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Peter Banks

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Peter Banks Two Sides of Peter Banks album cover
3.39 | 75 ratings | 11 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Visions of the King (1:23)
2. The White House Vale (7:13) :
- a. On the Hill
- b. Lord of the Dragon
3. Knights (6:14) :
- a. The Falcon
- b. The Bear
4. Battles (1:38)
5. Knights (reprise) (2:11)
6. Last Eclipse (2:25)
7. Beyond the Loneliest Sea (3:06)
8. Stop That! (13:47)
9. Get Out of My Fridge (3:20)

Total Time 41:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Banks / electric & acoustic guitars, ARP & Minimoog synths, Fender e-piano, producer

- Jan Akkerman / electric (1,4,6,8,9) & acoustic (7) guitars
- Steve Hackett / electric guitar (5)
- Ray Bennett / bass (3-5,8,9)
- John Wetton / bass (5)
- Mike Hough / drums (3)
- Phil Collins / drums (4,5,8,9)

Releases information

LP Sovereign ‎- SVNA 7256 (1973, UK)
LP Lilith ‎- LR344 (2012, US)

CD One Way Records ‎- S21-18009 (1994, US)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2165 (2009, UK) Remastered by Ben Wiseman

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PETER BANKS Two Sides of Peter Banks ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PETER BANKS Two Sides of Peter Banks reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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
Review by Guillermo
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.

Review by stefro
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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A good side, and a not so good side

Peter Banks was the original guitarist of Yes, playing with them between 1968 and 1970. Before that Banks was also involved in pre-Yes bands Mabel Greer's Toy Shop and The Syn. After having recorded two albums with Yes - the self-titled 1969 debut and 1970's Time and a Word - Banks was replaced in the group by Steve Howe. Banks then formed a new band called Flash and released three albums with that band. The first, self-titled Flash album was released in 1972 and featured another Yes-man in Tony Kaye (who by that time had also exited Yes) on keyboards. The same year saw a follow-up album called In The Can and in the year after that Out Of Our Hands appeared. Banks' first solo album entitled Two Sides of Peter Banks was recorded at the same time as that third Flash album and released in the same year.

The album title is apt, as the two vinyl sides are very different from each other in character. The first side is by far the better one featuring more structured compositions while the second side is occupied by two extended jams with Jan Akkerman from Focus. Akkerman also contributes to the first side, and even gets sole credits on one of the tracks.

Other people appearing on the album are Steve Hackett and Phil Collins from Genesis and John Wetton from King Crimson. Also, Ray Bennett and Mike Hough from Flash are present. Some of these names give a clue as to the nature of the music. There are some lovely softer moments during the first half of the album that remind a bit of the wonderful Focus, and some of the heavier passages remind of King Crimson. However, if you come to this album expecting something similar to early Yes, or a straight continuation of Flash, then you will probably be disappointed.

Like Collins and Akkerman, Banks too had a jazzier side, and he explores that on side two of the album. I'm sure they had fun playing together, but it is sadly no fun for the listener. To sum up, the first side of this album is good, but the second side is dispensable.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 196

Banks is, of course, best known as the guy who played guitar in Yes before Steve Howe came into the fold. But, those who only see that part of the picture, though, are missing out on quite a lot. Banks first got his start with Yes' bassist Chris Squire in the group the Syn. After that, Banks and Squire moved to their next group Mabel Greer's Toy Shop. Banks left them when Jon Anderson was starting to become a presence on the scene. But, he hooked back up with Squire and Anderson. By then, they had added Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford to the line up and thus, Yes was born. After leaving Yes he formed the band Flash who released three albums before breaking up in 1973. Later in the same year he released this self titled solo album. With it, Banks showed clearly that he had the potential to become an interesting progressive rock solo artist, but strangely, instead of that he chose to disappear from the scene for the rest of the 70's.

'Two Sides Of Peter Banks' is the solo debut studio album of Peter Banks and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Peter Banks (electric and acoustic guitars, ARP, Minimoog and Fender piano), Jan Akkerman (electric and acoustic guitars), Steve Hackett (electric guitar), John Wetton (bass guitar), Ray Bennett (bass guitar), Phil Collins (drums) and Mike Hough (drums).

