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Ken Hensley - Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf CD (album) cover

PROUD WORDS ON A DUSTY SHELF

Ken Hensley

 

Prog Related

3.35 | 24 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Heep was a band dear to me in the early seventies (and still is). The first album I purchased at the time of release was ''Magician Birthday''. But to be honest, I never entered in Ken's repertoire until recently.

I quite liked the band and he was the driving force: he is a brilliant song writer and an exceptional keyboard player. He has influenced an awful lot of musicians (even if his style in the early days was nder the influence of Lord (Jon I mean).

This debut solo album was released while the Heep was at a climax of their history. I don't fancy that much the ballads featured here (''From Time To Time'' or the cover of ''Rain'') nor the sloppy ''King Without ?'' but the opener is a damned good rock song fully reminiscent of the Heep.

This album is also a friend reunion (maybe comparable to Hackett's debut): another half of the band is helping (Thain and Kerslake). This could have supposed a more ''heeper'' sound (whatever it might mean) than the final result.

But I guess that if a musician wants to release a solo effort, he won't necessarily look to reproduce the material of the ''mother'' band. Still, after the excellent opener, I had to wait for ''Fortune'' (the sixth number) to feel some great emotion. The instrumental intro (keys and guitar) is a real jewel. Probably the most related to prog from this ''Proud Words'' and my second fave.

Vocals are quite acceptable and by far superior to other great musicians who decided to release solo albums. But in terms of compositions, there are several weaknesses: ''Black- Hearted Lady'' just adds to the mellowish atmosphere. And to be honest is a quite dull song. The country oriented ''Go Down'' is probably the weakest of the whole (even if the closing ''Last Time'' could share the bill.

Heep fans should know that this album is far from being a band's substitution: the music played has a much more tranquil and country mood. It can't be compared to their work. It is a decent album but one could have expected some more.

Three stars is the maximum rating I can provide. I would even say that five out of ten is more accurate.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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