Book review: JIM McCARTY with DAVE THOMPSON – Nobody Told Me: My Life With The Yardbirds, Renaissance and Other Stories

Jim McCarty with Dave Thmpson - Bobody Told Me

http://www.jamesmccarty.com/ 305 pages paperback ISBN 978-0-244-96650-8 [Publication date: May 2018]

‘Nobody Told Me’ is a suitably titled autobiography that documents the life and times of Jim McCarty, The Yardbirds founder member, drummer and rock and roll hall of fame inductee.

He’s also a former member of Renaissance and Box of Frogs and continues to be a creative singer-songwriter who has just released a new album called ‘Walking In The Wild Land.’

‘Nobody Told Me’ is a suitably titled book because McCarty embraces the role of what sociologists call participant observation, while his recall of his colourful past is shot through with a Zen like quality that always looks for the positive in the face of adversity.

The Yardbirds story is played out against the backdrop of one of significant social change, and while the title might refer to the major events in the band’s history, Jim McCarty deals with it all with what Jimmy Page in his foreward to the book calls “his cool persona.”

Then there’s the musical events that come to shape the author’s life, as The Yardbirds outgrow their blues and r&b roots to embrace rock, pychedelia and even heavy metal, while years later the quintessential English band morph via countless line-ups into becoming an American outfit still helmed by Jim McCarty of course.

Deep in the book the author succinctly summarises the real legacy of the band as: “It was what we made possible for others to accomplish.” And he elegantly takes us through the chronology of the band’s evolution via an insider’s view of how it all happened.

Co-author Dave Thomson helps provide the balance. He’s already known for penning Clapton, Cream, Beck and Plant’s biogs and here he provides the literary framework for Jim’s consistent inner voice.

There’s a warm refreshing honesty and plenty of insight at the heart of the book, as evidenced by McCarty’s comment that the band’s music was originally shaped by what the audience demanded. Then years later when they are about to split up, he still worries about: “Empathy for the remaining fans who would be disappointed by our demise.”

It’s the author’s honesty, some might say his young naivety that draws the reader into his world. He remembers The Yardbirds original manger Georgio Gomelsky as: “signing us away without any consultation. At the time, though, we didn’t know any better, and to be truthful, I don’t regret things, either.”

Given the book later dwells on countless re-issues of the band’s early material, and the paltry royalties, it’s a very magnanimous view, which he later explains on behalf of himself and Chris Dreja: “We were quiet…resigned might be more appropriate, to watch what was happening and hope for the best.”

The book also uses the clever literary device of running one chapter into the other via portentous summaries that lead into further the twist and turns in the band’s career.

For example, when recalling Top Topham’s departure, Jim reflects that: “We were older but we were wiser too, and I caught a glimpse of what might have been…of what I might say should have been. Five live original Yardbirds.”

‘Nobody Told Me’ plunges us into the unsuspecting world of Jim’s South West London suburbia, an orderly place in which the generation gap is illustrated by his mum laughing his favourite record Chas McDevitt’s ‘Freight Train’.

The Boys Brigade leads him to the drums, and more particularly: “a solo snare drum that I quickly realised was the best friend I’d been searching for all my life.”

And warming to his theme, he notes that his early musical efforts with Paul Samwell Smith led to: “A feeling that, if the radio was not playing the music we wanted to hear then we should play it ourselves.”

There’s tales of his early band The Country Gentleman, and end of term dances at Hampton Grammar school in an era when trad jazz and pop held sway.

A Jimmy Reed album provides a musical glimpse of something more exciting, though when initially confronted with the early Stones he’s bemused.

He mostly describes his various band members by focusing on their musical acumen, rather than the headline grabbing extremities, for as he perceptively notes: “the real accomplishments are caused by chemistry and timing and those things are utterly unquantifiable.”

He describes the younger Clapton thus: “As good as everyone else. Not as good as he became, he was still young, still learning, still developing his style.” And then in an open- ended observation, he says: “Maybe he was better than Top, maybe he wasn’t”, before noting his:”confidence, dedication and incredible timing.”

And while he concedes that: “It was the purity of the music he valued”, he draws a strong contrast between Clapton and Jeff Beck: “He saw music as a wide-open palette…Jeff was forever experimenting with sound, pushing his guitar far beyond its stated capacities. Jeff looked ready to blow the blues out the water.”

Telling he adds “We (The Yardbirds) didn’t want to abandon our roots.”

Re Jimmy Page, he notes: “Hire Jimmy Page, and you would get everything he was capable of giving.”

There’s also a priceless comparison between Beck and Page during the brief period both guitarists were in the band: “If Jeff did something out the ordinary, then Jimmy would smile as if to say, ‘nice try’. Now watch this.”

He talks about Page’s “melody and control” and Beck’s “unpredictability and experiment”, and yet once Beck had departed, and the band toured the UK with Page, McCarty drops his own bombshell. “We hung out together, we chatted, we played our shows, we drove home. It was so calm, so restful…and so dull.”

There are tales of countless US tours, of gigs where sometimes: “I could see more tumbleweeds than fans”, and of support bands that played half The Yardbirds set before the real band went on.

Then there are those feel good moments of cruising down Sunset Boulevard: “For five kids whose vision of the open road was the South Circular that was heaven.”

Meanwhile the business ground on, without the band’s knowledge, as their second manager Simon Napier Bell is succeeded by Peter Grant: “We didn’t know a thing about it.”

The last third of the book is really about Jim McCarty’s struggle to find a niche for his natural creativity within a changing musical backdrop. There are the dashed hopes of Renaissance, the “superstar circus” of Box Of Frogs etc and a return to his R&B roots with Ruthless Blues.

There’s also an unexpected tour of the States with the British Invasion All Stars and a further  reconnect with Top Topham for low key pub gigs, and a left field dabble in New Age music, before an eventual triumphant return of The Yarbirds, who are asked by Jeff Beck if he can play on their all-star album.

‘Nobody Told Me’ is an enjoyable read, both for Yardbirds and rock fans in general. It could have done with a few more photos and certainly an index, but it’s still a compelling bird’s eye account from a drummer who helped shaped one of the most significant bands of our time and whose dependability and karma go a long way to explain his musical longevity.

Review by Pete Feentra


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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: PRAYING MANTIS – Gravity

Frontiers [Release date 11.05.18]

Originally part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, albeit at the more melodic almost AOR end of the spectrum, Praying Mantis are still going strong. This new album is their 10th studio outing, 11 if you include the ‘Metalmorphosis’ EP issued as a full album in Japan, where they have remained consistently popular.

Led by the Troy brothers Tino (guitar) and Chris (bass), the band formed in the mid 70′s and have had a ‘name’ or two pass through their ranks, including Paul Di’Anno, Clive Burr, Bernie Shaw and Doogie White. But the current line-up of Chris and Tino with Jaycee Cuijpers (vocals), Andy Burgess (guitars and keyboards) and Hans in’t Zandt (drums) is already proving stable and solid.

The opener ‘Keep It Alive’ is a solid, powerful and loud opener; with layered backing vocals and Jaycee’s solid but wide range it’s a great start. Some screaming guitar and a touch of keyboards mid song, it’s polished melodic rock at its best. The programmed intro to ‘Mantis Anthem’ has an Eloy feel, but then it does move in slight (heavy) power pop direction, a very 80′s feel. Then ‘Time Can Heel’ is a full blown AOR effort – piano and guitar working well together.

With it’s keyboard intro and heavier guitars, and lots of guitar harmonies, ’39 Years’ is a stand-out, and has a Quartz feel. The title track is really worth checking out – a fine groove with a driving bass line from the outset.

