First Published: 15 Sept 2015
New Classic Rock Archival Release
John Wetton: Volume 1 – The Studio Recordings – Anthology (2015 Primary Purpose)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
It all started thirty-five years ago, back in 1980, when John Wetton launched his solo career with an album called; Caught In A Crossfire. By this time, John was already a successful musician. He stayed busy playing in bands. It just took that long for that first solo record to come out. Now in 2015, thirty-five years later, John’s released a new double CD called; John Wetton – Volume One – The Studio Recordings_Anthology, which entirely focuses on his solo music. It makes for a wonderful introduction to his solo work if not already turned on to it.
Since my acquiring it, I have been playing John Wetton: Vol. 1 – The Studio Recordings – Anthology almost everyday. Two full discs, sixteen songs on each disc. A lot of music. So I play Disc One one day, and Disc Two the next. The CD collection itself, is an upgrade for me because most my early solo John Wetton collections are still on cassette. His later albums I have on CD like his 2011’s ‘Raised In Captivity’. One of my personal favorites. A must have studio album, especially if a fan of the progressive rock band, Yes. Produced by member, Billy Sherwood, who has mastered several musical instruments (multi-instrumentalist), performs throughout the recording. Current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes (Buggles_Asia) and original Yes member, keyboardist Tony Kaye (Circa:) also appear on the record. One song that made its way from these guys to the new Anthology. It’s called ‘Steffi’s Ring’, a song with Geoff Downes behind the keys. A solid tune! A good choice in music because it waters the mouth for more. Basically, that’s the whole idea of doing a release such as this. But enough about John’s last solo effort, for there were six more beforehand that one will find various cuts from, on this 2015 release.
I got turned onto John Wetton back when he was with King Crimson. A superior vocalist/bass player/song writer. After that, then a group named UK. That band consisted along with John, Eddie Jobson, Allan Holdsworth, and Bill Bruford. Doing two studio records with UK, John was said to have wanted a more commercial venture. Again, assuming the role of lead vocalist and bass player, but this time for what was labeled a prog-rock supergroup called; Asia. More people generally know John for his work with Asia, probably more than anything. The group Asia over the decades sold millions of records, and with John back with the group since ’07, is still going strong today. Impressive is the fact that Mr. Wetton has had a long history of musical employment, since the beginning of the nineteen seventies, and he is still going strong. Today he celebrates life, sobriety, and the fact he’s a cancer survivor. The voice is still robust, and his musical abilities demonstrate that of a person who has devoted his life to the subject.
If not having heard any, most of John’s solo music could be considered adult contemporary rock n’ roll. John’s lyrics, mature, deep, and meaningful. The actual music weaving in and around John’s singing, occasionally include musicians/old friends from projects past, like Geoff Downes (original Asia band member). The end result being solid musical compositions, all having something memorable about them, and worth listening to time and time again.
Uncle G’s Favorite Track from John Wetton – Volume One – The Studio Recordings – Anthology
And the winner is…
John Wetton – Lost For Words (Disc One Track Eight)
I like the upbeat tempo. A great rock number! This song has Billy Sherwood, all over it, and also contains some juicy Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs/Deep Purple) guitar work. John’s performance is captured perfectly. Music you can turn up the volume to. Off of John’s seventh solo, released in 2011 called, Raised in Captivity. Again, what a GREAT record! Many cool people involved, including Robert Fripp, and Steve Hackett. But enough about John’s last solo effort, for there were more songs I really dig.
Uncle G’s Other Honorable Mentions: Where Do We Go From Here?/Battle Lines/Caught In A Crossfire/Arkangel/Right Where I Wanted To Be/Where Do I Stand From Here?/Say It Ain’t So/Raised In Captivity/and Rock Of Faith. All are terrific!! The fact is, there isn’t a song offered on this new offering, that I don’t like at all. Once knowing the material, it’s really just having personal favorites. John is also the producer of this CD. I imagine he hand picked these titles himself, wanting to re-introduce himself in the process to the twenty-first century music buying public.
Uncle G’s Rating: John Wetton: Volume One – The Studio Recordings – Anthology
Using the one to five rating system, whereas one star…wait…come to think of it, nothing I have ever heard from John Wetton was EVER one star material. So using the rating system and starting with 3 stars as the the worst John could ever do,(depending on your musical taste), Uncle G rates the new John Wetton – Volume One – The Studio Recordings – Anthology … 5 stars! Good enough for me to listen to for two weeks straight (in between other stuff I like and/or am reviewing), then logic dictates that it’s good enough to receive a five star rating.
Fact is with John Wetton, I’ve always admired his musical abilities. Straight up, the man’s a cool rock n’ roller who writes, plays a mean ass bass, and can really sing. Being a long time consumer of rock music, his music has indeed been a bright point in my very own existence. Thanks Mr. Wetton. You get the official Uncle G stamp of approval; You ROCK!
Official John Wetton Website: