Ariola 1979 / Angel Air 2016
Loose Wheel’s solo roll into the land of lyrical detail and everlasting love.
Gerry Rafferty’s fame might have eclipsed the brilliance of his partner in STEELERS WHEEL – even though it was Joe Egan starring in the “Stuck In The Middle With You” video – but the latter always possessed the same sort of observational wit and poignant romanticism. A pity, then, that Egan’s individual output is so meagre: only two LPs, this one being Joe’s first. After a 3-year embargo on venturing out of the band’s shadow, it’s no wonder the album’s permeated with a spirit of freedom which runs from opener “Back On The Road” to the title track’s finale, and from ruminative mood to exultancy.
For the most part, the songs ooze an understated joy drenched in sensual orchestration yet leaning towards country-rock’s wind of adventure – full of soft harmonies, “Freeze” wouldn’t sound out of place on an EAGLES record – so there’s a nice balance between delicate pining of “Natural High” and the communal delight of “The Last Farewell” where Gallagher and Lyle join in. But while a vaudeville whiff in “Ask For No Favours” and the bluesy call-and-response in “Pride” bridge this gap with a mischievous smile, “Why Let It Bother You” wraps a worry into a sweet skank, and “No Time For Sorrow” dries any occasional tear which fogs Egan’s eyes. Still, it’s “Leaving It All Behind” that rocks with a righteous resolution and arresting abandon, as befits an artist who’s just cut loose and is having the time of his life.
An obscure gem of Scottish rock, the album has long been up for rediscovery; now it’s time to love it.