Some of the tracks have a really polished sound and tracks like ‘Destiny In Motion’ have both a heavy feel and big production (think strings), nodding to melodic power metal, contrasting well with the AOR elsewhere.

The band’s debut ‘Time Tells No Lies’ was illustrated by Rodney Matthews, an artist the band have reconnected with in recent years and his artwork here is as wonderful as ever.

If you like melodic rock, you’ll love this. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: MANSUN – Attack of the Grey Lattern

Kscope [Release date 08.06.18]

Mansun’s ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ gets a 21st anniversary re-issue with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. This re-issue is remastered from the original multi-tracks and is available on all digital platforms and as a media book CD, a 2 x black gatefold vinyl, a very limited 2 x purple gatefold heavyweight vinyl and a lavish four disc limited book (3CD+DVD) including the remastered album, a 70 page book with a new extended essay on the making the record and its impact, a CD of never before heard demos, rarities & outtakes and a CD of selected Mansun BBC Sessions. Fair to say a lot of thought and effort has gone into this anniversary edition.

The line-up that recorded this debut album – that topped the UK album charts upon its original release – were Paul Draper (vocals, guitar, production), Dominic Chad (guitar, piano, synths), Stove (bass) and Andie Rathbone (drums). Mansun were oft lumped in with the Britpop explosion of the 90′s, however their music encompassed a broad reach and years later the album is held in high esteem by lovers of progressive music, long after many bands and albums from that era have faded from memory (Menswear anyone?).

Never ones to do things by halves the James Bond influenced ‘Chad Who Loved Me’ opens the album in suitably grandiose style. A song that has stood the test of time, like much of the album bar maybe ‘Egg Shaped Fred’ which does sound like early Oasis (or perhaps Oasis sounding like early Mansun?!).

Four of the songs on here were top 20 UK hit singles including ‘Taxloss’, which at seven minutes is not your normal length for a hit. ‘Wide Open Space’ (their only US single success) is possibly the most recognised tune by them and it highlights their love of big pop melody.

‘Dark Mavis’ and the hidden track ‘Open Letter to the Lyrical Trainspotter’ close the album off in style. They had so many musical ideas, from the string arrangements through to the knack of keeping a melody whilst all around it many weird and wonderful musical things were going on.

The demos and BBC sessions will be of interest to fans. These include demos of ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Dark Mavis’, plus rocking versions of ‘Skin Up Pinup’ and ‘Grey Lantern’.

An album I bought back on its original release and it still gets played regularly all these years later. Paul Draper recently toured playing this album to great acclaim. A timely reminder of what a landmark album this was and if you don’t have this in your collection now would be an excellent time to rectify that! ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Gig review: JACK BRUCE: SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE – TRIBUTE CONCERT SCREENING – The Curzon, London, 14 May 2018

jack bruceposter HD

Introduced by Scottish DJ Edith Bowman who later anchors a Q&A session, the Kyla Simone Bruce directed ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is an aptly titled film.

It represents the triumph of the collective spirit over potential adversity, as the musicians pay homage to the late great Jack Bruce, albeit the irascible Ginger Baker seemed to be on a different trajectory on the night.

It’s a good snap shot of Bruce’s musical career, even if his son Malcolm, and Jack’s co-writer Pete Brown decided they wanted to be part of their own tribute to Bruce, while John McLaughlin, Charlie Watts, Ringo Starr and Robin Trower offer filmed apologies for their absence.

Tonight’s big screen premiere in the heart of Mayfair is in the presence of Bruce’s daughter’s Natascha (aka Aruba Red), film director Kyla, and several core band members.

The main body of the film is topped and tailed by two archive video clips. There’s Jack in solo mode with some raw harp playing and circular breathing on the self penned ‘Train Time’, while the second clip finds him at the piano with exemplary vocals on ‘Theme For An Imaginary Western’.

Those two clips alone show a glimpse of the versatility of a classically trained musician with a calling for jazz, a love of the blues and who never wavered in his aim of finding new ways of musical expression.

‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ records 35 musicians under the guidance of MD Nitin Sawhney at the Roundhouse, trying to make a coherent tribute concert to an artist whose varied back catalogue reflects his broad musical outlook and versatility.

Indeed a line-up including Phil Manzanera, Ian Anderson, Mark King, Vernon Reid, Joss Stone, Hugh Cornwell, Uli Jon Roth, Bernie Marsden, Joss stone, Clem Clempson, Ginger Baker and members of Jack Bruce’s Big band – including Paddy Milner, Frank Tontoh and Tony Remy –  is in itself diverse enough.

JACK BRUCE LINEUPHD

The film charts how the band and the music grew organically on the night from a circumspect beginning to a ragged, but celebratory finish on the title track of the film. As a result there are just enough inspired moments to draw applause from an enthusiastic crowd at tonight’s big screen premier.

Aruba Red fronts one of the emotional highlights with ‘Folk Song’ and makes the kind of essential connection with the crowd that is missing in too much of a well meaning tribute. There’s certainly enough musical passion on show, but everyone is boxed in by the sheer weight of the project and countless changes on a stage resembling a building site.

The crowd too is initially strangely muted, and it takes an encouraging hand signal from Mark King after his brief homage to Jack’s lineage on ‘Keep It Down’, to generate polite applause.

No matter, the film quietly sets about capturing the salient moments, the musical dynamics and the intensity of the solos while framing the respective soloist within the big band setting.

There are plenty of close-ups, overhead zooms and left-to-right panning to draw us into the contrasting moods of a set that thrives on diversity and musical contrast.

The movie probably could have done with some subtitles to highlight the main performers and a chronological context beyond the opening intro from Jack’s widow Margrit and Aruba Red’s moving eulogy to her dad, but in an age where talking heads too often drown the musical message, less is probably more.

Mark King seamless bass playing and excellent vocals provide the closest approximate to Bruce himself and he’s particularly strong on the early ‘Hit & Run’. He also brings real intensity to ‘Keep It Down’, which is matched by Clem Clempson on guitar.

Uli Jon Roth is filmed up close adding a free flowing solo’s on ‘I Feel Free’ and ‘Badge’, while Clempson – surely one of the understated heroes of the night – is majestic on the wah-wah part of ‘White Room’, as he’s joined by Bernie Marsden who contributes tasty vibrato and a growling tone.

Jack Bruce  Q&AHD

Some of the best moments come early on when flautist, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, teams up with violinist Miles Brett on the tango inflected ‘Milonga’, and Anderson also stamps his unique phrasing all over the intricate ‘Ticket To Waterfalls’, one of five songs tonight from ‘Songs For A Tailor.’

There are a handful of outsanding moments in the film, including the sheer emotional presence and haunting voice of Aruba Red on ‘Folk Song’. She later returns on ‘We’re Going Wrong’, a song built on Baker’s tom-tom intro, Anderson’s beautifully nuanced flute and Manzanera’s ethereal guitar tone.

Then there’s the vocalist Chantelle Nandi who impresses when she takes the spotlight on ‘Don’t Look Now’ to effortlessly soar over Paddy Milner’s Hammond.

Film director Kyla Bruce is also a beguiling presence on ‘Weird of Hermiston’, which she delivers in a huge coat that suggests she was on en-route to somewhere else.

The heavy blunderbuss of ‘Politician’ receives the biggest reaction in the cinema tonight. The heavy arrangement would surely have made Bruce smile. Vocalist Liam Bailey dominates the song as the explosive muscularity of Vernon Reid’s guitar solo racks up an intensity matched by the peerless rhythm section of Neil Murray and Frank Tontoh.

Vocalist Bailey is a growing presence throughout the night, attacking the celebratory ‘I’m So Glad’ with gusto over Phil Manzanera’s spacey tone and Bernie Marsden’s bluesy grit.

