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Music Review: Roger Glover and The Guilty Party – If Life Was Easy

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Roger Glover will always be remembered as the bassist, 1969-1973 and 1984-present, of the hard rock icon Deep Purple. Every once in a while, however, he steps out on his own for a solo effort.

If Life Was Easy is his fifth solo album, not counting his 1988 duet album with Ian Gillan, Accidentally On Purpose. His albums tend to appear abruptly, without warning. I have his excellent 1974 release, The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper Feast in my collection, but some of his albums have slipped by under the radar.

His latest album travels in a number of musical directions. There is barroom rock, progressive rock, a little jazz, hard rock, and even some ska in places. It all adds up to a somewhat disjointed affair, but it is never boring and ultimately provides an entertaining listen. It is one of those albums where the songs are meant to be appreciated individually rather than as part of a whole.

Glover is a premier bassist and a credible vocalist. He provides the lead vocal for “The Car Won’t Start,” “Box Of Tricks,” “If Life Was Easy,” “Welcome To The Moon,” “When Life Gets To The Bone,” “Staring Into Space,” “Cruel World,” and the co-vocal on “Feel Like A King.” He uses guest vocalists on the final eight tracks including his daughter Gillian, who is an accomplished singer and provides quite a counterpoint to his vocal style, on three of the tracks.

His booming bass is always present and occupies a prominent position in the instrumental mix without being intrusive. He branches out at times on the guitar, keyboards, and baglama, which is a cross between a lute and sitar. Those excursions are kept under control, however, as he wisely uses a variety of supporting musicians including Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew, plus Deep Purple bandmate Don Airey.

He has developed into to an able songwriter. He composed or co-wrote all of the 16 tracks. The lyrics deal with such subjects as divorce, loneliness, and joy as he explores his overall theme of the difficulties of life. The music may be a hodgepodge of styles and sounds but it is a good mix.

It is good to have Glover step front and center every once in awhile and away from the Deep Purple limelight. He has a fertile mind, which takes him in a number of directions. If Life Was Easy is a fine solo effort from the long time Purple bassist.

 

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