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Alan White - Ramshackled CD (album) cover

RAMSHACKLED

Alan White

 

Crossover Prog

2.64 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars My late father was a great record collector of mainly Classical music records. Also he liked to have the best audio equipment available in the seventies (and later in the 80s-90s, but with less interest). So, he had subscriptions for some audio equipment magazines ("High Fidelity", "Stereo Review" and "Audio") and also, as a very good customer of one record shop, he was given for free (for years too!) the monthly Schwann record catalogues! He lent me his magazines and his record catalogues and I was more interested in reading the record reviews in that magazines and to see the new released albums in the record catalogues. So, I remember that I read in those magazines the reviews for many albums, and I read there the reviews for the solo albums that the then members of the band YES released between 1975 and 1976. The only album from which I never read a review was for this album, Alan White`s "Ramshackled", released in April 1976, but I knew about the existence of this album because it was listed in the Schwann catalogues. I also have a cousin who had a very good record collection of Prog Rock musicians, and he also had the other solo albums from the members of YES, but he didn`t have this album. I remember that I also read in one Schwann record catalogue from 1978 that this album was marked as "to be out of print soon; it is not going to be included again in the future editions of this catalogue". So, I never have seen a copy of the old LP of this album, and it seems that many people never knew about this album being released. But, in 1992, a now defunct and very missed FM Radio station in my city broadcasted a series of programmes dedicated to the discography of the band YES and also to some of the solo albums recorded by their members and former members. So, I recorded it in a cassette. But this album was previously released on CD only in Japan, but in this year, it was released for the first time on CD in the U.S., so it is available again, and I`m going to buy it as soon as I see it in the record shops.

This album is very good, IMO, it has a mixture of several styles with good Prog Rock arrangements. It was recorded by Alan White assisted by musicians who played with Alan before he joined YES. The songs of this album were not composed by Alan, but the songs were composed by Kenny Craddock, Colin Gibson and Peter Kirtley, alone or in different combinations. Alan and these musicians played together in a band called "Griffin", and also played together in several albums as session musicians. Craddock, Gibson and Kirtley also composed songs together for other projects before this album was planned and recorded. So, they had a lot of experience working together with Alan White before he joined YES, so I think that it was easier for them to record this album which was released as Alan`s solo album, but it could be also considered as a Griffin album.

The songs:

1. Oooh Baby (Going to Pieces`): it starts with Alan playing drums and percussion in a Samba- Bossa Nova musical style. Then, the other instruments appear and then the singer sings in a Soul music style.

2. One Way Rag: this song is influenced by Soul and Rhythm and Blues music, it is a simple song really, sometimes sounding like Pop music.This song was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976. In the first gigs of that tour, the band played selected songs from their solo albums, but the idea was eliminated soon.

3. Avakak: it is an instrumental piece of music in the Jazz-Rock musical style with the addition of wind instruments and very good rhythm patterns by Alan and basist Colin Gibson.

4. Spring - Song of Innocence: with lyrics by William Blake, this is a song very influenced by New Age music ( a style not so called like that in those days) and Prog Rock, with very good atmospheres, and the guest appearances of YES members Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. I think that this song could have been included in any YES album in those years.Alan plays a slow rhythm similar to YES song`called "Wonderous Stories". There are also very good flute-guitar-keyboard arrangements.Anderson sings lead and backing vocals.This song also was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976.

5. Giddy: is a funny song also influenced by Jazz-Rock and Soul music. The lyrics tells the story of "a night of fun in the city". It includes a very good drum part by Alan. Again, lead singer Alan Marshall sings very well. This song also has a good orchestral arrangement.

6. Silly Woman: a Reggae song with good drums by Alan and a steel drum part. Maybe the lyrics are a bit offensive, but it is a funny song anyway. In the "Yesyears" video it is included a fragment of a promotional video for this song on which Alan appears smiling, and Patrick Moraz said in one interview that he also appeared briefly in this video as guest without having played a note in the song! This could be a good danceable song. It also has wind instrument arrangements.

7. March into a Bottle: is a song with classical guitar, flutes and other wind instruments and tuned and untuned percussion, inlfuenced a bit by Classical music and Folk Rock a la Jethro Tull. It also sounds IMO in the style of Steve Hackett`s music as soloist.

8. Everybody: is an energetic song with very good drums by Alan, a bit heavy, with wind instrument arrangements and backing vocals by Madeleine Bell, Joanna Williams and Vicky Brown. It has very good bass guitar parts, and acoustic guitar and steel drum.

9. Darkness: is the most Progressive song in this album, maybe the most "serious", with three parts, also influenced by Jazz-Rock. It also has wind instrument arrangements and an orchestral arrangement by David Bedford (who previously worked with Mike Oldfield) in the third part. The arrangements are a bit inlfuenced by YES music.There are some lead guitar parts too. The final part of the song includes a trumpet solo.

I think that this album deserves to be "discovered" and listened by the Prog Rock Fans who never have listened to it. The album is very eclectic, but it shows Alan White`s versatility as a drummer. He, in the "Yesyears" video, talking about this album, said that his idea was to record an album with a mixture of several styles. It seems to me that his previous musical experience of playing with artists of different musical styles helped him a lot to record an album with a lot of variety in the musical arrangements. This album, IMO, it is also interesting for Prog Rock Fans who also play drums and percussion (which is my case). I can hear a lot of interesting things in this album, and I hope that other listeners could find something interesting on it too. It also sounds to me like it was recorded with Alan and all the musicians having a lot of fun. So, even being a collaborative effort, not only a solo album, it is very good, IMO.

In Alan White`s official website there are some promotional videos for this album which can be seen there. They are also available in youtube.com .

Update (11-January-2008): a year ago I bought the C.D. version of this album, released in the U.S. by Wounded Bird Records, and it sounds very good, but the booklet doesn`t include the lyrics and the full cover artwork. Anyway, it was a good buy for me.

Guillermo | 4/5 |

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