Ian Anderson Liam Bailey Mark KingHD

In between the big hitters there are some unexpected highlights, most notably the spellbinding Ayanna Witter-Johnson on her adventurous cello interpretation of ‘Rope Ladder to the Moon’.  When committed to film, moments such as this tend to make a reputation, and you could almost feel the presence of Jack’s uninhibited musical vision in the room.

There’s still time for Joss Stone’s bubbly presence on the horn-led ‘Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out of Tune’

The subsequent Q&A session features Bruce’s daughter’s along with band members Sawhney, Anderson, Bailey, Manzanera and King.

The assembled recall an air of camaraderie, as a few of the guests wryly smile at the mention hiccups on the night. Ginger Baker apart, it suggests a kind of edge that Jack Bruce himself would surely have demanded!

Review & photos by Pete Feenstra


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: BLACK SABBATH – The Supersonic Years

BMG [Release date 08.06.18]

This is no ordinary reissue; for a catalogue that has been reissued more times stamps have first day covers, last year’s 8LP + crucistick box took reissues to a new sonic and packing level, and this augments that visually perfectly.

Aimed at the vinyl enthusiast and vinyl collector, of which Sabbath have many, this set features the 10 7” singles from the 1970s Ozzy years, with variants of world-wide picture sleeves. As a collector myself (I have over 210 7” singles by Nazareth, from around the world), there is a definite appeal.

Even where a 7” doesn’t have a picture sleeve, a unique catalogue number, a “Made In Guatemala” on the label, there’s lots that a collector will go for. And like with any collection, there’s a huge range of world-wide picture sleeves. Aside Thailand and Brazillian EPs and Japanese 45s, Europe is a goldmine of sleeves (some French sleeves duplicated artwork both sides), and even Yugoslavia, a country no longer in existence, is an abundant source of unique 45s.

Black Sabbath’s place in rock history is enshrined. Formed in the late 60s as The Polka Tulk Blues Band, the 4 piece line-up (Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward) and sound was cemented in 1969 as Earth, changing their name to Black Sabbath before recording their eponymous debut before the end of the year. Suffice to say that in a world British psychedelic rock, blues and progressive rock, and American harder edged West Coast rock, Black Sabbath’s debut was the first of the Heavy Metal genre.

From their playing style, Ozzy’s vocals, Geezer’s driving rhythms and lyrics, Iommi’s guitar (Lord of the Riff and some great solos too), their style has been just so influential, not just on doom or stoner metal as a couple of the album typified, but across the whole of rock and metal ever since.

Given the number of world-wide variations of choice of singles and track couplings, such a box would be much like the collection itself – impossible (or impractical) to be exhaustive. So the 10 titles are centred on the UK and/or US discography.

The discs (with sleeve source) enclosed are

Disc 1: Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me) / Wicked World – 1970

* Sleeve Holland (front), Germany (back)

Disc 2: Paranoid / The Wizard – 1970

* Italy (front), Sweden (back)

Disc 3: Iron Man (Single Edit) / Electric Funeral – 1970

* Custom Vertigo / Warners

Disc 4: Tomorrow’s Dream / Laguna Sunrise – 1972

* France (front), Germany (back)

Disc 5: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Edited Version) / Changes – 1973

* Japan (front), Holland (back)

Disc 6: Am I Going Insane (Radio) (Single Edit) / Hole In The Sky – 1975

* Japan

Disc 7: Gypsy / She’s Gone – 1976

* Yugoslavia

Disc 8: It’s Alright / Rock ‘N’ Roll Doctor – 1976

* Holland (front), Japan (back)

Disc 9: Never Say Die / She’s Gone – 1978

* Holland (front), Germany (back)

Disc 10: Hard Road (Single Edit) / Symptom Of The Universe (German Single Edit) – 1978

* Germany (front), Japan (back)

Line-Up

Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals

Tony Iommi – Guitar

Geezer – Bass

Bill Ward – Drums

The band’s first single Evil Woman was a rare cover, originally released in the UK on the Fontana label (a major Sabbath rarity) in January 1970 before being repressed on the spiral Vertigo label shortly after the release of their debut LP a month or two later, and the bands earthy roots, including a blues nod, all present.

Back in the day, the band recorded quickly, the debut album recorded in couple of overnight stops on the way to (and from) a European tour, because they didn’t know any different, and the second album was recorded later in 1970. The title track was recorded quickly as a filler, and it almost single handedly changed the face of heavy metal and Sabbath’s place in history.

Some tracks, such as the aforementioned Paranoid, and the mid 70s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (title track from an album that featured Rick Wakeman) are so well known, and rightfully so, that other parts of the 1970s’ catalogue get overlooked, and this set shows how the band’s sound changed throughout the decade as well as showing how colourful the packaging was around the world. Some of the 7” choices will surprise fans, even some of the UK editions.

A personal favourite, the Technical Ecstasy album, saw a single or two (I dare you not to love the tracks Gypsy or Rock’n’Roll Doctor), and the decade’s final set (featuring Don Airey) I think is another classic. Here I think an opportunity overlooked as there was a UK picture sleeve and the original pressing of Hard Road was issued on purple vinyl.

Holding the singles is to love and enjoy them. To go all Spinal Tap on them, the smell too. The replica Vertigo labels are a bonus, and the world-wide art coupled with band photo variations are a joy too.

To add real value is the booklet, which contains even more record artwork, discography information and extensive and informative sleevenotes from Sabbath aficionado High Gilmour (whose contribution is too often limited to project design). This whole box then becomes an essential part of the collection; not just to enjoy in its own right but it augments other reissue campaigns perfectly, especial the most recent 10 Year War vinyl box set.

Influential and original as the Ozzy years were, it would be prohibitively short sighted (as many fans sadly are) to think that Sabbath begin and end with Osbourne, for to do so overlooks some of the genre’s finest releases (I’m thinking Heaven And Hell and Headless Cross). Like with 10 Year War, a Volume 2 to encompass the 80s and 90s would go down just as well. ****

Review by Joe Geesin



Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



DVD review: THE MOODY BLUES – Days of Future Passed – Live

Eagle Vision [Release date 23.03.18]

Over the past few years a number of bands that have been releasing records since the 1960’s have reached that impressive milestone that is celebrating 50 years of being together, the other side to this is we are also reaching a number of anniversary editions of landmark albums.

The Moody Blues recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of “Days of Future Passed” by embarking on a tour playing the album in its entirety. It was in Toronto that the band recorded this with the addition of a full orchestra. The first part of the show finds the band’s 3 original members Justin Heyward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge joined by the usual supplementary band members to perform a handful of tracks such as “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock n Roll Band)”, “The Voice”, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” and “The Story In Your Eyes”, and for a band formed in 1964 they sound great.

The second part of the show is a swirling mix of trippy backdrops, the orchestra and the classic album in question. When a rock band plays with an orchestra, and it is done properly, it can sound immense- as it does here, it is almost like a film score at times. With the addition of actor Jeremy Irons on the spoken word tracks “Morning Glory” and “Late Lament”, the interludes all still in place and tracks like “Dawn Is A Feeling”, “Peak Hour”, “Twilight Time“, “Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)” the band literally roll back the decades. However, it is with their best known song “Nights In White Satin” that they absolutely win hands down.

The show closes with encores in the form of “Question” and “Ride My See Saw”, and the fans in Toronto can leave the venue knowing they have witnessed something amazing.

Bonus material on the DVD includes interviews with the band remembering the original 1967 album. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



DVD review: IGGY POP – American Valhalla

Eagle Vision [Release date 06.03.18]

“American Valhalla” tells the story of Iggy Pop and Josh Homme’s experiences creating Pop’s 2016 “Post Pop Depression” album.

