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Steve Howe - Pulling Strings CD (album) cover


Steve Howe


Crossover Prog

2.20 | 13 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Wot did you say? Steve can't sing? I'll agree he sounds shaky and is certainly no match for Jon Anderson, but all things considered there are many rockers who do worse. Could you imagine Mr Howe turning up in your local bar, playing a few pieces from his solo albums, and a few highlights from the Yes catalogue - just him and his guitars? What kind of night would it be?

A surprisingly intimate occasion, actually, judging from this recording. Maybe you need to be a true fan before you can appreciate it all, but if Steve's solos on RELAYER and TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS have moved you to the core of your soul (as they have me), and if you think Steve's first solo album, BEGINNINGS, is (on the whole) an enjoyable experience, then chances are you'll also appreciate PULLING STRINGS.

I'll admit BEGINNINGS contains some real duds (e.g. "Doors of Sleep" and "Australia"), but I've always thought the album allowed you to peer straight into Howe's soul (oh no, enough, I won't use that word again) - especially its final two songs, which had Bill Bruford on drums. One of those BEGINNINGS tunes, "Pleasure stole the night", also appears on PULLING STRINGS, unplugged (like most of the material here), and even though its lyrics still don't make sense, it sounds heart-warming and really makes you feel you just got to know Steve a little better.

Same with the Yes tunes. Once again, you'll have to forgive Steve his limitations, but even so, I feel he makes a decent job of "Soon", "Turn of the Century" and the slow bit from "Close to the Edge". It certainly casts a totally new light on those pieces when you hear them performed by someone who was intimately involved in their conception. If Steve played the same way in MY local bar, I'd weep - and not even with frustration!

Steve's instrumental bits, I trust, won't cause anyone any problems; they are fun as usual. And then, at the end of the programme, Steve suddenly grabs an electric guitar and lets rip with "My white bicycle", a Tomorrow classic I'd never even heard before. Judging from its performance here, people, it's a TREMENDOUS tune!

fuxi | 2/5 |


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