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Peter Banks - Two Sides of Peter Banks CD (album) cover

TWO SIDES OF PETER BANKS

Peter Banks

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Why I love this album? First, I think that Peter Banks is a very underrated guitarist. Second, because I think this album it's the perfect example of the underground prog of the 70's.

Former guitarist of Yes in their first two albums, Banks was totally eclipsed by Steve Howe at the early 70's. This "two sides" presents the talent of Mr. Banks playing prog and blues. Well, the prog parts looks like a primitive but wild Steve Hackett's imitation, but this is the magic of this record, the roughness of Banks when he play the guitar, specially on "The White House Vale". The other songs of the album sometimes souds a little bit predectible, but they are really good if you consider the year when this album was made. "Stop That!" is the most bored song of the album, perhaps the strange mix of blues and some kraut (?)... really, I'm not joking...

At least, a weird piece of collection, maybe necessary to understand why 70's prog was so great...

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Send comments to progadicto (BETA) | Report this review (#50046)
Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Talk about an eclectic album! Ex-Yes and Flash guitarzan Peter Banks really spilled his beans here , putting together a VERY original album with his mates from Flash (no Yes members invited, ah, such bitterness!!!) and a few choice guests: the fuzzy bass of John Wetton , the rythmic gymnastics of "Uncle" Phil Collins (back in the days when he was a gloriously talented drummer) and , last but not least, the unique guitar styles of Steve Hackett and Focus' Jan Akkerman (back in the days when he was a gloriously talented guitarist). With all this supremo talent , Banks sort of takes a back seat . "The White House Vale", "Knights" and mostly the full tilt improvised gem/jam "Stop That"are the highlights here, giving the guests a chance and a platform to let down their fairly long hair and just rip! Yeah, this is not your "perfect prog produced to perfection master opus" but it has a charm that has stood the test of time and still ellicits smiles, cheers and the occasional goose bumps. In many ways, the album's black, white and grey cover really sets the mood as this is no technicolor masterpiece! It's raw, slutty, dirty, visceral, angry, moody and My, my, that Akkerman could certainly play a mean guitar! Perhaps not a classic but definitely a showpiece for some inspired playing and a rare glimpse into Banks' rather odd career. 4.5 flashes

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#94747)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oddly enough Banks`only solo outing of the `70s was not really a solo effort as it includes some monster prog artists from the early seventies contributing their own ideas and material, including Jan Akkerman, Steve Hackett, John Whetton, Phil Collins and members from Bank`s own band Flash. Arguably the first prog supergroup!

The album weaves its way through an assortment of full group electric prog- like tracks albiet with no vocals, improvs and a couple of thoughtful Jan Akkerman compositions which reveal where he was artistically during the early 70`s. "Beyond The Lonliest Sea" is comparable to any acoustic work he did with Focus. Unfortunately we don`t hear everybody all at the same time and Whetton and Hackett appear only on two of the shorter tracks together with Phil Collins. Of the two extended jams, " Stop That! " shows what the album is really about, a group of contemporary musicians collaborating without trying to out do one another, but at the same time really grinding it out. The whole album sounds like iit was played straight with no overdubbing giving it a very hard texture throughout, even on the more subdued Akkerman pieces. Despite the the remarkable result, the rough sound indicates that it might have been hammered out in a short period of time due to the individual musicians having committments to other projects with their respective bands.

A highly sought after album in vinyl form back in the seventies and eighties due to it`s short pressing run on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps only for the curious and fans of Flash Mk.I. One of the most unique prog albums from the creme de la creme talent playing outside the normal confines of their own bands during prog`s glory years of the early 70`s.

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Send comments to Vibrationbaby (BETA) | Report this review (#100251)
Posted Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I found this vinyl this weekend in a local record shop; they either didn't know what they had or didn't care since it was in the cheap bin. I've been looking for this for a while, one of those ones you log in the back of your mind and are thrilled to one day come by. Not a full or perfect record, but it's such a, well, cool record. This album rocks. Tony Banks plays wonderfully - if some might say challenged or overshadowed at times by Akkerman -, from delicate to muscular on both the jazz and rock fronts, and the other musicians in the studio all do yeoman's work. Side two is very free in feel, completing the record with a pretty all-guitars duet followed by two spontaneous jams full of great playing. Side one is the thing here. It's a well oiled composition, but with a performance hastily thrown together; but that hastiness is the source of a lot of the excitement and charm in this record. (Note well, the Hackett and Whetton contributions are small indeed, but this won't matter as the music takes you.) And have I added that it rocks? I'm split on whether to give it 3 or 4 stars. I really enjoyed this one though - put it at 4-minus out of respect for all the great full-4's out there.

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Send comments to American Khatru (BETA) | Report this review (#239160)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Meandering, gentle and totally directionless.

This is the first solo effort I've ever heard from Peter Banks. Chances are it may be the last, too. No, it's not horrible at all, indeed the musicianship is pretty good, but the compositions leave a lot to be desired.

All instrumental - which is not at all against my preferences - but little substance is to be found here to fill the void in place of vocals, or other vital input. Indeed, I feel that I am listening to an Ementhaler cheese with more holes than solid material. Still, not without taste, but biting into chunks of not much is not my preference.

The album starts with a flamenco-ish touch and ends up with a mediocre hoedown. In- between there are some very pleasant licks, showing that Banks could play if he wanted to, but the lack of attention to compositions fail to support his talent as a good musician.

