Final rating something between 3 and 3,5 stars. Review by ZowieZiggy Prog Reviewer. Ken is part of these persons for whom I have the deepest respect for their work, but while he was one of the key players without play on words in the great Heep, I was not really moved with his solo output.
Such masterpieces he wrote! Such superb Hammond organ parts he played! While in the Heep, though. This last album to date is somewhat more rocking than usual which is a very good news , but the AOR style takes the lead for the majority of the songs; and you might know that this is not my cup of tea, at all. You can find some good rock songs, some good melodies, some good guitar breaks. You can find these? But don't expect any masterpiece song on this album. These three songs really form a rather weak middle part which is fortunately saved by an excellent and quite dynamic "Okay".
Fully in the vein of the great "Easy Livin": this is my preferred song from this offering but I'm biased. Even some "Highway Star" feel can be noticed at the end. I was quite excited to listen to the great Glenn Hughes on two tracks from this album, but I have to say that I was not really thrilled by the song writing available druing "What You Gonna Do".
His input is much more worth during the excellent remake of "The Last Dance". I rate this is album with three stars which is slightly upgraded to be honest. There is no prog relation to be found, but some good good rock moments for sure. He joined up with former Heep member John Wetton in the recording studio, with Wetton contributing to Hensley's then current solo album, "Running blind". In December that year, he also played again with Uriah Heep for the first time in over 20 years.
It was during the weekend of "The Magician's Birthday party" that Hensley and Wetton also got together on stage for the gig captured here.
While the song writing credits would tend to indicate a bias towards Hensley's recordings, it should be remembered that Wetton played on the original Uriah Heep recordings of a number of them, and performed others live while a member of that band.
Further, it is a lesser known fact that Wetton not David Byron actually provided the lead vocal on "One way or another" when it opened Heep's "High and mighty" album.
The main gig runs to around 90 minutes, drawing in songs from Wetton's solo career, his time with Asia, Hensley's solo work, and music from the David Byron era of Uriah Heep. John's fine voice suits the Heep material well, with songs such as "Return to fantasy" and "July Morning" retaining all their magic. While Ken was never as talented vocally as David Byron, his voice was actually very similar to the extent that many people do not realise even now that it is his voice on the album version of "Look at yourself".
Ken and John trade lead vocals through the gig with the latter being slightly the more dominant. It is interesting to hear songs such a the aforementioned "One way or another" and "Confession" getting a live airing, simply because they first appeared on an album the two were both involved in.
Interesting too is the way some of the Uriah Heep songs, while played out in full, are blended together in a continuous medley. As "Return to fantasy" becomes "July morning", Ken tells the audience "this is your bit now". He then proceeds to deliver a truly impassioned vocal, demonstrating that over 30 year later the song still means a great deal to him. Pleasingly, Ken plays the original Hammond solo this time, rather than the staccato version which tends to find favour in the Uriah Heep live set.
It is only when we get to the famous screamed section that we look in vain for the late David Byron. John Wetton's selections from his own or joint compositions tend to be ballads and power ballads such as "Battle lines", "Emma" and the particularity emotional "Hold me now".
Ken on the other hand mostly goes for upbeat numbers from his solo work. These, including the opening "Overture", are all from his then current album "Running blind" on which the entire line up here except John Young appeared although "I don't want to wait" first appeared on the "Time to time" collection.
Hensley and Wetton keep a couple of crowd pleasers up their sleeves for the encore which consists of Uriah Heep's "Lady in black" and Asia's "Heat of the moment". In all, a highly enjoyable set which blends a fine cross section of songs from the history of these legendary artists. The duo is augmented by the presence of four other musicians; Dave Kilminster, Steve Christie, Andy Pyle and John Young, the packaging failing to give these guys the credit they deserve.
The booklet does however helpfully tell us the "Jump to tracks" option lets you "choose the track you'd like to hear". The DVD also contains four bonus promo videos. Of these, two are for songs from Hensley's "Running blind" album, both of them featuring in the main gig. These videos are straightforward films of Hensley and his band performing the songs. Wetton's "Battle lines" is also included in the gig, the video here being a superb period drama piece taken from the film "Chasing the deer".
His Asia song "Praying for a miracle" is only included in this section not in the gig , the performance here being a live one by post-Howe Asia. As is customary for Classic Rock Legends" releases, the extras also include snippets from other DVD's released by the label. In summary, a wonderful package, the main course of which is a unique event which will particularly appeal to fans of Uriah Heep, Asia and of course the two principal performers.
Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker. Ken Hensley biography Kenneth William David Hensley - Born Plumstead, UK Doubtless one of the most favored musicians, Ken Hensley have the ability to play keyboards especially Hammond B3 an expensive model by the way , guitar, singing with an excellent tone and in addition an excellent composer, that he has influenced to generations of musicians and fans to the progressive rock.
Is this from the great man who wrote "July Morning"??? The best of these is without any problem the very good " The Return". No wonder that devoted Ken's fans didn't review this album so far. It always hurt to listen to a lower than average album form such a great composer and performer. But so is it with this glimpse without glory. And you only need to think once while listening to "Think Twice". Weak, weak, weak: the saving button being the press "next" one.
The worse is yet to come unfortunately. A dreadful religious oriented track "Get A Line" which I can't bear, really. This is not only related to Ken. But when an artist is adding some "Christian" flavour to his music, I just skip and think of something else. This one just confirms these feelings. Is Ken willing to become a Sunday US predicator?
That's his choice. But not mine. From a great opener, this albums quickly slips in the paths of some poor album. In order to start using our services you need to refill your account balance. Refil balance. Rare And Timeless Blood On The Highway The Wizard's Diary Volume One Cold Autumn Sunday The Wizard's Diary.
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