SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing The Pioneers: Greetings From The Pioneers 2CD

GREETINGS FROM THE PIONEERS       The Pioneers  (2CD Expanded Edition)

This new 2CD set released by Doctor Bird Records is an important and long awaited one. I was anxious to include it in my reviews as i know there are many lifelong ska/reggae/bluebeat fans out there that absolutely love the music and are very knowledgeable about the whole Jamaican scene. Whilst after 50 odd years in the business i am comfortable in reviewing most music genres there are 2 i am not. Jazz & Reggae. If i’m reading a review of, say a rock band i know well, and the reviewer clearly has no real knowledge of the band or music he’s writing about and is just ‘blagging it’ i will spot it straightaway and most likely be at best a trifle annoyed. So today i am not going to attempt a ‘review’ of a section of music i have no real background in or knowledge of, lets call this piece an alert for the fans & lovers of this musical genre. In the late 60’s early 70’s i was fortunate to work with some of the stars of the day like Dandy Livingstone, Nicky Thomas & Desmond Dekker and i enjoyed their acts, however i now understand they were delivering a more sanitised ‘poppier’ version of real ska/bluebeat/reggae aimed at European audiences. A track that had its roots in Jamaica and was real ‘roots’ ska/reggae/bluebeat would be taken by record companies in the UK & have (usually) strings added and be arranged by somebody like Johnny Arthey into a ‘pop reggae’ format aimed at a wider audience. Think ‘Young Gifted & Black’ or ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ etc, nothing wrong with them but they were far removed from the music on this compilation. So here are the main points about this release. The set comprises 2 cd’s. CD1 has 26 tracks. The first 12 tracks are the original (in order) recordings from when the ‘Greetings’ album was initially released in 1968. These 12 tracks are then followed by 13 bonus tracks from The Pioneers which were recorded for the Amalgamated and Blue Cat labels in the same 1967-68 period. The final track on CD1 comes from Ansell Collins. The link between CD1 and CD2 is the producer of the material Joe Gibbs. CD2 contains 28 tracks, some new to cd and a lot of obscure and rare cuts. Some of the artists featured include Errol Dunkley, The Mellotones, Jackie Robinson, The Royals & The Cannon Ball Trio. So in total across the 2 cd’s there is a total of 54 tracks. The often complex story of The Pioneers and indeed the Jamaican music industry is covered in the excellent essay that accompanies the compilation in the glossy booklet written by Tony Rounce, a man who clearly knows his stuff. So those are the facts and for more information you can visit the link given at the end of this piece. As i said i feel i would be doing a disservice to attempt to critique the work on display here from my meagre scraps of knowledge, or indeed lack of it. I didn’t know for example that The Pioneers had a hit (in Jamaica) with ‘Long Shot’ in 1967. I was familiar with the sequel ‘Long Shot Kick The Bucket’ issued by the UK’s Trojan Records which just demonstrates how little i really know about the genre overall. So i trust you will accept that on this occasion i have communicated the details of what i think is an important release to the many loyal and longstanding fans of The Pioneers & the other artists involved. But i will not attempt to ‘blag’ my way through a review of the music. The quality of the recordings is very good overall given the age, I’m not sure how much re-mastering may have gone on, again afficionados will know straightaway on listening. I am sure of one thing, for fans of the genre & The Pioneers this release is going to be very welcome indeed. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…..stay safe….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Thanks for an honest post Colin. I get annoyed when people, or DJ’s/Presenters rant on about something they clearly don’t know anything about. This looks very interesting. Thanks for posting

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Glitter Band: The Complete Singles Collection, 3CD Digipak

