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John Greaves, Hugh Hopper, Alain Blesing - Songs From The Beginning (CD)

Genre: Prog rock
Release Date: 7th April 2014

Label: Musea
Catalogue Number: FGBG4655.AR
Price: $14.29
Available: In Stock


 
John Greaves, Hugh Hopper, Alain Blesing - Songs From The Beginning
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Alain Blesing is a French guitar player, known for having been part of the legendary progressive/zeuhl rock band Eskaton, who are considered to be one of the most gifted disciples of Magma. From the late Seventies, he extended his capacities by studying musicology, then in discovering jazz music. With the Turkish female singer Senem Diyici, he got involved in the universe of world-music. Now firmly established on the French scene, Alain Blesing returns to his roots and publishes an album revisiting 1970s progressive rock classics by King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Soft Machine, Henry Cow and Hatfield and the North among others.

 

Songs From The Beginning" presents legendary songs such as "Slightly All The Time" (Soft Machine), "Beautiful As The Moon" (Henry Cow), "California" (Led Zeppelin), "Mumps" (Hatfield and the North), "1983" (Jimi Hendrix), "Behind Blue Eyes" (The Who) and "Fracture" (King Crimson).

 

His reputation attracted big names like John Greaves and Hugh Hopper, respectively taking the singing and bass duties here. At the end, you get an opus both masterfully performed and intimately personal, revisiting all of Alain Blesings musical aspects.

 

Vitaly Menshikov writes:

“Supported by six French and two English musicians (legendary bassist Hugh Hopper who, besides Soft Machine, played with too many bands to list here, and singer John Greaves of National Health fame), Alain Blesing presents a 7-track compilation on which he virtually revisits some of his all-time favorite pieces of music. Four of the remakes sound instantly familiar to me, since I'd listened a lot to their original versions. These are Slightly All the Time (Soft Machine, "Third", 1970), Beautiful As the Moon (Henry Cow, "In Praise of Learning", 1975), Excerpts from Mumps (a sidelong epic from Hatfield & The North's "Rotter's Club", 1975) and Fracture (King Crimson, "Starless & Bible Black", 1974/2). All being the highlights of this collection, each represents one of the highest creative successes ever achieved in the field of their respective styles, namely Jazz Rock, RIO, quasi-symphonic Jazz-Fusion (stop reiterating me it's Canterbury!:-) and the Fifth Element (with Crimsons' still very own vision of Zeuhl and progressive Doom Metal dominating in this particular case). Totaling 43 minutes in duration, all are brilliant creations, veritably unique patterns of semi-epic-form progressive rock music, full of whatever a true prog heart desires. Covers cannot be stronger than source material, that's an axiom, but these sound at least refreshing, all embodying the intensity documented in the originals, each standing out for its excellent instrumental and vocal performances (except for Mumps, since it's the only track here with a narration instead of singing). After so many years I can't be sure, but I have a feeling that Alain's interpretation of Henry Cow's piece reflects a more symphonic approach than its prototype. John Greaves' vocals are very solid everywhere they are, but are especially impressive on Soft Machine's Slightly All the Time (where he effectively operates with his timbre, appearing as a chameleon singer), and also on Jimi Hendrix's 1983 (on which he shines with some innovative vocal arrangements), while King Crimson's Fracture probably best of all showcases Alain's versatility as a guitar player, his craftsmanship in riffing in particular. The variation on 1983 is overall very decent, especially bearing in mind that that song's typically rock instrumentation is here supplemented with brass and chamber instruments and is lushly enriched with corresponding colorations. Nevertheless, while being presented in the same semi-epic-length format as the four previously described tracks, it obviously lacks in changes and transitions and thus appears to be quite strongly inferior to any of those, despite its power, beauty and other pan-musical virtues. Much less successful, however, are Alain's renderings of Led Zeppelin's California and Behind Blue Eyes by The Who, both working in an almost acoustic vein, none featuring drums. To cut a long story short, both come across exclusively as makeweights, reflecting a certain oddity of Blesing's tastes - not with respect to the bands of course (who would cast doubt on the majesty of each, in terms of progressiveness included?), but regarding the tracks chosen.”

 

Hugh Hopper: Bass, Nicolas Fargeix: Clarinet, Catherine Delaunay: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Accordion,Roman Esculi: Design [Cover], Yves Rousseau: Double Bass, Jean-Luc Landsweerdt: Drums, Alain Blesing: Guitar, Alain Blesing: Liner Notes, Alain Blesing: Mixed By, Maurice Salaün: Mixed By, Brigitte Lacombe: Photography By [Cover], Bruno Lacombe: Photography By [Cover], Alban Chassagne: Photography By [Inlay], Naoju Nakamura: Photography By [Inlay], Philippe Godzala: Photography By [Inlay], Remy Raemakers: Photography By [Inlay], François Verly: Piano, Keyboards, Percussion, Ritournelle: Producer, Maurice Salaün: Recorded By, Derek Blesing: Recorded By [Assistant], Philippe Botta: Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, John Greaves: Voice


Tracks: 

Track Listing:

1. Slightly All The Time
2. Beautiful As The Moon
3. California
4. Mumps
5. 1983
6. Behind Blue Eyes
7. Fracture

 



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