Often cited by musos as a favourite album, ‘Hughes/Thrall’ was released in 1982. By all accounts Glenn Hughes (bass and vocals in MK III and IV Deep Purple) ‘stole’ guitarist Pat Thrall after seeing him play with Pat Travers when that band opened for Def Leppard.
Pat Thrall’s jazz rock approach had been honed when playing in ‘Go’ an experimental fusion outfit featuring Stomu Yamahsa and Steve Winwood, and Michael Shrieve whom he subsequently joined in Automatic Man. Thrall featured on five Travers albums including the live ‘Go For What You Know’ in 1979.
With Hughes suffering from addiction and alcohol abuse, this album was never really going to happen and the duo never toured to promote it.
The album is a mixture of the hard rock and funk styles so beloved of Hughes and a fusion texture from Thrall. The standouts include ‘Hold Out Your Life’ and ‘Coast To Coast’.
In spite of a reunion of sorts in 1987 when they recorded a track for the ‘Dragnet’ movie, Hughes and Thrall went their separate ways, with Thrall pursuing session work and appearing with Meat Loaf.
The album was released on CD in 1995. A further long overdue reissue came out in 2007 featuring two bonus tracks that Hughes and Thrall recorded in 2001. In reviewing the newly remastered version on Rock Candy Joe Geesin noted “It formed the template for much of the 80s hard rock scene. Solid bass and outstanding guitar, coupled with keyboards and polished production; you only have to listen to opener ‘I Got Your Number’ to realise how enjoyable and essential the whole album is.”
When I asked Glenn Hughes about the album in a 2006 interview he told me: “It’s a musicians’ record, every musician I know seems to have it in their collection”.
Was he disappointed that the album was not more successful than it was?
“It didn’t do well for two reasons: first, sex, drugs and rock n roll again – I wasn’t well enough in the eighties to tour – and secondly, Pat and I were also going in very different musical directions. He wanted to go more fusion on the next Hughes/Thrall record and I wanted it to be more straight down the middle rock and funk.”
Glenn then went on to describe a follow-up which – in 2006 – was just being completed.
“It’s going to be twelve songs. Each song for me is different in its format. You’ll find it’s going to be extreme funk, very heavy metal, pop music, you’re going to find New York late night jazz music, acoustic music and a little bit of hip-hop in there.
The vocabulary of both artists has changed so much in the last 25 years. People shouldn’t expect a complete remake of the first one. The albums is very crafted, it’s not really an exercise in straight-ahead rock music.”
Hughes Thrall 2 has never been released, with Hughes apparently now distancing himself from the project. The two did appear together on stage in Las Vegas during Hughes solo tour in September 2016 when they played a couple of Hughes Thrall songs.
In addition to the track for the Dragnet movie another song – ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ – featuring Hughes and Thrall appeared on the LA Blues Authority album in 1992.
In October 2016 Glenn Hughes chatted to Get Ready to ROCK Radio. In this interview edit he talks about Hughes Thrall and collaborations in general.
Text © 2006-2020 David Randall. All rights reserved.
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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