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COLOSSEUM
Time On Our Side
(RUF RECORDS)

As well as giving label space to a considerable quotient of promising and energetic youthful bluesers, Ruf Records, less-frequently but admirably, gives encouragement to more mature pioneers who remain key to the development of the complex polygon that is modern blues.

With Jon Hiseman, the late Dick Heckstall-Smith and Hammond pilot Dave Greenslade aboard, the first Colosseum tip-toed around ‘the blues’ at the jazzier end of its spectrum, the experimental and improvisational nature of recordings and gigs earning them the respect of prog fans into the bargain. The 2014 incarnation of the band sees Hiseman, Greenslade and fellow original member Clem Clempson aboard. They are supplemented by Hiseman’s wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson, an occasional uncredited contributor to early Colosseum releases, bassman Mark Clarke and Chris Farlowe, both of whose history with Colosseum goes back to 1970.

And it’s that same willingness to elbow their way out of genre straitjackets that defines Time On Our Side, where Colosseum are content to pick and mix licks and tricks from the rock n roll smorgasbord and beyond as their strong, well-structured songs demand.

Clempson’s bluesy guitar coils around arrangements, with his contribution of tasteful and ethereal bottleneck snaking through the vocals on ‘You Don’t Get It’. His memorable, almost geometric guitar figure underpins a rousing rock climax to ‘Anno Domini’, the working title for the album, it seems, where Farlowe soars soulfully over almost Baroque keyboard and saxophone interplay. The singer’s album highlight is ‘City Of Love’, where Colosseum jazz swing perches solidly on Mark Clarke’s massive walking bass riff.

Hiseman and Thompson’s daughter, singer and writer Ana Gracey guests, singing her own ‘Blues To Music’ with panache and soul.

The band feels privileged to have Barbara still aboard as her constant battle with illness is a frequent limiter to recording and touring. Yet, she has rarely sounded freer and more energised than on Time On Our Side, scorching the reeds on ‘Safe As Houses’ and adding beautiful emotional brass embellishments from start to finish.

Hiseman’s original vision for Colosseum was, ‘…rocky, jazzy rhythms, vocals with intelligent words, improvised solos”.

Check...check...check...check. Check it out.

 

http://www.temple-music.com/

http://www.simplyws.co.uk/chrisfarlowe/cfmain.html

www.clemclempson.com

http://www.ana-gracey.co.uk/

 

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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