Reviews July/03

Carl Carlton & The Songdogs / Love & Respect / SPV 085-71512


Carl Carlton & The Songdogs - blues rock from Germany! Tracklisting:Days of Magic; Queen of Attitude; Lucky; Love, Understanding & Respect; Kingston; I'm waiting; Can you tell me; My oh my; He gave the Names; Deep Colors Bleed; Alive.

Carl Carlton & The Songdogs is a rock and blues outfit from Germany - and to me hes was a completely unwritten page in my Encyclopedia. But according to the press material following this album Carl has been a "hired gun" for a while now - starting at the tender age age of 17 he moved to Holland and played a few bands, then moved to USA, where he played for Mink de Ville. Then back to London , where he played with Manfred Mann and back in his homeland he has made himself known for the jobs at Udo Lindenberg, Peter Maffay, Stefan Remmler. But besides his engagement with international artists like Jimmy Barnes, Joe Cocker and Alannah Myles - his closest collaboration is with his friend and mentor Robert Palmer, a friendship that started back in 1995. It was Robert Palmer who succeeded in convincing Carl that his solo debut was long overdue, which led to the recording of "Revolution Avenue" - and therefore "Love & Respect" is the second album from this Ost-Friese (from East Frisia - like Otto Waalkes).
The whole clue of this recording is the sparkling width and variety - from good clean southern swampy blues to reggae-inspired tunes. The track that almost says it all to me is the gasolin injected "Kingston" that even has a dirty saxophon solo in the end!
The band behind Carl Carlton is impressing - let me mention Moses Mo from Mothers Finest on guitar, Johnny Seay from Mothers Finest on bass, Levon Helms from The Band on drums and Robert Palmer on lead and backing vocals! And besides that Carlton has included Pedal steel guitars, piano, and sax's and horns! A must-have album for every lover of good old blues/rock!

Steve Hackett / To watch the Storms / IOMSECD 127


Steve Hackett - Mr. Art Rock is back! Tracklisting:Strutton Ground; Circus of Becoming; The Devil is an Englishman; Frozen Statues; Mechanical Bride; Wind, Sand & Stars; Brand new; This World; This World; Rebecca; The Silk Road; Come away; The Moon under Water; Serpentine Song.

I must admit that the first time i noticed Steve Hackett as an extremely gifted musicians is with Steve Howe in the GTR project back in the happy 80's. His past in Genesis from 1970 till 1978 has past me without getting noticed - i vaguely remember one drunk evening as one my friend tried to introduce me to this English prog-band - hum!
The thing I do remember, though from the GTR project is the typical 80's sound with big arrangements and well trained musicians like Hackett, Howe and Jonathan Mover - and some of the same element are present here as well as nearly every other aspect of the more than 25 years of solo releases like symphonic masterpieces, beautiful spheric guitar part, noisy parts, and some weird experimental stuff.
The artwork to this release is made by Kim Poor - who has designed all classical Hackett albums. And there will be an extensive touring with full band in autumn - with backing band Roger King on keyboards, Gary O'Toole on drums, Terry Gregory on bass and Rob Townsend on saxophone.
If you are in the experimental mood one evening please have a six-pack ready and put "To watch the Storms" in the CD player!

Sinphonia / The Divine Disharmony / LU20016-2


Sinphonia - dark progressive metal from Denmark! Tracklisting:Prologue; The Reflective & the Sleeper; A Spectre of Dust; Disclosure; The Essence of Desire; Strenght of the static Sight; Within a Script; My Will is Wisdom; The Divine Disharmony; Epilogue.

Sinphonia is another good sounding well produced prog band hailing from Denmark, released by the Italian label Lucretia Records and managed by Intromental Management - but this band stands out by the facts that they are NOT from Copenhagen, but from Aarhus and they are fronted by a female - Monika Pedersen.
The whole concept is that the band is very hard to label - but the genres progressive, gothic, melodic and experimental can be related to this very complex release. The core of Sinphonia consists of drummer Dennis Buhl, bassist Thor Jeppesen, guitarist Henrik Rangstrup and keyboard player Peter Jensen - and with the before mentioned expressive vocalist Monika Pedersen as the latest member.
The sometimes VERY weirds drum parts is heavily influenced by Terry Bozzio and Mike Mangini and combined with Monica's distinct vocal-style rooted in the gothic rock and metal world the band distances themselves from the numerous bands hailing from our neighbour country Sweden.
The album should be heard as a whole - and one thing is certain, the way in which the band combines the different musical genres cannot be labeled as anything else but original!

Steen Peitersen 1999-2003