Long Time No See
Verden Allen is best known for his keyboard playing with one of rock’s most influential groups – Mott The Hoople. This collection of solo tracks features previously unreleased work with The Cheeks, precursor of The Pretenders (and featuring James Honeyman-Scott and Martin Chambers) and contributions by Pete “Overend” Watts and Dale “Buffin” Griffin. The latter two musicians played in the Mott prototype The Doc Thomas Group with Mick Ralphs. This developed into The Silence who signed with Guy Stevens and the Island label in May 1969.
(This period is fully documented on the complementary Angel Air release – SJPCD 020).
Verden Allen’s playing was always a characteristic part of Mott The Hoople’s sound, but it wasn’t until the band’s fourth and final Island album “Brain Capers” that he made his songwriting debut. In addition to the reworked Mott material, this album features Verden’s 90s band Thunderbuck Ram.
“Long Time No See” first appeared as a 14-track collection in 1994 for distribution at gigs and through a mail order company. Now with three bonus songs it stands as an exciting account of an influential and talented keyboard player.
Verden Allen was a founder member and keyboard player of Seventies legends Mott The Hoople. His distinctive Hammond organ was an integral part of the Mott experience and he also contributed several songs to this fine band. Verden left the band in 1973 to concentrate on his solo career but unfortunately this did not really take off. Long Time No See was originally released in 1994 and this re-release sees all fourteen tracks of the original album joined by three bonus tracks. This is good time rock and roll that hints at the Seventies but is not out of place in the Nineties. Once again, the Hammond sound is very distinctive and Verden Allen has enlisted some very talented musicians to further his cause. Former Mott The Hoople colleagues Overend Watts and Dale Griffin help out on two of the tracks and the album also features the Mott tracks Death May Be Your Santa Claus and Soft Ground. There is even a track about the Channel Tunnel that has got to be a first. Given the current interest in Mott The Hoople this could be an ideal time for a re-release. Once again, it's superbly packaged by Angel Air with extensive and informative liner notes.
Terry Craven, "Wondrous Stories"
In addition to the upgraded packaging, the CD also boasts three bonus tracks 'Hypnotised' was recorded in October 1975, and is the only surviving recording of Verden's band Cheeks, an outfit that boasted future Pretenders Martin Chambers and James Honeyman-Scott...
Just A Buzz
...this reissue on Angel Air is to be welcomed...This album is packed with good songs and the arrangements and production are tight...There are some strong rockers on this album, as well as some slower "power" ballads...Of the bonus tracks, 'Hypnotized' dates from 1975 and is the only surviving recording of The Cheeks (Verden's 1974-1976 band with James Honeyman-Scott and Martin Chambers; they both went on to form The Pretenders)... Sleeve notes are by Campbell Devine, and are excellent and informative, providing a thorough overview of Verden's career, a comprehensive Verden Allen discography, and full musician credits...
This CD is an essential purchase not just for Mott The Hoople fans but for all fans of good rock music.
Adrian Perkins, Outsider
The original 14 track album 'Long Time No See' released in l994 by Spinit gets reproduced here in full...plus there's 3 bonus. Verden Allen is best known for his keyboard playing with Mott The Hoople and as you'd expect the music here fits nicely into that groove.. .Verden sings not unlike Ian Hunter (With a dash of Dylan and Joe Brown) . . . and that organ sound that so characterised early Mott comes through. . .but there's more.
Performed by Verden's early 90's group Thunderbuck Ram they play a sort of 80'; AOR... suffering slightly from a musical sameness but there are enough highlights to keep one Snippy... 'Soft Ground' (fine organ sound), 'This Way Now' (brilliant), 'Hold On To This' (exquisite guitar break) 'Come On Back' 'Small Change' 'Knocking On Those Old Back Doors'. Great notes by Campbell Devine...Verden Allen quit Mott in January '73 and his career after that (and before) makes interesting reading. A good release and was pleasantly surprised...
Upon listening this journalist was struck by Allen's importance to the sound of Mott The Hoople, with the swirling Hammond B-3 organ, and stately chord style he added. While there's a fair amount of rockers present as well, Allen's work on the CD's ballads is most impressive, and it's uncanny how much he sounds like Mott's vocalist Ian Hunter when he opens his mouth. All told, Long Time No See is a worthwhile listen, and really much better than I expected-a very pleasant surprise, in fact.
The River Reporter, USA (April 1999)
...a very enjoyable album containing as it does a good mixture of rockers and ballads
Keith Smith, Two Miles From Heaven (May 1999)
Allen's strength, as you would expect, is his keyboard playing and his lovely organ work is by far the outstanding feature throughout this album...
Steve Ward, Wondrous Stories (March 2002)