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AUSPICIOUS TAKE OFF/INITIAL SIGHTING
on July 2, 2011
The suspense is terrible... I hope it lasts! (I love quoting Willy Wonka)... well, here it is again... 5:30am, and, yes, I am listening to a soundtrack to begin the day... not sure if it ties into this review, but... wait... "ALIENS" juxtaposed with a written review on UFO's first two releases? Yes... there's a connection... oooooooh, it's the "escape" sequence when Ripley, Bishop, and Newt just barely escape the destruction of the planet... now then, if some other life form, or ET, if you will, saw the ship, this could be considered a UFO...
With that out of the way, I must begin by confessing/asking how can someone who loves this group so much write an unbiased review... answer: I can't. I have already written reviews espousing the sonic virtues of the Schenker era (still the strongest period... even when Michael returned for WALK ON WATER, COVENANT, and SHARKS you could hear that the old writing team of Mogg, Way, and Schenker had not lost their muse), and, to a degree, the Chapman era, so I will focus exclusively on this precocious beginning, this favorable blast off, this "contact light" regarding this band's music, this "auspicious launch", if you will. We'll call this the "Bolton" era.
I've read a lot of literature concerning why Mick Bolton left (you can read the liner notes and scan the websites), and there's too much to assimilate here... what I will discuss, and promote, is the fact that he was a fabulous player and these first two UFO releases: UFO 1, and UFO 2 FLYING... ONE HOUR SPACE ROCK (which will both be reviewed here to save time and space... AMAZON asked me to review both) are both well worth acquiring if you're a fan of the band. On UFO 1 you hear a beautiful blend of blusey hard rock (listen to BOOGIE, and C'MON EVERYBODY) with a bit of psychedlia thrown in (listen to TREACLE PEOPLE), and a foreshadowing of the phenomenal melodic hard rock that would be fully realized with the Schenker era (listen to their cover of COME AWAY, MELINDA, and again a nod to TREACLE PEOPLE)... other standout tracks include TIMOTHY and FOLLOW YOU HOME. Phil Mogg's solid, and pleasant rock tone fits in perfectly with Bolton's dynamic playing, and Parker and Way's unmovable rhythmic foundation. Who could ask for a more confident debut?
UFO 2 built upon this beginning, yet added a curious element to the mix: "SPACE ROCK"... I had never heard that before... obviously a description of the long, drawn out tunes like STAR STORM, and FLYING... improvisational jams that were made popular by groups like CREAM, HENDRIX, THE WHO, and, of course, THE GRATEFUL DEAD... all of those musical entities were highly influential on the infant hard rock and psychedelic scene, so it follows UFO would visit that influence... both FLYING, and STAR STORM are more than interesting, and I would note that STAR STORM, SILVER BIRD, and the "PRINCE KAJUKU" dichotomy are early UFO gems... AHHHHHHHHHHH the mood is complete: as I type these words the live version of THE COMING OF PRINCE KAJUKU is gracing my auditory units (ears)... what a PERFECT SEGUE to end this review...
UFO completists will also want to acquire UFO LIVE... a nice cap to the Bolton era which offers a show from Japan before Bolton departed... only one complaint: IT'S FAR TOO SHORT!!! A double disc could have given us more, like a live version of TREACLE PEOPLE, COME AWAY- MELINDA, SILVER BIRD, STAR STORM... again, if a record company mogul reads this... hint, hint... how about a search of the archives to see if there are additonal live recordings from this era to include on a digitally remastered re-release of UFO LIVE.
Too much fun... I love being enabled to write... anyway, as always Balthazar says "Check them out!!!!!!"
Shields up! Prepare for hyperdrive!! Approaching galaxy's edge!!!
BALTHAZAR "AIR COOL" PLATINI, III (of the "Chicago" Platinis)