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Colosseum - Those Who Are About To Die Salute You CD (album) cover

THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU

Colosseum

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.60 | 86 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
5 stars An important pioneering album, which melded jazz rock and blues together, and at the time of its release created something quite new. Ironically, way back then the UK music press announced the formation of Colosseum within a few weeks of Timebox announcing they were folding , (sic) 'because there was no call for bands that mixed jazz blues and rock' - Colosseum proved differently (while Timebox became Patto and its vibraphonist Ollie Hassell became the much accomplished guitarist).

TWABTDSY, Colosseum's first, was and still is an ear-opener, showing what excellent musicians playing excellent music, can do. Hiseman had (and continues) played jazz and blues (check out his collaboration on Jack Bruce's first solo "Things We Like"). Dick Heckstall Smith (who could do a Roland Kirk and play several wind instruments simultaneously), had long paid his dues with Graham Bond and John Mayall and had become one the better known UK saxophonists. While the then relative new names of James Litherland (guitar and vocals), Dave Greenslade (keys, son of a musician and bandleader) and Tony Reeves (bass and producer), contributed in their equal ways, to produce an album that remains a classic almost 35 years later.

The album kicks off with the best version of Graham Bond's great R'n'B tune "Walking In The Park", (although Bond's own version, released as a single a few years early, is a close second). The following tunes cover a lot of musical space, as one might expect from the types of musician involved. Straight blues to jazz, and with Dave Greenslade's presence, there is a smattering of serious and even prog rock. The whole drives along, and because of the mix of musical styles and influences should hold your interest throughout - whether with a slow burning blues or a more complex jazz-based solo.

The album coming right at the change of decades, promised the 70's would take rock music to new highs. Alas the hope for better things was short lived. James Litherland left too soon to be replaced by the "veteran" Chris Farrow on vocals. Personally I find Farrow gave Colosseum a rougher, and somewhat rawer sound - which I hadn't particularly liked when he did Rolling Stones covers. In deed, the high point of this special album is the discovery of Litherland's voice. His vocals may be ranked with the very best coming out of Britain's blue-eyed blues period; others included Jack Bruce, Rod Stewart, Chris Youlden, Paul Rodgers and the long forgotten Spit James (of the Keef Hartley Band). Where is James Litherland now - one MO album released about a decade ago, and in the programme credits of rock'n'roll musical as a member of the pit orchestra, touring the UK.

Various members having been previously parts of Graham Bond's and John Mayall's bands, Colosseum did their own splitting only to reform quite a few times. And too, ex-members went on to separately to form memorable British prog and blue rock bands such as Tempest, Greenslade and Mogul Thrash (and in doing so discovering John Wetton). However, the first line-up is my favourite.

Dick Heath | 5/5 |

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