CD Reviews

Trapeze - 'Leavin' The Hard Times Behind: The Best Of' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 29, 2020    
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The material left behind from the group is well worth hearing: Trapeze should not be overlooked.

Trapeze started in 1969 as a five-piece playing a brand of Psychedelic-infused Pop Rock. However, they are best known for their later incarnation as a Funk Rock trio, comprised of guitarist Mel Galley, drummer Dave Holland and bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes.

Trapeze were excellent and if you're new to them, this 2CD 'Best Of' gives a good overview of their output. The original quintet is represented with four songs from their debut, with Hughes acting more as a backing singer to John Jones' lead vocals on a couple of cuts. Organist Terry Rowley and vocalist Jones quit after the first album, and the group continued as a trio, switching to a Funk Rock sound which really suited them. This is where Trapeze really begins, with 'Your Love Is Alright' showing a clear influence from the Funk side, while 'Black Cloud' and 'Medusa', the title track of their second album, are all about the power chords.

When they issued their third effort 'You Are The Music... We're Just The Band' in 1972, they had the formula spot on. Hughes' voice and Funk leanings, Galley's knack for a chunky riff and Holland's tight percussion made for a real gem of an album. It's represented here by 'Way Back To The Bone', 'Coast To Coast', gentle ballad 'Will Our Love End' and the superb title track. Hughes caught the eye of Deep Purple and he would join them, with the band issuing the 'Final Swing' compilation in his wake. Two unreleased tracks, 'Good Love' and 'Dat's It' from that are included here.

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Galley wasn't done though, taking on the role of vocalist himself, adding second guitar player Rob Kendrick and bassist Pete Wright. Galley was sometimes guilty of trying to sing like Hughes, but over the course of 'Hot Wire' in 1974 and 'Trapeze' in 1975, he fronted two strong albums, which were deemed worthy of Rock Candy reissues. One track from each is included.

Galley lacked the vocal stamina to sing every night, so singer Pete Goalby was added for 'Hold On' in 1979. 'Don't Ask Me How I Know' and 'Running' are both included here, but after that, Trapeze disbanded with the members going to bigger and better things – Galley to Whitesnake, Holland to Priest and Goalby to Uriah Heep.

The second disc presents a live radio broadcast from 1977 with Galley on lead vocals. It presents several cuts from the 1974 and 1976 records, as well as decent stabs at material from the Hughes era. Goalby is also brought on stage to debut some of the songs they were working on at the time. Although there are points where Galley's shortcomings as a live vocalist rear their head, it's a fun gig and one that Trapeze fans would enjoy hearing.

While the Trapeze never reached the heights of the member's later work with Whitesnake, Purple and Priest, the material left behind from the group is well worth hearing. Trapeze should not be overlooked.

James Gaden

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