February 18, 2006

COPING WITH THE HEAVY LOAD

Last year didn’t bring much on THE BEATLES’ front, save for the albums by the two living Fabs and the “Concert For Bangla Desh” re-issue that wasn’t surrounded with a hype it deserved. So much for the George Harrison legacy, then. Yet there’ll be more this year, with several projects being in the works. The first one is a box set to house the remastered versions of all the late master’s Apple Records releases from 1968 to 1975 which, couple with the 2004’s box, “The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992”, will round up the entire Harrison catalogue. For those not too hooked on George, there’ll be a new career-spanning hits collection, although there’s no hint of inclusion of rare tracks as it was with the previous, 1989’s compilation, “The Best Of Dark Horse”. As for the videos, a DVD and CD are planned of the oft-bootlegged Hari’s only solo tour – in US, in 1974 – and, possibly, the “Anthology”, partly covered on “”The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992” DVD. Something to wait for, sure, but what about “Let It Be” DVD?

MEAT OF THE MOMENT

That’s always either accord or discord needed to produce a good chord, and ASIA are good at it. With the 1999 attempt of reunion having failed because of the rift between John Wetton and Geoff Downes – and Steve Howe wasn’t involved anyway, so the “original” tag seemed strange – now the quarreling parties are appeased, and the band’s 25th anniversary provided a great opportunity to get together again. At least, Wetton, Downes and Howe released the statement of intentions to record a new CD and DVD and tour the US this summer – but Carl Palmer who recently announced his solo tour said he’s not in it. Strange ways, indeed.

The fans of the current ASIA line-up have all the reasons for frustration, as the recently recorded album, “Architect Of Time”, has been shelved and related tour dates postponed. But what is for sure is Wetton & Downes’ “Icon Acoustic TV Broadcast” CD and DVD release on April 21st. An unplugged recording featuring ELO’s Hugh McDowell on cello, the CD will have the song “I Wish I Could Be In Your Bed “, a bonus track on the “Icon” album, while the DVD is to be augmented with Geoff and John interviews, behind the scenes footage and photo gallery. All in all, the content looks like this:

1. Heat Of The Moment
2. Voice Of America
3. Let Me Go
4. God Walks With Us
5. Sole Survivor
6. Meet Me At Midnight
7. The Smile Has Left your Eyes
8. I Lay Down
9. Open Your Eyes
10. Only Time Will Tell
11. Don’t Cry
12. In The End

STREET OF SCREAMS

A funny world it is: while the Joe Lynn Turner and Akira Kajiyama album, “Fire Without Flame”, previously available in Japan only, is being readied to hit the European shelves in May, Joe’s up to come up trumps with a new Japanese single, “The One”, a cover of THE BACKSTREET BOYS song. Is there “Undercover 3” in the works?

FROM THE LAND OF THE RISING

QUEEN + Paul Rodgers are busy with the upcoming American tour that will seem to see their collaboration through with no original recordings, but the “Return Of The Champions” CD and DVD fare well in the charts and the hearts. But there’ll be more of this than just the Sheffiled show preserved for posterity: March 29th is the release date for the “Super Live In Japan” double DVD, with the first disc comprising the October 27th, 2005 concert at Saitama Arena and second including unseen footage. The tracklist differs slightly from the “Champions” and features Brian May’s “Teo Torriate” with its Japanese chorus, the FREE masterpiece “Fire And Water” and, oddly, Freddie Mercury’s solo number, “I Was Born To Love You”. The release is said to be limited to Japan, but with a band like QUEEN, the rest of the world will undoubtedly get hold of it too. At least, the DVD will be available from the group’s online shop.

1. Reaching Out
2. Tie Your Mother Down
3. Fat Bottomed Girls
4. Another One Bites The Dust
5. Fire And Water
6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
7. Say It’s Not True
8. ‘39
9. Love Of My Life
10. Teo Torriate
11. Hammer To Fall
12. Feel Like Makin’ Love
13. Let There Be Drums
14. I’m In Love With My Car
15. Guitar Solo
16. Last Horizon
17. These Are The Days Of Our Lives
18. Radio Ga Ga
19. Can’t Get Enough
20. A Kind Of Magic
21. Wishing Well
22. I Want It All
23. Bohemian Rhapsody
24. I Was Born To Love You
25. The Show Must Go On
26. All Right Now
27. We Will Rock You
28. We Are The Champions
29. God Save The Queen

NINE SENSES, ONE MISSED LIFE

He was a legend in his own right, a major figure of the Canterbury scene, THE SOFT MACHINE member and formidable jazz saxophonist, but what Elton Dean will mostly be remembered for is for lending his name to Reginald Dwight. There’s a sad irony in that the other name-lender to Elton John, Long John Baldry, who Dean played with in THE BLUESOLOGY in the ’60s, has passed away last year – and now, on February 7th, Dean has followed his friend to immortality, aged 60. The list of his works is endless, with a couple of past-Millenium releases, "Bar Torque"  and  "Abracadabra", seeing a renewed interest in the man. Elton will be much missed. As for the gap in THE SOFT MACHINE LEGACY ranks, his shoes are filled by Theo Travis.

