Don’t Stop The Music: Complete Recordings Vol 1 1970-1992 (6CD box) Cherry Red
Please watch the video above for the full review
A name synonymous with the Deep Purple family tree, Trapeze formed in 1969 and found fame in the early 70s, before bassist / vocalist Glenn Hughes left to join Deep Purple in 1973 (there have been reformations and a line-up change or two since).
Formed in Cannock, England, the band found fame, especially in America, and with their early prog leanings (later a more straight forward blues rock / hard rock), released some fine albums as well as performing some blistering live shows. Their classic trio line-up also featured guitarist Mel Galley (later of Whitesnake and Phenomena) and drummer Dave Holland (Judas Priest) alongside Hughes.
The band were discovered by The Moody Blues, and went with a deal with Threshold records, and their 1970 was produced by John Lodge (of The Moody Blues). That debut also featured founder members Terry Rowley (piano, flute, organ) and John Jones (trumpet, co-lead vocals) and the album was more progressive (even psychedelic) than later albums, having an almost whimsical feel. There’s a nice balance between rock and pop sensibilities; imagine Sabbat without the satanic rock, a touch of the Kinks, or even The Beatles at their most progressive. Luch, romantic ballads with rock sensibilities? It’s an excellent album but perhaps lacked direction. Send Me No More Letters was a very enjoy single.
Released later the same year, Medusa saw Trapeze reduced to the Hughes/Holland/Galley trio and there is an obvious blues/rock focus (a definite hint of Free in place). Hughes’ vocals add a soulful edge, the guitar has a hook, the rhythms are solid. Four of the songs were co-written by Mel’s brother Tom (also later of Phenomena fame). The eight minute Jury is a joy, a truly fine and essential album.
1972’s You Are The Music We’re Just The Band was another fine album, with heavier tracks like Keepin’ Time standing out. There are softer tracks, which are more whimsical in a more Americana fashion (the progressive rock and psychedelia are long gone). What does stand the softer tracks out is Hughes vocals. Tom Galley contributes three tracks, but there is a stronger Hughes influence here. Guests on the album include B.J. Cole and Rod Argent.
Discs 4 and 5 are a previously unreleased live show from Texas 1973, with several songs given a heaver and extended workout (hard rock where a 12 minute jam works – lovely).
Disc 6 features a live show by the reformed band (Hughes, Holland, Galley, plus keyboard player Geoff Downes), live at the Borderline 1992 (originally released 1993). And what a live show that is. Song since out of print. A modern feel, a lively set-up and lots of cracking music.
Cherry Red do these clamshells so well, CDs in card sleeves in a box with a booklet (lots of info in this one). A bonus previously unreleased 2CD to boot. What’s not to love? No studio extras, not that there may have been many, but there were 2 new tracks on the 1974 compilation Hot Wire (recorded by the Hughes/Galley/Holland line-up before Hughes left), which are relevant here; hopefully Cherry Red will take note and add them to Volume 2.
Lovely set and lovely music; three essential studio albums, live bonuses to boot, package up to the usual excellent standards and a decent booklet. What’s not to love?
This is (or should be) a solid seller, and there is definite scope for a volume 2 and 3. Looking forward to those.
Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine