Angel Air SJPCD088
After leaving Mott in 1974, Ariel Bender formed Widowmaker with Steve Ellis. After two unsuccessful albums, the band folded, and Ariel effectively quit the music business. For many years he ran his own decorating company, but he still kept his hand in with "hobby" bands such as Blues 92.
In 1995, he was asked to contribute to the Peter Green tribute album. His work was met with much praise, so much so that it revitalised his career. Reverting to his real name of Luther Grosvenor (tho' his backing band was still called The Ariel Bender Band), he recorded his second solo album, Floodgates, which was released in 1996 (his first, Under Open Skies, was released in 1972!). Since then, his old band Spooky Tooth, attempted a reunion and started work on a new album.
This anthology brings together the original Floodgates album, those Peter Green tribute tracks and three of those new Spooky Tooth tracks, together with a couple of tracks from much earlier in Luther's career.
The result is a remarkably good album of blues-based rock. From full-tilt rockers like Best Years Of My Life and Fullness of Time to slower more melodic numbers like the semi-autobiographical Evesham Boy and the title track this is an album that is remarkably varied and never fails to surprise the listener.
The two Peter Green tracks (Crying Won't Bring You Back and Merry Go Round) continue the theme with more excellent blues guitar. The three Spooky Tooth tracks give mere hints of what they must have been like in their prime, Kiss It Better being the standout track here for me.
This album is rounded off with one of Luther's earliest recordings, Pretty Colours, which betrays its 60's roots with a very psychedelic sound. Finally we have a real gem, a live version of his single Here Comes The Queen, recorded by Mott The Hoople in 1974. Previously unavailable (save for the Rest In Peace bootleg), fans can only hope that one day the rest of this concert can be released.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of thoughtful, blues-based guitar then you'll like this album. If you've already invested in Floodgates then it is for you to decide if the extra tracks here are worth the investment. But if you haven't, then I can certainly recommend giving Floodgates Anthology a try. Recommended.
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