THE SWEET MEN CAN’T BE HUNG

The popularity they deserved has always escaped THE STRAWBS but, if anything, the band can grab a footnote in the history of rock as a launchpad for both Sandy Denny and Rick Wakeman. For the keyboard wiz, the hype started with the “Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios” album recorded in July 1970 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. A taster of what the band were like live, it had been been the only live recording from that period for years, but March 6th will see another one out, called“Recollection”, more faithful to the real concert experience of the great collective that Dave Cousins still steer firm.

1. We’ll Meet Again Sometime
2. Or Am I Dreaming?
3. Song Of A Sad Little Girl
4. That Which Once Was Mine
5. Fingertips
6. The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
7. Temperament Of Mind
8. Josephine, For Better Or For Worse
9. The Antique Suite
i The Reaper
ii We Must Cross The River
iii Antiques And Curios
iv Hey, It’s Been A Long Time
10. The Battle
11. Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth?
12. Dance On

A little later, on March 27th, maestro Wakeman will release a new album, “Retro”, that’s said to be “using some of the instruments from his early albums” whatever it may mean.

1. Just Another Day
2. Mr. Lonely
3. One In The Eye
4. Men In Suits
5. Leave The Blindfold
6. Waveform
7. Retrospective
8. Homage To The Doctor
9. Can You Smell Burning?
10. The Stalker

SOMETHING TO SINK TEETH IN

It was while working on a project with Joe Walsh and Nicky Hopkins back in 1994 that Frankie Miller suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and has been ill ever since. Yet so many miss the great Scottish warbler – a triple tribute album released a couple of years ago, with Rod Stewart, NAZARETH and Maggie Bell on it, being the proof – that the news of his new record, due out on February 27th are met with a great delight. Titled “Long Way Home”, it involves Joe on guitar, the now late Nicky on piano, and Ian Wallace on drums and features previously unreleased material recorded in the ’90s including “You’re The Star”, a 1995 hit for Rod, and “Over The Line” co-written with Will Jennings and covered by THE BELLAMY BROTHERS. A decent addition to the singer’s recently remastered catalogue. Isn’t it time for a live recording now?

1. Guilty Of The Crime
2. Win Lose Or Draw
3. You Always Saw Blue Skies
4. Loving Too Easy
5. He’ll Have To Go
6. You’re The Star
7. Over The Line
8. The Rose
9. Baton Rouge
10. Lies Tell The Best Truth Of All
11. It’s a Long Way Home

THE PINK ISLANDER

Live 8 will always be remembered for one thing, the PINK FLOYD reunion. It was a one-off event, and a new collaboration is out of question. And, it seems, another threesome’s album, too. The closest thing to it is David Gilmour‘s tour of England that involves Rick Wright and is to bolster the guitarist’s new album, “On An Island”, out on March 6th. That’s Gilmour’s first since 1984’s “About A Face”. About time, really! The line-up is stellar: besides David and Richard onboard are, among others, Andy Newmark on drums, Jools Holland on piano, Phil Manzanera on – of all things! – keyboards, BJ Cole on guitar and Robert Wyatt on cornet. The title track features two marvellous singers, David Crosby and Graham Nash. Oh well!

1. Castellorizon
2. On An Island
3. The Blue
4. Take A Breath
5. Red Sky At Night
6. This Heaven
7. Then I Close My Eyes
8. Smile
9. A Pocketful Of Stones
10. Where We Start

SHINE ON BRIGHTLY

It looks like Ken Hensley is to challenge URIAH HEEP in the DVD department, as 2004’s “The Wizard’s Diary” is followed soon by “Live Fire” recorded last year during Ken’s tour of Scandinavia and feauturing THE VIKING ALL-STARS BAND, totally unknown to the outside world. Among the extras are documentary footage and several interviews. As for the main feature, the concert runs like this:

1. Intro
2. Out Of My Control
3. July Morning
4. Stealin’
5. Give Me A Reason
6. The Return
7. Cryin’
8. The Wizard
9. I Close My Eyes
10. The Last Dance
11. Easy Livin’
12. Lady In Black
13. Tell Me
14. Gypsy

SECOND CHANCE

Steve Hackett‘s “Live Archive” project is a glorious one. the one that keeps fans more than happy between the guitarist’s new releases. Still, what has followed after the original box set were recordings from the current tours. Now, thankfully, the rich back seam is being mined with “Live Archive 83” released on February 20th. The 1983 tour was Hackett’s first without electronics, the first in the now usual for Steve acoustic mode, though not in trio but in duo format with brother John on flute. The bulk of the record comes the November 4th show in Edinburgh with gaps filled in with pieces committed to tape later that same month at Swansea.

1. Calmaria
2. Hands Of The Priestess
3. Jacuzzi
4. The Barren Land
5. Tales Of The Riverbank
6. Second Chance
7. Oriental Improvisation
8. Petropolis
9. Kim
10. The Water Wheel
11. Concert For Munich
12. The Journey
13. Ace Of Wands
14. A Cradle Of Swans
15. Jazz On A Summer’s Night
16. Horizons
17. Time Lapse At Milton Keynes
18. Bay Of Kings

February 18, 2006

Category(s): News

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