Here are some suggestions for your listening pleasure this week.
Royal Hunt have released what has to be a great value for money the 20th Anniversary Special Addition of their “best of” album. There are a total of 34 tracks for 173 minutes in this three-CD set. And it is not just crap they found in the attic or lots of duplicate tracks. There are new recordings and unplugged versions aplenty, as well as a DVD with videos for many of the tracks. There is enough here to make this both a good purchase for old fans and those wanting to check out the band.
Snakecharmer have their self-titled debut about to be released. It is a supergroup with Micky Moody (of Whitesnake), Neil Murray (journeyman bassist), Harry James (from Thunder) on drums, Rick Wakeman’s kid Alan on keys, and Chris Ousey on vocals. I have seen previous iterations of the core of the band (The Snakes, Company of Snakes) with people like Jørn Lande on vocals and I have to say I prefer a grittier vocalist for this sort of music. It remains to be seen if Ousey has got the pipes to sing Whitesnake songs with proper gravitas live. That said this is a decent blues rock album, more in the style of Bad Company than Coverdale’s bunch. This is certainly a grower of an album but one that rewards repeated listens.
Something a hell of a lot less bluesy and a hell of a lot more middle of the road is Tell Me Something by Paul D’Adamo. It is mostly pretty mellow fare, broken up by Toto or Supertramp-like tracks like “Like It or Not”. At times there is even a Genesis (later incarnation) sound to it, mostly because of the Phil Collins-ish vocals. There is enough musicianship on here to make it a guilty pleasure for rockers and proggers.
And if you are in search of something rather unusual check out Sammal. This is psychedelic jazz fusion prog at its most listenable. There is little in the way of over the top messing about on Sammal and there is something quite endearing about it all. It is one of those releases where you have no idea what they hell they are singing as it is in Finnish, but you find yourself singing along anyway.
And even more prog from the reformed and refocused Focus. It is titled X and is a wonderful slab of ’70s flute-laden progressive rock. The band are obviously really enjoying being back in the saddle and it shows. It even has a Roger Dean cover to make sure they get the vibe right. One for Focus and prog fans for sure.
They got a great catchy track called “Cocaine Cowboys” and they are called Crashdiet. This is, of course, the antithesis to everything else in this column this week, sleaze rock delivered with all the attitude you would expect. The Savage Playground delivers in droves and should push these guys to great heights. It is about time these Swedes got the worldwide success they are craving.
And on that sleazy note it is time for me to say stay safe and rocking out there.