THE COMPLETE SINGLES COLLECTION  The Glitter Band

Memories  of 1973 come flooding back, For a good part of that year yours truly was on tour with these guys and their erstwhile ‘leader’.  Here for the first time in this new 3CD set are all the chart singles, some rare 45’s, the 1989 re-worked ‘Angel Face’ (not available on CD before) and a live performance recorded at The Marquee in 1985. For those who like a bit of history. When ‘Rock & Roll Parts 1 & 2’ was a surprise hit in 1972 for G.G. the records producer Mike Leander needed a touring band for live gigs. He parachuted in an already established bunch of guys who were then working as The Boston Showband. After a few shuffles and being known initially as The Glittermen they settled down to a stable line-up as The Glitter Band. The line-up was John Rossall (trombone & the bands musical director), Gerry Shephard (lead guitar & vocals), John Springate (bass & vocals), Harvey Ellison (saxophone), & keeping thumping tight time at the back the twin drummers Tony Leonard & Pete Phipps. It was the twin drum’s combined with Gerry’s glitter ‘Star’ guitar with its unorthodox multi-octave tuning that became the signature sound of the band. I think most people assumed the band played on the GG hits but they didn’t (other than John & Harvey sometimes contributing to the brass section), they were recorded by Mike Leander (&GG) in the studio doing all the parts. By 1973 the band wanted to write & record their own records. They approached Leander who agreed & signed them to a separate deal with Bell Records, (GG’s) label. They hit the ground running with their first single ‘Angel Face’ a number 4 hit (outselling GG’s latest offering). Over the next 2 years the band stacked up another half a dozen hits ‘Just For You’, ‘Lets Get Together Again’, ‘Goodbye My Love’, ‘The Tears I Cried’, ‘Love In The Sun’ & finally ‘People Like You & People Like Me’. Then in came Punk sweeping away the Glam acts. The band left Bell in 1976 for CBS where their debut single ‘Lay Your Love On Me’ dropped their signature sound & opted for a more pop/harmony approach, A clutch of singles followed but none troubled the charts. From then on the band would shift to smaller labels and the members would split into 2 ‘GlitterBand’s, one led by Gerry & Pete, and the other by John Rossall. The usual split ups, re-unions and legal wrangling over the right to use the Glitter Band name all ensued as the years ticked by. However the loyal fanbase remained and the various incarnations were welcomed with enthusiasm across Europe, Germany as ever being a faithful audience. And it’s that ‘live’ experience that for my money is the real winner in this new release. The 3rd CD in the set catches the band on fine form at The Marquee. Inevitably kicking off with the trademark ‘heys’ & beats of ‘Rock & Roll Part 2’ followed by the bands re-working of The Exciters ‘Tell Him’ (once proposed as a single). However rather than choosing to make it a ‘greatest hits’ set the band opt amongst other numbers to instead cover (& well) 2 Who tracks ‘The Kids Are Alright’ with some blistering guitar work before segueing neatly into ‘Substitute’ with some good solid drums by Pete. There follows a rather strange choice with the old soul classic ‘Stay With Me’ which whilst it could never match the original the band make a pretty fair fist of it with a neat guitar solo. Closing the set with their biggest hit ‘Angel Face’ & the natural final number ‘Goodbye My Love’ there’s no doubt the guys were clearly still greatly enjoying themselves. Sadly Gerry & Harvey are no longer with us. Gerry passed away aged just 51 in 2003 & Harvey in 2017, As i said at the start i have some very fond memories of the guys back at the height of Glitter mania & listening to this new compilation a lot have flooded back. As ever the packaging & accompanying booklet from 7T’s Records is great quality and a worthy addition to their ‘Complete’ series. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…..stay safe….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Memories of playing footie on the lawn at Alexander Park when the Glitter Over England tour stopped here for the Hastings Carnival night gig. Nice bunch of guys!

Mick Turner… That was when Gary Glitter was the Leader of the band, did it not rain that evening and he kept playing. I know he was prat but his music was good.

Colin Bell… Yes it did rain, i was compering the gig and we were all concerned as we’d built the stage of scaffolding we and him would get electrocuted or struck by the lightning that evening. In the light of later events (none of which any of us were aware of at the time) it might have been a good thing….

