EP review: ROBERT REED – Variations On Themes By David Bedford

ROBERT REED - Variations On Themes By David Bedford

Tigermoth Productions

David Bedford (who died in 2011) has long been sidelined in the pantheon of prog and confused with the athlete of the same name.  His more “mainstream” albums for Virgin in the 1970s will have been spotted languishing at record fairs.

Essentially a “serious” classically-trained composer he nevertheless worked in the 1980s and 90s with a number of “pop” artists including Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Madness.  He has been described as “the only musician to have featured on both the BBC Proms and The Old Grey Whistle Test”.

Maybe Reed will do something to boost his deserved reputation. Bedford worked with Kevin Ayers initially and later Mike Oldfield (whom he had met in Ayers’ band) but his own solo work is somewhat heavy going for mere mortals.

The mastermind of the magnificent Magenta, Robert (Rob) Reed has previously released ‘Sanctuary’ (I and II) which is like an extended love letter to Oldfield and freely wears that influence on his sleeve.  Perpetuating his wildest fantasies he’s co-opted the likes of Tom Newman one of Oldfield’s original producers.

And, on this EP, he’s also collaborated with Oldfield alumni – brother Terry  (flute) and Les Penning (recorder).  Angharad Brinn provides vocals, she’s worked with Reed previously on his excellent Kompendium project and the Sanctuary releases.  This tribute EP features just three tracks, with additional mixes.

Imitation is the best form of flattery and I wonder what Oldfield makes of all this.  Perhaps his guest appearance, beamed in from the Bahamas, can only be a couple of concept releases away.  For the moment Reed’s cod-Oldfield guitar (and bass) will suffice.  The cynic might say “Rob, get a proper job and plough your own furrow not a field that has already been tilled.”   ***

Review by David Randall

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

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