tendencies of progressive rock. I love the track I’d Love to Love You Till Tomorrow simply for its name. No further questions. Another favourite, Please Be Home, highlights Jane Relf’s beautiful vocals and is the only place on the album where her voice shines. All in all, it’s a peculiar set of tracks, but one that helps the listener further understand the first incarnation of the legendary band.

The Progressive Aspect (September 2016)


The sound here is basic, yet that somehow introduces a lo-fi charm, nearer to Relf and McCarty’s origins, keeping the five piece band away from the pomp-rock that later line-ups (devoid of original members) turned into a decent living…As a bonus there’s an unreleased studio track ‘Statues’, a workout for Relf’s vocalist sister Jane, and demos of several other unheard numbers.

Record Collector (September 2016)


…studio run through “Statues” – recorded soon after this San Francisco performance and added here as a bonus – starts to show how easily, and elegantly, the band could bend to pop idiom, one that brother and sister Relf would acoustically explore at home with the solemnly soulful “I’d Love To Love You Till Tomorrow” in 1976, shortly before Keith’s untimely death. Without him, “Please Be Home” which didn’t make the cut for the first album by ILLUSION, a new incarnation of the original RENAISSANCE, turned out rather chamber-like, if arresting, but as a reminder of the ensemble’s beginning, “Try Believing” – that gave the two Yardbirds an initial opportunity to test their new formula back in 1968, as TOGETHER – is a fittingly festive finale to the testament of the unique group’s continuity. An essential listen. 5 stars

DMME.net (September 2016)


Though this original version of the band was short-lived, you can hear the seeds of the classic Renaissance sound being born on this live recording, even though the band was completely overhauled just a short year later. Kicking off the set with “Innocence”, Relf’s effects laden guitar textures and Hawken’s majestic piano blend classical leanings with psychedelia, while the complex arrangement of “Wanderer” goes straight into the type of prog that the band would shortly become famous for, as the sinewy bass lines bounce around intricate passages of Hawken’s vast array of keyboards until Relf’s dreamy vocals come into play. The 14+ minute “No Name Raga” is more of a jam, again with plenty of psychedelic, folk, and prog rock elements fighting for supremacy, complete with some tasty guitar playing courtesy of Keith and layers of trippy keyboards from Hawken. “Bullet” starts out almost like a straight up classical piece, before the band burst in with some psychedelic hard rock for what turns out to be the most rousing number in the set, showing that Relf & McCarty hadn’t forgotten their blues and rock roots.

To round out the CD, Angel Air have included some bonus material, including the previously unreleased song “Statues” from 1970, an upbeat pop tune with a catchy hook and some nice piano, plus the demo cuts “I’d Love to Love You Tomorrow”, “Please Be Home”, and “Try Believing”…All in all, this is an intriguing release, containing some rare material from the very first line-up of Renaissance, not long before the band would be completely revamped with all new members and taking the elements begun here to the next level.

Sea Of Tranquility (September 2016)


This CD catches their performance live on stage that night, 46 years ago. The 4 tracks that they performed were ‘Innocence’, ‘Wanderer’, ‘No Name Raga’ and ‘Bullet’. Also included as bonus tracks are original demos and one previously unreleased song ‘Statues’, which was recorded in London on their return from that American trip.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (September 2016)


This band was formed by Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty in the aftermath of The Yardbirds’ sad demise, and Angel Air’s new offering was recorded in fairly murky sound quality at San Francisco’s Fillmore West in March 1970 during their one and only American tour, fleshed out a little with the inclusion of a few demo tracks, outtakes and hitherto unreleased 1976 track from vocalist Jane Relf entitled ‘Statues’.

Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (August 2016)


Renaissance was a group that always fantasized and improvised, so the music lovers are best catered for. With 35 minutes of music, we are treated to an unreleased song (‘Statues’, 1970), a studio demo (‘Please Be Home ‘, 1976) and two home recordings where Keith Relf plays the lead role (‘Try Believing ‘, 1968 & ‘I’d Love To Love You Till Tomorrow’, 1976). As on his official solo single, you can hear a Keith Relf here that has nothing to do with The Yardbirds, nor Renaissance. ‘I’d Love To Love’ is a folk tune, whilst ‘Try Believing’ sounds very commercial. Renaissance are for music fans and Keith Relf enthusiasts.

