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Dick Heckstall-Smith -  A Story Ended CD (album) cover

A STORY ENDED

Dick Heckstall-Smith

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.41 | 8 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars After the demise of Colosseum, DH-S set out to make a solo album, mainly based on a song that he'd written with Clempson during (and for) Colosseum. Actually that 11-mins epic Pirate's Dream was played live with the band and even recorded on a BBC show. Just out of Colosseum, but having played with John Mayall and Graham Bond organization prior to that, DH-S has a lot of friends - one might even say "heavy friends" without attempting to pun at their waist size, since these guest make a five-star cast. Just to name the few would- be "usual suspects" (had he done more albums): Bond, Jack Bruce, Dave Greenslade, Rob Tait, Paul Williams, Chris Farlowe, Pete Brown and Chris Spedding. Keeping track with Bassist Mark Clarke, DH-S "invited" Hiseman as a producer, and this album reeks of Colosseum's corpse.

Straight away, out of your speakers come DH-S' typical sax playing over an intricate riff, and this Future Song makes an excellent present song. H-S sounds slightly eastern-influenced on some of his outstanding sax lines, while Quaye's guitar closes the track in a beautiful fade-out. The mid-tempo Crabs has Farlowe's vocals all over it, and Greenslade's piano takes it in eunexpected territory, although you could easily imagine both tracks on a Colosseum album. The following up-tempo almost-funky Bullrushourses is less convincing as potential Colosseum, partly because of Williams' voice, helped out with Clarke. Closing the first side is another H-S (with Pete Brown for lyrics) track, this time with Jack Bruce singing out on a much jazzier (and quieter) track. On its whole, the album is also reminiscent of Pete Brown's two groups: Battered Ornaments and Piblokto, Brown's influence in the writing helping just as much as Tait's drumming does.

The flipside is made of two "Colosseum" tracks (both penned with Clem Clempson, strangely absent on this album), the first of which is the album's foundation, the 11-mins Pirate's Dream, Some typical Hiseman drumming opens followed by Farlowe's inimitable voice play and responds to H-S's sax lines while Bond's organ (mixed a little low here) underlines the whole thing., until a slower section has H-S reigning supreme - double tracking himself as he feels, although the man can play two wind instrument simultaneously ? and slowly rebuilding its structure, accompanied by some Bond's synthesizer's solos(apparently recorded at half speed for lack of rehearsal),.and once the song is back in full swing, Bond kills it with monstrous synh delirium, while Hiseman drums up a hurricane and Spedding's guitar death throes, the song ending in mayhem and the Pirate's ship sunken in the ocean. Closing the album proper is a slow blues track, aptly called Same Old Thing, where Farlowe has to deal with Spedding's superb guitar

Once the album completed, DH-S assembled a band to promote it and contacted another ex-Colosseum, Litherland; whom in turn, provided most of the band that would tour as Manchild in Germany, UK and US. .Most of the bonus tracks are from that line-up, beit the three live ones (amount to some 28 minutes) are very exciting and rawer, both tracks from the album sounding fairly different - except for H-S, this is a completely different band, with Litherland on the mike.

The last two (short) tracks are from that Manchild project that was not to be, because tan accident prevented H-S to finish and release it, both being in a similar vein, with H-S's leads on instead of the finished parts. These two tracks sound a bit different, but nothing ruining the album's enjoyment. If this A Story Ended is not a Colosseum album per se, I have yet to hear a non-Col album that sounds so close to the MkI sound, and I find this album (and its great bonuses) better than Daughter Of Time. A very pleasant surprise and a renewed Esoteric release (although I reviewed the Sanctuary/Castle release), that might just come with more Manchild bonus tracks.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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