The Store For Music [Release date 29.11.19]
This double live set from March 1980 is a welcome return to the catalogue for a jazz fusion supergroup with blues edges and occasional folk into artsy tinged vocals from Bruce.
The important thing about a re-issue like this is to check the date of the show to get a handle on the musical environment of the time, and Bruce’s penchant for jazz rock provided him with a safe haven in an era where he had just lost his last major deal.
‘The Bottom Line Archive’ is worth re-examining if only to glory in Bruce majesty. His singing is consistently superb and his frenetic bass playing is the catalyst for some sparkling band interplay. In fact the best moments here may be fleeting, but they are worth waiting for.
There’s the band’s imperious jamming on the otherwise awkward rhythmic changes of ‘Post War’, which don’t sound any better now than they did back in 1971 on the ‘Harmony Row’ album. There’s also a couple of mighty solos from guitarist Clem Clemson, of which his outrageous tone on ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ and his more measured solo alongside Jack’s superbly sung ‘Theme From An Imaginary Western’ are truly memorable.
The band’s slip into some lighting runs in the middle of the meandering ‘Bird Alone’, on an extended piece that manges to capture all the ensemble’s salient musical elements in one song, including a Billy Cobham drum solo clocking in at just under 7 minutes!
The band also benefits from the weighty presence of keyboard player David Sancious who smooths out the rough edges of ‘White Room’ and is the perfect foil for Clemson’s stinging solo.
Sancious switches from accompanist to soloist with some ethereal tones on the ‘The Loner’. It’s a film theme sounding instrumental that was originally penned by Bruce and Clemson for Cozy Powell.
Sancious also doubles up on guitar to trade frenzied licks with Clemson on ‘Politician’, while Bruce and Cobham glue everything together mellifluously.
The band is inspired on Billy Cobham’s signature instrumental ‘Spectrum 4’, before they redress the balance with an exquisite version of ‘Childsong’, a hidden Bruce gem, on which the band revisits a similar reggae tinged groove heard earlier on ‘Post War’.
Inevitably they leave us with a ripping ‘Sunshine Of your Love’ on which all 3 front line players fatten the riff.
‘The Bottom line Archives’ is a well played, well recorded and rocks hard. The brilliant band sounds like they are having fun, even if the set offers us little in the way of clues as to Bruce’s future musical direction at the time. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra
The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.
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 26 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 28 September 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TAO Prophecy (Tarot Label Media)
12:00-13:00 LEVERAGE Above The Beyond (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JOE TILSTON Tightrope (Our Records)
Power Plays w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ABOVE SNAKES Nothing To Lose (indie)
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS Cookin’ (Greenway Records)
LEADFINGER The Fall Of Rome (Golden Robot)
FEMEGADES Stealing Numbers (Regent Street Records)
TIGERSIDE Any Contact (indie)
INDYA Love Like Champagne (indie)
EDGE OF DESTINY Forsaken (indie)
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