Keys and Chords (August 2016)


…this record captures the band in full progressive rock mode, recorded as they supported the Butterfield Blues Band during a US tour. Although there are only four live tracks, these weigh in at suitably hefty lengths allowing the band to indulge in a mixture of extended keyboard and guitar workouts that place them somewhere between the psychedelia of Jefferson Airplane and the more progressive rock noodlings of Soft Machine. The Airplane feel is further enhanced by Jane Relf’s vocal, a slightly less self-assured Grace Slick. The album comes with the addition of demos and the previously unreleased light ’70s pop rock offering Statues.

Southern Daily Echo (August 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Live Fillmore West 1970, RENAISSANCE | Leave a comment

GREENSLADE The Birthday Album – Live Switzerland 1974

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

With several of the pieces extending outward into multi-sectioned suites of such proportions that would give ELP or Yes a run for their money, they command a bristling with intricacy and hard rock edge that occasionally recalls the baroque complexities of Gentle Giant, driven by the Wetton-esque crunch of Tony Reeves’ bass. Dave Lawson’s synths provide textural contrast to Dave Greenslade’s blues-rooted soloing…These spirited and road-tested renditions of their studio counterparts pack a considerable punch.

Prog Magazine (December 2016)


…Lawson and Greenslade really get to show their chops on the 17-minute long free-jamming ‘Sundance’ where they wring all sorts of wonderful sounds from their keyboards, while the 14-minute ‘Drum Folk’ allows McCulloch to knock seven bells out of his cavernous-sounding kit. Now if only I could grow my hair long again…

Pipeline Magazine (December 2016)


“Pilgrim’s Progress” may be the most illustrious example of the ensemble’s instrumental intricacy and their ability to wrap attack – sharpened to perfection in “Time To Dream” – in elegance, but “Drowning Man” adds a playful groove to it, whereas two organs propel “Feathered Friends” towards a “Gimme Some Lovin’” kind of cool before stopping at the gothic prospect of eco disaster. For original GREENSLADE, extinction was around the corner, too, and the telepathy captured here would soon be gone, but while it lasted it felt magical. *****

DMME.net (November 2016)


Two albums are played exclusively: ‘Greenslade’ & ‘Bedside Manners Are Extra’, the live versions being slightly different from the studio albums. Dave Lawson (Alan Brown Set, Episode Six, Samurai) is on piano, keyboards, clavinet and ARP synthesizer. Tony Reeves is on bass (ex-John Mayall and Colosseum. On the drums Andy McCulloch (ex-King Crimson). One notices the absence of guitar, the music of Greenslade being entirely dedicated to keyboards – beautifully used and particularly diversified. The sharing between the two aforementioned albums is fairly equal…the sound of the set is very listenable too, in accordance with the quality reissues of Angel Air. A live release recommend to lovers of keyboard-based music.

Highlands Magazine – Translated (November 2016)


This is the last known live recording of the original line-up of progressive rock band Greenslade, recorded in Prilly, Switzerland on January 18th, 1974 – on band leader Dave Greenslade’s 31st birthday…songs performed that evening were from Greenslade’s first 2 studio albums, including ‘An English Western’, ‘Sun Kissed Your Not’, ‘Bedside Manners Are Extra’, ‘Drowning Man’, and ‘Feathered Friends’.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (November 2016)


…the instrumentals are the real strength of this album. Special mention must go to the rather Camel-like Swings and Roundabouts, the first part of a ten minute medley with Time Takes My Time where we get to hear Greenslade singing for the first time. However, the last duo of songs really bring the listener back into familiar Greenslade territory. Country Dance flows beautifully between fast jazz-based sections and murkier slow parts…The band are really on top form as well, never seeming to miss a note…I’d say fans of the band will definitely get a kick out of hearing this band in action at the best point in their history.