We get to watch the very inception of the album from idea to finished product, and ensuing tour. From the writing and recording sessions through to the eventual critical acclaim that the project garners, it is all contained within this insightful documentary. The film was co-produced by Andreas Neumann and Homme himself, with Anthony Bourdain interviewing the band throughout the process. The band itself is completed by QOTSA guitarist Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders on drums, with the album being recorded at Homme’s Rancho De La Luna studio – I’ll admit, at this point  it does look like he may have been involved in absolutely everything going on within the whole project.

Throughout “American Valhalla” we can see that the creation of “Post Pop Depression” was not all plain sailing and every part of this seems to come under the microscope. During the film Pop learns of the death of close friend and collaborator David Bowie, just prior to rehearsals for the band’s live shows, the emotion adding to the honest feel of a film that does not hold back.

If you enjoyed the “Post Pop Depression” album, DVD of the Royal Albert Hall show, or are just a fan of the man himself, then you will no doubt enjoy “American Valhalla”. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns


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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: RYAN ROXIE – Imagine Your Reality

Cargo

When I look through my record collection there are not many other guitarists that feature as much as Ryan Roxie. Having recorded with the likes of Slash, Gilby Clarke, Electric Angels, Casablanca, Roxie 77, more than a few Alice Cooper albums and more, you could say that I am a fan.

Roxie is about to release his debut solo album “Imagine Your Reality”, and rather good it is too. There is no overblown filler here, what you get is 10 songs that are straight to the point, mostly weighing in at under 3 and a half minutes and all featuring some great guitar work, as you would expect.

“Big Rock Show” is the required big rock song to open the album, then from the nice and sleazy groove of “Over and Done” through to the cover of Coldplay’s “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” there is a great mix of songs on offer. Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander joins the fun on a rendition of their “California Man”, “Uh Oh Song” grows from a simple opening to almost perfect pop rock. Then you have the dark and dirty riffage of “Nevermind Me” and a song that kind of explains itself “To Live and Die In LA”.

Also amongst the albums tracks is a 3 song section that lifts “Imagine Your Reality” above most other new albums I’ve heard this year. “Me Generation” could easily fit in to Alice Cooper’s stage show, “Look Me In The Eye” has an almost Beatles or Enuff Z Nuff like feel to it whilst “Hearts In Trouble” features a great riff and I can imagine it working well in a film, it reminds me of Dogs D’Amour for some reason, but yet sounds nothing like them.

Ryan Roxie has created an album here that will be hard to date looking back on it as he has embraced little bits of the musical past and put it together in a solid and very listenable 10 songs. *****

Review by Nikk Gunns

Long-time Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie releases his debut solo album “Imagine Your Reality” later this month and I recently caught up with him to discuss this, amongst other things.

Your new album “Imagine Your Reality” is out soon, sell it to me in one sentence-Ten songs, ten guitar solos. Now tell me a bit more about the album-

Damn, that’s all I got. Ha ha ha. I guess I’m doing my part to nudge guitar driven music back to the forefront. I’m tired of award ceremonies and music awards being dominated by too many pairs of headphones, I wanted some more guitars in there and not laptops.

You’ve played with the likes of Slash, Alice Cooper and members of Cheap Trick, is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Another band that sort of pushes guitars on every album that they make and sort of carry that torch of rock and roll, I think, is the Foo Fighters. They have a very seemingly similar family vibe to their band dynamics as the Alice Cooper band has to his, and I like that fact. They really do look like they enjoy themselves up on that stage, as we do.

Your website features a play along section to help people learn guitar, who are the guitarists that inspired you?

Well, I’d say pound for pound, Brian May, just one of the best all round guitar players. His guitars have a different style, having a look and obviously writing the songs, and having the voice. Other guitar players that moulded me and sculpted me are guys who ike, always write songs and write solos to help out the songs, they don’t take over the song they actually compliment the song and collect great parts- guys like Neil Giraldo from Pat Benetar’s group, Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick , I’d say Elliot Easton from The Cars, names that are slightly under the radar. Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band, he’s known to have some colouring to his playing.

You’ve done radio, podcast and a webcast show- is there anything you’d like to turn your hand to that you haven’t yet?
Oh, streaking I guess. Ha ha ha.

You host parking lot meet and greets on tour, your fans obviously mean a lot to you?

Yes. I think that whenever there is an opportunity for other bandmates in Alice Cooper to come out and do it they will come out and they will be part of the parking lot. I’ve done it for so long now that it has just become a tradition and it’s almost as if I don’t, it’s like when you go to see a Pink show now- if she doesn’t fly around the audience like Tinkerbell, you’re gonna be disappointed.

I’m not trying to make our parking lots any more grandiose or hype them up any more than they are, it’s just a chance- I’ll be honest with you, it’s not just the fans getting a chance to meet me, it’s me getting a chance to feed off of their energy and to meet them, and to get hyped up for a show., because, I’ll be honest, backstage is not as wild and crazy as everybody says. I don’t care if you’re in the most controversial band in the world, in fact being in a controversial band you probably don’t even see each other before you go onstage. So usually backstage is quite tame and quiet but I wanna get pumped up for a show, and so the best way to do it to go out and meet the crowd before and see where their energy is at and usually people are pretty damned excited.

Are there any future plans for more albums from Casablanca and Roxie 77?

Never close the door on either of those bands because I’m best of friends with the boys in Roxie 77, in fact we just celebrated our bassist’s birthday the other night at a small little club in Stockholm and we had a good time having a sort of reunion gig. With Casablanca as well, the timing just hasn’t worked out for me to be part of another record but I would never close the door on it because I thought that the two records that I was a part of were really kick ass and I was happy with the end result, and I think pretty much everyone that was able to hear those records really understood that Anders Ljung is a very special frontman.

You’ve been one of Alice Cooper’s longest serving bandmates, did you look at Hollywood Vampires and think “F***!!!”?

Ha ha ha. I think that there’s a little bit of Hollywood Vampire in all of us, I actually feel that I am a Hollywood Vampire but by default because, in that sense that even though I haven’t toured with that band, they have come up on stage with us enough times that I understand the whole vibe and feeling of what it’s like to be in that situation. And I gotta say that night after night playing with those guys would be a hell of a ride but we also have a hell of a time playing that night after night with Alice Cooper.

Any message for your fans here in the UK?

You guys are my anchor to be honest with you. You guys are the home of Alice Cooper Sick Things. You’re the country that I am looking most forward to coming down and diving into pubs- I know there is a lot of them, and diving into clubs and doing a tour of the UK because I know you’ll all show up and then, when you guys do show up to the shows it’ll guilt the rest of Europe to coming out to our shows as well.


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: JAMES CHRISTIAN – Craving

JAMES CHRISTIAN - Craving

Frontiers [Release date 20.04.18]

Fourth solo album from House Of Lords frontman James Christian sees him work with a variety of songwriters including Tommy Denander (who also plays guitars, bass and keys), Cliff Magness (who has his solo album released on Frontiers this summer) and Richard Hymas.

It is a mixed bag, with opener ‘Heaven Is A Place In Hell’ a classy piece of up-tempo melodic hard rock, whilst ‘Wild Boys’ may not be deep lyrically yet it has a strong chorus. The title track shows off James Christian’s vocals to a tee, with Cliff Magness adding a couple of short but sweet guitar solos.

The album comes alive with the rockier tunes like ‘Sidewinder’ and ‘Black Wasn’t Black’ (House Of Lords guitarist Jimi Bell guests on this one), whereas the ballad ‘World Of Possibility’ seems to lack that bit of musical magic to make it a memorable song.

