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Bobby Harrison - 'Anthology' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/26/fa/b1/1260_bobbyharrisonanthology_1305657443.jpg Hot

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A fantastic journey through the entire career of a real rock and roll trooper.

Across the thirty songs featured on 'Anthology', the one thing that remains consistent throughout is the impressive, gritty, bluesy howl of Bobby Harrison, a frontman who could undoubtedly sing with the best of them. Whether it is the blues rock of SNAFU, the more funked up Freedom, the out and out funk of some of his solo work or the more in your face rock approach of Nobody's Business, the true stand out performance is always the voice that brings it all together. 

Harrison first came to prominence with a short sting playing the drums with Procul Harem and while he may not have been in the band long, he did feature on the classic Harem hit, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'. On leaving the band, Harrison decided to form the band Freedom, which was a more than capable heavy blues rock outfit. The band went through three distinct phases as band members came and went, with the sound slowly adding a funkier side that began to be the driving force of the music, with 'Going Down' being a bit like Black Sabbath-lite, while 'Miss Little Louise' is pure down and dirty funk.

Once the third incarnation of Freedom had folded, Harrison ventured into a solo career for the first time, which saw him add an R&B side to the funk he had been producing. The musicians involved at this stage read like a who's who of the burgeoning rock and metal scene of the day with Deep Purple's Ian Paice playing drums and Sabbath's Tony Iommi and future Whitesnake man Micky Moody turning up on guitars. It wasn't long though before Harrison was back in a band situation and one which would lead to the period of his career which arguably he is best known for - SNAFU. The band name was an acronym for the phrase adopted by the US military "Situation Normal – All Fucked Up", which is something that aptly described the drink and drug reliant Harrison at the time. However with Moody joining him from his solo effort the band produced some fantastic rock, funk, and soul influenced music that is strongly reminiscent of the type of thing that Glenn Hughes has become well known for over the years.

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After the third and perfectly titled album 'All Funked Up' SNAFU folded, but undeterred Harrison then moved onto Nobody's Business, who provided him with music that had a hard edged rock flavour, really bringing the best out of his meaty vocals. The five songs included here from this band are among the strongest on this compilation, which is actually quite a compliment when you consider that nearly everything here is excellent. A further solo effort 'Solid Silver' appeared in 1987, with a slightly jazzy flavour added to the funk grooves of Harrison's past and for most readers of this magazine the tracks from this era may be a bit much to take. Don't let that, or an uninspired cover of 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' put you off a fantastic journey through the entire career of a real rock and roll trooper who deserves to have his music reach a wider audience.

Steven Reid

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