Mick O’Dowd… True Colin, me & Chris Gentry slept in an old caravan backstage the night before as security and it had the mother of all storms and kept us awake. It did rain on the day as well and I watched from under the stage!

Daryl Perkins… I loved this band!!!

Pete Prescott… I played one gig with Pete Phipps years ago. Nice guy. I was warned too not mention his old boss. I didn’t.

Tim Phillips… Thanks for posting Alan . Very informative. Many many years ago 1973 some of us from Ryes Boys Club dressed up as the glitter band on the back of a lorry . Always liked there tunes . It’s such a shame cover Bands do not play any GG or glitter bands tunes due to GG unforgivable behaviour.

Derek Johnson… Pete did an album of his own a couple of years ago. Not sure how it did. Really nice guy, always has time to talk, I last saw him in the sports centre a couple of years ago.

Willie Wicking..

.

Tony Ham… John Rossall’s Glitter Band played The Con Club in Lewes last year.

Stuart Moir… We the old (Centre Page) supported them on Hastings Pier, I remember Revie Stockdale walked into their dressing room after they came off stage and the Glitter man was sat down on a sofa and looked about ninety.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Idle Race: The Birthday Party, 2CD Expanded Digipak Edition

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY  (2CD Expanded Edition) by The Idle Race
From out of the midlands in the mid 60’s came what was to become ‘brumbeat’ Birmingham’s answer to its northerly neighbour ‘merseybeat’.

Birmingham was a very fertile scene with literally hundreds of ‘beat group’s. as we called them in those days, sounds really quaint now. The Idle Race evolved out of one such very popular band ‘Mike Sheridan & The Night Riders’, one member at that time being Roy Wood who left to join The Move. To fill his place guitarist Johnny Mann was recruited from Carl Wayne & the Vikings (Carl also to become a Move member) but after abruptly quitting the band were once again without a lead guitarist. An advertisement was placed in the Birmingham Evening Mail and the successful applicant was an 18 year prodigy in the shape of Jeff Lynne. A single was recorded ‘It’s Only A Dog’ a cover of a Kingsmen song which disappeared without trace. Jeff was then promoted to lead vocalist and songwriter and the band signed to Liberty Records. Roy Wood offered them a new song (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree, too good to turn down the band duly recorded it for their debut single in September 1967, but it was shelved when The Move recorded it themselves (as the ‘b’ side to Flowers In The Rain’). So step forward Jeff with what would be their first single ‘Imposters of Life’s Magazine’ a glorious slice of proto psyche complete with varispeed guitar, strange riff’s time signatures and indeed lyrics. In hindsight now it sounds like an outtake from Sgt.Pepper, in fact ive always felt Jeff was, and is, heavily influenced by Beatlesque melodies albeit with his very own genius take. Despite ‘Imposter’s’ being well received, much airplay and heavy support from one Kenny Everett it didn’t trouble the charts. The follow up single in March 1968 whilst again not a hit is the song for which the band is arguably best remembered ‘Skeleton & The Roundabout’ another Lynne composition was insanely catchy, quirky pop psyche and again showed off Jeff’s lyrical talents to the full. Along with Ray Davies and leaving aside Lennon/McCartney, I believe Jeff is a national treasure of ‘Englishness’ in his tales of pastoral and baroque themes.This new expanded album release celebrates his craft to the full, if you love the art pop of 67/68 of artist’s like Nirvana, World of Oz etc this is for you. There are so many strong tracks that you can hear the nascent ELO in there. ‘The Birthday’ and ‘I Like My Toys’ are two prime examples, the latter was played to death by the aforementioned Everett. The original album had 13 tracks, this release has the full 13 track mono album plus 9 bonus tracks on disc 1 whilst disc 2 contains the stereo version of the album (plus 1 bonus track). Amongst those bonus tracks are some gems like the previously mentioned ‘Lemon Tree’ and the ultra commercial ‘Knocking Nails Into My House’ (should have been a hit single). So 40 tracks to enjoy and a splendid 24 page booklet full of period pictures, sleeve covers and articles. Grapefruit Records have again excelled themselves with this release. Enjoy.

