In Appreciation: Martin Birch

Every so often, a record producer comes along whose mastery of the studio takes on a legendary status.  The early years of pop showed off the technical talents of George Martin and Phil Spector; the world of disco gave a platform to Quincy Jones and Geogio Moroder (Quincy’s hand in making Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ a global success cannot be understated – it’s a stunning sounding record) and the rock scene gave Martin Birch plenty to apply a distinctive style.

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GLENN HUGHES – The Official Bootleg Box Set Volume Three: 1995-2010

Upon release in the summer of 2018, the first Glenn Hughes official bootleg box gained a mixed response.  Some fans were delighted to have access to several hours’ worth of rare and unreleased live material at a bargain price, while others bemoaned the audio quality.  Yes, five of its seven discs were sourced from audience recordings – and in a couple of cases, Hughes sounded as if he were miles away in a very large venue – but it’s hardly like the record company made secret of  any audio roughness: the word “bootleg” should have set alarm bells ringing for the kind of audiophiles who consistently expect perfection.   The first official bootleg box was rough in places, but for the more obsessive fan (or perhaps those who came to Glenn’s work late) it was a great collection filler.   If nothing else, it was worth owning for a handful of spirited performances from a Brazilian show, a disc’s worth of near pristine acoustic tracks and a very welcome reissue of ‘Burning Japan Live’.  A second set released in 2019 was similarly of a scattershot quality, but was worth having for a 1996 show promoting the heavy ‘Addiction’ album.

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Following an excursion into blues based material on his self explanatory ‘L.A. Blues Authority Volume II: Blues’, Glenn Hughes returned to the more familiar waters of melodic rock for 1994’s ‘From Now On…’ That album, produced by the legendary Bruce Gowdy, was Hughes’s best work since the Hughes/Thrall release back in 1982. Very much a case of “all killer, no filler”, its melodic stance found “The Voice of Rock” in great shape.

Fans were to get a surprise when Glenn returned just a year later with ‘Feel’. He could easily have kept up momentum with a disc’s worth of similar melodic rockers but, ever the restless spirit, he decided instead to indulge his more soulful side. That’s not so say that it is a complete return to the Stevie Wonder tinged soul and funk of 1977’s ‘Play Me Out’, but the bulk of the material is certainly much slicker than most of Glenn’s previous outings.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – A Prog Rock Christmas

Billy Sherwood is no stranger to an all star compilation. Over the years, he’s helped mastermind tributes to all manner of artists, often with mixed results. His 2019 project ‘A Prog Rock Christmas’ can seem as scattershot as many of those previous all star affairs, but by bringing together various prog legends to put their own stamp on a few familiar yuletide ditties, there are a several things to enjoy along the way, ranging from the traditional to the bespoke.

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The Real Gone Advent Calendar 2019

We’ve hit December 2019 and that can mean only one thing. It’s time for The Real Gone Advent Calendar!

As is traditional, over the next twenty four days, we’ll be posting a new link. It might be a video. It might be audio only. It might be an old favourite. It might be something brand new and unfamiliar. The only way to find out is by coming back each day and opening a new window.

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