There are a few songs with religious overtones like ‘Jesus Wept’, a decent song and the keys save this one from being too run of the mill. ‘If There Is A God’ takes a West Coast AOR route and doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the album. The gentle ‘Amen’ closes the album and perhaps James Christian should do an album of religious themed songs? These songs don’t sit that well with the other songs about wild women and rock ‘n’ roll!

Always a pleasure to hear James Christian singing and although no where near as strong an album as ‘Meet The Man’, ‘Craving’ will satisfy his fans musical cravings (sorry couldn’t resist that one!). ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: ANTHRAX – Kings Among Scotland

ANTHRAX – Kings Among Scotland

Nuclear Blast  [Release date 27.04.18]

Hard to believe that it is 30 years since the release of the ‘Among The Living’ album from Anthrax. This was the album which spawned some of the band’s biggest songs and raised their profile to one of the ‘big four’ of thrash metal.

To celebrate this landmark the band embarked on a tour which included the playing of ‘Among The Living’ in its entirety. The guys brought along mics and a film crew to the Barrowlands in Glasgow to record the set for posterity and this album, coupled with the DVD release, perfectly captures Anthrax in full flight. The band clearly enjoy a Scottish crowd as Scott Ian also chose Glasgow as the venue to record his spoken word tour DVD a couple of years back.

The first half of the album is made up of a mixture of old classics and a few new numbers from the band’s last studio album ‘For All Kings’. ‘A.I.R’ and ‘Madhouse’ get things off to a good start in fine thrashing style. There are three tracks featured from the ‘For All Kings’ album including the excellent ‘Blood Eagle Wings’. The highlight for me in this first section though is ‘Be All, End All’ which is a personal favourite from the ‘State Of Euphoria’ album, thrash at its best.

We are then treated to the whole of the ‘Among The Living’ album including the big hitters ‘I Am The Law’ and ‘Indians’ along with hidden gems like the relentless riffing on ‘A Skeleton In The Closet’ and ‘Imitation Of Life’. The band were clearly having a ball throughout the set and the crowd reaction shows why the band wanted the DVD to be filmed in the Barrowlands, great venue, great crowd!

This is an excellent live album which is a must buy for any lovers of thrash metal. The combination of Anthrax, a set including one of the best thrash albums ever and a crowd of mad Scots has proved to be a winner, the title of ‘Kings Among Scotland’ is well deserved.  ****

Review by Dave Wilson


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: BULLETBOYS – From Out Of The Skies

BULLETBOYS - From Out Of The Skies

Frontiers [Release date 23.03.18]

I’ll be honest, I was never a huge fan of the Bulletboys , sure they were on my radar but that was about as far as it got. So when I saw that long term fans of the band had made statements such as new album “From Out of The Skies” should have been a Marq Torien solo record, or even given a new band name, it made me want to take a listen. What I found was a well-crafted and more modern sounding Bulletboys album but one that was still worthy of the band’s name.

The album opens with a strong trio of songs in “Apocalypto”, “D-Evil” and title track “From Out of The Skies”, and the same can be said of tracks “What Cha Don’t” and “Sucker Punch”. The album also contains a couple of more acoustic numbers in “Losing End” and “Switchblade Butterfly”, not bad songs by any means but just not what I was expecting, as was also the case with the more  lightweight “Hi Fi Drive By” which has an almost Enuff Z Nuff feel to it.

“Once Upon A Time” closes the album, almost in Bon Jovi territory the song is a strong one to finish on. “From Out of The Skies” is a good album with great songs and whether you prefer the Bulletboys of old or, like me, are more of a casual listener, I’m sure you will find something here for you. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns


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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Gig review: FOREIGNER – Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

The bets were on.  Would Mick Jones appear at this first UK date of a massive 40th anniversary world tour?  The omens weren’t good as four songs in the band played one of the massive “hits” (and somewhat ridiculous without their leader) “Waiting For A Girl Like You’.  But, thankfully, he appeared like a wise buddah for the song ‘That Was Yesterday’.  Sadly for Mick these tours must now be now be something of an endurance test as he’s not been in the best of health.

I’d bumped into photographer Steve Goudie at the outset and Steve thought that without Mick this is just a tribute band.  That may be a little harsh as the bulk of the band members have been together for a decade or more.  The issue might be that they’ve only made one new studio album together in that time – 2009′s ‘Can’t Slow Down’ – which effectively marked their millennium comeback.  But since then we have had endless permutations of the classic songbook – remixes, acoustic and, most recently, orchestral.

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

To cement a revival band, they not only have to have key original members (usually guitarist and/or vocalist, with respect to Thom Gimbel who has been with them off and on since the 1990s) but also have a few genuinely new albums under their belt with the current line-up.

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

Kelly Hansen does an excellent job on vocals but more than that he is a wonderful frontman and – like the rest of the band – animated and commanding.  He’s also engaging, whether it’s asking whether there are any wild women in the house prior to ‘Dirty White Boys’ or his “feel the lurve” rap prior to the anthemic ‘I Want To Know What Love Is.”

But these were just highlights amongst highlights.  Whilst it may be the same old safe setlist it is delivered with such energy and panache – and the songs are so memorable – we can forgive them.  And when Mick Jones walks out on stage – as previously in 2014 – the icing is firmly plastered on the already rather scrumptious cake.

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

But wait a minute.  Where’s Thom Gimbel?  As the mega hit jukebox progressed, there was a fear that one classic song would go without saxophone.  We are ok, because Gimbel is there on stage – he just looks like a refugee from a Lynyrd Skynyrd gig.  His sax solo on ‘Urgent’ was definitely one of the highlights tonight and he also showed himself to be Mr.Versatile switching easily from guitar to keyboards, flute to sax.  What a guy.

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

Band members Michael Bluestein (keys) and Chris Frazier (drums) – both allowed their time in the spotlight were also impressive, whilst Jeff Pilson is typically animated and engaged from start to finish.  Bruce Watson looking cool throughout in shades is an excellent foil on guitar and does some of the heavy lifting when Mick Jones is on stage.  I say some, because when Mick gets up his head of steam he can bash it out like the best of them, not least on the mammoth ‘Juke Box Hero’.

The gig rallied with the early tune ‘Long Long Way From Home’ followed by ‘I Want To Know..’ complete with a local school choir (who to be honest couldn’t be heard, but a nice touch nevertheless) and a final thrust of ‘Hot Blooded’.  2014′s gig was magnificent, 2018 may have even edged it.

John Parr - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

Special guests tonight John Parr and Joanne Shaw Taylor were hampered by very poor lighting.  Parr may seem a natural AOR fit and his short acoustic set was highlighted by a rousing version of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’ and of course ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ with Parr telling us the true inspiration for the song.  It made me think he’d be good on a small club tour with stories to tell.

Joanne Shaw Taylor - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

I was looking forward to Joanne Shaw Taylor but aside from the lighting issue I wondered whether the large stage really suited her and her band.  Last time I’d seen her in a smaller venue supporting Robin Trower and she really impressed.  Tonight she wasn’t helped perhaps by the choice of setlist in a pitifully economical timeframe with a longer, slower piece (‘Tried, Tested & True’) breaking the pace and impact.  Fortunately Joanne has her own tour dates this autumn when I am sure she will flourish.

Foreigner setlist
1. Double Vision 2. Head Games 3. Cold As Ice 4.Waiting For A Girl Like You 5. That Was Yesterday 6. Dirty White Boy 7. Say You Will  8. Feels Like the First Time 9. Urgent 10. Keyboard and Drum interlude 11. Juke Box Hero  Encore: 12. Long Long Way From Home 13. I Want To Know What Love Is 14. Hot Blooded

Review and photos by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Album review


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: LAST GREAT DREAMERS – 13th Floor Renegades

Ray Records [Release date 13.04.18]

Last Great Dreamers first surfaced in the UK in the 90′s, previously going under the name Silveheart and split in 1997, coming back to life again in 2014 with original members Marc Valentine (vocals/guitar) and Slyder (lead guitar/vocals) involved still. They are joined, on this their second album since reforming, by bassist Steve Fielding and drummer Denley Slade.

