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PETER BANKS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Peter Banks biography
Peter William Brockbanks - 15 July 1947 (Barnet, London, UK) - 7 March 2013 (Barnet, London, UK)

Peter BANKS is perhaps best-known for his work with the progressive rock band YES. 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. That group made a bit of a name for themselves in England from 1966 to late 1967. SQUIRE and BANKS moved to their next group after THE SYN disbanded, the band MABEL GREER'S TOY SHOP. BANKS left that group at about the time vocalist Jon ANDERSON was starting to become a presence on their scene, but it would only be a matter of time until they would work together. BANKS went to play for a short time with NEAT CHANGE. As fate would have it, though, he hooked back up with SQUIRE and ANDERSON'S TOY SHOP. By then, they had added Tony KAYE and Bill BRUFORD to the lineup and were just ready to embark on a new name for the outfit. The new name and Peter BANKS' return were nearly simultaneous, and YES was born. The group released two albums with BANKS. The first of those was the self-titled debut that came out in 1969, the second album was "Time & a Word" released in 1970. By that time, the group had decided that Peter BANKS was not really the guitarist for the band and replaced him with Steve HOWE. BANKS thus found himself without a musical home.

Undaunted, he formed FLASH, a prog band that seemed to carry on in the mode that YES might have gone had BANKS remained. As fate would have it, keyboardist Tony KAYE was the next to feel the growing pains of YES, and upon his replacement from the group he hooked up with FLASH. The band released their debut, "Flash", in 1972. They followed it in rapid-fire succession with "In the Can" (also released in 1972) and "Out Of Our Hands" (1973). A live album, originally a bootleg, surfaced many years later under the moniker of "Psychosync". FLASH disbanded in 1973 and BANKS released his first solo album, "Two Sides Of Peter Banks", that year. The album featured a rather impressive lineup of BANKS, fellow FLASH members Ray BENNETT and Mike HOUGH, Jan AKKERMAN, John WETTON, and Phil COLLINS.

BANKS' next endeavor was a group that began under the name FLASH Mark II. After a time, though, they came to...
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Peter Banks's Harmony In Diversity: The Complete RecordingsPeter Banks's Harmony In Diversity: The Complete Recordings
Cherry Red 2018
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Be Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky The AnthologyBe Well, Be Safe, Be Lucky The Anthology
Remastered
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PETER BANKS discography


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PETER BANKS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 60 ratings
Two Sides Of Peter Banks
1973
3.11 | 17 ratings
Instinct
1994
2.10 | 11 ratings
Self-Contained
1995
3.00 | 11 ratings
Reduction
1997

PETER BANKS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PETER BANKS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PETER BANKS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.09 | 3 ratings
Can I Play You Something?
1999
2.14 | 3 ratings
Prog Guitar Legend 1947-2013
2013

PETER BANKS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PETER BANKS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Two Sides Of Peter Banks by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.33 | 60 ratings

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Two Sides Of Peter Banks
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Two Sides Of Peter Banks by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.33 | 60 ratings

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Two Sides Of Peter Banks
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

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*)

 Prog Guitar Legend 1947-2013 by BANKS, PETER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
2.14 | 3 ratings

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Prog Guitar Legend 1947-2013
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars "You know we all must start from very small beginnings, off to a better part"

Peter Banks was the first of the five original members of Yes to leave this earthly life. He was found dead in his home in 2013 after failing to show up for a scheduled recording session. This compilation was released in the same year as his death and features recordings from throughout his long career.

The first three tracks are early Yes recordings, but it is not the album versions of these songs but recordings from BBC sessions in 1969 and 1970. These are the same versions as on the 2CD compilation Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 which was first released in 1997 with supervision and lines notes from Banks. The performances are very good, but the sound quality is not.

Flowerman and Grounded are by the pre-Yes band The Syn which also featured Chris Squire. These songs were released as singles in 1967 and has since appeared on many compilations, including the 2CD Original Syn: 1965-2004 which was released to coincide with the recent reformation of The Syn (which initially involved Peter Banks).

