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A GLIMPSE OF GLORY

Ken Hensley

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ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A GLIMPSE WITHOUT GLORY.

After an incredibly long hiatus (almost twenty years), Ken is back with a new studio album! Actually there are two versions of the album of which I only will review the original one.

When you listen to the opening song, the first minute is totally "Tangerine Dream" oriented: spacey, atmospheric. In one word: great. What comes next is still not too bad but purely AOR oriented which quite tempers my view about "It's Up To You".

This confidential album is not a great release though. AOR'ish, with some heavy orientations ("Movin In") are definitely not the best from this excellent song writer. But the best he wrote was not during his solo projects; but of course with the great Heep.

Some rock ballads are available as well ("One Tender Moment", "Guard Your Heart"): Ken performs well in the vocal shoes (but he already had demonstrates his skills in this compartment). But gosh! Is this from the great man who wrote "July Morning"??? The best of these is without any problem the very good " The Return".

The funky / soulish "Shakey Ground" is no thrilling either. No wonder that devoted Ken's fans didn't review this album so far. It always hurt to listen to a lower than average album form such a great composer and performer.

But so is it with this glimpse without glory. And you only need to think once while listening to "Think Twice". Weak, weak, weak: the saving button being the press "next" one.

The worse is yet to come unfortunately. A dreadful religious oriented track ("Get A Line") which I can't bear, really. This is not only related to Ken. But when an artist is adding some "Christian" flavour to his music, I just skip and think of something else. This one just confirms these feelings.

Is Ken willing to become a Sunday US predicator? That's his choice. But not mine.

From a great opener, this albums quickly slips in the paths of some poor album. Christian on top of this! Just listen to "Believe In Me". Gosh!!! If ever you were bored by the spiritual feel of the great Jon Anderson, what you will discover here surpasses all the limits.

There are still some good heavy-rocking moments ("Win Or Lose") but the whole is quite difficult to listen to in a row. To be honest, Ken's solo work has nothing to do with the great Heep period. In all, this could have been perfectly manageable project, but there is no wonder that some old and devoted fans are disappointed while listened to such an album as "Glimpse?".

I wouldn't even discuss the closing track ("The Joy Of Knowing Jesus"). You get it all with the title (although the closing part sounds as the opening from this album: meaning some great TD feel) Why the hell didn't Ken observe mor eof these great inspirations...

This album is more worth one star to be "faithful" to the archives but I am going to be extremely generous and award two stars to this album.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#226737)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars Ken Hensley must be one of the most important rock keyboard players of the Seventies, not only defining the sound of, but also writing many of Uriah Heep's songs. After he left the band some twenty years ago Ken stayed active in the scene for a while before going into musical semi-retirement and it is only in the last few years that he has again become involved. This album has been recorded with his band Visible Faith, but unfortunately there is no information in the 'booklet' or press release stating who played on this album, but it does appear to have been recorded at various times over the last few years.

What is striking is that this is a gospel album, and I wasn't sure what to expect when I placed it on the player. When gospel is bad, it can be nauseating, but when the songwriter is one of the ability of Ken then it probably isn't surprising that not only is this one of the finest albums of this genre that I have ever heard, but also not a bad listen in its' own right. I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised when I caught myself singing the chorus to "Jesus (Again and Again)" at work today, more than once, as it is not the sort of thing that I would usually do!

Ken has covered most of the musical bases that gospel albums tend to be like, only whereas most other acts stick to one style he moves around. Some are soft rock, with that wonderful Hammond organ of his, and some steel guitar for good measure while others are much more American-style, almost C & W. Considering that after he left Uriah Heep they recorded 'Abominog' (a fine cover indeed), it seems that he has moved on quite a way from his colleagues but songs such as "Shakey Ground" could have been from late Seventies Heep.

I have enjoyed playing this album a great deal, and know that I will be listening to it a lot more in the future which is some statement for any album, let alone one so blatantly stating the message. There is another album due out on Mystic anytime now and I am really looking forward to it if the quality of this one is anything to go by.

Originally appeared in Feedback #68, Jun 02

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#975590)
Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Review Permalink

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