Musically they love a bit of Cheap Trick, 70′s glam rock and a little rock ‘n’ roll of the Quireboys variety. They successfully punk, pop and rock in one glorious mix. Be it ‘No Sunshine’ which sounds like a punked up Supergrass, a riff-tastic beast, or the summery pop of ‘I Think It Like’. Then they have a musical diversion with a the laidback ’For Your Information’ with added mandolin (courtesy of producer Pete Brown – son of Joe and brother of Sam, a family with musical pedigree), nodding at the Kinks in passing.

‘Speed Of Light’ would have been a radio hit back in the day, whilst ‘Miles Away’ is another gentle tune. That song is the exact opposite of ‘Primitive Man’ which sees the band back in the punk/power pop with attitude mode.

Closer ‘Going Home’ sees the band extend to six minutes and it is a heartfelt song that closes with glorious harmonies. Last Great Dreamers have plenty of variety in their musical arsenal and would be an ideal tour companion for Eureka Machines and the Dowling Poole.

How this band flew under my musical radar is a mystery, however I am glad that is rectified and the album is highly recommended for fellow lovers of pop rock with a punk attitude. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: SPOCK’S BEARD – Noise Floor

Inside Out [Release date 25.05.18]

Spock’s Beard return with their thirteenth album and it also marks the return of original drummer Nick D’Virgilio who guests on the album, after the previous drummer Jimmy Keegan left the band in 2016.

On this album vocalist and guitarist Ted Leonard, says: “We are always about evolution, not revolution. But what we have done this time is make the songs more melodic. We still love our crazy prog, but now appreciate how important it is to grab people’s attention early on.” They have also added in strings and a horn player to add further dimensions to their sound.

Opener ‘Days We’ll Remember’ sounds like a classic piece of 70′s era Kansas and what a glorious melody it contains. Further 70′s influences appear on ‘What Becomes Of Me’, where the bass of Dave Meros recalls the late, great Chris Squire and the song has a Yes feel. That’s not to say Spock’s Beard don’t have their own sound, as they come into their own on ‘Somebody’s Home’, where the aforementioned horn ushers in the song. Each band member adds to the musical delights, be it the guitar solo of Alan Morse or the organ/keys of Ryo Okumoto, who is on top form throughout the album be it on a solo or adding to a song’s rhythm with his Hammond playing.

Vocalist Ted Leonard has really come into his own on this album, be it on the gentle ballad ‘Bulletproof’ or ‘To Breathe Another Day’, which has a hint of his other band Enchant about it. Having Nick D’Virgilio back, even as a guest, seems to have pushed the band that much bit further musically and he slips into an easy groove with Dave Meros again.

They still do ‘crazy prog’ as they use their considerable musical talents on ‘Armageddon Nervous’. The bass and drums provide a steady backbeat to the guitar histrionics and amazing keys playing.

The real stand out for me though is ‘So This Is Life’, where the band take a little late 60′s Beatles and add some Pink Floyd approved guitar. Then we have the band’s trademark vocal harmonies and strings to produce a perfect song to appeal beyond the prog world. Creating wonderful and memorable progressive music does not mean songs have to be overly long or full of endless solos, the melody is key and Spock’s Beard nail that on this song, and indeed the rest of the album.

Spock’s Beard rarely disappoint and on ‘Noise Floor’ they have done it again, producing an album full of wonderful music to be enjoyed again and again. They wanted to go for a more melodic feel on the songs and it is job done. This album will be featuring on the year end ‘Best Of’ lists. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: SMOKING MARTHA – In Deep

SMOKING MARTHA - In Deep

Bad Reputation [Released date 25.05.18]

I’ll say one thing for our cousins ‘down under’.  They like a bit of female fronted raunch ‘n’ roll.  And there’ve been some great bands over the years – stretching back as far as Cheetah in the eighties, the excellent Baby Animals in the nineties, and more recent exponents like Shadowqueen and Thundermother.

Brisbane five-piece Smoking Martha look set to join that illustrious list of exports with their hard hitting debut, In Deep.  Originally released 12 months ago, it’s not clear why it’s getting a fresh push, but the original 10 track release in now appended by five well-polished demos stretching back as far as the band’s heavily Baby Animals influenced single ‘Sweet As Honey’ from the band’s self-titled 2014 debut EP.

While The Pretenders, No Doubt, and Pink are name checked as influences for the album, you can forget that – Smoking Martha have far more in common with the aforementioned Baby Animals and Halestorm.  And in particular, the more bombastic aspects of those bands’ material.

In lead singer Tasha Doherty, they have a singer who looks as good on camera as she sounds on record – sultry, smouldering, and fiery. The twin guitars of Mick Broome (lead) and Az Stonely (rhythm) hit hard, and the rhythm section Matty Mulheran (bass) and Jordon (drums) glue the whole thing nicely together.

It’s typically gritty, abrasive and sassy.  And, I’ll be honest, for the most part, not overly subtle.  Rarely do they take their collective feet off the gas, or turn their amps down from 11, which is a shame because you sense the band’s potential to crossover to the mainstream could be huge.

For me, it’s when a bit more subtlety is added to the mix on as on the catchy ‘Ebb Of The Tide’, and the acoustic-based ‘Baby Let Me Go’ that In Deep is most accessible.  Elsewhere the bluff and bluster, while impressively delivered is, perhaps, most likely to appeal to a teen (male) audience.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: LAURA MEADE – Remedium

LAURA MEADE - Remedium

Doone Records [Release date 18.05.18]

Anyone heard of New York-based progressive rock band Izz?  No, me neither, but they’re another in a long line of bands inspired by the pioneers such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, and Renaissance.

Laura Meade, one of the band’s two female vocalists, has now set sail with her maiden solo album, perhaps not so single-handedly as it features many of the band members – most notably multi-instrumentalist hubbie John Galgano on bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar, and drums, with cameos from Paul Bremner and Greg DiMiceli (electric guitar and drums, respectively on the mildly Genesis infused ‘Never Remember’), and Brian Coralian (drums on ‘Conquer The World’), as well as contributions from Randy McStine (electric guitar on ‘Sunflowers At Chernobyl’), Jason Hart (Renaissance, Camel) – keyboards and string arrangements on the shimmering ‘Irradiation’, and Greg Meade (other worldly electric guitar on the broody ‘What I See From Here’).

And an immensely fine piece of work it is too.  Combining Meade’s love of art rock and musical theatre, Remedium is not like most singer songwriter solo albums – there’s some wonderfully understated ‘progressive’ accompaniment that is quite stunningly delivered, and Meade’s vocals are in turn ethereal, operatic, and enthralling.

An incredibly mature, expansive, and ambitious release, it features extended pieces such as the mesmerising ‘Sunflowers At Chernobyl’, and the hypnotically majestic ‘Dragons’, alongside more familiar length three minute offerings like the acoustic ‘Home Movies’, and the playful ‘Conquer The World’.

But whether it’s long or short, progressive or simplistic, the playing, singing, and uncluttered production is head and shoulders above that you’ll hear on most releases with every note and nuance exposed and adding value.

The result is that Remedium shines like a beacon in a sea of has-beens, wannabes, and recycling.  An individualistic, innovative work of considerable beauty, it’s impossible to pigeon hole, or adequately describe, but, safe to say, it would sit more than comfortably next to Renaissance’s hugely impressive Symphony Of Light (2014).

