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Atomic Rooster - Made In England CD (album) cover

MADE IN ENGLAND

Atomic Rooster

 

Heavy Prog

3.67 | 134 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Ball of confusion

"Made in England" was the first of two albums recorded in the name of Atomic Rooster for Dawn records, the progressive arm of Pye Records. I say "in the name of" since the line up and style of these albums is very different to that of the band's generally favoured classic era. The only band member to remain as we entered 1972 was founder and leader Vincent Crane. Crane put his (significant) personal issues aside, and recruited three new members. The most notable of these is singer Chris Farlowe who had recently worked with Colosseum, but was best known for his solo hit single "Out of time", written by Jagger and Richards of the Rolling Stones.

The opening "Time take my life" (note do not misread the title as "Time to take my life"!) is a fine 6 minute piece of prog influenced drama. The arrangement includes dominant brass and strings in addition to some competent organ playing by Crane. This is very much a case of putting your best foot forward first though and the album soon settles into a series of soul and funk dominated tracks.

It is easy to blame Farlowe for the radical change in direction, but as Crane once said, it was he who wrote the songs. By way of mitigation, he said that the songs he wrote were designed to work with the talents of the new line up. Thus we have numbers such as "Stand by me" (not the Ben E King classic) and "People you can't trust" which sound more than ever like something the Temptations might have recorded around the same time. "Stand by me" was released as a single in the UK and the US, but failed to impress on either side of the Atlantic.

Overall, there is an eclectic mixture of songs here, some of which hark back to the band's earlier albums (such as "Little bit of inner air" and "All in Satan's name"). Others are overtly funky, white soul songs, such as the James Brown inspired "Don't know what went wrong".

"Never to lose" is a heavy plodder but it features a fine wah wah guitar solo by Steve Bolton. After a strange preacher like intro which is turned off, "Breathless" is piano driven improvisation, Crane doing his best to sound like Keith Emerson on the keyboards. The track is quite at odds with the rest of the album.

In all, a pretty enjoyable album which offers a diverse collection of songs. There are occasional hints of the prog influences of former days, but the soul and funk emphasis of some of the tracks may not appeal to those who seek the Atomic Rooster which recorded Atomic Rooster's early albums.

The reissued version on CD has 2 bonus tracks, both of which were originally on the following album "Nice'n'greasy".

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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