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FROM TIME TO TIME

Ken Hensley

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Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After a long absence Ken Hensley returned with this compliation of unreleased material in 1994. Itīs a great treat for any fan of Hensleyīs work through the years. The first thing that surprises is the quality of the material. Songs like I donīt Wanna Wait, Love At First Sight and You can be counted as some of his best ones and itīs unbelieveable how they were left unissued all this time. Also of interest is some early demos of songs that turned out on his solo albums like cold Autumn Sunday and Longer Shadows. Both very well done and include musicians like the late Paul Kossoff on guitar and Simon Kirke on drums (both from the supergroup Free at the time).

On The Name Of the Game he is accompained by Simon Kirke, Boz Burrell and Mick Ralphs (all from Bad Company). Also of notice is the presence of singer Clare Torry (of the Pink Floydīs Great Gig In The Sky fame) singing backing vocals on two tracks. Another puzzling question is why tunes like Who Will sing For You (a b side for the single In The Morning, from his second solo LP Eager To Please) and Free Spirit (not included on the album of the same name, released when he left Uriah Heep) were left out. Both tracks are actually stronger than most of the original songs that ended up on those LPs.

For Uriah Heep collectors the last part of the CD is the most interesting since it includes such demos as Take Care (a track that would eventually become Footprints In the Snow form High & MIghty), Does Anything Matter (Woman Of The world from the same LP, including a false start) and If I Had The Time (also featuring Paull Kossof on guitar and quite different from the version that turned out on the Sweet Freedom album).

All the tracks were remastered from the original tapes and produced by Hensley himself which gave From Time To Time a very good and smooth overall sound. The tracklist was very well though and its flow gives the CD a cohesive feel when it could sound like a mixed bag had those tapes fell on less capable hands.

Conclusion: an excellent collection of original material (and some demos). The very good booklet has extensive liner notes written by Hensley himself and some great pictures. A must have for any ken Henlsey fan! But it can eventually please the newcomer too. 3,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#191897)
Posted Friday, December 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Keeping Bad Company, making good music

Anyone familiar with "The Landsdowne tapes" collection of Uriah Heep outtakes, unreleased tracks and alternative versions will recall what a goldmine that set is. "From time to time" is a similar collection of songs recorded by Heep's former keyboard player and songwriter. The compilation's title is taken from a track on Hensley's first solo album, but note that the song does not actually appear here. Hensley was actively involved in the preparation of the album, contributing extensive sleeve notes giving details of each track.

Many of the songs here were recorded by Ken for his first three solo albums, but omitted due to lack of space, although the brevity of "Free spirit" indicates the omission of some may have been down to quality control too! Interestingly, Ken's sleeve notes for "Love at first sight", which might have appeared on that album, simply say "I don't remember too much about this one".

A number of the tracks feature appearances by well known rock musicians such as Simon Kirke and Paul Kossoff (Free), Mick Ralphs (Mott the Hoople, Bad Company), Ian Paice (Deep Purple) and Kenny Jones (The Who). These stars appear simply because they were friends who were "around at the time".

A number of the tracks are in the form of advanced demos, the most interesting being an early version of "If I had the time". The song was transformed by Uriah Heep from what you hear here into a magnificent track on "Sweet freedom". This is one of the tracks to feature the guitar work of the late Paul Kossoff. Two other future Uriah Heep songs are included, although the titles here are different. "Take care" became "Footprints in the snow" and "Does anything matter" ended up as "Woman of the world"; both appeared on "High and mighty". Personally, I find the versions on this compilation to be far superior.

Other tracks of particular interest are the single B-side "Who will sing for you" "as you probably missed it's debut" and the intended title track for "Free spirit". Hensley says now that it was a mistake to leave the latter off the album. In retrospect its omission may simply have been down to the fact that it is too much like a Uriah Heep song.

"Guilty" is unusual in that only the vocals are by Ken, the piano being played by Linton Naiff who also looked after the string arrangement. The ballad "Maybe you can tell me" features backing vocals by Clare Torry, the star of Pink Floyd's "Great gig in the sky".

Four of the tracks are demos from sessions recorded at Luxembourg studios in London. Of these, "Black hearted lady" and "Cold autumn Sunday" would find their way onto Ken's debut "Proud words on a dusty shelf" and "Longer shadows" appeared on "Eager to please". The versions here are not that different to the finished articles, but all feature Kossoff and Kirke and are thus of particular interest.

While this collection is clearly intended for fans of Uriah Heep, and specifically of Ken Hensley, it does actually stand up well as a solo album by Ken in its own right. Only a few of the songs will be at all familiar, and even then not in the way they appear here. The added bonus of the set featuring so many legendary names simply enhances the album's appeal.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#202254)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permalink

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