It’s impossible not to love Lee Kerslake, this big-hearted bear of a man, and it’s impossible not to respect him – not only for the parts that made best albums by URIAH HEEP, with whom Lee served more than three decades, and Ozzy Osbourne, whom Kerslake helped start a solo career, so special, but also for his uncompromising attitude to whatever the veteran has to deal with, be it a professional situation or medical condition.
The drummer knows he’s living on borrowed time, battling cancer (and embracing remission at the time of our latest chat), yet this seemed to have spurred Lee’s creativity, resulting in an album under his own name and an accompanying documentary, both to be out soon, and heightened Kerslake’s sense of his value, of the status he deserves. He accepts and projects it with the usual dignity, while remaining the free spirit he’s always been – it’s an indelible part of his character, as is Lee’s ability to face adversity.
It takes a lot of taste and talent to be covering Anthony Phillips‘ music, yet ROCKING HORSE MUSIC CLUB have these qualities in spades, which is why the American collective decided to deliver the English composer’s music on a follow-up to their debut, “Every Change Of Seasons” from 2018. Titled “Which Way The Wind Blows” and scheduled for an October 11th release, this tribute album not only showcases the abilities of the band members but also welcomes their hero’s admirers and friends such as Steve Hackett, Ant’s successor in GENESIS, and his brother John, who recorded with Phillips, as well as Noel McCalla, former Manfred Mann‘s sidekick, and SUPERTRAMP’s John Helliwell.
Even though DBA, or DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION, had been designed a a studio only project, in September of 2018 Geoff Downes and Chris Braide decided to take their oeuvre to the stage, their first concert taking place in, of all places, Sheffield Green, East Sussex. It’s presumably there that “Live In England” – a 2CD/DVD set, scheduled for November 29th release – was recorded. Strange, but while there are many songs from "Skyscraper Souls" and its predecessor "Suburban Ghosts" – the duo’s third and second albums – there’s not a single piece from 2012’s "Pictures Of You" which was the band’s debut. Compensating for such an explicable set list would be a couple of ASIA cuts delivered as encores, and a certain BUGGLES perennial.
1976 saw BE-BOP DELUXE ride high: after "Sunburst Finish" proved to be successful, Bill Nelson and his band were determined to make hay, and that album’s successor “Modern Music” saw the light of day a mere seven months after their third LP. More streamlined than the quartet’s previous records, it was almost as brilliant, if less adventurous than “Futurama”(detailed here; not available for review), and pieces such as “Twilight Capers” – a sequel of sorts to “Jets At Dawn” and “Ships In The Night” – made America notice the group. So there’s a nice logic in giving the reissue of this effort a usual deluxe treatment: a box set and a 2CD versions will be out on December 6th via Esoteric.
Pushing boundaries while remaining faithful to tradition is what Brian Auger does. Even now, at 80. And he’s still having fun doing it.
We spoke shortly before the artist’s four-score anniversary, prior to his show that might blow the roof off the club Brian’s ensemble inhabited for the evening, and you should know: Auger carries on touring with no care of what category the listeners place him in. It’s all music, says the legendary performer.