Album review: KEN HENSLEY – Rare & Timeless

In this exclusive non-broadcast extract Ken Hensley chats to Pete Feenstra about pre-Uriah Heep and beyond.  The full version of this interview was first broadcast on Sunday 18 March 2018 on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, repeated Thursday 22 March at 23:00 GMT. (1:43)

KEN HENSLEY - Rare & Timeless

BMG [Release date 30.03.18]

Hensley’s name will forever be associated with Uriah Heep, with whom he found fame as a keyboard player, occasional guitarist and vocalist, and primary song writer, during the 70s. A member of pre-Heep bands The Gods and Toe Fat, he performed on and wrote or co-wrote many of the bands biggest hits, including ‘Free Me’, ‘Lady In Black’, ‘Look At Yourself’ and ‘Easy Livin’.

Post Heep, solo work aside, he has also worked with Blackfoot, John Lawton and WASP, amongst others.

This new album collects a some of Hensley’s best solo work, some previously unreleased work, and re-workings of a Uriah Heep classic or two.

Here the emphasis is on the songwriting and production more than rocking out, as opener ‘Free Me’ shows – the sweeping strings are a nice touch and go well with the strumming. The vocals are big (but will never match Byron or Lawton), and the track has some wonderful melodic moments. ‘Send Me An Angel’ starts more atmospheric and even when it builds and gets heavier, it has that drifting by feel, even as a power-ballad.

There are some great piano and guitar moments, ‘If I Had The Time’ a classic example. The reworkings of the Heep tracks are interesting and in places take quite a different angle, but the rest of the work is of more interest to fans of his solo work and completists.

Some of the tracks, no matter how good the guitar and keyboards, were just a little too whimsical for me, even when powered/heavied up by the production. Even so, it’s really enjoyable and the Heep connection adds a bonus. Lovely package with digipak and Ken annotated booklet. ***1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

Gig review (February 2018)





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