The Progressive Aspect (September 2016)


This release has historical significance for Greenslade fans as this is the last known live recording of the original line-up. Recorded in Philly, Switzerland on January 18, 1974 (Dave’s birthday), the band was then comprised of Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson, Tony Reeves, and Andrew McCulloch. The concert presents the band playing material from their first two albums. You can tell from these tracks how tight these guys had gotten from performing this material live. The sound quality is good, but you can definitely tell that this was a concert recorded in the mid-1970s. We’ve always felt that Greenslade was one of the best progressive bands from the seventies and yet, for some reason, they’ve never received the same amount of recognition that many other bands from that time period have. Nine cool tracks here including “An English Western,” “Bedside Manners Are Extra,” “Time To Dream,” and “Feathered Friends.”

babysue (September 2016)


Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, electric piano, it’s all here and just dripping with early ’70s prog splendor. “Pilgrim’s Progress” is just amazing, a rousing number featuring rampaging Hammond and wild Moog, with the rhythms just supercharged underneath, while numbers such as “Sunkissed You’re Not” and “Bedside Manners are Extra” show just how tight this band were at delivering complex, symphonic prog rock. The atmospheric “Drowning Man” has a certain ELP feel to it, featuring some killer drumming courtesy of McCulloch, and “Time to Dream” ups the energy with intricate rhythms, passionate vocals, and wild keyboard explorations. The 17-minute “Sundance” is a keyboard lovers dream, as the duo pull out all the stops for a spirited jam, and McCulloch gets to solo with reckless abandon on the extended percussive romp “Drum Folk”. Toss in the hard rocking “Feathered Friends” and you have an energetic, virtuoso performance from fiery prog act who sadly, never really made it to stardom like some of their contemporaries…this is a killer show, and one that fans of vintage ’70s prog rock will want to seek out.

Sea Of Tranquility (September 2016)


This distinctly low fidelity offering captures the stylish prog rockers’ performance at Prilly in Switzerland on keyboard ace Dave Greenslade’s 31st birthday, in what was destined to be the last known live recording made by their original line-up.

Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (August 2016)


Greenslade was a band you could always listen to with pleasure, both on record and live. In 1974 they were on the stage at the renowned Jazz Bilzen Festival and gave an impressive show. With this release, you get to relive it!

Keys and Chords (August 2016)


The 72-minute excursion results from a recording that was only recently discovered by Reeves. The show was taped – on Dave Greenslade’s 31st birthday – in Prilly, Switzerland, during a European tour by the band. The big Greenslade following will be delighted to hear a selection of some of the songs and instrumentals they love resplendent in a concert ambience.

The Beat (August 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in GREENSLADE, The Birthday Album – Live Switzerland 1974 | Leave a comment

GO WEST Live Robin 2 – 2003

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Still, while leading beyond the obvious hits such as “The King Of Wishful Thinking” which many remember from the “Pretty Woman” movie, this concert reveals a degree of homogeneity to the GO WEST oeuvre, even though the funky “SOS” and “Innocence” rock the house, and “I Want To Hear It” is quite an athletic exercise, Cox’s grip on a microphone stand as firm as it is on the listeners in front of him. The band wring every sinew from their instruments and Drummie switches between keyboard and guitar to add texture to it all, yet, if not for a jazz piano “Missing Persons” could have test a non-initiated patience, unlike “The Sun And The Moon” that’s evoking the spirit of Otis Redding, and “What You Won’t Do For Love” that’s part of a “guilty pleasure” ministry. And there’s nothing wrong with it, as the cover of “Tracks Of My Tears” suggests: GO WEST still are the life of the party.

DMME.net (September 2016)


This lengthy concert features seventeen tracks and presents the duo and their backing band playing for over seventy-eight minutes. This double disc set contains the audio from the concert as well as a DVD for those wanting the complete experience. Tracks that will definitely take fans back include “Don’t Look Down,” “Goodbye Girl,” “Innocence,” and “The King of Wishful Thinking.”

babysue (August 2016)


Playing live was and still is the core to this band’s continuing existence and this release, on a combined CD and DVD package, captures the band playing live in a sold out show at the Robin 2 in Bilston during 2003. The set list that night included their hits ‘Don’t Look Down’, ‘Faithful’, ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’, ‘Goodbye Girl’, ‘Call Me’, ‘We Close Are Eyes’, ‘Tracks Of My Tears’ and ‘The King Of Wishful Thinking’.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (July 2016)


Live Robin 2-2003, a CD/DVD set, captures the band in a small, intimate setting during a reunion show. Unlike many bands of the era, it’s obvious that Go West was a real band; Cox singing with a passion and a strength that wasn’t enhanced by computer and studio trickery. This set is heavily Go West specific; eight of the nine songs are performed here, with single “Call Me” and album cut “Innocence” being highlights of the set. Though Dancing is largely ignored, their take of “True Colors” is excellent, and worthy of inclusion. “Faithful,” the band’s final major single, shows that by the end of their run, they had escaped the new wave pop ghetto they were regulated to, and were making fine soul music…

The DVD portion of this set (previously released in 2004 as King Of Wishful Thinking) offers the show in its entirety, and you can see how much fun the band is having onstage. There’s also an excellent, career-spanning interview between the Cox and Drummie, and it’s obvious of the love and the bond the two of them have as they regale with humour and honesty about the ups and downs of their career. It’s an enlightening coda to an excellent reunion show, and makes this live disc a must-have for the Go West fan, as well as a nice introduction for the curious.

