TRAPEZE – Midnight Flyers: Complete Recordings Volume 2 – 1975-81

In the minds of many, Trapeze will be best remembered as the band that gave the now legendary Glenn Hughes his first major steps in the music world. On three albums recorded between 1969 and 1972, Hughes showed a strong vocal talent. Whether tackling strange psychedelic jams (as per the Trapeze debut), or losing himself within deep, soulful blues, it seemed there was nothing the young musician couldn’t take in his stride. It wasn’t until the release of 1972’s ‘You Are The Music…We’re Just The Band’, however, that Hughes and Trapeze really hit upon a perfect sound, with a blend of hard rock, blues and soul that would rival the likes of Free in terms of talent. As great as the album was – and remains – it failed to chart, but Trapeze hadn’t gone entirely unnoticed. Whilst playing live shows for the album, Hughes was headhunted by Ritchie Blackmore for a new line up of Deep Purple, and fter the release of their ‘Burn’ LP in 1974 – a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic – Glenn’s career was catapulted into the stratosphere.

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FOGHAT – The Complete Bearsville Recordings 1972-1975

Arguably the most American sounding act to ever come from the south of England, Foghat quickly became big stars in the US, but are often massively overlooked by UK audiences when it comes to classic rock. One of the most underrated bands from the 70s and 80s, their best work comes with plenty of enthusiasm, and a whole lot of muscle. Even at their peak, they never really strove for originality, but there’s so much about their sound that should have placed them in a similar standing with the early ZZ Top. Whereas the bearded ones’ early releases continue to be praised by UK rock fans and press alike – particularly 1973’s ‘Tres Hombres’ – the best that Foghat seem to have been afforded, at least in terms of popular culture, is a song or two on an occasional film soundtrack.

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Cherry Red Records/HNE Recordings to release a 6CD King’s X box set in April

Cherry Red’s hard rock subsidiary label, HNE Recordings, is no stranger to plundering the Atlantic Records archives for material. Over the years, they’ve reissued much-loved albums by Ratt, White Lion, Back Street Crawler and more to bring affordable box set reissues to the masses. ‘In The New Age’ follows suit by pulling together most of the recordings that King’s X made for the legendary label and re-presents them in a basic clam shell box.

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ALCTRAZZ – Official Bootleg Box Set Volume 2: 1983-1984

During their original run, Alcatrazz weren’t especially stable. They recorded three studio albums with three different guitarists, and went from humble beginnings to imploding within five years. Given how short-lived the band’s time in the sun actually was, it’s absolutely staggering how many bootleg recordings were made. In terms of popularity, they never managed to reach the heights of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, and yet someone pushed the record button surreptitiously whenever and wherever the band appeared.

In 2018, fans were treated to a wealth of these unofficial recordings in an official capacity when HNE Recordings released a 6CD box set made up of various live tapes and studio rehearsals. The quality was often rough, much like old bootlegs you might have sourced from record fairs back in the 80s and 90s, but the historical value of some of the material just couldn’t be ignored. Surprisingly, there was enough material – and seemingly enough interest – for a second volume, and this 5CD set offers fans much more of the same.

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MONTROSE – I Got The Fire: The Complete Recordings 1973-76

1973 was a fantastic year for rock music. Pink Floyd released a world beater with ‘Dark Side of The Moon’; Led Zeppelin offered ‘Houses of The Holy’ – one of their most varied and adventurous works to date – and Queen introduced the world to their mix of pomp and pop with a confident, if flawed, first album. With other superb albums by Paul McCartney & Wings (‘Band On The Run’ and ‘Red Rose Speedway’), two great works from Elton (‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Don’t Shoot Me’), two from future megastar Bruce Springsteen, the Stones’ branching out on ‘Goat’s Head Soup’, and Yes disappearing up their collective backsides on ‘Tales of Topographic Oceans’, the year offered the discerning music fan something interesting at every turn.

Somewhere among the noise, US hard rockers Montrose made their breakthrough. Their self-titled debut album is as powerful as the Van Halen debut from ’77, with riff after riff on a filler free, half hour slab of plastic. As raucous as New York Dolls, and as groove laden as the best Johnny & Edgar Winter tomes, decades on, it remains a near perfect example of American hard rock. In the UK, neither Montrose or their debut album get talked about as often as they should be, but ‘I’ve Got The Fire’, a 6CD box set from Cherry Red certainly aims to change that by shining a massive light upon an all too short time at the top, bringing together pretty much everything the band recorded during a very prolific four years.

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