Arista 1983 / Angel Air 2014
Guitar potentate pretender’s deliciously flawed debut – expanded to all its full-length glory.
Robin George could have been an ultimate poster boy with a stringed axe, a Peter Frampton for the ’80s, if not for bad luck that kept him away from the spotlight. It all started here, with the guitarist’s bid to create a titular timepath for himself, while taking his time sculpting this album, one that never was, sporadically, from 1979 to 1981, and then handing it to the label who, after a two-year limbo during which Robin joined David Byron, cut the record down to a 12-inch EP. So even though George’s visage graced the cover of “Kerrang!”, the brilliance of his debut got lost in the stardust sprinkled over new versions of some of the songs as released on singles and some put out on the artist’s first official longplay, 1985’s "Dangerous Music".
The basis of this brilliance lies in the album’s holistic sensation as it hangs in between sugar-coated heavy riffs of “Heartline” on one hand, and, on the other, reggae skank that crawls under the folky balladry of “Run In The Dark” and the falsetto-finessed “Too Late” to connect conceptually with “Daylite” and its multi-layered, 7-minute punch. “This Time” rolls the acoustically tinted glitterball further still, whereas George, not the best of vocalists, injects funky jive into the awkward anthem of the title track to find cosmic trajectories for an array of short solos. Later, its “got to be strong” message manifests itself in the transparent harmonies of “Go Down Fighting” which Ted Nugent co-wrote and eventually covered and which is underpinned in its original form by Robin’s fellow Black Country lads, drummer Dave Holland and organist Terry Rowley, both of TRAPEZE fame, while the most famous guest on the grooves, adding up to the “Showdown” bass belligerence, is Phil Lynott. Yet it’s Mel Collins’ sax that elevates the rocking behind “She Really Blew My Mind” and it’s “Castles In The Sky” that offers the slinkiest elegance before the dramatic “Charlotte Starlight” takes its classically-inspired instrumental flight to the celestial realms.
One can’t rewrite history but setting its straight is a noble mission, and it’s finally accomplished here and now.