Armed with a voice that would make a square-bashing Sergeant Major wince and run for cover, Bonnet’s three-minute warning siren of a larynx is probably racking up building insurance claims somewhere on this rocky planet.

A thorough run-through of his solo career, this compact box collects together all of his solo releases across three decades. As if that wasn’t enough, each CD also contains added bonus tracks of single releases and demos taken from their respective releases.

Diving inside, this comprehensive compendium charts the ongoing career arc of an artist whose voice stretches over the decades from his inaugural Back Row In The Stalls, Doo-Wop/ Beach Boys pop-inspired vocal gymnastics to the mid-career middle of the road hogging of familiar cover versions; with pre-Whitesnake Micky Moody starring on guitar. Further Purple/Rainbow affiliated musos pop up – Powell, Lord, Airey etc – on later albums particularly the rocked up Line-Up with live favourite Night Games and further material that gives justice to Bonnet’s tonsilar abilities and also includes the core of Status Quo.

Miami Vice too cool for old school image aside, it’s easy to see why Blackmore recruited Bonnet to present a change of musical direction in Rainbow. Something Michael Schenker took on in a much heavier direction which is where Bonnet’s voice impresses most as further evidenced on his Alcatrazz period.

It’s also clear, based on the scattergun musical approach on the material collected here, that his various record companies didn’t quite know how to market Bonnet. Not a songwriter himself, his career stuttered and jagged about like a misfiring muscle car until the later heavier recordings gave that voice a direction and purpose.

In saying that, 1991’s Here Comes The Night reverts back to the insipid re-purposed MOR cover interpretations found on earlier albums but to the rescue is Reel To Real that sweeps up a motley collection of mostly back on track melodic soft-rock songs recorded in Los Angeles and Australia to tail this little box that makes a mighty loud noise from an undoubted vocal talent who remains a top draw on the live circuit.

Graham Bonnet
Solo Albums 1974-1992
(Cherry Red)
7/10
By Paul Davies

About The Author

I began my career in journalism at the now defunct, pre-digital Smash Hits magazine, which was situated in London's Carnaby Street. After learning the ropes, I washed up at Vox Magazine, essentially the NME'S monthly magazine, as the Internet arrived into our lives. Thereon, I eventually graduated onto Q Magazine when people still treasured the magazine that they bought. My journalistic career since has been on newspapers at The Times, The Independent/i newspaper, Daily & Sunday Express and, ofcourse, National Rock Review.

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