Beyond And Before will be familiar to Yes fans, but the version featured here is a demo by another pre- Yes band called Mabel Greer's Toy Shop. This band too featured Chris Squire. Images Of You And Me is from the same source. Like the two The Syn songs, the two Mabel Greer's Toy Shop songs were also featured on the Peter Banks compilation album Can I Play You Something?

Knights: The Falcon/The Bear is from Banks' 1973 solo debut Two Sides Of Peter Banks. It is good stuff, but is better heard within the context of the whole of side 1 of that album (side 2, on the other hand, is considerably less interesting). Somewhat oddly there is nothing on this compilation from any of Banks' three 1990's solo albums.

The three albums by Flash are represented with one track each, the best by far of which is Small Beginnings from the self-titled 1972 debut (which also featured Tony Kaye). This album is Banks' best moment and an essential Prog album in its own right. In The Can was released the same year but is less interesting and is here represented by Monday Morning Eyes. Man of Honour (Knight) is taken from Flash's third album Out Of Our Hands, released in 1973. There is nothing at all here from Banks' post-Flash band Empire.

Fast forward to 2012 and the first The Prog Collective album. Social Circles is a song featuring Annie Haslam of Renaissance on lead vocals, backed up by Billy Sherwood, and with a superb guitar solo by Banks. It is a strong track that stands up as well or better in this context than in its original setting. (Banks also contributed to the second Prog Collective album shortly before his death.)

The final three tracks are covers originally featured on tribute albums. Eclipse is from the Pink Floyd tribute album The Return To The Dark Side Of The Moon and also features Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood. Magic Bus is from the The Who tribute Who Are You? and Give a Little Bit is from the Supertramp tribute album Songs Of The Century. That Banks was into Supertramp is a bit of a surprise.

Overall, while Prog Guitar Legend 1947-2013 is a better compilation than Can I Play You Something? and gives a decent overview of the career of Peter Banks, most of the songs featured here are better heard in their original settings.

 Can I Play You Something? by BANKS, PETER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
1.09 | 3 ratings

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Can I Play You Something?
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Yes, please

This somewhat strange compilation album contains recordings featuring Peter Banks in various constellations, including his pre-Yes bands The Syn and Mabel Greer's Toy Shop. The subtitle of this collection has it that that the contents are from 1964 to 1968, but actually some of the cuts are of a more recent origin. The rendition of Peter Gunn, for example, is said to have been recorded live in 1980. The recordings are not presented in chronological order but instead arranged in some other, more or less random order. Some of the tracks are demos, some are live recordings, and some are spoken "link" pieces that I suspect that Peter created shortly before he gathered this compilation album together in the late 90's. Given the diverse sources and widely divergent sound quality and levels of completion this is actually one of the least coherent compilation albums that I have ever heard.

The Syn's most well-known singles are fun to hear but these are available elsewhere, for example on that band's compilation Original Syn. The Mabel Greer's Toy Shop pieces are of great historical value, but are not terribly interesting in their own right. There is very little if anything at all that may be said to point in the direction of Yes. Even calling this "Proto-Prog" would be a considerable stretch of the term. This is mid 1960's Psychedelic Pop. Peter Banks would do much more interesting things later on, first with Yes and then with Flash.

This odd collection is recommended only as an historical document.

 Reduction by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 11 ratings

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Reduction
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Reduction is the way to production, Mr. Banks"

Reduction is the third out of the three albums that Peter Banks released during the 1990's, and it can be seen as a continuation of the previous two. But even though this trio of albums have a somewhat similar sound and style, the feel of Reduction is slightly different compared to the previous two albums. There is more acoustic guitar here which I like and some moments are very tranquil and atmospheric. There is a kind of Dance beat on some of the tracks and I am reminded a bit of Mike Oldfield's Songs From Distant Earth. There are again some samples of spoken word and music from other sources (including a snippet of The Syn's Flowerman right at the beginning of the album), but the samples are less distracting than on the previous album.

