They were a very short-lived supergroup, NATURAL GAS, whose ranks listed such luminaries as BADFINGER’s Joey Molland, COLOSSEUM’s Mark Clarke and HUMBLE PIE’s Jerry Shirley. The band’s sole, self-titled LP, out in 1976, didn’t find a lot of exposure, and inner tensions caused the ensemble to fold, but not before the quartet embarked on a little tour. That track brought forth a fine audience recorded, from Detroit, where they played “Cobo Arena” on August 17th, opening for Peter Frampton, and it’s this bootleg that will be officially received as “Live From The Vault” on September 20th, 2018.
There wasn’t a lot if imagination in the title of CURVED AIR‘s sophomore record, out in 1971, which can’t be said about the music it contains, particularly “Back Street Love” that would become one of the staples in the band’s repertoire and one of fans’ favorites. The LP as a whole tends to be overlooked, though, but this pattern may change after August 24th, when “Second Album” will be released anew as part of the ensemble’s reissue programme on Esoteric Recordings. Remastered by their guitarist and keyboard player Francis Monkman, it’s also expanded to include a few bonus tracks preserved for BBC One and a collection of the art-rockers television appearances on the DVD. A worthy addition to any collection.
The great Jon Hiseman has died this morning, aged 73. A genuine gentleman, he was as sharp and warm as his drumming was, and taking care of people seemed to be as natural for him as taking care of business did. For Hiseman, those aspects never existed separately, though, as Jon, being an accountant by original trade, made sure his colleagues, past and present, received their due in timely manner. As for music…
“When I play the music I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve always been able to work like that,” Jon told me once. “I’ve always had a clear vision of what I wanted to do in terms of knowing what was right. What you do when you get on the stage always seems to work somehow, and that’s the least problem for me.”
Those who think of John Sloman as of lightweight champion of hard rock – the perception based on his role as a front man for LONE STAR and URIAH HEEP – miss out on the veteran’s experience as a singer-songwriter par excellence. There’s always been more to John’s talent – what with his playing keyboards, not only vocalizing, with Gary Moore – so the title of his solo debut, the Todd Rundgren-produced 1989’s “Disappearances Can Be Deceptive…” (which is a sign of Sloman’s success as a composer), seemed quite telling. Yet, from 2003’s “Dark Matter” on, his oeuvre became somber and deeper, the artist’s participation in the “Occupy” movement revealing his political stance, and "Don't Try This At Home" is John’s masterpiece. Still, all of this, emotional as it were, didn’t feel very personal – unlike Sloman’s new record which will be released on May 30th.
Throughout their 40-odd-years’ career, U.K. SUBS always found a way to surprise their listener and never be boring. If there’s been anything predictable about this band, it was high-octane punk performance and alphabet-running record titles. Yet, with “Z” already in the past, the veterans’ creativity should find a new outlet, and while 2016’s "Friends & Relatives" delved into the ensemble’s family tree, “Subversions” which will be released on June 22nd, is a covers album. Among the pieces given the SUBS overhaul – as the title suggests – are not only such obvious choices as “1969” and “Kick Out The Jams” but also unexpected cuts like pieces from QOTSA’s repertoire or from the group’s colleagues SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS’ cache of songs. So yes, surprises are still abound.