Records you can listen to repeatedly and get something new out of on each listen come along infrequently in these mediocre times.  But Remedium just keeps on giving.  Simply sublime, and an album of the year contender, for sure.  *****

Review by Pete Whalley


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: MASS – When 2 Worlds Collide

Escape Music [Release date 25.05.18]

This is album number eight from Mass who have been making music since the mid-80′s. On this album the added keys/strings provided by Jeremy Heussi add another dimension to the band’s classy melodic hard rock sound.

Like many bands who have been around awhile, Mass touch on their past with ‘Some Time Ago’. A tale of young dreams and the sharks that lay await in the music business. It is has a great keys riff (shades of Whitesnake in it) that blends perfectly with the guitar and pounding rhythm section.

Shades of Whitesnake in the riff to ‘Only A Dream’, a big balls out rocker with a suitably OTT solo by guitarist Gene D’tria. ‘Just Can’t Deny’ is one for lovers of 70′s hard rock with its Hammond and guitar solos. Mass hail from Boston and this song is like Boston (the band) meets Deep Purple, superb stuff.

Stryper’s Michael Sweet adds a suitably fine guitar solo the big production ballad ‘Stand Alone’ – another song to benefit from added keys and orchestration. There is a piano led ballad on here as well in the shape of ‘Second Hand Rose’, which allows vocalist Louis St. August to have a break from the hard rocking singing elsewhere on the album.

Quite possibly the best album the band have done to date and that’s no mean feat as they have been consistently producing good music through the years. Melodic hard rock as it should be done and then some.  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: DEL BROMHAM BLUES DEVILS – Del Bromham Blues Devils Live

DEL BROMHAM BLUES DEVILS – Del Bromham Blues Devils Live

Self release [Release date 01.05.18]

Del Bromham Blues Devils Live’ does what it says on the tin. From the opening echo reverb and Robin Trower style guitar figure, we are dropped right into the middle of an evening of a hot sweaty club, caught up in the rapture of Bromham’s exuberance as he opens with Bobby Bland’s ‘This Time I’m Gone For Good’, and segues into ‘Fever’.

And just in case you were wondering this isn’t a Stray album in disguise, though it does have the same intensity and spirit that always  marks that latter day power trio out as good value.

Rather this live set is great example of Del Bromham’s broad based musical palette, in this case routed in the blues but not constricted by it.

It’s also something of an interim release prior to his new self penned album which promises a broader musical remit. This live release is a well thought out bluesy set that mirrors much of Bromham’s solo work in the last few years. He’s still got a locker full of riffs, but he welcomes the opportunity to work up some grooves and step outside of his Stray persona for a while.

It’s a rough-round-the edges release as befits a live club date, with plenty of room for spontaneity and the kind of banter that makes a gig the essential bread and butter of the music scene.

Given the first solo on the album is the sweeping organ of Simon Rinaldo you know you’re in for a soulful set, before Del tightens the focus with his enveloping tone and a mellifluous set in which everything fits perfectly.

He’s in his element on the riff driven ‘House Of Love’ and the melodic ‘Slave’ – on which the band eventually stretch out into a skanking middle section – and the jaunty piano-led ‘Aint Love A Wonderful Thing’.

It might have escaped your notice that Del also won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in the same company as the late Andy Fraser and Tony T.S. McFee, and here he relishes the chance to explore a broader musical environment.

He dips into his excellent ’9 Yards’ album for the riff driven ‘You Don’t Know How I Feel’,  and the with the descriptive narrative of ‘Ballad of JD’, complete with a jangling guitar tone and significant Hammond sweep.

There’s also room for a ripping slide-led version of the old Stray song ‘Going Back To Georgia’, which whoops the crowd into a frenzy and a low-down funky Latino intro to the extended ‘After The Storm’, which lands us right back in Stray territory.

The disguised intro paves the way for the self explanatory ‘Canned Heat Boogie’ and the southern rock influenced ‘Everybody Sometimes Has To Sing The Blues’ complete with additional harp.

He finishes with an expansive version of Steve Winwood’s ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ full of the archetypal wah-wah and a huge rock crescendo that brings a big response from the crowd.

He finishes with ‘Words’, which is given a buzz tone arrangement with an early Walter Trout style wall of sound, a huge Hammond break from Rinaldo  and a call and response section to send the crowd home happy.

‘Del Bromham Blues Devils Live’ is a rip-roaring blues party played with rock hard intensity and plenty of fun, in fact, all the ingredients that make for a great live album. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: DON AIREY – One Of A Kind

DON AIREY - One Of A Kind

earMUSIC [Release date 25.05.18]

Don Airey can be considered rock royalty and in a quiet sort of way, and in down time from his Purple “day job”, finds the time to release consistently excellent solo albums.  This is the successor to 2014′s excellent ‘Keyed Up’.

Like that album it’s as much a showcase for Airey’s fellow musicians most of whom are retained for this excursion. Vocalist Carl Sentance moonlighting from Nazareth and acquitting himself well away from McAfferty’s long shadow.  And erstwhile Snakecharmer guitar slinger Simon McBride also features.  McBride shines on the Gary Moore-esque ‘Remember To Call’ and makes a particularly good fist of ‘Still Got The Blues’ but more of that later.

The tunes reflect Airey’s musical inclinations, and a career playing with such alumni as Ritchie Blackmore and Ozzy.  There’s an uptempo Purple vibe on this offering, demonstrated on pieces like ‘Respect’ and ‘Stay The Night’.  But there’s also some experimentation, such as the almost metal ‘Victim Of Pain’ and the frenetic ‘Lost Boys’.  Together with a track like ‘Children Of the Sun’ Airey shows what Purple might be like if they fused with Judas Priest.

Standouts include the grind of ‘All Out Of Line’ and the deftly orchestrated title track.  ‘Everytime I See Your Face’ might hint at  ‘The Long & Winding Road’ but is nevertheless a good vehicle for Sentance’s softer underbelly.  ‘Need You So Bad’ is another big ballad but spiced with McBride’s muscular riffage and Airey’s fluent keyboard work whilst ‘Running Free’ would make a radio-friendly single.

But if you are also partial to a bit of hairy Hammond (and some spicy synth) ‘One Of A Kind’ should tick your box.  The album is padded out with a handful of bonus tracks (including Purple and Rainbow covers) recorded in Germany in 2017.  This is where McBride gets to pay tribute to one of his great influences, the great Gary Moore with whom Airey also collaborated.

On balance, perhaps not quite as diverse as ‘Keyed Up’ but in that respect certainly an album to excite latter-day Purple fans and surely one that will precipitate an outing if Don plays dates in his own right in the future.  ****1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Don Airey is a Featured Artist at Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

Album review (Keyed Up, 2014)


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Album review: DAVE GREENSLADE – Cactus Choir

DAVE GREENSLADE - Cactus Choir

Angel Air [Release date: 18.05.18]

While it’s done the rounds before, this is a timely reissue for ‘what Dave did next’ post-the winding up of his eponymous progressive rock ensemble.

The ex-Colosseum keyboards whizz  had recorded a quartet of acclaimed albums for Warner Bros. between 1972 and ’75, which along with other notables in the label’s somewhat neglected back catalogue are scheduled for reissue this year by Esoteric Recordings.

Free of hassling management, Dave pulled together unrecorded Greenslade material and set-to the following year assisted by contributing famous friends including bassist colleague Tony Reeves, Procul Harum’s guitarist Mick Grabham and Rare Bird vocalist Steve Gould.

The longer pieces summon something of the spirit of the likes of ‘Beside Manners Are Extra’. Notables are ‘Swings And Roundabouts’ which segues nicely into ‘Time Takes My Time’ and closer ‘Finale’, a crescendo piece with a satisfying build courtesy of Martyn Ford’s Orchestra, arranged here by Simon Jeffes.

