Album review: THE STEVE THOMPSON BAND – The Long Fade

THE STEVE THOMPSON BAND - The Long Fade [Release date 31.05.19]

Steve Thompson may not be a name you’re familiar with, but after 50 years in the business, his debut ‘solo’ album pays tribute to career served largely ‘behind the scenes’ as a songwriter, producer and session player.

Starting out way back in 1969 his band Bullfrog played support to the likes of Wishbone Ash, Vinegar Joe, The Edgar Broughton Band and the like, but folded after a couple of singles.

The Eighties saw him writing and producing for artists as diverse as Elkie Brooks (‘The Last Teardrop’, and ‘One Of A Kind’), Celine Dion and Sheena Easton (‘Please Don’t Sympathise’), Chris Farlowe (‘Looking For Love In A Stranger’), Wavelength (the 1982 Top 20 hit ‘Hurry Home’), and at the more ‘meaty’ end of the scale as a key writer for Tygers of Pan Tang between 1982 and 1987, as well as playing bass and keyboards on several of their albums and those of Argent guitarist John Verity.

And more latterly he was involved in the musical Steel Town, a collaboration with playwright Tom Kelly, based on his early working life at the Consett Iron Company, his struggle to break into the music industry, and the closure of the steel works.

Inspired by the loss of close friends, The Long Fade sees Thompson revisit his ‘earlier years’ and after the atmospheric live sounding Alan Parsons/Gary Moore style opener ‘Red Dust Overture’, and the rootsy ‘Like My Father’s Father’ replete with ‘Industrial Choir’ – both from the Steel Town musical – it rapidly becomes apparent the album is one of celebration, rather than contemporary reinterpretation.

As a result, the set sounds somewhat ‘time locked’, but by all accounts Thompson is an engaging live raconteur, and I suspect – apart being a neat career ‘retrospective’ – The Long Fade was conceived with a view to providing satisfied gig goers with a merch desk memento, rather than as a vanity project.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

Gig review (March 2018)

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