Album review: CADO BELLE – Cado Belle (reissue)

Cado Belle

Big Break Records [Release date 23.06.14]

At last, Cado Belle’s one and only album – originally released in 1976 – gets a proper reissue.  Earlier versions have suffered from a lack of bonus tracks, decent audio and packaging, with one version in recent years seemingly lifted directly off vinyl.

Interesting too that this album has come out on Cherry Red’s soul and R & B imprint Big Break Records and therein lies the difficulty with the original release.  It seemed to fall at times between genres.  The stand-out track was ‘Stones Throw From Nowhere’ with its distinctive Alan Darby wah guitar echoing the song’s chorus and taking the band more into soft-rock territory.

And of course, this was Maggie Reilly’s first recording band: Maggie went on to work with Mike Oldfield during his chart-breaking eighties era and sang on the singles ‘Family Man’ and ‘Moonlight Shadow’.  She remains one of the GRTR! favourites and her parallel solo work is well worth seeking out.

With hindsight the one and only Cado Belle album is probably best filed with the likes of their contemporaries,  blue-eyed soulsters Kokomo (three of whom appeared on this album including Mel Collins) and even fellow Scots, Average White Band.  And of course as a historical Maggie Reilly artefact.

They were label-mates of Paul Carrack’s band Ace who also touched on a similar soulful vein.  Production was by Keith Olsen, still basking in the glory of the eponymous Fleetwood Mac album in 1975 (and two years before Rumours).  The band’s label Anchor folded in 1978 and they too called it a day soon after.

In truth, without these connections (Darby would go on to a lucrative session career, including the We Will Rock You musical, and was also a member of excellent 80s electro-funk trio Fashion) this might be a fairly average offering although – on a song like ‘Rocked To Stony Silence’ – always lifted by the string arrangements of Paul Buckmaster and on ‘Rough Diamonds’, the sax playing of Colin Tully.

This new reissue is bolstered by some welcome bonus tracks (the band’s four track EP released in 1977) although these were available on the previous 2008 release.  What might have rounded this off – if still available – are a couple of John Peel BBC sessions from 1976 and 1978.

More than a mere footnote to Maggie Reilly’s career, this album finally gets a deserved and definitive release.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Album review (Maggie Reilly and archive reviews link)

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