The Recoup (July 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in GO WEST, Live Robin 2 - 2003 | Leave a comment

DEL BROMHAM/STRAY LIVE DATES!

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Gigs coming up in 2017…

7th July – SIXFIELDS ROCK FESTIVAL – Northampton
14th July – GRAND PRIX F1 – Silverstone – Del Bromham guesting with Mad Mods & Englishmen
25th – 27th August – A NEW DAY FESTIVAL – Faversham – Kent – Del Bromham’s Blues Devils (showdate to be confirmed)
9th September – BOSFEST – Burnham on Sea – Somerset
22nd September – LIMELIGHT THEATRE – Aylesbury – Del Bromham’s Blues Devils
30th September – CARLISLE BLUES FESTIVAL – Carlisle – Del Bromham’s Blues Devils
1st October – BACKSTAGE – The Green Hotel – Kinross – Scotland – Del Bromham’s Blues Devils
13th October – TOUCHLINE LIVE MUSIC – Hockley – Essex
20th October – THE BORDERLINE – London
4th November – MALT SHOVEL BEER FESTIVAL – Northampton – Del Bromham and Stray (3 piece) – 2.30pm
5th November – THE MUSICIAN – Leicester – as special guest of Big Gilson*
6th November – THE STABLES – Milton Keynes – as special guest of Big Gilson*
8th November – THE IRON ROAD – Evesham – as special guest of Big Gilson*
9th November – THE BLUES BAR – Tring – as special guest of Big Gilson*
12th November – THE HOPE TAVERN – Lincoln – as special guest of Big Gilson*
* Del Bromham solo acoustic set, followed by a set as part of Big Gilson’s band.

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Angel Air News | Leave a comment

THE ORIGINAL CAST & FRIENDS The Ones That Got Away

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Tony Burrows, David Martin and Sue & Sunny formed The Original Cast in the mid-70s, all were well-known in their own right…There are 19 tracks from the ’70s on this album plus a bonus track, recorded this year, featuring Ron Dante, who was lead singer on The Archies’ number one hit ‘Sugar Sugar’.

Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (November 2016)


…the hour-long collection, featuring some lesser known recordings that heavily enlist a ‘revolving’ team of stalwart recording studio denizens (also including backing-singer sisters Sue & Sunny), is largely made up of catchy sunshine pop – not least the late-70′s original ‘Summertime’ by ‘the West End Boys’, which is very reminiscent of the aforementioned ‘Beach Baby’.

The Beat (August 2016)


For those of you whose collections proudly boast entries by Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, Brotherhood Of Man and Butterscotch, there are just enough fresh thrills here to encourage you to get out and grab the original 45s of Burrows’ solo outings like the funky, driving ‘Have You Had A Little Happiness Lately’…

Shindig Magazine (August 2016)


…this album was created to shed light on the music created by Tony, David, Sue, and Sunny. If you love the light and sunny 1970′s pop sound that can be found on the Rhino Records Have A Nice Day various artists collection, The Ones That Got Away will be right up your alley. These nineteen tracks are sure to take you back to another time and place when music was simpler and folks weren’t quite so sarcastic and jaded about everything. To bring things full circle, the album closes with a new track recorded in 2016 that includes vocals by Ron Dante (of The Archies). A fascinating journey into the music of four exceedingly talented artists.

babysue (August 2016)


…Just as sincere, Sue’s delicate “Solo” and soulful “All So Different Now” from Sunny are prime examples of understated balladry, while “Ain’t That Tellin’ You People” finds the sisters in boisterous mood. Burrows managed to combine the two aspects in “Better Fly Butterfly” and rock it with a certain defiance, and THE NAIMZ’ “Golden Yearz” from 2016 may serve as a bottom line to this dewy-eyed compilation. Sometimes it’s so sweetly ’70s that there’s a risk of toothache; sometimes it’s conventionally adventurous; altogether, it’s a good reminded of the musical-minded landscape that’s long gone. ***

