Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
On offer this week is the new solo album from a member of Fleetwood Mac, Loads of Doobie reissues, classy Scandinavian AOR, more Heep live shenanigans, a hark back to a cult 80s AOR figure and the last ever (maybe) live show from ELP.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Lindsey Buckingham never fails to surprise when it comes to solo albums. His sixth in all, Seeds We Sow (Eagle) strips away all pretence on every level. It’s raw and intense, with the music drawing from early 20th century American folk and blues, in the way that it relies on technique not technology. And lyrically it explores the ramifications of the choices we make in life. Fleetwood Mac fans might be discouraged by the lack of gloss, but if you like music to be challenging yet also enticing, you’ll love this album.
If you’re a Doobie devotee then this is a week to savour. Because the Doobie Brothers have their first eight albums reissued by Rhino. They come as four packs, each with two CDs. So you get The Doobie Brothers packaged with Toulouse Street, The Captain And Me with What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, Stampede and Takin’ It To The Streets, plus finally Livin’ On The Fault Line and Minute By Minute. Every one a goddamn American rock winner. You need the lot.
Xorigin might not be a name that trips readily off the tongue, but these Scandinavian melodic rockers have a real grasp of how to make this sort of music sound classy. State Of The Art has finely honed songs, lavish harmonies and a lot of passion. It’s AOR in the best possible sense.
Uriah Heep keep releasing live records, disguised as official bootlegs. So no-one should be shocked at the arrival of Official Bootleg Volume Four: Live In Brisbane Australia 2011 (earMUSIC). This double CD really is for diehards. It offers a fine Heep performance, but unless you are a devotee, it’s hard to believe you’ll want this in your collection for its own sake. Oh, you can probably guess where and when it was recorded!
Stan Bush remains one of those cult AOR heroes from the 1980s. He never quite got the success he merited, and most people (outside of the aficionados) might only know him for the 1986 songs Dare and The Touch from the original Transformers The Movie. Plus a few other soundtrack contributions. So, the Rock Candy reissues of the Stan Bush and Stan Bush & Barrage albums (put out in 1983 and 1987, respectively) is to be welcomed, because it shows him to be a master of the art. These two records are stuffed with songs which stick strongly, and if the production values sound a little dated, then the performances make that gripe irrelevant.
Finally, Emerson, Lake & Palmer have put out their performance at last year’s High Voltage Festival on DVD …Welcome Back My Friends (Concert One) is actually a fine depiction of the trio’s 40th anniversary show, which may well be the last time we see them together onstage. It’s a celebration of their music and talent, with some spectacular moments that again underline why to many they are the depiction of prog rock, with all its excesses.