Conversely, shorter items like ‘Pedro’s Party’ and jaunty ‘Country Dance’ are relatively lightweight, seemingly crying out “someone synch me to some telly, and make it fast!”

As if in response, bonus track TV theme ‘Gangsters’, with a characteristically overblown vocal from former Colosseum band mate, Chris Farlowe, marks the start of Dave’s successful 20-year run writing and recording music for the screen.

While it has its moments, the depth and heft of his band’s former glories are rather less evident on this solo effort, its makers staring down the barrel of punk as they recorded it.
***
Review by Peter Muir


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 14 May 2018

ANDY SUSEMIHL Dinosaurs (SM Noise Records)
4TH LABYRINTH This Is Rock N Roll (indie)
PERFECT PLAN Gone Too Far (Frontiers)
SPACE ELEVATOR Keep Waiting (SPV)
TRACEY BROWNE Hit The Road Running (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PRAYING MANTIS Gravity (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MASS When 2 Worlds Collide (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 TRACEY BROWNE The Doctrine Of Song (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 RIVER CITY PEOPLE – Say Something Good (1989)



Book review: JIM McCARTY with DAVE THOMPSON – Nobody Told Me: My Life With The Yardbirds, Renaissance and Other Stories

Jim McCarty with Dave Thmpson - Bobody Told Me

http://www.jamesmccarty.com/ 305 pages paperback ISBN 978-0-244-96650-8 [Publication date: May 2018] ‘Nobody Told Me’ is a suitably titled autobiography that documents the life and times of Jim McCarty, The Yardbirds founder member, drummer and rock and roll hall of fame inductee. … Continue reading

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Album review: PRAYING MANTIS – Gravity

Frontiers [Release date 11.05.18] Originally part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, albeit at the more melodic almost AOR end of the spectrum, Praying Mantis are still going strong. This new album is their 10th studio outing, 11 if you include … Continue reading

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Album review: MANSUN – Attack of the Grey Lattern

Kscope [Release date 08.06.18] Mansun’s ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ gets a 21st anniversary re-issue with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. This re-issue is remastered from the original multi-tracks and is available on all digital platforms and as a media book … Continue reading

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Gig review: JACK BRUCE: SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE – TRIBUTE CONCERT SCREENING – The Curzon, London, 14 May 2018

jack bruceposter HD

Introduced by Scottish DJ Edith Bowman who later anchors a Q&A session, the Kyla Simone Bruce directed ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is an aptly titled film. It represents the triumph of the collective spirit over potential adversity, as the musicians … Continue reading

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Album review: BLACK SABBATH – The Supersonic Years

‘ BMG [Release date 08.06.18] This is no ordinary reissue; for a catalogue that has been reissued more times stamps have first day covers, last year’s 8LP + crucistick box took reissues to a new sonic and packing level, and … Continue reading

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DVD review: THE MOODY BLUES – Days of Future Passed – Live

Eagle Vision [Release date 23.03.18] Over the past few years a number of bands that have been releasing records since the 1960’s have reached that impressive milestone that is celebrating 50 years of being together, the other side to this … Continue reading

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DVD review: IGGY POP – American Valhalla

Eagle Vision [Release date 06.03.18] “American Valhalla” tells the story of Iggy Pop and Josh Homme’s experiences creating Pop’s 2016 “Post Pop Depression” album. We get to watch the very inception of the album from idea to finished product, and … Continue reading

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Album review: RYAN ROXIE – Imagine Your Reality

Cargo When I look through my record collection there are not many other guitarists that feature as much as Ryan Roxie. Having recorded with the likes of Slash, Gilby Clarke, Electric Angels, Casablanca, Roxie 77, more than a few Alice … Continue reading

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Album review: JAMES CHRISTIAN – Craving

JAMES CHRISTIAN - Craving

Frontiers [Release date 20.04.18] Fourth solo album from House Of Lords frontman James Christian sees him work with a variety of songwriters including Tommy Denander (who also plays guitars, bass and keys), Cliff Magness (who has his solo album released … Continue reading

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Album review: ANTHRAX – Kings Among Scotland

ANTHRAX – Kings Among Scotland

Nuclear Blast  [Release date 27.04.18] Hard to believe that it is 30 years since the release of the ‘Among The Living’ album from Anthrax. This was the album which spawned some of the band’s biggest songs and raised their profile to … Continue reading

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Album review: BULLETBOYS – From Out Of The Skies

BULLETBOYS - From Out Of The Skies

Frontiers [Release date 23.03.18] I’ll be honest, I was never a huge fan of the Bulletboys , sure they were on my radar but that was about as far as it got. So when I saw that long term fans … Continue reading

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Gig review: FOREIGNER – Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

FOREIGNER - Manchester Apollo, 12 May 2018

The bets were on.  Would Mick Jones appear at this first UK date of a massive 40th anniversary world tour?  The omens weren’t good as four songs in the band played one of the massive “hits” (and somewhat ridiculous without … Continue reading

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Album review: LAST GREAT DREAMERS – 13th Floor Renegades

Ray Records [Release date 13.04.18] Last Great Dreamers first surfaced in the UK in the 90′s, previously going under the name Silveheart and split in 1997, coming back to life again in 2014 with original members Marc Valentine (vocals/guitar) and … Continue reading

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Album review: SPOCK’S BEARD – Noise Floor

Inside Out [Release date 25.05.18] Spock’s Beard return with their thirteenth album and it also marks the return of original drummer Nick D’Virgilio who guests on the album, after the previous drummer Jimmy Keegan left the band in 2016. On … Continue reading

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Album review: SMOKING MARTHA – In Deep

SMOKING MARTHA - In Deep

Bad Reputation [Released date 25.05.18] I’ll say one thing for our cousins ‘down under’.  They like a bit of female fronted raunch ‘n’ roll.  And there’ve been some great bands over the years – stretching back as far as Cheetah … Continue reading

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Album review: LAURA MEADE – Remedium

LAURA MEADE - Remedium

Doone Records [Release date 18.05.18] Anyone heard of New York-based progressive rock band Izz?  No, me neither, but they’re another in a long line of bands inspired by the pioneers such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, and Renaissance. Laura … Continue reading

Email This Page

Album review: MASS – When 2 Worlds Collide

Escape Music [Release date 25.05.18] This is album number eight from Mass who have been making music since the mid-80′s. On this album the added keys/strings provided by Jeremy Heussi add another dimension to the band’s classy melodic hard rock … Continue reading

Email This Page

Album review: DEL BROMHAM BLUES DEVILS – Del Bromham Blues Devils Live

DEL BROMHAM BLUES DEVILS – Del Bromham Blues Devils Live

Self release [Release date 01.05.18] Del Bromham Blues Devils Live’ does what it says on the tin. From the opening echo reverb and Robin Trower style guitar figure, we are dropped right into the middle of an evening of a … Continue reading

Email This Page

Album review: DON AIREY – One Of A Kind

DON AIREY - One Of A Kind

earMUSIC [Release date 25.05.18] Don Airey can be considered rock royalty and in a quiet sort of way, and in down time from his Purple “day job”, finds the time to release consistently excellent solo albums.  This is the successor … Continue reading

Email This Page

Album review: DAVE GREENSLADE – Cactus Choir

DAVE GREENSLADE - Cactus Choir

Angel Air [Release date: 18.05.18] While it’s done the rounds before, this is a timely reissue for ‘what Dave did next’ post-the winding up of his eponymous progressive rock ensemble. The ex-Colosseum keyboards whizz  had recorded a quartet of acclaimed … Continue reading

Email This Page