DMME.net (August 2016)


I can tell you that a lot of the tracks on this new 20 track CD are rare and hard to find and if you enjoy pure pop put together impeccably there is a lot to enjoy, its perfect summer time sunny day listening. And the final track ‘Golden Yearz’ is a little stroke of genius, recorded this year and featuring Tony B, David M and the USA’s ‘equivalent’ of Tony Burrows in the shape of Ron Dante the ‘voice’ behind The Archies ‘Sugar Sugar’, The Cufflinks ‘Tracy’, ‘When Julie Comes Around’ and a host of others. An inspired idea, a hell of a catchy song, and proof (if it was needed) that these guys have lost none of their vocal prowess 4 decades on, love it!

ninebattles.com (August 2016)


Think seventies, think of the timeless memorable sounds of White Plains, Guys And Dolls, Edison Lighthouse, and you know what musical direction this goes in. Tony Burrows has long been noted for decades as the best pop singer, and there are great songs here. “Love Matters” from the Original Cast is a nice love song while Tony Burrows’ “Better Fly Butterfly” is a more solid pop track. Sue & Sunny provide strong vocals which can be heard clearly on “Ain’t That Telling You People” which appeared in 1976. “Oh My Jo” by Tony Burrows takes me back to nice memories of the golden early seventies.

Keys and Chords (Translated – June 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in The Ones That Got Away, THE ORIGINAL CAST & FRIENDS | Leave a comment

JERUSALEM Cooler Than Antarctica

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

…’Northern Lights’ has a breakneck rhythm! We can hear the violin of Rachel Hall at its best, with the rumbling bass of Ashley Cutler and sparkling keyboards by Geoff Downes…the album finishes in style with ‘Cry’, starting with a sweet, soaring violin by Rachel. The acceleration continues in a muscular vein, with violin soon resuming its duties with a great solo…This album is a must-have, full of sap, it’s a progressive heavy monument, a powder keg with which you are charged to light the fuse. 5 Stars

Highlands Magazine (September 2016 – translated)


If 2014′s “Black Horses” saw the ensemble trying to locate light moments in a bleak environment, its follow-up nails current situation on the head, what with Lynden Williams’ adoption of declarative delivery. Such stance is used to great effect in opener “Snake” whose riffs vigorously bite into philosophical and political comments, but the key to the piece’s proud position would be the “when you were younger” line, the past being a recurring theme here.

In this context, the glorious “Simple Man” – written around the time of the group’s 1972 debut and restored for eventual recording now – has an air of nostalgia about it, while “Drums, Bass And Guitar” serves up a romp through rock ‘n’ roll era, listing each decade’s attributes, on a harmonica-enhanced slab of rhythm-and-blues.

…And then there’s “Cry” to take it all to “forever after” via folk dance and heroic moves, which may quite possibly be the band’s best epic. If this is an assessment of the route they are taking now, that’s the way to go. ***2/3

DMME.net (August 2016)


“Northern Lights” shows the band at their best, the urgent, furtive, rhythm carrying you along at a magnificent lick that is as enigmatic as it is engaging. Vocally Williams is skilled and honed, and yet for some his delivery might be just a little too polite for the hard hitting fare his band hope to recount. However with accordion, blues harp and violin all making an appearance, the eclecticism is assured…In a way it is hard to ignore the underlying feeling of frivolity that somehow permeates from much on this album; from its quirky cover to its individualistic word play…If you’re looking for an album that reverberates with a pop pulse, pushes with a prog beat and then weighs in with some unusual lyrics and characterful vocals, this may be for you…

Sea Of Tranquility (July 2016)


Categorization of this release is difficult. Everything is normal on the one hand, and on the other influences are spread wide. Rock, melodic rock, pop, power pop, blues are completely natural aspects making for a diverse record. The fantastic “Steaming Hot” with a lot of organ sound and a nice guitar solo cries out for a live version, and also the power rocker “All My Doors Are Open” would be well suited to a live performance. Basically you would have to discuss every single song in detail from this album to do it justice.

There is refined harmonica and crisp blues on “Drums, Bass and Guitar”, and the rocker “Northern Nights” has intense melodies, then there’s the power pop of “Simple Simon” with its haunting refrain. There are sill calm tunes such as “The Book Of You”, to contrast with the power. An album without failure, which lacks only the occasional hit.

