Album review: MARTIN BARRE – Order Of Play

David Randall tries to help Martin Barre with his tour set-list. (7:12)

On Sunday 28 September, the full version of this latest interview is repeated in the first hour of ‘Assume The Position’ (Get Ready to ROCK! Radio) followed by an hour of Martin Barre highlights – with Tull, solo, and including his band session last year for GRTR!

Martin Barre - Order Of Play

Edifying Records [Release date 29.09.14]

It may be that with his latest couple of albums Martin Barre is finally exorcising the ghost of Tull.  It can’t be an easy process, distanced from one of rock’s great franchises and ploughing your own furrow.  But this is where he is in 2014 and to be frank he’s making the most of it.

‘Order Of Play’ could be seen as the perfect partner to the previous ‘Away With Words’.  This time, thankfully, the electric guitar quotient is increased although Barre is still playing in very much a supportive and band context.

The addition of Richard Beesley’s sax to old faithfuls like ‘Locomotive Breath’ and ‘Minstrel In The Gallery’ gives them a jazzier feel, and even the cynical will find that – overall – the new arrangements do the songs justice.

This isn’t just an album of Tull covers, though.  Martin has seen fit to include ‘Steal Your Heart Away’, ‘Rock Me Baby’, and ‘Crossroads’ to provide balance to what is essentially a superior quality blues rock offering.

The album is very well recorded too, also contributing to the fresh feel: it was done live in the studio with no retakes.  No doubt all has been carefully road-tested over the past 12 months or so.  Dan Crisp doesn’t try to ape the original vocals either, which is also refreshing.  This album needs to be assessed, therefore, on its own merits.

Personally, I long for some of the more frenetic/cerebral guitar wig-outs that Barre has played with Tull and also on his earlier solo albums and the word is that his next album will be wholly original.  Hopefully it will mark a return to more guitar pyrotechnics and a higher quota of harder rock.

For the moment though, it’s time to luxuriate in a super guitarist for whom we have great affection and who is evidently really enjoying his freedom.  It speaks volumes that days before the first gigs of his September tour he is rehearsing some new material and – like his albums – the live set-lists are varied and unpredictable.  Go and give him your unqualified support.  ****

Review by David Randall

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

Gig review (Liverpool, 6 Sept.2014)
Album review (Away With Words, 2013)
Archive review (Stage Left, 2003)

Tour dates (September – December 2014)

29th August – Square & Compass Inn, Ilminster, UK
30th August – The Guildhall, St Ives, UK
3rd September – The Globe, Cardiff, UK
4th September – Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK
5th September – The Railway, Bolton, UK
6th September – Lomax, Liverpool, UK
7th September – The Borderline, London, UK
8th September – The Musician, Leicester, UK
9th September – The Junction, Cambridge, UK
11th September – The Tunnels, Bristol, UK
12th September – The Flowerpot, Derby, UK
8th October – Nürnberg, Hirsch, GERMANY
10th October – Blue Note, Nove Mesto nad Vahom,
11th October – Pesca Club, Budapest, HUNGARY
12th October – Reigen, Wien, AUSTRIA
13th October – Club Fabric, Ostrava, CZECH REPUBLIC
14th October – Retro Music Hall, Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
15th October – Krakow, POLAND
16th October – Club Progesja, Warsaw, POLAND
17th October – Tante Ju, Dresden, GERMANY
18th October – Speicher, Schwerin, GERMANY
19th October – Bergkeller, Reichenbach, GERMANY
20th October – Quasimodo, Berlin, GERMANY
22nd October -  Heimathaus, Twist, GERMANY
23rd October – Pressenwerk, Bad Salzungen, GERMANY
24th October – De Bosuil, Weert, NETHERLANDS
25th October – Blues Garage, Isernhagen, GERMANY
26th October – Musik Kontor, Herford, GERMANY
27th October – Scala Club, Leverkusen, GERMANY
29th October – Riders Club, Lübeck, GERMANY
30th October – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DENMARK
31st October – Haugesund Festival, NORWAY
1st November – Rockland, Scala, SWEDEN
3rd November – Fabrik, Hamburg, GERMANY
4th November – Hot Jazz Club, Münster, GERMANY
5th November – Tollhaus, Karlsruhe, GERMANY – TBA
6th November – Z7, Pratteln, SWITZERLAND
7th November – Raindogs House, Savona, ITALY
8th November – Club Il Giardino, Verona, ITALY
9th November – Crossroads Live Club, Rome, ITALY
12th November – Ray Just Arena Club, Moscow, RUSSIA
14th November – Kursaal, San Sebastian, SPAIN
15th November – Sala Tclub, Madrid, SPAIN
16th November – The Bikini Club, Barcelona, SPAIN
18th November – Sudhaus, Tübingen, GERMANY
19th November – Colos Saal, Aschaffenburg, GERMANY
20th November – Mühle Hunziken, Rubigen, SWITZERLAND
21st November – Musiktheatre Rex, Bensheim, GERMANY
22nd November – Spirit of 66, Verviers, BELGIUM
23rd November – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NETHERLANDS
25th/26th November – Bayericherhof Club, Munich, GERMANY
28th/29th November – FRANCE
4th December – The Citadel, St Helens, UK
5th December – The Duchess, York, UK
6th December – The Cluny, Newcastle, UK
7th December – Skegness Folk Festival, UK
20th December – The Leamington Assembly, Leamington Spa, UK
21st December – Budleigh Salterton Public Hall, East Devon, UK

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 1 August 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week and an interview with “metal queen” Lee Aaron.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 7 September 2021.

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