For more information go to: https://www.cherryred.co.uk

In closing, i’d just like to send all my best wishes to all my fellow SMART members, stay safe and well and if we all have to stay in at least we can listen to that album we’ve been meaning to get re-connected with!

Til next time……………………….Colin

Mick O’Dowd… Great album and a precursor to ELO. Had the original album on vinyl.

Colin Norton… Totally agree with Mick! This album is an absolute gem! I still have the original vinyl but must admit that its almost worn out. Stay safe guys!

Ray Harper… What a fantastic posting. Thank you.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Hot Chocolate: Remixes and Rarities, Deluxe 3CD Digipak Edition

REMIXES & RARITIES    Hot Chocolate  (3CD)
Happy new Year to all Smarties and welcome to the first Smart Sounds review of 2020. Ah Hot Chocolate just what we need on a cold January morning! The latest in Cherry Red’s R & R series is a real gem. Few bands can lay claim to the longevity and success, or, the calibre of Hot Chocolate. From their first release in 1969 (Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance) right thru the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s the band had massive success. Charting 29  UK Top 40 singles, a number 1 and 3 US Top 10’s  they were seldom off our TV screens or our radio’s. This comprehensive 3CD set,, as ever housed beautifully in a sturdy fold out digipack with extensive liner booklet, does what it say’s on the tin and brings together 36 tracks of rare,  hard to find remixes, ‘B’ sides and some tracks finding their way onto CD for the first time. The plethora of remixes feature some of HC’s most beloved songs including ‘Everyone 1’s A Winner’ ‘Mindless Boogie’ ‘Heaven Is In The Back Seat Of My Cadillac’ ‘No Doubt About it’ and of course ‘You Sexy Thing’. There are in fact 6 remixes of the latter, some might consider that overkill, but for those completists and collectors out there they will be warmly welcomed. Indeed YST is probably my own personal less favoured track, probably due to its overexposure over the years in films and (extensively) in TV advertising. There are 2 Megamix’s I would have loved to have available all those years ago when I was still doing live DJ shows. you could guarantee that people would get up on their feet to HC. The first of these and in my eyes the best features ‘Emma/So You Win Again/You Sexy Thing/Every 1’s A Winner/So You Win Again/No Doubt About It a sure floor filler.

The last track of the Megamix  ‘No Doubt About It’ is one of my favourite HC tracks and involves a strange and personal connection. In 1978 I lived in London off Finchley Road and coming home from a gig in the early hours I saw what I can only say was a UFO having woken up my flatmate who saw it too and confirmed I wasn’t drunk or dreaming! the sight stayed with me always. Then along in 1980 came ‘No Doubt About It’ co-written by Dave Most (brother of record whiz Mickie) based on the experience of seeing a UFO…which I later found out was seen over…yes you’ve guessed it..Finchley Road! Spooky! Anyway back to earth, this new collection has been remastered from (where possible) the original master tapes and sounds wonderful and has given my speakers a good work out. Hot Chocolate produced some classy and classic material over their peak years and this release adds to that admirably. With new members the band still tours to this day, Errol Brown sadly left us in May 2015 but im sure he’s looking on and busting some moves, no doubt about it. Enjoy.

For more information go tohttps://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……………..Colin

Monica Bane… Loved Hot Chocolate. Have some of their music!

Mick O’Dowd… Great stuff! They were an excellent band with a terrific singer. Worked with them once and saw them on another occasion. Nice blokes. Sad loss of Errol.

Julie Findlay-Jones… Went to see them with your sister Alan, brilliant concert.

Peter O’Donnell… Talented man.