'Two Sides Of Peter Banks' has nine tracks. All tracks were written by Banks except 'Vision Of The King', 'Battles', 'Last Eclipse', 'Stop That!' and 'Get Out Of My Fridge', which were written by Banks and Akkerman and 'Beyond The Loneliest Sea', which was written by Akkerman. The first track 'Visions Of The King' quickly builds from a thin layer of guitar sounds into a thick layering of electric guitar chords that are absolutely majestic, before dissolving into the acoustic intro of 'The White Horse Vale'. It's a beautiful electric guitar duet, Banks' classic volume pedal tones and Akkerman ringing out with sad and gothic feelings, characteristic of his work on Focus. The second track 'The White House Vale' is divided into two tracks, 'On The Hill' and 'Lord Of The Dragon'. This is a melodic guitar poem which showcases some of his own classical moves, with a brief interlude that presages the next piece, 'Knights'. It spends its six minutes meandering through all sorts of acoustic and jazzy wah-wah licks, before it in turn morphs into 'Knights'. The third track 'Knights' is also divided into two tracks, 'The Falcon' and 'The Bear'. It has a discordant riff that makes me think of some of the better and noisier moments of Yes, but it's not as prominent as I tend to remember it. There are a lot of quieter stretches with two or three layers of Banks noodling about, but the noodling has enough interesting stuff going on. And it builds into a really nice frenzy before the riff comes back. The fourth track 'Battles' comes around, after a brief reprise of some of the best sounds from 'Vision Of The King', and it's a bit of a noisy anti-climax. It's all fine, but that much build-up seems like it should resolve into something more. The fifth track 'Knights (Reprise)' brings back the 'Knights' riff with some guitar effects thrown in for good measure. The sixth track 'Last Eclipse' closes things out with some final call back to the 'Vision Of The King'. The quiet guitar meanderings bring the suite to a nice conclusion. All in all, the suite isn't spectacular, and it certainly doesn't live up to the side longs that Yes was doing at the time, but all Yes' fans should definitely hear it. The seventh track 'Beyond The Loneliest Sea' is a delicious mellow piece of Spanish flavoured guitar duet between Banks and Akkerman. It's comparable to any acoustic work that Akkerman made with Focus. The eighth track 'Stop That!' consists of the 14 minute jazz rock fusion jam. It's a decent jam, with Collins showing off his future Brand X like jazzy rhythms and Bennett contributing with some very active bass. Banks does his best to keep things interesting. While I basically enjoy it on the whole, I can't help but feel that Banks bit off a little more than he could chew here. I think Akkerman shines more than him, here. The ninth track 'Get Out Of My Fridge' sounds to me more like something I'd expect from a Howe's solo album than a Banks' solo album, courtesy of its focus on the kinds of electric prog boogie licks that are Howe's calling card. It's a lot of fun to hear Banks try to beat Howe at his own game. The interplay between Banks and Akkerman is a fun close to the album.

Conclusion: This album is more a collaboration between Banks and Akkerman than a true solo album. Akkerman has co-written credits on most of the tracks and even a full credit for the acoustic guitar ballad 'Beyond The Loneliest Sea'. The interaction of the two guitarists is what really makes this album stand out for me, they're both good on their own, and they're great together. It's a shame that Banks hasn't really gotten his full recognition as an outstanding guitarist in his own right. This album certainly won't be to everyone's taste, as a solo guitar album. Listening to this, I'm reminding of that seemingly long gone era of guitarists, who didn't need to rely at all on a cadre of effect boxes or studio trickery, but had a command of the instrument that can only be had by playing and playing and playing. It's really a great album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Finally got a copy of this. It's about time! Two Sides of Peter Banks was his first solo album. There seems to be a story that the label wanted a Flash album and a Peter Banks solo album to be released exactly the same time, so it's a bit obvious that the album was rush released (which explains the two jams, "Stop That!" and "Get Out of My Fridge" were tagged at the end of side two). Essentially this is as much a Jan Akkerman album as a Peter Banks album. Here they get help from two Flash bandmates with Ray Bennett and Mick Hough, plus Phil Collins, John Wetton (misspelled "Whetton" on the album), and even Steve Hackett; however, the last two only appeared on "Knights (Reprise)". "White House Vail" is a really amazing piece, I especially dig the more calm parts towards the end. One parts sounds like Steve Hillage went and borrowed it for his own "Leylines to Glassdom" off his album Green (1978). "Knights" has a rather harsh start (Änglagård borrowed a part of this for "Ifrån Klarhet till Klarhet" off their album Hybris from 1992) but has some really brilliant passages. "Knights (Reprise)" is actually a bit different, with a nice jazzy part played on synth. If Steve Hackett is on this, you can barely notice him. So much has been said on how inferior side two is that people tend to overlook the opening cut, "Beyond the Loneliest Sea", as this is as much the same high quality material that took up side one. A rather moody piece with electric piano and classical guitar (latter courtesy of Akkerman). "Stop That!" and "Get Out of My Fridge" came from extended late-night jams. Peter Banks and Jan Akkerman didn't have these session to put on album in mind, but it happened anyway, because he was rushed with solo album and getting Flash's last album Out of Our Hands out the same day. To be honest, despite the clumsy feel to "Stop That!" I rather like the mood and atmosphere. The Grateful Dead had gotten away with worse jams, but it's true the flaws are plain obvious to see. Phil Collins often sounded like he kept doing things on his drums to try to up the intensity, to keep a smoother flow, it's like he was saying, "Hey guys, lets up the pace". "Get Out of My Fridge" is more successful, although not to everyone's taste. It's clear they weren't taking themselves seriously here as they try a more country-influenced jam. I am not 100% surprised that Peter Banks stated that Jan Akkerman was embarrassed that those two jams were put on record. There may be elements of Flash, Focus, and Yes, but it's not immediately obvious. I can say right away that I far prefer this over Steve Howe's Beginning, because you don't have to put up with Steve's singing (no one can deny Steve's talent on guitar, but Beginnings prove his mouth should have never been near a microphone).

This is one of those albums I should have bought years ago, because you can't deny the brilliant material, but it's as popular opinion goes, aside from "Beyond the Loneliest Sea" the rest of side two doesn't quite match the brilliance of side one, but it's still a worthy album in your collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Peter Banks was born in 1947, as Peter William Brockbanks, in north London. In his teens he took lessons on the banjo and later the guitar. Then Peter met Chris Squire with whom he build up a strong personal and musical friendship, resulting in playing together between 1967 and 1971 in the bands ... (read more)

Report this review (#2183346) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Monday, April 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#941317) | Posted by BORA | Monday, April 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 recor ... (read more)

Report this review (#239160) | Posted by American Khatru | Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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. Argu ... (read more)

Report this review (#100251) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#50046) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, October 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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