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Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 336 ratings

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4 stars REview Nš 185

"Danger Money" is the second studio album of U.K. and was released in 1979. U.K. was one of the most prominent prog rock groups of the late 70's and one of the first of a concept that would be called "a super-group". The album was released in the following year of the release of their debut album. It features John Wetton, Eddie Jobson and Terry Bozzio. Of the original line up only Wetton and Jobson remained, having Allan Holdsworth and Bill Bruford, departed.

Following two lengthy American live tours, Wetton and Jobson decided to fire Holdsworth due to over musical differences. Bruford chose to depart as well. Bruford soon formed the jazz rock fusion group, Bruford, and invited Holdsworth to join him. After the departure of Bruford and Holdsworth, the remaining band's members decided don't bring another guitarist for the group. Instead, they became a trio with the presence of the new drummer Terry Bozzio. Bozzio was another one time band's member of Frank Zappa. So, U.K. became a trio with an ELP's classic line up.

So, the line on the album is Eddie Jobson (keyboards and electric violin), John Wetton (lead vocals and bass guitar) and Terry Bozzio (drums and percussion).

"Danger Money" has six tracks. All songs were written by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. The first track is the title track "Danger Money". It's a song that begins with a very apocalyptic, massive and bombastic sound. Jobson's keyboards are the main musical instruments on this bombastic piece of music that construct the main body of the song. This song shows tthat this new album from the band has more straightforward melodies, many instrumental passages and quirky structure changes. This is a great opener for the album with pure powerful progressive rock. The second track "Rendezvous 6:02", points further more into a pop direction, resting gently on Jobson's acoustic sounding electric piano, playing in a jazzy musical vein during the instrumental section and competing against increasingly and beautiful musical cascades of the synthesizers. This is a lovely and sweet song very well performed that reminds to my mind the good old days of King Crimson's ballads. It was released as a single to promote the album. The third track "The Only Thing She Needs" represents Bozzio's showcase with a solo near the beginning of the song. Despite he is a great drummer he wasn't yet, in my humble opinion, in the Bruford's league. However, he was good enough to handle the chores. The song is also dominated by Jobson, and he is really a truly versatile and virtuoso musician. The piano sounds simply great and the song culminates into a great violin solo with a great bass line and a dynamic drumming. The fourth track "Caesar's Palace Blues" is a song that opens with a Jobson's demoniac electric violin alternately sounding like a heavy metal guitarist. This is another strong rock song, this time dominated by a Jobson's violin work. It's probably the jazziest song on the album with a Wetton's great vocal work too. It's also a great progressive track where, once more, Jobson shines. The fifth track "Nothing To Lose" was the track that I heard first on the radio. This was also a track released as a single to promote the album. In retrospect, now we can say this song pointed the way to a more digestible form of progressive rock that Wetton preferred, and provided probably the formula for his next progressive band, Asia. This is without any doubt the weakest, and the only weak track on the album. The sixth and last track "Carrying No Cross" is that obligatory epic track that you must find on any good progressive rock album. This is the kind of the tracks that a truly hard core progressive fan, prefers. With a temperament that flows meticulously like a truly symphonic piece of music, great vocals and frenzy of almost everything on Jobson's musical instruments. It was clearly constructed as a stage crowd pleaser with over twelve minutes length. This is a song that reminds me strongly Keith Emerson and the good old times of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. If you want to know why Eddie Jobson is considered a wizard keyboardist, this is the song you must hear. The guy is really an amazing keyboardist.

Conclusion: "Danger Money" represents a landmark in the progressive rock music. It marked definitely the end of the classic prog rock era. After that point, it seemed that the major participants in the decade of progressive rock golden era, or disbanded or moved on to a more commercial realms. Yes reformed with Trevor Rabin with simpler, shorter and radio friendly songs, Genesis continued their transformation to a pop rock band and Asia was formed with John Wetton and Yes' guitarist Steve Howe around the same time and with the same musical style. So, "Danger Money" is a great album and became a very special album in the progressive rock music of the 70's. This is almost a perfect album where "Only Thing To Lose" disappoints, and is the only obstacle that prevents me from giving 5 stars to this album. Unfortunately, this was the last studio album from this great prog rock band. But fortunately this virtuoso handful of musicians, left beyond two scintillating and genuine prog studio releases. It was a shame that U.K. has over, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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