Songs In The Key Of Rock
If for some reason you are new to Glenn Hughes, his history is colorful. Stints with Trapeze, Deep Purple and Gary Moore were interspersed with stints in rehab. But Glenn has been dry for a decade now and is clearly in the best form of his life. He has released several great albums in recent years, but this has to be one of the best.|
Be it be rock, hard rock, blues, funk or pop, Glenn Hughes knows no bounds. His variations between projects and guest spots always keep fans guessing, but keen too. There's rarely a let down as far as quality and there's never a dip in performance.
Which I suppose makes it harder to keep on impressing folk - like me - that buy each and every record. I am pleased to say that the plan Glenn had in mind for Songs In The Key Of Rock has worked a charm.
This is a magnificent hard rock album that sees Glenn pay tribute to his past work in Deep Purple, Trapeze and his 70's roots. Don't mistake what I have typed here - this is an album of all new, all original material. Glenn's aim however, was to create a big 70's hard rock record and that he has done brilliantly. From Glenn's hair, to his clothes and the album cover. This is classic Hughes.
Personally I rate this, his second best record ever, behind only From Now On. Those who prefer the funky or more soulful side of Glenn might feel that this is a step backwards, but rediscovering your roots should never be discouraged, especially when such fine results as this are achieved.
Glenn has said to me that he is constantly approached by fans who love him for his work in Deep Purple, so why not satisfy those fans with a great classic hard rock record?
As one could expect, the sound is a little rawer than the usual Hughes polish, but suits the music perfectly.
Track By Track:
In My Blood opens with a thud and after a short vocal intro launches into a groovy hard rock song, engulfed in Hammond organ, a big thick rhythm section and equally meaty guitar riffs. This uptempo rocker is an ideal way to open the album and declare Glenn's musical intentions. A good catchy chorus is enhanced by some vocal acrobatics. Mid-song everything comes to a halt for a soulful interlude before Glenn really goes off!
Lost In The Zone is one of the album's best tracks. This is a mid-tempo heavy blues rocker with a stamping beat and an authorative vocal that is classic Hughes. The vibe and vocal style reminds me of the From Now On album, as if it had of been recorded in 1975. Add a soulful bridge and a big rock chorus, with an even bigger vocal, and a classic is made. The guitar playing of JJ Marsh and Jeff Kollman is simply mesmerizing, drawing comparisons to Richie Blackmore and the great partnership of Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden.
Gasoline is a fast tempo'd blues rocker, with a funky lead guitar riff and some really raw, in your face vocals and another smashing chorus, making it one of the album's more instant tracks. The closing scream of the song has to be heard!
The tempo slows for the darker and heavier Higher Places. This is a moody rock track that is dedicated to Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. It certainly has a Zep vibe to it, with a dual approach from Glenn, soulful harmony/verse vocals with a harder edge vocal over the top.
Get You Stoned continues the dark and heavy retro vibe of the last track. A little Bad Company and a lot of Deep Purple here. This very dark bluesy rocker rolls along until the more pronounced chorus rises through the song, with another powerhouse vocal effort from Glenn. The mid-song instrumental passage is very psychedelic and is more 70's than flared bell-bottoms.
Written All Over Your Face is a mid-tempo classic rocker, with more Hammond organ featured prominently. The slow soulful verse moves smoothly into the chorus that sees Glenn's vocals adding most of the song's melody. Different to the rest of the tracks, the song builds and continues to do so through it's entire 8 minute life. Add some 'choir-style' backing vocals and an extended bluesy instrumental section and the album's epic track is complete.
At this juncture it seemed time to up the pace a little, but Standing On The Rock does more than that! This is a pedal to the metal hard rocker that will rank as one of Glenn's heaviest ever tunes, with a frantic guitar riff that borders on having a punkish vibe. A good fun hard rocker!
Courageous remains uptempo, but in a far more relaxed, with a breezy pop heart. This is another highly original track, with a funky soul/pop/rock chorus that sees Glenn take in many of the styles he capable of.
Secret Life is a terrific crunchy blues rocker with a touch of the album Feel about it, and a strong 70's funk feel.
The album flows seamlessly into The Truth, which is another lighter track with a pop/rock heart. Hammond organ dominates the verse, while a harder edged guitar riff takes the chorus. Not my favourite track on the album, but it fits the album's vibe.
After a couple of light-hearted numbers, the album seems ready to go out with a punch and Wherever You Go does just that. This bass dominated 70's rocker sees Glenn back at his roots again. The mid-song instrumental passage is pure 70's flair and the guitar solo is superb. A tasteful way to close the album - right down to Glenn's last vocal.
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