Feature: Albums that time forgot – KEATS

Keats (1984)

EMI [1984]

Released in 1984 the eponymous album by Keats might be considered as an Alan Parsons Project off-shoot.  It was produced by Parsons and includes the core band members that feature on most of the Project albums, Ian Bairnson, Stuart Elliott and David Paton (members of the pop band Pilot in the 1970s). Moreover, Colin Blunstone provides vocals and Peter Bardens (ex-Camel) supplies keyboards including on four of his own compositions.

Many will consider the album “of its time” a description that can also be applied to eighties Project albums, and maybe a tad derivative.  However, with Parsons at the helm, there can be no doubting the sonic integrity and this also helps provide a certain timelessness and not least an overall quality.

The idea was to create a band – Keats – that could exist separately from the Alan Parsons Project and give more recognition to the key members.  Eric Woolfson formed the Project with Alan Parsons whom he originally managed and was also key in bringing about Keats including the band name (after his favourite restaurant).

Opener ‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘Avalanche’ reminds a little of Toto the former lifted by Richard Cottle’s sax, his contributions another highlight of the album, whilst elsewhere there are even hints of late-1980s Magnum (‘Fight To Win’).  David Paton provides lead vocals on his own composition ‘Walking On Ice’ and ‘Ask No Questions’ (written by Ian Bairnson) has a definite Doobies-feel in the chorus.

Blunstone had lent his vocal talents to Eye In The Sky in 1982 (and in particular the standout ‘Old And Wise’).  Amongst the standouts here, the Bardens song ‘Turn Your Heart Around’ also turned up on Blunstone’s solo album On The Air Tonight (again worth investigating!).  It’s all top-notch AOR throughout.

The song ‘Hollywood Heart’ was excluded on the original US album release but restored to the 1996 CD reissue by Renaissance Records which also includes a bonus interview with Alan Parsons and Ian Bairnson.

Readers are recommended to search out another variant – The Time Machine – released in 1999 by Alan Parsons which is essentially a thinly disguised Alan Parsons Project album when that concept was on hiatus.  It features most of Keats’ contributors, including Blunstone.

David Randall

Colin Blunstone chatted to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in 2013.  In this interview edit he discusses Keats.

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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 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

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 23 March 2021.

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