The title of the album might refer to the fact that this time Banks does everything alone whilst before he had some help from a keyboard player. The absence of keyboards is however not a problem as they are replaced here by guitar synthesisers played by Banks himself.

In terms of quality, Reduction constitutes an improvement over the previous Self-Contained, and it is as good if not better than Instinct. This is Banks' last ever solo album, but he worked with several artists in various other contexts before he sadly passed away in 2013.

 Self-Contained by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.10 | 11 ratings

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Self-Contained
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Contains funkin' profundity!

Peter Banks rapidly followed up his second solo album, 1994's Instinct with Self-Contained in 1995 (which is striking keeping in mind that there were 21 years between his first and his second solo albums!). This album follows in the same vein as the previous one with Banks' lead guitar playing the main role throughout with support only from keyboards and drum machines. Unfortunately Self-Contained does come off as a lesser album, a bit like the leftovers from Instinct. There are several good moments here and some tracks are up to par with the better tracks on Instinct, but there is also a lot of lesser grade material that feels like mere transportation. With a running time of one hour and 15 minutes, there would have been ample room for trimming.

The album contains no less than 21 separate tracks, some of which are very brief and many of which contain spoken word samples. Indeed, the album takes several minutes before it even gets off the ground as it begins with some unnecessary "foreplay" (first three tracks). I often find the samples annoying as it lifts focus from the actual music. There are references and musical quotes from the music of Banks' bands Flash and Yes. At one point there is a sample from a radio program where two music "experts" agree that the music of Yes is "pretentious and empty". (Idiots!). Banks probably included this to signal humility and self-distance, but it can perhaps also be interpreted less charitably as Banks' attack against the band of which he was once ejected.

Overall, I think this is the least successful of Peter Banks' solo albums. I would recommend it primarily to fans of the guitarist who already have his other solo albums.

 Instinct by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.11 | 17 ratings

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Instinct
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Flash

More than 20 years after his first solo album came this second solo effort from Peter Banks. In all the time in between he had been involved in only a few musical projects but not put out any material (he worked with a band called Empire in the 70's but none of that material was released until the 90's). Like 1973's Two Sides Of Peter Banks, Instinct is a guitar-driven album that owes something to Jazz. But the sound and nature of this album is very different from the solo debut.

Even though a couple of other people are credited on the album, this is not a band affair but a solo effort in the truest sense. The album showcases Banks' excellent lead guitar playing and proves that he is indeed a master of his instrument. He is backed up by programmed rhythms that sometimes sound good and sometimes a bit stale. The keyboards play a mainly supporting role. The production values are high but the restricted line-up creates obvious limitations. The sound and style often reminds me of the (rather obscure) instrumental Wishbone Ash album Nouveau Calls.

Some of the time the tempo is slow and relaxing but a few tracks are more intense Jazz-Rock fare which keeps the album varied enough. The album features no vocals, but there are several spoken word samples and snippets from telephone conversations. One of these is a recording of a Yes fan calling into a radio station and asking why Banks was not invited to Yes' Union in the early 1990's. Banks was actually asked to join Yes on stage at one point during the Union tour, but much to the surprise of Peter who had travelled to the location for that reason, the band called it off at the last minute for no good reason thus relegating Banks to the crowd! (There is an interview clip with Banks on Youtube where he describes this, which he calls "the most embarrassing event of his life".) Peter was rightly bitter over this outrageous treatment from his past band mates, but this album proves beyond doubt that whatever the reason was for not letting him play it was not valid artistic reasons as Banks would definitely have been up to playing with Trevor Rabin and Steve Howe.

I find this album an enjoyable listen, but like many albums of its kind it is not very memorable and it doesn't stick. It is a nice addition to a Yes fan's collection, but it is not essential.

 Two Sides Of Peter Banks by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.33 | 60 ratings

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Two Sides Of Peter Banks
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

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.

 Two Sides Of Peter Banks by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.33 | 60 ratings

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Two Sides Of Peter Banks
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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

 Two Sides Of Peter Banks by BANKS, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.33 | 60 ratings

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Two Sides Of Peter Banks
Peter Banks Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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