HARD FOR SOFT
SOFT MACHINE LEGACY is exactly that: a collective of old machine associates – John Etheridge on guitar, Theo Travis on reeds, Roy Babbington on bass and John Marshall on drums. Their last studio album, "Steam", saw the light of day five years ago and featured original machinist Hugh Hopper who since then passed away. But the next one is ready for release in 2012 via – who else? – MoonJune Records.
BILL’S TO COME
One may wonder whether Billy Sherwood ever catches a sleep. Just recently, the man put out a solo album and a PROG COLLECTIVE gathering of tribesmen, released a SUPERTRAMP tribute and readied the one dedicated to STEVE MILLER BAND, plus joined NEKTAR for a new CD and tour, but now he has more project in the pipe.
To his own surprise, Sherwood landed a producer, player and co-writer roles for the next musical album of his idol William Shatner. Having issued a covers collection this year, featuring the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, the cosmic-minded actor can’t stop, and Billy seems like a best match for a marathon like that, with guests bonanza.
What has been pressed in such vein now, though, is a Sherwood-helmed eponymous album by THE FUSION SYNDICATE, a collection of original fusion compositions delivered by Billy’s usual suspects including Rick Wakeman who were joined this time around by the genuine jazz rock meisters, among them Larry Coryell and Billy Cobham to name just two. Expect review any day soon. Here’s the full roll of the participants:
|1. Random Acts Of Science – Rick Wakeman, Jerry Goodman, Nik Turner, Jimmy Haslip
2. Stone Cold Infusion – Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess, Mel Collins, Colin Edwin, Billy Cobham
3. Molecular Breakdown – Jay Beckenstein, Billy Sheehan, Gavin Harrison, David Sancious
4. Particle Accelerations – Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian, Eric Marienthal, Chester Thompson
5. At The Edge Of The Middle – Steve Morse, Jim Beard, Randy Brecker, Percy Jones
6. Atom Smashing – John Etheridge, Tony Kaye, Chad Wackerman
7. In The Spirit Of – Steve Hillage, Scott Kinsey, Theo Travis, Justin Chancellor, Asaf Sirkis
HUNTER AND HIS GAME
There’s hardly a rock aficionado in this world who hasn’t heard a track featuring Steve Hunter. His guitar sounds on hits by such stellar artists as David Lee Roth, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper but, due to his deteriorating sight, Steve has doubts as to whether he’ll be able to tour again. Cue another solo album to join a beautiful string of records including fusion-fest “Swept Away” and spiritual “Hymns For Guitar”. The new one is to be called “Manhattan Blues” and to be financed via Steve’s Kickstarter page. Well, “to be” isn’t appliable here, as the veteran has reached the target goal and donations already exceeded the $5,000 mark. Looks like the fans are glad to take part in Hunter’s project more than snatch the prizes he promised – among those are memorabilia signed by Steve and Coop – so now he’s ready to boost the initial format for the album and make it truly special. Join in the fun, then.
CELESTIAL AND MUNDANE
One of the most interesting hard rock projects of 1999 was Stuart Smith‘s "Heaven And Earth", a star-guest-strewn solo album which, a year later, turned into an eponymous band who, after their only album, folded. For various reasons, including the family ones, Stuart joined Steve Priest’s version of SWEET but left, having notch a live record with them, although it looks like the group laid down some new material in the studio. Yet Smith moved on for good – to revive HEAVEN AND EARTH with his old pal Richie Onori on drums, stellar bassist Chuck Wright, keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum whose CV includes Joe Bonamassa and another SWEET refugee Joe Retta on vocals. The quitet’s new album is practically ready, and their new site to be followed is here.
ASHES TO ASHES
While many assume that the RENAISSANCE story started when their touring guitarist Michael Dunford invited Annie Haslam into the fold, the real start happened a couple of years earlier when THE YARDBIRDS split to give birth not only to LED ZEPPELIN but also to this classically-based outfit. With Keith Relf sharing vocals duties with his sister Jane, and Jim McCarty presiding over songwriting, the first incarnation of the ensemble, which produced two albums, was no less interesting than the later one. It’s just there’s not much live documents from that era. Yet a couple of years ago, a DVD came out with the original line-up in concert mode, and now a collection of stage documents arrives, titled “Past Orbits Of Dust”. That’s what’s inside, and it looks like well worth adding to any collection:
|1. Kings & Queens – Helsinki 30.5.69
2. Bullet – Helsinki, 30.5.69
3. Innocence – New York, 20.2.70
4. Wanderer – Cincinnati, 25.2.70
5. Face Of Yesterday – London, 26.3.70
6. No Name Raga – San Francisco, 6.3.70
7. Island – Montreux, 30.4.70
8. Kings & Queens – Stockholm, 14.9.69
9. Statues (1970, unreleased studio song)
GOT TO GIVE IT UP
Finally, they’re doing the decent thing! A band who dared call themselves THIN LIZZY decided to put an end to this travesty and embrace the fact there can be no use of the name if Phil Lynott’s not around to lead it. The bunch have a new studio album in store, but the moniker it’ll appear under is yet to be announced.
Over the last four decades TANGERINE DREAM have been traversing a course of their own, but now, what with the line-up featuring female singers, Edgar Froese’s institution succumbed to the omnipresent interpretation trend and picked their fave songs to record. The band’s umpteenth album, titled rather flat “Under Cover”, out now, corrals some obvious and some quite unexpected choices, of special interest being the pieces by their fellow quasi-Krautrockers KRAFTWERK and progressive co-runners FLOYD. Stupid yet teasing.
|1. Cry Little Sister (Gerard McMann)
2. Everybody Hurts (REM)
3. Precious (DEPECHE MODE)
4. Space Oddity (David Bowie)
5. The Model (KRAFTWERK)
6. Wicked Game (Chris Isaak)
7. Hotel California (EAGLES)
8. Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)
9. Heroes (David Bowie)
10. Forever Young (ALPHAVILLE)
11. Iris (GOO GOO DOLLS)
12. Norwegian Wood (THE BEATLES)
13. Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
14. Wish You Were Here (PINK FLOYD)