Peter Banks’ EMPIRE: the lost strike

November 20, 2014

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It was in 1973, when Peter Banks parted ways with Ray Bennett and the other lads in his other band, FLASH, that the former YES guitarist and singer Sidonie Jordan came up with EMPIRE, a new prog rock formation destined to deliver three albums and be gone but not forgotten. Following Peter’s passing in March 2013, there’s been a slew of archival releases featuring his playing, and now that ensemble’s previously unheard cuts are to add to this cache. “The Mars Tapes” documents EMPIRE’s stint at LA’s Mars Studios in 1979, around the time of their “Mark III” LP, and catches them in rehearsal – presumably, gearing up for a tour as the 2CD features material from all of their records.

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COLOSSEUM side with the times

November 18, 2014

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It’s been more than a decade since British progressive blues giants COLOSSEUM delivered their last album, 2003’s “Tomorrow’s Blues,” and for years it seemed to be just that: their last one ever. The band lost their founder member, sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith a year later, ten years ago, and although Barbara Thompson was the best replacement imaginable, the prospect of a new record felt feeble. Yet Jon Hiseman has steered his ship to it, and November 24th will see “Time On Our Side” released, with Dave Greenslade, Mark Clarke, Chris Farlowe and Clem Clempson also on top form.

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Frankie Miller receives a city honours

November 18, 2014

Frankie Miller with the Lord ProvostOn October 31st, Frankie Miller, one of the best Scottish singers whose voice was sadly silenced 20 years ago as a result of a brain hemorrhage, accepted the Lord Provost’s Award for performing arts at Glasgow’s City Chambers. It’s the first official recognition of Miller’s merits, even though there have been some musical ones, including a tribute album that featured the likes of Rod Stewart and NAZARETH as well as Frankie’s friend and co-writer Andy Fraser who’s also on the two most recent projects.

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Beau to help Dandelion bloom

November 15, 2014

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Trevor Midgley, widely known as Beau, was championed by John Peel back in the day, who signed the singer-songwriter to his Dandelion Records where the artist released such cult classics as "Creation". The label stopped in 1973 but now there’s Dandelion Radio that’s been carrying the torch since 2006, with Beau one of its guests and avid supporters. It was logical, then, that Trevor would play there and decide to release some of his sessions to help wit their running costs. Out now as a download-only offer, “Recorded @ Rocker’s” contains live versions of songs from two of Midgley’s albums, "Edge Of The Dark" and "Fables & Façades", and is available at a nominal price of £2.00 – yet one can play more for the radio sake.

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