|1. Code Blue
2. Don’t Forget Your Alligator
3. Dreams Are Free
4. Meltdown Shuffle
5. Gonnadothis -Gonnadothat
6. Old Aunties and Uncles
8. The Madness Of George Pritchard
9. Simply This
10. Sad Song
11. Stardust Maginty
12. Geriatric Slumbers
13. Who Really Cares?
14. The January Sales
If you happened to be reading page 8 of The Sunday Express on October 1st 1978 you would have noticed a column heading “Vanished pop star turns up on lonely army isle” The article leads with “A MYSTERY that has puzzled pop fans for three years-what happened to Dave Ball, lead guitarist with top-selling Procol Harum Group?-has been solved. He has been serving with the Army on the tiny island of St Kilda in the Atlantic”
OK, so they were a little out with the date. Roll forward to 2012 and Dave finally decides to return to music and release his first ever solo album recorded over a 5 year period in New Zealand, Australia, Germany and UK.
Dave first came to international fame as a member of PROCOL HARUM (whom he had joined from BIG BERTHA) where he spent two years and left whilst “Grand Hotel” was being finished to form BEDLAM with his brother Denny, Frank Aiello and the late Cozy Powell.
“Don’t Forget Your Alligator” is an eclectic mix of styles from heavy R&B to amusing Kinks style musical commentaries on the English. All songs are written by himself, and for guitar fans there are plenty of solos and accompaniments to listen to.
They don’t make people like this these days-so catch him while you can!
DAVE BALL, DENNY BALL, MIKE BROSNAN, ALIYA KYNIK
It is a shame that 12" vinyl is no longer a staple diet of music consumers, because the artwork (especially the cover) of this release is gorgeous and deserves a bigger 'canvas'.
So far as the recordings are concerned, the first point to mention is Dave's voice. It has matured beautifully over the years and is extremely pleasant to listen to - there is a certain warmth to it which puts the listener at ease.
Turning to the fourteen original compositions, we have an eclectic mix of songs that are in many respects a little 'left field' and at times, gloriously and eccentrically English. Surely we can all relate to the humorous fumbling described in the album's bookend, 'January Sales'?
The album opens with the fabulous 'Code Blue', which sets the tone. From here, 'Don't Forget Your Alligator' twists and turns, with splashes of rhythm and blues, before taking us back eighty or so years to a couple of gentle numbers which wouldn't be out of place at a twenties or thirties tea dance. The album concludes with some great rock guitar. Yet despite this mix of styles, it all hangs together so very nicely.
Throughout these delightful and eclectic recordings, we are treated to some clever and occasionally amusing lyrics by a man who is clearly as much a wordsmith as he is a composer.
Dave should rightly be proud of this album - it is a lovely collection of songs which have been permanently on my play list since the album arrived a week ago. I hope this won't be his last solo effort.
James McCarraher (April 2012)
...the main focus here is on the songwriting rather than playing, so the surreal lyrics of "The Madness Of George Pritchard" pack a vertiginous punch(line), while "Geriatric Slumbers" boldly updates the Carl Perkins-patented rockabilly, and if the veteran's not the best vocalist around the block, his rough voice is a perfect fit for the dirty blues of "Meltdown Shuffle".
A charming, fascinating and totally endearing missive from the genuine master - Dave Ball scores his goal. ****1/3
DME Music Site
There's a distinct whiff of nostalgia running through the first-ever solo album by former Procul Harum lead guitarist Dave Ball...
Listening to it is a bit like taking a stroll in Kew Gardens looking at all the different plant species: a bit of this and a bit of that. There's R&B, there's pop ballad style, rock ballad style, folk, and even rockabilly. Take your pick... an impressive if somewhat eclectic solo effort.
Claudia A, music-news.com (April 2012)
This debut CD is an eclectic mix of styles covering rock, R&B and some folky anecdotal musical comments about us Brits.
Bev Bevan - Sunday Mercury