Back in the depths of time there was a programme on Channel 4 called No Limits. It was a youth culture show presented by Jonathan King (we will gloss over that one!) and a host of new presenters. It also promoted new music and on one particular episode I saw a promo video for a song entitled ‘I Can’t Live Without Your Love’ by Terraplane. I was blown away by the track and bought the single and album as soon as possible.
The album was the band’s debut released on Epic records and contained 11 tracks which were well honed melodic rock. The album rarely left my turntable for many months and still gets a regular airing today.
The opening track ‘Don’t Walk Away’ is the perfect introduction to the band with a great melody and strong harmonies. From Luke Morley’s guitar opening to the soaring vocal by Danny Bowes the track was a lesson in accessible rock, a good start.
The album contains a great balance of all-out rockers interspersed with quality ballads and the album continues with ‘When You’re Hot’ which was also the second single release from the album. The afore mentioned ‘I Can’t Live Without Your Love’ follows and what a track it is. It has a bubbling keyboard line running through the song with short, sharp chords provided by Morley over the top. Harry James on drums drives things on and the song is probably the perfect pop rock song.
The first ballad of the piece is up next with ‘Talking To Myself’, a song of break up and heartache all rolled into about four minutes. Again, Morley excels on guitar but it is the impassioned vocal delivery from Danny Bowes that makes the track. The band also had a few guests on the album and Luis Jardin on percussion and Scott Davidson on piano are both featured here. This track also features guitarist Rudi Riviere who joined the band on rhythm guitar and stayed with them through the second album.
Side one rounds off with ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’ which is a fairly straight forward rock track with a great chorus and mid-section. All this and you still have the flip side to go!
Prior to the album release in 1985 the band had released an EP on City Records a couple of years earlier containing the studio track ‘I Survive’ and a few live tracks recorded at the Reading Festival. ‘I Survive’ is the track which opens side two and is yet another classic rock anthem. Big guitars and harmonies dominate and the track was destined to be a live favourite.
The bass of Nick Linden opens the next track ‘Right Between The Eyes’ along with Harry James on drums. The song rocks along nicely before the title track ‘Black And White’ kicks in with it’s social comment on the press and their love of a sensational headline.
The opening gambit of next track ‘I’m The One’ is one of the best song intros ever committed to vinyl. The song is another big hitter with harmonies and melodies most bands would kill for. Luke Morley’s song writing throughout this album is superb and it is easy to hear why he went on to further success after Terraplane’s demise.
‘I’m The One’ also had another guest appearance, this time from none other than Jools Holland on organ. ‘Get Your Face Out Of My Dreams’ rocks out once more setting things up nicely for the big finale, and what a track it is!
‘Couldn’t Handle The Tears’ is an epic ballad and one of Morley’s finest song writing moments of his career. From the orchestration on the intro, through the superb vocal delivery from Bowes and on to the bombastic ending featuring a full gospel choir and Ruby Turner on guest vocals the track has it all.
This album set Terraplane up for a great career, but unfortunately following the band’s second album, ‘Moving Targets’, which saw the band driven more down a pop and soul route by the record company, they called it a day in 1988. The nucleus of the band though, Morley, Bowes and James regrouped as Thunder and the rest is rock history!
‘Black And White’ still stands as one of the best melodic rock albums of all time and if only the record company had left the band to develop naturally Terraplane may still be flying high today.
By Dave Wilson
Footnote – I was also a signed up member of the Terraplane fan club and still have the personally signed Christmas card from the band to this day!
Josh Taerk’s latest Lockdown session was streamed on Sunday 25 October. More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
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 27 September 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) 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 29 September 2020.
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Featured Albums w/c 26 October (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 HEARTWIND Strangers (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 FATES WARNING Long Day, Good (Metal Blade)
14:00-16:00 PADRAIG JACK Making Sand (indie)
Power Plays w/c 26 October (Mon-Fri)
LYKANTROPI Axis Of Margaret (Despotz Records)
LIONS SHARE Aim Higher (indie)
ALL RUNS RED What Good Would That Do (indie)
TRIDENT WATERS Six Feet Under (indie)
HOLDING ABSENCE Beyond Belief (indie)
DORIS BRENDEL Other Side Of The World (Sky Rocket Records)
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