David Edwards… Great band with Errol’s honey laden vocals what’s not to like about them

John Parnell… Saw them in their very early days in September 1968 at the Narracott Grand hotel, Woolacombe, Devon. Excellent band. I particularly remember Errol’s very energetic performance in addition to his great singing.

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Roy Wood: Mustard, Remastered and Expanded CD Edition

MUSTARD  (Remastered & Expanded)    Roy Wood
Straightaway I have to say I have a deep soft spot for Roy, he was the first bona fide ‘pop star’ I met when I started backstage on Hastings Pier in 1967, indeed elsewhere on the SMART site is the autographs of Roy and the rest of The Move obtained at the time. I’ve always ranked him in the top ten British songwriters. From The Move to ELO (briefly), Wizzard and solo his work has always trod its own very quirky path verging from pastiche to genius but always so original. ‘Mustard’ was originally released in December 1975 and was Roy’s second solo album following on from the successful ‘Boulders’ that had spawned quirky melodic songs such as the single hit ‘Dear Elaine’. ‘Mustard’ was commercially unsuccessful but arguably his ‘magnum opus’ showcasing his immense talent and creativity at its peak. All eight songs (+ 7 bonus on this release) were all written, sung, engineered and produced by Roy who also played EVERY instrument and even provided the artwork for the cover! His influences, in his own words, ranged from the 1940’s swing/doo wop of the Andrews sisters thru The Beach Boys, the Ronettes/Phil Spector to Led Zeppelin! Now that sounds like a complete mess of a recipe for an album, and in other hands it would be but Roy pulls it off.
The opening title track is a clever concoction that sounds just like a 40’s radio jingle by the aforementioned Andrew’s sisters but the ‘sisters’ is in fact Roy’s sped up vocal over sound effects, following on is classic Wood pop with ‘Any Old Time Will Do’. It’s on the next track ‘The Rain Came Down On Everything’ that shows what Roy’s vision of ELO might have been given the chance with its opening vocal (by Annie Haslam of Renaissance) a sweeping ballad that turns operatic before dissolving at the end into a thunderstorm (sound familiar Jeff Lynne!) Next up is a slice of boogie-woo blues/swing in ‘You Sure Got It Now’. For me the highlight of the album comes with the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys heavily inspired ‘Why Does Such A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs’ (some say written for Lynsey De Paul, Roy’s girlfriend at the time) whatever its almost a pastiche of God Only Knows meets Sloop John B/Good Vibrations its just wackily brilliant. And speaking of wackily brilliant track 8 and originally the closing track is Roy’s homage to Led Zeppelin in the shape of the rocker ‘Get On Down Home’ complete with a 2 minute drum solo in the mould of John Bonham, again as aforementioned with all the instruments being played by the man himself, in fact drums were the first and only instrument that Roy had any formal lessons in, remarkable, who teaches themselves bagpipes! With this new Esoteric release the album doesn’t end there but adds an extra 7 tracks (some released as singles like ‘Oh What A Shame’) with a couple attributed to ‘Wizzard’.
As I said ‘Mustard’ did not sell well on release mainly due to the record company (Jet Records) run by the infamous Don Arden concentrating on ELO which was an injustice but happily here in 2019 after years of being unavailable we can catch a musical prodigy at his best. Enjoy.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…………………………… Colin

Derek Clemans… A friend of mine who I havn’t seen for many years and can’t remember his name I think played base for the Move then played Sax with Wizzard and I get to see him every Christmas on old Top of the Pops Christmas specials. He lived on the Tilekiln estate and when he got married he had his reception at the Tile Kiln community club and Roy Wood turned up to jam with him.

