Album review from the mighty John Dexter Jones ❤️👍
He was metal you know. They were metal. 80s proper metal. New Wave of it. They’ve still got
their umlaut. They rocked the Marquee, and Baz kept on rocking, and he played with the
bloke from Quo in that Quo, and he had wit and verve, and the music was in him.
I knew him from the days of The Pegasus. Music meets playing Who’s Who in the back-
room of a place that looked a lot better under the subdued light and the mirror-ball, than it
did in the cold light of day. And we hit it off. Two the same. Upfronters. Actually not so
upfront in reality. I didn’t see him for years, but social media re-connected us, and then it
took a death to put us together in the same room. Les Payne had passed. That was an era.
Les brought so many people together. And like that thing everyone says about old friends -
you just start talking and decades dissolve. He told me a story at that funeral. Told me it
was nailed on to be his. But it wasn’t. No way. He survived. The story he told was honest,
graphic, wrenching, and left nothing out. About illness, about state of mind. About truth and
This is a thoughtful album. It’s not too long, it carries no baggage, it makes no pretence, its substance is the mortal remaining, not the divine intervention.
You ride this album. You get on it and take its trip. You rock and roll down the A4 with an open-face, on a Wednesday Evening, you slow right down at the lights, you stop in a lay-by for reflection, a fag, or a cup of tea, and you KNOW that this isn’t ‘just’ the blues, it isn’t ‘just’ that beautiful connection with music that feels so familiar. It’s more than that.
But why is he telling us these things. Loads of people get High. So what? But what High is he talking about? Everyone loves to see her in the morning. So what? But who does he love to see? Why is he telling us this? People write songs about their sisters. Yeah. But what sister are we talking here? All the while as you listen to Baz, something in the back of your mind won’t settle. What if some of these songs had come from somewhere beyond the fucking pale? From a place that everyone dreads. What if some of these songs had risen against all the odds from the pit to soar above everything? What if this was an album that was born from considerable pain to share joy and love and thanks?
Baz said he set out to record an album like it was the 70s. They went in a studio and played each song a couple of times. But that doesn’t mean they threw it down. It means that there’s just enough tension to go with the close attention, a touch of fragility that retains every shred of emotion, and there’s a craft to every dynamic. Every rise and fall gets you. Every change of tone. Oh and the voice? The one on High that says “I cannot fight anymore”... but did.
After one minute and thirty four seconds of opener, She Said, She Said, a vocal harmony that more than nods at his times playing with John Coghlan, could lure your ‘instant’ critique up a blind alley. Don’t be fooled. Look behind, move out, overtake, open out, attack the corner. What’s round the corner?
If you like rock and blues and boogie, what are you waiting for? (And by the way, if you think that blues rock deserves a tag of superficial easy listening, then I pity you). If you like songs, if you’re careworn, if you’re new to it all, if you’re lucky, if you saw a million bands in a million pubs and dirty clubs and sodden festival fields, if you shook your head at the front, if you turned your lights down and listened to BB King and Peter Green, if ALL your music means a lot to you and speaks to you about life, if you play, if you hung around record shops, if you’ve ever just been ‘THERE’ when it happened...
I love this album. The music’s still in him. Nicely done Baz, and Charles, Jack and Steve.
Go and find it. It’s on vinyl, too.