Music An Sich (Translated – June 2016)


In terms of proginess, what Jerusalem serve up, resides in the more rock with a slice of prog side of life, than the other way round, all of the songs reliant on a strong sense of melody and structure to get their message across. Lyrically however things are a little more quirk-driven, a sideways glance at the modern world being where everything stems from. This approach works best on the bullish “Steaming Hot”, the pulsating beat driving a comment on the wish to be young and beautiful forever…”Northern Lights” shows the band at their best, the urgent, furtive rhythm carrying you along at a magnificent lick that is as enigmatic as it is engaging.

Sea Of Tranquility (June 2016)


In “Northern Lights” the violin even gets a bit part, and Lynden Williams voice resounds with rich chimes. Here and there it is drawn from the blues and folk style which will sharpen your focus as it contrasts with the guitar rock. Fair is fair, Jerusalem can finally get the attention they deserve. Excellent guitar rock that will amaze, and that does not surprise me with such a good line-up.

Keys and Chords (Translated – June 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Cooler Than Antarctica, JERUSALEM | Leave a comment

MR BIG Bitter Streets

FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Not until the title track ‘Bitter Streets’ are we finally dealing with some guitar sounds embedded in a sublime song…’God Save Me From The Blues’ is one of the best tracks, featuring more energetic riffs, solos, staccato drums, and vocals…Two bonus tracks are included, the beautiful ‘Close My Eyes’ with a Dire Straits influence – great guitar playing too. The album’s concluded by ‘Dreamed’, with excellent keyboard work….This comeback release will please the fans, and those who enjoy well-composed pop melodies.

Highlands Magazine (September 2016 – translated)


This is pure melodic pop rock loaded with delicious melodies and strong lead vocals. The songs are lushly orchestrated and many fall into the mid-tempo ballad category. Addictive choruses and tasty but not very complex musicianship abound so if you are into melodic pop and rock music Bitter Streets will provide much enjoyment. Songs like the album opening “Come And Dance” and the pretty piano laced “Georgia” will certainly appeal to the pop rock crowd. The country tinged “My Sweet Medicine” is another tasty melodic pop rock morsel. The soaring vocal melodies are a high point throughout the album. Occasionally, the band rock out a bit as in the bluesy boogie of “God Save Me From The Blues”. Also included is a reworked version of “Romeo”, as catchy as anything on the disc.

Sea Of Tranquility (July 2016)


Best known for 1977′s top-five hit ‘Romeo’, Mr Big were probably denied continued chart success by the junk that was punk. The band loosely re-formed in 2010 to record the new album ‘Bitter Streets’ and this is technically a reissue of that album, with a couple of bonus tracks and a further updated version of ‘Romeo’. An album of pure Radio 2 pop-rock…if only they’d stop trying so hard to be trendy at that radio station and give it some airplay, it would probably break through. It’s that good.

Truck & Driver (June 2016)


The ’70s may ooze out of many a pore, yet when tunes are as arresting as “Baby Come Around” or as life-affirming as the sunny “Sandy” with its almost baroque backdrop, the drift is timeless. So Dicken may cast another dreamlike glance over his shoulder on the exquisitely textured bonus “Close My Eyes” and sail away on acoustic lull: the streets he still walks on are full of sweet light rather than bitter tears. ****1/3

DMME.net (June 2016)


The guys in Mr Big are back. But upon hearing the fresh pop sounds on Bitter Streets you’d never know they disbanded in the first place. This band originally made a big splash way back in 1977 with their hit single “Romeo.” Like so many bands, however, follow up recordings failed to reach the success of that single and they eventually threw in the towel. The band members did eventually form a new band called Broken Home, but that only lasted for a while…before they decided to re-fuel Mr Big.

Recorded in 2010, Bitter Streets finds the band returning to something quite similar to their original sound (there’s even a re-recording of “Romeo” here). Streets sounds very much like a non-stop string of potential hits. And this release also includes two bonus tracks (“Close My Eyes” and “Dreamed”). Hopefully this album will reignite the flame that began so many years ago. These guys still have a fresh inviting sound–you’d never know they’ve been around for as long as they have. A good solid release.

babysue (June 2016)

FacebookTwitterEmailShare
Posted in Bitter Streets, MR BIG | Leave a comment