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Ian Gillan Band - Child in Time CD (album) cover

CHILD IN TIME

Ian Gillan Band

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.62 | 31 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The line that's drawn between good and bad

During his 11 year absence from Deep Purple beginning in 1973, Ian Gillan almost retired from the record industry. He ventured into non-musical business ventures but the lack of success of these, plus pressure from fans, led to him forming the Ian Gillan Band in 1975. The initial line up included such rock dignitaries as John Gustafson and Ray Fenwick together with Gillan's former band mate Roger Glover. Despite Gillan's low profile in the intervening years, he had in fact continued to write and record with session musicians, and a number of the songs here were already a couple of years old. This explains the puzzling writing credit on "You make me feel so good".

The album title is of course taken from what is arguably Deep Purple's finest song, which appeared on the "In rock" album. Affectionados of that song and album though should approach this set with some caution as the use of the title can in a very real sense be misleading.

The first side of the album consists of five incredibly short songs, the longest of which runs to just 3 minutes. The opening "Lay me down" has the feel of an outtake from the "In rock" sessions with guitar and organ competing for dominance behind the familiar voice of Gillan. The following "You make me feel so good", the only song to survive from Gillan's earlier work with a band of session musicians, is a plodding, bluesy number. On the plus side, it features some of Gillan's trademark screams, and some nice slide guitar by Ray Fenwick. Just as the song is becoming interesting though, it fades.

"Shame" is surely the lowest point of the album, this stumbling mid-paced slightly funky number having a nondescript melody and no character whatsoever. "My baby loves me" further emphasises the deficiencies in the songwriting department; while this track at least rocks a bit, it really is prosaic in the extreme. "Down the road" which closes the first side, boasts some of the finest trite lyrics ever written by a major rock band. "Your fire must burn, and all too soon you'll learn that love has no return, get on down, I'll meet you down the road" being the last of three equally cringe-worthy verses. The song itself is a slow blues which at least features a decent vocal performance by Gillan.

The second side of the album holds just two tracks. At around 7 minutes, the version of "Child in time" here is somewhat shorter than the original. The arrangement is slightly smoother with lush string sounds and melodic percussion. The pace remains slow throughout, devoid of the spirited middle section of the original. Gillan does indulge in some screaming, but even this seems rather tame this time around. In all, it is a decent enough cover of the song, which does at least find the band attempting to bring out their own interpretation.

The final track is the 11+ minute band composition "Let it slide". The lyrics offer an early take on Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax", but the song at least sees the band loosening up and creating something a bit more substantial. Do not approach the song expecting an out and out rocker, it certainly is not that. If anything the mood is relaxed and unhurried.

In all, an album of two halves really. The first side is entirely disposable and hardly worthy of an artist of the calibre of Mr. Gillan. Side two offers a degree of redemption through a couple of enjoyable songs and some improved instrumentation.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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