Fireworks

UFO - 'The Decca Years - 1970-1973' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 24, 2012    
 
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A nicely produced package.

It may come a surprise to some that UFO began their career as something of an arty space rock style band with hints of sixties psychedelia about them. Having formed in 1969, Messrs Phil Mogg, Pete Way, Andy Parker and Mick Bolton recorded two albums for the tiny label Beacon Records as well as a live album simply called ‘UFO Live’ that initially only had a Japanese release (not by Beacon) in 1971. Both ‘UFO 1 and ‘UFO 2: Flying’ have whiffs of the band’s influences, including Led Zeppelin, The Who and US blues rock giants Blue Cheer. Some of the tracks on this collection are hard to stomach but songs like ‘Star Storm’ and ‘Silver Bird’ certainly have some merits.

UFO formed at the tail-end of the British white blues boom that spawned the likes of Cream and Savoy Brown so it’s inevitable UFO soaked up the blues. The first disc includes 18 songs with tracks from those first two albums and various single A-sides and edits.

There’s UFO’s famous cover of ‘C’mon Everybody’, which made the band huge in Japan while there’s also a cover of ‘Loving Cup’, a song originally by the American white blues guitar player Paul Butterfield. The second disc contains extended versions of just four songs although the shortest is a lengthy nine and a half minutes. The extended versions of ‘Who Do You Love’ and ‘Boogie For George’ are both live.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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After the departure of Mick Bolton in 1972 Larry Wallis was hired and promptly fired just months later to be replaced briefly by Bernie Marsden who really wasn’t interested. On a tour of Germany with the Scorpions in June 1973 the band hooked up with an eighteen year-old non-English speaking German named Michael Schenker whose elder brother Rudolf okayed Michael’s departure from the Scops. Schenker would change UFO’s overall sound for the better and with keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond in 1976 UFO would find their true sound, but since Schenker’s first departure in 1978 there have been few bands with a history as convoluted as UFOs.

Historically speaking this is a good, interesting collection of songs but don’t expect anything near the quality of ‘Rock Bottom’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ et al. UFO is a British rock institution and it’s interesting to explore their roots. ‘The Decca Years’ is also a nicely produced package.

Neil Daniels

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