SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing The Musician/The Gambler (2CD set) by Tim Rose and ‘Toccata: An Anthology’ (2CD set) by Sky

TIM ROSE musician gambler SKY Toccata low

The Musician/The Gambler (2CD set) TIM ROSE

There are many reasons why Tim has a special place in my heart. I first saw Tim perform on Hastings Pier in June 1968 (a gig that’s been mentioned before on SMART for several reasons! Andre will remember!) But it was only a few years back that I learned from Tims friend and career spanning roadie that was Tims first gig ever in the U.K. and his drummer that night was one John Bonham…well he did well didn’t he! For Tim however his relationship with the music business was a torrid one. He once remarked ‘I can never be described as a has-been-I never made it in the first place’. Well in terms of record success that’s sadly true. However as a hugely gifted singer/songwriter and electrifying live performer he had few equals. His versions of ‘Come Away Melinda’ (an all time favourite), ‘Morning Dew’ and ‘Hey Joe’ are pure classics, the latter being the version that Jimi Hendrix nicked for his first hit. This release from RPM brings together 2 albums recorded between 1975-77. Of the two ‘The Musician’ is the stronger containing self penned great ballads like ‘Its Not My Life That’s Been Changin’ and ‘The Day I Spent With You’ delivered in Tims unique gutsy yet warm abrasive style. Other highlights are a great take on Neil Youngs ‘Old Man’ and beefed up contemporary reworkings of the aforementioned ‘Morning Dew’ and ‘Hey Joe’. The second CD in the set ‘The Gambler’ was unreleased at the time, its a country tinged affair and (for me) doesn’t work too well despite the inclusion of notable musicians like Andy Summers and BJ Cole. But that was Tim, a maverick who recorded what he wanted when he wanted or when he could get a deal with a record company. Many times over the years he would leave the music business, even becoming a stockbroker at one time, but ultimately music would pull him back. In the late 90’s Nick Cave ‘re-discovered’ him and Tims career was on the up again appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury and on Later with Jools Holland. I had always wanted to work with him again and was in the middle of talks with his then manager George about some gigs in 2002 when on the day after his sixty second birthday and following some surgery Tim passed away. A sad loss indeed but Im happy his star was in the ascendant again, he’ll never be a ‘has been’ in my book.

‘Toccata: An Anthology’ (2CD set) SKY

I must confess its many years since I listened to Sky. Back in 1979 when they were formed it wasn’t really my thing. However 35 years on I’ve been enjoying this anthology a lot. Sky, as I’msure you all know combined the talents of classical guitarist John Williams, Herbie Flowers, Kevin Peek, Francis Monkman and percussionist Tristan Fry. And it is the latter musician which has made me lend a closer ear. Being a sometime drummer I always listen much closer to the drummer and I had never really appreciated just how good TF was, now I do. Being at the time such a departure for John Williams he gained the most (arguably) press, but they were all of course stellar musicians and’re the man! This newly remastered 2 cd set compiles highlights across a fair proportion of Sky’s career and features the hit title track (obviously!) amongst many from ‘Dance of the Little Fairies’ ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ ‘Fantasia’ ‘Fool on the Hill’and the previously unreleased KP11 its a fine collection and overview of the band. Each cd runs for getting on 75 minutes, so if you’re looking to re(or)discover Sky this is excellent value for your money.

For more information go to colin-head-111x150-111x150

Til next time…………Colin

Andre Martin… Colin – I dont know what you could be refering to ! Hah Hah!! –

Mick O’Dowd… Was at the Tim Rose gig. He was booed off because he was on something or other and kept fluffing his songs. It was his first gig but nearly his last. His albums were quite good though.

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