Fireworks

Lone Star - 'Firing On All Six' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 13, 2012    
 
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A minor classic that I never tire of hearing.

By 1977 things hadn't gone exactly to plan for the young Welsh band, but CBS were still behind Lone Star and sent them into the studio with fledgling producer Gary Lyons -- Roy Thomas Baker's engineer and protégé who had mixed their debut and would go on to produce albums for Aerosmith, UFO and Trillion, amongst others. Singer Kenny Driscoll had left the band to care for his girlfriend, who had been paralysed in a car accident, and had picked up a 20 year old upstart from the local Cardiff scene called John Sloman. If Driscoll was a bit Plant-influenced, Sloman had the whole package, with a mane of curly hair and his shirt open to the navel. The resulting album was far better produced and even added more variety to the mix, with the expressive Sloman being the icing on the cake.

The epic this time was 'The Bells Of Berlin', a prime slice of bombastic pomp rock and a leftover from the Driscoll era, again showing the band to be masters of the left-field arrangement, building the instruments and voices from subtle melody to swirling crescendo in the blink of an eye. There's no doubting that John Sloman brought something special to the table, but again it was the instrumental prowess of the band that was most impressive, with great guitar parts, Worsnop's towering synths and an even bigger drum and bass presence that makes the album sound as fresh today as it did thirty-four years ago.

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To their arsenal they added a liberal dose of funk into the irresistible rhythms and changing musical landscapes of 'The Ballad Of Crafty Jack', 'Lovely Lubina', 'Time Lays Down' and 'Rivers Overflowing', as well as the new version of 'Hypnotic Mover', whilst the simple ballad 'Seasons In Your Eyes' has an over-the-top string section courtesy of no less than Jeff Wayne himself. They could still rock hard though and cheekily borrowed the riff from Deep Purple's 'Burn' in one of the main highlights, the pulsating 'All Of Us To All Of You'. The new remaster reveals more facets of an already complex mix of styles and melodies, so there can be no doubting that 'Firing On All Six' is one of the UK's finest rock albums.

Again there are some bonus tracks, with different but also excellent BBC sessions of 'The Bells Of Berlin', 'Lonely Soldier' (curiously from the debut but here with Sloman's vocals) and 'All Of Us To All Of You'. Sadly the album never really caught on and demos for a third album came to nothing, but the legacy of these two albums show a talented and brave bunch, most of whom went on to do other things; Paul Chapman to UFO and Waysted, John Sloman to Uriah Heep, Gary Moore and a stop/start solo career, Tony Smith to the excellent but sadly unknown Screen Idols, and Dixie Lee to Wild Horses, amongst others. 'Firing On All Six' is a minor classic that I never tire of hearing.

Phil Ashcroft

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