VARIOUS Still Wish You Were Here (Cleopatra Records) [Release date 28.05.21]
Continuing the theme of “what do rock stars do in Lockdown?”, in this example Cleopatra’s A&R supremo John Lappen has opened his contact book. Unlike many of these offerings Billy Sherwood is nowhere to be seen.
Instead – artist-wise – there is no common denominator on these tracks, presumably just a love of Floyd and a royalty cheque.
So we get Geoff Tate and Steve Hackett on the opening track and Todd Rundgren and Rick Wakeman on ‘Welcome To The Machine’. As you would expect it’s all very well done and probably essential for collectors of any of the featured artists.
These also include James LaBrie and Steve Stevens on ‘Have A Cigar’, Joe Satriani on ‘Wish You Were Here’ and there’s a funky Parts 6-9 of the Barrett paean ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ with Bootsy Collins and Steve Hillage.
Not essential, but underlining what a great album this was back in 1975. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
UNTIL THE SUN Drowning In Blue [Release date 20.04.21]
This is the second album from UTS and features the co-lead vocals of Bruce Jensen and Alyssa Swartz whilst Brandon Teskey is the main writer and guitarist. Alyssa joined during the recording so they re-jigged the lyrics to be more female-orientated and to be honest the addition of a female voice was a good move.
Opener and title track ‘Drowning In Blue’ is close to bands like Heavy Feather and Blues Pills with that echoey late sixties psychedelic stomp. This is repeated on ‘New Delilah’ and the groovy ‘Crucible’.
Aside from these more contemporary tunes, the album is essentially fairly straight forward classic blues/rock. ‘Shadow Of The Valley’ could even be Fleetwood Mac in their sixties to seventies transition period whilst ’1000 Miles Away’ and ‘Burning Home’ are more perfunctory mid-tempo blues.
It would be interesting to hear a more female fronted proposition while the live track (one of two) ‘Lemontree’ reinforces that this is a band probably best enjoyed – socially distanced of course – in a small, sweaty, low-ceiling joint with a decent pint or two. ***
Review by David Randall
CIRCUS MIND Joy Machine [Release date 21.05.21]
Circus Mind a NYC based collective takes us back to the dawn of the seventies when there were soul rock bands such as Rare Earth and War, amongst others. Each track features a guest guitarist.
The overall vibe is infectious. The opening track ‘Are You Ready’ features Brandon ‘Taz’ Niederauer on guitar whilst he is also showcased again on the standout ‘Air Waves’.
The title track demonstrates the band’s musicality and Scott Metzger’s engaging guitar. There’s a touch of Earth, Wind & Fire in the brassy ‘Mean Mutha Fucka’ whilst ‘Longing Song’ is something that Roachford might have sung c.1988.
The album’s consistency does dip with ‘Errand Boy’, a sub-Beatles pop rock piece that doesn’t quite fit the overall vibe whilst the Little Feat-ish ‘Three Muses’ harks back to the band’s last album ‘Silver Flower’.
The song ‘Jazzfest Time’ was previously a single and gets a reprieve here with Ivan Neville (son of Aaron) and trombonist Big Sam.
The band is the brainchild of Mark Rechler who supplies lead vocals and keyboards throughout, including a particularly satisfying workout on the all-too-short instrumental ‘Nutbag’ with Marc Ribot on guitar.
An upbeat album that would lift the spirits in any pandemic. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
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 12 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) 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 14 September 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 6 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 HEARTLAND Into The Future (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 VEGA Anarchy And Unity (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JACKSON BROWNE Downhill From Everywhere (indie)
Power Plays w/c 20 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)
BAD TOUCH Twenty Five Miles (Marshall)
THE HUMAN VEIL Enemies (indie)
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Now’s The Time (Golden Robot Records)
VANSLEEP Oceans (indie)
TRUE NORTH Save Me (Out Of Line Music)
SORROW & THE SPIRE In The City Tonight (Golden Robot Records)
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