It's not before I get to the second last and longest track "Stop That!" that my interest is raised somewhat. This is a groovy and slightly jazzy piece - somewhat reminiscent of Jan Akkerman's laid back, "lazy Sunday afternoon" approach heard on "Complete Guitarist", or "It Could Happen To You". Well, if this album was made up of pieces like that, I would enjoy it much more alas, one tune alone does very little to me.

Overall, this release reminds me of when I visit musician friends, catching them just fooling around in the basement without being too serious. This is definitely not Jazz-Rock just because it has no vocals. Then again, I am not familiar with Banks' other works.

Suffice to say, I am pleased that Steve Howe had replaced Banks in YES. With Banks, YES would have never become the band it is/was. This album makes "Topographic" a roaring Rock&Roll piece in comparison.

In a sense it's good, but closer to collectors material. 2.5 rounded down.

PS: Good Heavens! At the time of writing my piece I wasn't even aware that Jan Akkerman was featured here. Well, it only shows....

.

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Send comments to BORA (BETA) | Report this review (#941317)
Posted Monday, April 08, 2013 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album was recorded at the same time as FLASH`s "Out of Our Hands" album in 1973. In interviews the late Peter Banks said that the record company wanted a solo album from him, so he recorded this album during the nightime while the "Out of Our Hands" album was recorded during the daytime. I think that for Banks this working schedule could have been a hard time having to complete two albums working on them almost all the time at the same time. So, in my opinion, this is reflected in the content of his solo album, an album which sometimes looks and sounds more like a collaboration with guitarist Jan Akkerman from Dutch band FOCUS, more than really being a solo album by Banks. At almost the same time, Banks was also playing some gigs with a part-time band called ZOX AND THE RADAR BOYS, a "jam band" which also included Phil Collins on drums, plus Ronnie Caryl on guitar and three other musicians whose names I don`t remember now. So, maybe this was the reason Collins appeared in this album during the time he was playing wiht Banks in that "jam band". Anyway, Banks said that he had great fun while recording this solo album.

This album sounds more like a collection of improvised instrumental musical pieces, or at least, some pre-composed musical ideas which were augmented in the studio with improvisations while recording the album. There are some very good guitar collaborations and interactions between Banks and Akkerman, sometimes using acoustic guitars playing some Classical Music arrangements. Banks also shows why he was considered as a very good guitar player with his very personal style of playing the heavy parts of the songs, also using some complicated chords in some parts and also playing some very good lead guitar parts.

This album also was like a "Progressive Rock Star Session" due to the appearances of John Wetton on bass, Steve Hacket on guitar (in a very brief and in an almost "cameo apperance"), Phil Collins on several tracks (with his drums playing being particularly very good and present), plus two of Banks` bandmates in FLASH Mike Hough and Ray Bennet.

I don`t know if this solo album was released before "Out of Our Hands", but it seems that FLASH was in their last days as a band anyway, so maybe the record label wanted to give more support to Banks as a solo musician, so they asked him to record this solo album, but it was not as successful as expected. Unfortunately, FLASH broke up as a band during a tour in the U.S. in 1973 and Banks` musical career was not very successful for the rest of the seventies, a time during which he tried to form another band called EMPIRE which could not get a recording contract. Fortunately, in the nineties he became more active with his solo career recording and releasing several solo albums and also playing some concerts with a band called HARMONY IN DIVERSITY. But he died a year ago being 65 years old.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#1144475)
Posted Sunday, March 09, 2014 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The guitarist's solo debut, 1973's 'Two Sides Of Peter Banks' found the diminutive ex-Flash and Yes axeman backed by a quite incredible(for the times) all-star line-up that included the likes of Focus legend Jan Akkermann, former King Crimson bassist John Wetton, and, a decade prior to his early-eighties soft-pop superstar guise, Genesis drummer-and-singer Phil Collins. Add Flash members Ray Bennett(bass) and Mike Hough(drums), as well as another Genesis member in the form of guitarist Steve Hackett, and you have a lip- smacking proposition for prog-rock fans; a line-up of almost dream-team proportions. On paper, 'Two Sides Of Peter Banks' looks like it might just have everything, with virtuoso musicians mixing together within an exciting progressive framework. In reality, however, this glib album proves anything but exciting. The problem, it seems, is Banks himself. Always drawn as a rather strange character yet universally-lauded for his sometimes dazzling guitar histrionics, the British guitarist enjoyed a brief career in rock 'n' roll, appearing on the first Yes album, and then forming Flash in 1972 with Bennett, Hough and vocalist Colin Carter. Flash would produce three studio albums between 1972 and 1973 and tour North America before splitting, and that - apart from this solo release and a handful of barely-released CD albums from the mid-nineties - is pretty much it for Mr Banks. Here, despite the star backing, Banks has essentially created an oddly-disjointed instrumental album filled with impressive technical performances but sorely lacking in memorable tunes and melodies, the whole affair lacking the fire and passion the guitarist brought to the first two Flash albums. From the maudlin opening tones of the murky intro piece 'Visions Of The King' - a throwaway piece capped by both gritty metallic guitars and lilting acoustic chimes - to the messy pop-prog of 'Knights' and the laboured epic 'Stop That!', 'Two Sides Of Peter Banks' fails to capture the imagination in the same way as the album's cast list has. Banks aficianado's may of course lap it all up, but for this Yes-and-Flash fan, both sides of this particular Banks have proved rather disappointing. It could have been great. It wasn't. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#1156952)
Posted Wednesday, April 02, 2014 | Review Permalink

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