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Thread: RIP Ken Hensley (75)

  1. #76
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    Return To Fantasy; another one I've not played in some years. I find this an improvement over its predecessor, at least, though (despite the nostalgic title) definitely not up to 1971-2 standards. The title track is the highlight. Byron overcooks the end of 'Beautiful Dream', an otherwise good track. They play 'Devil's Daughter' live now and again.

    I think the ballads 'Your Turn To Remember' and 'Why Did You Go' hold up really well. Some of the rockier tracks are very 'by numbers'- 'Prima Donna' and 'Showdown' especially. These songs also suffer from irritating backing vocal arrangements IMHO.

  2. #77
    ^Agreed for the most part. I feel RTF lacks really strong songs. There are good ones (RTF, BD, and I like A Year Or A Day too), decent ones, and 'by number' ones as you wrote, there's an improvement but the whole thing lacks a spark of creativity. Well, it was the 8th album in a rather short number of years, so it could be expected...

  3. #78
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    It's nine albums if you count the double live one! Yes, compared to some of their peers, they were really churning out the albums and it took its toll. Having a producer who is also your manager probably didn't help. I don't much like Bron's production of this or Wonderworld, it's lacking in edge IMHO.

  4. #79
    Indeed, the production wasn't that great on those albums, and that didn't help. I think the guitar (Well, Box's guitar) was often a bit undermixed after LAY and before Abominog (where, obviously, Box had become the leader). At least there was room for all the instruments, the bass in particular, so that kind of mix had its merits also, but the studio recordings often lacked a bit of edge IMHO.

  5. #80
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    Continuing my immersion in Heep albums I reach High And Mighty. I actually really like the first side of this! No rote rockers to be found and a sense of Hensley (who produced the album) wanting to do different things. 'Weep In Silence' and (particularly) 'Midnight' have a slight progressive feel. John Wetton gets a lead vocal on 'One Way Or Another' (with Hensley on the bridge). He co-wrote a couple of other songs here too.

    The second falls apart somewhat. I do like 'Footprints In The Snow' and 'Confession' a lot though, the latter being a somewhat bittersweet conclusion to this whole era of the band. 'Woman Of The World' and 'Can't Stop Singing' are dreadful, alas.

  6. #81
    ^ I have the same mixed impressions about this one.
    I think it has a freshness that the previous two lacked a bit, but the second half is not that strong indeed.
    When he wrote his tribute to John Wetton, Ken Hensley said that one of Wetton's strengths was his talent as an arranger, and he said that those skills were useful on H&M. And there are indeed some refined arrangements on songs like 'Midnight' for instance.
    'Weep In Silence' is one of my favourite Heep songs. Some tasteful lead guitar work by Hensley here.

  7. #82
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    Ken Hensley had no involvement with it but worth listening to David Byron's solo track 'Man Full Of Yesterdays' from this period. Lots of Mellotron on it, courtesy of Wetton.

    'Woman Of The World' sounded better on Hensley's demo called 'Does Anything Matter'. For some reason they made it really cute and campy on the album.

  8. #83
    One of the cool things on One Way Or Another is that bass sound. I don't know if Wetton played an 8 string bass, or if they double the bass with a guitar overdub (as per Squire on Roundabout), but I love that bass sound he has there.

  9. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Continuing my immersion in Heep albums I reach High And Mighty.
    It's an excellent album, far better than "Wonderworld" or "Sweet Freedom" and as I've heard probably one of Hensley's favourites.
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  10. #85
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    I went backwards to Salisbury, so to speak. I consider this a major advance from their debut, which has a few non-descript tracks on it. I think Hensley was much more integrated within the band at this point. So the classic Heep sound is starting to form.

    Salisbury was probably their most obviously 'progressive' album with their longest track in the title suite and also 'The Park'. I've always loved the widescreen intro to the title track. The arrangement is somewhat influenced by 'Concerto De Aranjuez', but no less effective for that. 'Lady In Black' was a European hit. I did wonder why it wasn't on the 1973 double live album, but it seems it only became a hit after Byron left! Hensley sings it of course, anyway.

    'Time To Live' has grown on me over the years, it has a really good vocal from Byron. 'Bird Of Prey' had already been on the US version of their debut (replacing the lame, dreary 'Lucy Blues'), though it is not the same lead vocal take.

    Salisbury was, of course, their last album on the Vertigo label. They moved to Bron's own Bronze Records imprint after this point and stayed there for years. (Some other early Vertigo acts did the same.)

  11. #86
    I love Salisbury because of its freshness and successful ambition. As you wrote, this is a major advance.
    The rockers and the quiet pieces all work well and complement each other.

  12. #87
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    A few people mentioned liking 'Circus'. Mick Box posted something about this recently, and also talked about the Acoustically Driven version with Ian Anderson, which you can hear in the background.



    Incidentally one of his CDs (above his left shoulder) looks very like the eponymous album by Touch...is it just me?

  13. #88
    Thanks for sharing. Nice to see Mick grooving along with that song. And now I know what the lyrics are about.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    A few people mentioned liking 'Circus'. Mick Box posted something about this recently, and also talked about the Acoustically Driven version with Ian Anderson, which you can hear in the background.



    Incidentally one of his CDs (above his left shoulder) looks very like the eponymous album by Touch...is it just me?
    Circus is probably my favorite Heep song - anyway, I used to hum it more often than any other of their tunes.

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