Neil Partrick… Great review Colin. Made me want to check it out

Colin Bell… Cheers Neil, I do my best! Do check it out you won’t be disappointed.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Turning Tide cd by PP Arnold

THE TURNING TIDE   PP ARNOLD  (Kundalini Music)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of PP’s career in the music business and of a remarkable talent. Classic Rock recently remarked ‘is PP Arnold the most overlooked soul singer of all time?’. In a word as far as I’m concerned a huge yes! Everybody remembers the early classics that established PP in the late Sixties ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ ‘Angel Of The Morning’ If You Think You’re Groovy’ and my favourite ‘The Time Has Come’. All recorded for Andrew Loog Oldhams Immediate Records. However when Immediate folded in 1969 all went quiet. But PP was far from inactive. The next phase of PP’s career should have been the album that is now finally seeing the light of the day in The Turning Tide. The story is a long and complex one but i’ll condense it as much as possible. Jim Morris assistant to big time impresario and manager of the Bee Gees Robert Stigwood suggested introducing PP to Barry Gibb. PP had already recorded Gibbs ‘To Love Somebody’ on her second album the marvellous ‘Kafunta’. Keen to work together PP and Barry entered the studio and put down 10 tracks, eight of which appear hear. Then owing to the Bee Gee’s heavy commitments the sessions didn’t get completed. Stigwood then arranged for PP to tour and open for Eric Clapton on his tour with Delaney and Bonnie.Eric was so impressed with PP he needed no urging to go into the studio and lay down another 3 tracks (all covers) which added to the previously recorded 8 became The Turning Tide album. All good, no, for inexplicable reasons these tracks then sat on shelves mired in industry and record label politics for the next four decades until now. PP was naturally heartbroken that these recordings never got a hearing and went on a mission to redress this. Of course in the intervening years she continued to work solidly, solo, and with a host of others, notably, Beatmasters, Roger Waters and Ocean Colour Scene. But that ‘lost’ solo album which would have maintained her continuity remained unreleased. In 1998 Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene) produced a great single for PP in ‘A Different Drum’ and it is Steve and wife Sally with additional help that have now, after a great deal of work, sorted out all the legalties and mixed and finally got the album ready for release on October 6th. Now we can finally enjoy that ‘lost’ album in all its glory and glorious it is. The power and soul of PP’s voice captivates from the get go. I mentioned earlier Clapton produced 3 covers and The Turning Tide kicks off with Traffics ‘Medicated Goo’ which PP makes her own in the way Aretha did with Respect. She also pulls it off with Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’ and The Stones ‘You Can’t Always Get What you Want’ to great effect. The title track a huge ballad is ‘classic’ PP with emotion oozing from every line, the bluesy/gospel of ‘Children of the Last War’ is another sure fire winner. For me the crowning track has to be the Gibb penned ‘Bury Me Down By The River’ a gospel performance that is simply stunning in its power and range that truly shows PP at her finest, its epic and worth buying the album for that alone. It might have been a long wait but God its worth it.

To coincide with the albums release PP’s autobiography ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ is being released by St. James Publishing shortly and she is touring the UK this month and October. She will be appearing at The Ropetackle in Shoreham on October 29th. Don’t miss the chance to be there! And in conclusion next year will see the release of a new album (produced by Steve Cradock) currently being mixed including a new version of ‘I Different Drum’. Much to look forward to for Pat and all her many fans.

For more information go to http://www.pparnold.com

Til next time……..Colin

Linda Lewis Hampstead Days – SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell

banner5

© www.lindalewis.co.uk

LINDA LEWIS WEB PIX-508x508 linda-lewis1-332x456

Linda Lewis Acoustic Tour and Album.

Colin Bell… As previously mentioned elsewhere on SMART ive been catching up with some of my favourite guests that appeared on my shows on Hastings Rock FM. I caught up with Linda ahead of her Acoustic Tour of the South of England to celebrate her 40 years in the biz. Linda, a resident of the South Coast, has always had one of the most unique voices with her incredible 5 octave range. I well remember when I first received Rock-A-Doodle-Doo for review back in 1973 and was knocked out. Her album ‘Lark’ is also a personal all time favourite. Going on to have other hits notably with ‘Its in His Kiss’, touring with Cat Stevens, Joan Armatrading, appearing at Glastonbury and having her song ‘Old Smokey’ used by Common on the single Go! (produced by Kanye West) and doing well in the U.S. R&B charts Linda remains busy and in demand. She tells me she is looking forward to her Acoustic Tour and will be opening the Carousel Club in Farnborough this coming Friday (20th). Also she has an album newly released ‘Hampstead Days’, which is comprised of unreleased BBC sessions from the 70’s. Having listened to it, the first thing you notice is the quality of the recordings which is superb. Many favourites are there including ‘Old Smokey’ ‘Its the Frame’ the aforementioned ‘Rock-A-Doodle-Doo’, some enjoyable banter with the audience and all ending with a spirited rendition of ‘Its In His Kiss’. As I said a unique talent and always a pleasure to talk to. For more details of Tour dates go to: lindalewis.co.uk. The album is available from easyaction.co.uk

till next time…. Colin  colin-head

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing Alcatrazz Live Sentence cd/dvd deluxe edition and John Miles – Miles High cd.

img391 img392

‘LIVE SENTENCE’ Alcatrazz (Deluxe Edition CD/DVD) HNE Records

As regular readers of S.S. will know this is my all time favourite metal band of the 80’s. A coupla months back I brought you their debut album ‘No Parole From Rock and Roll’. As mentioned in that review Alcatrazz were a HUGE success in Japan especially. To capitalise on the albums success they took to the road to promote it and Live Sentence is the result. Recorded in January 1984 in Tokyo the set list includes most of the tracks recorded for NPFR&R, minus annoyingly ‘Jet to Jet’, a personal favourite! However that’s a small niggle. Along with ‘Island in the Sun’, ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ ‘General Hospital’, all classics in my view Graham Bonnet treats us to his solo success with ‘Night Games’ and re-visits his sojourn with Rainbow to deliver ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘All Night Long’ to the evident delight of the audience.
This release comes as 2 discs, disc one audio and disc two a DVD. At last I can dispense with my er bootleg footage! The audio and video quality of the DVD is surprisingly good for its age and stands up well. Like me you can now marvel at the 20 year old prodigy Yngwie Malmsteen in all his glory. And a glorious thing to watch it is! His neo-classical shredding is jaw dropping!
Not since I first saw Hendrix have I ever been so transfixed by a guitarist.
‘Kree Nakoorie/Coming Bach’ is mesmerising, yes he’s over indulgent at times compared to the studio recordings, but hell’s teeth he’s simply amazing even when he’s being arrogantly OTT! He knows he’s a ‘Rising Force’ and I forgive him, if I had his talent I doubt i’d hide my light under a bushel.
To cap it all off there’s three bonus tracks recorded at the Rock Palace in the USA including ‘Too Young To Die-Too Drunk To Live’. They don’t write them like that anymore, more’s the pity! For all Graham Bonnet/Malmsteen fans this is an essential addition to your library. PLAY IT LOUD!

JOHN MILES_miles high_WEB

‘MILES HIGH’ John Miles  (Lemon Recordings)

This is the first time on CD for what was John’s fifth studio album released originally in 1981, at that time it only reached a rather disappointing 96 chart position. Two singles were released from the album in the shape of ‘Turn Yourself Loose’ and ‘Reggae Man’. John is undoubtedly a fine musician, singer and guitarist and indeed a writer having composed the 10 tracks here. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the album, for me however nothing really leaps out at you. Its a polished affair and plays like a soundtrack to an American series of the Eighties (Miami Vice springs to mind) its slick AOR and maybe therin lies the problem for these ears its all a little too bland for my taste. John is without doubt a musicians musician and has contributed his skills to the likes of Joe Cocker, Tina Turner and the great Alan Parson’s project. Overall one for completists of his canon of work methinks, or fans of the Eighties slick pop genre.

For more information go to http://ww.cherryred.co.uk                 colin-head-111x150

Til next time….     Colin