Discovered by The Moody Blues’ irrepressible bassist/singer John Lodge, who produced and guided the band’s first two album releases on the Moody’s newly formed Threshold label( Trapeze’s debut is the second release on the label),

listening to these sumptuously expanded classic albums, it’s no surprise that the trio of players who created a rhythmic rock sound with a sure touch of funk as Trapeze then went on individual journeys to greater success in global genre-leading legendary outfits.

To witness the recorded birthing of Glenn Hughes’ elastic larynx developing its range on the band’s eponymous release is like discovering a time capsule containing one of the wonders of the world prior to deservedly being awarded the sobriquet ‘The Voice Of Rock’.

Initially a five-piece group, this inaugural recording is a quirky oddity of psychedelic prog-pop curios. A musical direction reinforced by fantastical song titles such as The Giant’s Dead Hoorah! and Fairytale; Verily Verily; Fairytale.

From this, things moved up a few gears with the release of the more rock-laden Medusa and no fan turned into a pillar of salt upon listening to this slab of heavy-loaded vinyl. Now slimmed down to the holy trinity power trio: Galley, Holland, and superstar in the making(and only living survivor) Glenn Hughes salted an album of seminal bluesy rock that stands the test of passing time and trends on this well-preserved re-release.

Brooding opener Black Cloud defined the new musical direction Trapeze embarked upon with its rock-steady tempo. Yet it’s the title track that still rivets with its hard-stare epic exploration of soulful hard rock. As a statement of intent, it remains a show-stopping milestone in Hughes’ solo shows. These original magnificent seven tracks are expanded by two discs of bonus material and of most interest are the live recordings from a 1971 concert supporting their mentors The Moody Blues.

If one album defines a band’s existence then You Are The Music. We’re Just The Band is Trapeze. With Lodge handing production duties to Neil Slaven, a cohort of notable guest musicians including BJ Cole and Rod Argent alloyed this release with their masterly talents.

This is the recording where rock meets soul and funk creating a definable sound for the band on which Hughes really came to the fore. First single Coast To Coast still sounds like a wistful postcard from a faraway friend all these years on. There’s a consistent flow of confident performances throughout this milestone collection. Keepin’ Time struts in as a cocky opening gambit but it’s the snarling rock-funk on Way Back To The Bone which steals the show on this finely balanced album of soulful ballads, strutting rock, and sassy funk.

Again, a bouncing rabbit of songs is pulled from the hat as non-album tracks, a 1973 Radio 1 In Concert, and a whole show from Houston, Texas are compiled here to capture the group’s final year together before Hughes peeled away to join Deep Purple.

It can be ever so easy to forget that this monumental music is played by only three musicians. The name Glenn Hughes introduces itself. But it’s also hats off to the two players who are no longer with us as Mel Galley classily fills the speakers with his sure and sophisticated hands. Not forgetting drummer Dave Holland holding the whole show down with not inconsiderable guile and feel.

Music played this well provides a sanctuary for the soul as this groove some rock, with a savvy twist of soulful funk, hits the mark harder and funkier as ever it did.

 

Trapeze

Trapeze
Medusa
You Are The Music. We’re Just The Band
Expanded Editions
(Cherry Red)
8/10

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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