Reissues long ovedue
If you are like me, and fit into the 39+ age bracket of which I am a member, then you probably can remember some if not many of your album purchases, I mean good 'ol vinyl. Most of the young 'uns who write for this site probably call them 'big cd's!'
Well this was one such purchase. I was flicking through the vinyl at my local Woolies (in the days when they had quite an extensive collection and not just the pop shite represented in the charts today), and I came across this very album, attached was a big sticker proclaiming "includes FREE album ' For Gillan Fans Only – Limited Edition'"
And it was, as I still don't know of many who managed to get their mitts on this masterpiece, even though over 25000 copies were sold! All this for the princely sum of £1.99
I loved this album, as it was my first foray into "Gillan", (makes me sound homosexual). I probably haven't heard it in more than 10 years. This was released in 1980 and was the 2nd official Gillan album, after Mr Universe. Colin Towns (keys) was the only survivor from The Ian Gillan Band. In came John McCoy, Bernie Torme, and Mick Underwood. Unlike the other ex-Purple offshoots, Gillan went for it with fiery and explosive gusto.
The reissued series is a joy to behold. The CD is a definite improvement on the last re-issue probably 10 yrs ago. The 'FGFO' has been included in its entirety – more of this later. Also added are two bonus tracks. Booklet includes an intro by Gillan himself together with lyrics and an expansive notes section which fans will enjoy.
Glory Road was issued prior to Gillan's Reading festival appearance for the Fri night support slot of Rory Gallagher. 'GR' enabled Gillan to enter the charts for the first time since his Purple days with 'No Sleeping on the Job' reaching No55. It was a strange choice of single. The album fared better reaching No3. They were on their way.
'Unchain Your Brain' still stands out as being a great rock song and typifies this (the best) line-up, with Hendrix like riffs courtesy of Bernie Torme, one if not the most underrated guitarists of the 80's. McCoy and Underwood form the backbone of the rhythm section, pulsating and driving the songs along. But the highlight of the band is the man himself, screaming and wailing like the proverbial banshee on 'Are You Sure'. Theres not many people who have been able to sing the same range as Gillan (extending from the E2 to the G above soprano high C, and beyond!)
'No Easy Way' kicks off with a wild, frenzied axe solo before settling into what I believe should have been one of the singles. How this album only spawned one single in 'Sleeping On The Job' is beyond me, what were Virgin up to. 'Unchain..', No Easy Way' and 'Running, White Face, City Boy' could have been worthy contenders, as these the have Top 20 written all over them.
What of the bonus album? This was the prize asset for me, something I still refer to in my ramblings to this day. 'For Gillan Fans Only' is a collection of leftover songs, general studio tomfoolery and was put together by the band and its road crew (aka The Franks). You must listen to it, even today, as it doesn't disappoint, and is a great testimony to a band set out for having a great time.
Highlights are all the ramblings inbetween the songs, one of which you still need vinyl as its difficult to play a cd in reverse! 'Higher and Higher' deserved its place on the Glory Road album and was only on here as it was a B side to 'Sleeping...' single. Gillan was a master in wordplay, who can forget the bands spotlighted, 'Cosmo Toons & The Split Knee Loons' with 'She was A Real Egg Timer' and the legendary Arthur Guitar & his Hamster Cage Ensemble performing the Harry Lime Theme (Fucking Brilliant even to this day!)
Edsel Records have given these re-issues the love and care they deserve. Truly an essential listen of one of the best exponents of rock in the 80's