If Woodstock ’94 is remembered for anything, it’s the mud. Well circulated footage of Green Day and Primus being pelted by massive lumps of grass and dirt has become synonymous with the nineties festival. Scene’s of crowds participating in mudslides and photographs of “mudmen” have almost become more legendary than performances by Bob Dylan, Traffic and The Allman Brothers Band.
After a run of synth pop hits, Howard Jones took a musical detour. All artists grow and change, but the bulk of the material on his fifth album ‘In The Running’ (originally released in 1992) presented Jones in a more introspective light. Its ten songs tackled heavyweight subjects like pent up aggression (‘Gun Turned On The World’), mental illness (the self-explanatory ‘The Voices Are Back’) and the need for forgiveness (‘One Last Try’). Musically, his trademark synth pop style was dropped in favour of more of an adult AOR sound, sometimes much closer to Bruce Hornsby, and unfortunately, the UK radio stations seemed less than convinced. The album didn’t yield any massive hits and it subsequently became overlooked by all but the biggest fans.
By the early 2000s, it was much easier to find a copy of ‘In The Running’ from a US cut out bin than anywhere in the UK. A 2012 reissue coupled the album with ‘One To One’ and ‘Cross That Line’ and associated extras, but aside from a cover of Donald Fagen’s ‘IGY’ (released as a single in ’93) it didn’t offer much by way of ‘Running’ era extras. With that in mind, a massive reissue coupling the original album with a wealth of extra period material was something of a necessity. This four disc set from Cherry Red (issued in April 2021) aims to be the last word for ‘In The Running’, since it features a truckload of remixes and extra goodies alongside a DVD where Howard reflects on a much underrated work.
Gunslingers were a band who just instinctively knew how to make a ferocious noise. From their inception through to their split in 2012, the band constantly pushed the boundaries of garage rock, garage punk and no wave/rock in the name of their art.
For all the praise endlessly heaped upon ‘Dark Side of The Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘The Wall’, there are bits of the Pink Floyd back catalogue that never seem to get the attention they deserve. The release of the massive ‘Early Years’ box set in 2016 allowed for a much deeper exploration of the band’s pre-’Dark Side’ output via several discs’ worth of rare and unreleased gems, and yet it still feels as if there are things nestled within the band’s rich catalogue that never seem to get their full due.
Here are a few thoughts on some vastly underrated Pink Floyd recordings. Other fans can argue – and likely will – but these ten tunes often feel as if they deserve far more love.
In a perfect world, Black Sabbath’s relationship with Ronnie James Dio wouldn’t have soured quite so quickly and the band would have followed their excellent ‘Mob Rules’ album with a world-conquering classic. Then again, in that alternate universe, Dio wouldn’t have released ‘Holy Diver’ – one of the most perfect metal albums ever – so, maybe, things worked out for the best.
That was certainly the case for Dio. Black Sabbath’s immediate fortunes were less perfect. Their 1983 release, recorded with Ian Gillan, was a hit and miss affair that came housed in one of the poorest album sleeves you could ever (not) hope to see. Their Reading Festival headline slot later that year bordered on a car crash, culminating in a terrible rendition of ‘Smoke On The Water’, further cementing fan feelings that the short lived musical union between Tony Iommi and ex-Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan probably shouldn’t have happened.