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JOHN WETTON

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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John Wetton biography
John Wetton, a man who has been in more bands than most of us have had hot dinners, was born in Derby, England on 12th June 1949. He is the youngest of two boys, both of whom have persued their own very different musical careers - John in rock and his brother in the world of classical church music. When John was 12, the family moved to Bournemouth. During his school years, he played in several Shadows and Beatles-style groups, eventually getting onto the local R&B circuit with the Palmer-James Group. It was about this time that he met with Robert Fripp, who would play such a vital role in his career later. After college, John toured Rumania backing Helen Shapiro! This earned him enough money to buy a decent Fender Precision Bass for 35 pounds. His next band was Tetrad, another group local to Bournemouth, but he soon decided to leave them and move to London. He stayed a short while in a band named Splinter, and then quit to join James Litherland's Brotherhood, by September 1969. The band soon changed their name to Mogul Thrash, and John made his first album with them. They were a rough-edged R&B outfit, with brass section, but were much more popular on the continent than in Britain. They get involved with a legal problem with their management, and the only way to extricate themselves was for the band to split up.
John then spent some time doing session work, earning enough to buy a ticket to Los Angeles. He only stayed a couple of months, and immediately on his return to London, he was called and asked to join Family. He stayed for two albums, but felt restricted. He was never going to be lead vocalist with Roger Chapman around; likewise, the writing core of the group did not extend to him. When Robert Fripp offered him a job in King Crimson, it was too good to refuse. During his two years with the band, King Crimson enjoyed critical acclaim and success. They recorded four albums, but by September '74, Fripp decided to put the band on ice. John had been socialising a lot with Roxy Music, and joined when an opening for bass player turned up. The band promoted Country Life and toured the UK, Europe and America. John was a casual member of the band, and did not feel financially settled. In March '75, he decided to join the band Uriah Heep after they had just fired bassist Gary Thain. He played on two albums, but his presence did nothing to stem internal unrest in the band. Everyone hated each other, and so by August '76, he left before it all got unpleasa...
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Alive in America (Concert Classics, Vol. 4)Alive in America (Concert Classics, Vol. 4)
Renaissance 1999
Audio CD$13.99
$15.27 (used)
Live: Chasing the DragonLive: Chasing the Dragon
Mesa 1995
Audio CD$12.98
$1.40 (used)
Studio Recordings AnthologyStudio Recordings Anthology
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$12.53
$12.69 (used)
Raised In CaptivityRaised In Captivity
Frontiers Records 2011
Audio CD$7.69
$19.68 (used)
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JOHN WETTON shows & tickets


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JOHN WETTON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JOHN WETTON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.74 | 16 ratings
Caught In The Crossfire
1980
2.15 | 14 ratings
Wetton - Manzanera. One World
1987
3.50 | 38 ratings
Battle Lines (aka Voice Mail)
1994
2.84 | 27 ratings
Arkangel
1998
2.58 | 21 ratings
Sinister
2001
2.93 | 20 ratings
Rock Of Faith
2003
2.93 | 28 ratings
John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon
2005
3.38 | 21 ratings
John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon II - Rubicon
2006
3.86 | 19 ratings
John Wetton & Geoff Downes - Icon 3
2009
2.27 | 25 ratings
Raised in Captivity
2011

JOHN WETTON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.48 | 13 ratings
Chasing The Dragon
1995
3.25 | 4 ratings
Akustika - Live in Amerika
1996
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sub Rosa: Live In Milan 1998
1998
3.51 | 9 ratings
Nomansland - Live In Poland
1999
4.00 | 5 ratings
John Wetton & Ken Hensley. One Way Or Another
2002
2.64 | 7 ratings
Agenda
2003
3.04 | 5 ratings
Amata
2004
3.92 | 4 ratings
Never In A Million Years (Icon)
2006
2.00 | 1 ratings
New York Minute (with The Les Paul Trio)
2015

JOHN WETTON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.02 | 4 ratings
Live In The Underworld
2003
4.09 | 4 ratings
Amorata
2003

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

2.41 | 10 ratings
King's Road 1972-1980
1987
2.08 | 4 ratings
John Wetton + Richard Palmer-James : Monkey Business 1972 - 1997
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Anthology
2001
1.95 | 2 ratings
Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones)
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Studio Recordings Anthology
2015

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Chasing the Deer (OST)
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rendez-vous 6:02 (Live)
1996
2.48 | 3 ratings
John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05
2005

JOHN WETTON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 New York Minute (with The Les Paul Trio) by WETTON, JOHN album cover Live, 2015
2.00 | 1 ratings

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New York Minute (with The Les Paul Trio)
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by The Ploot

— First review of this album —
2 stars I can only surmise from this odd little set (only 37 minutes long) Wetton was not the singular act on the bill that night in 2013 but, rather, one among an assemblage of artists willing to make perfunctory remarks about colon-rectal cancer awareness before a lukewarm "charity gala" audience. On the other hand, it may just be a boring, uninspired, stand-alone performance and nothing more.

Here we have a disjointed collection of cover songs rendered by Wetton, accompanied by the Les Paul Trio (huh?) as well as two passing references to cancer. I doubt the fourteen people in attendance (judging by the ripple of unenthusiastic applause) even noticed the plugs/PSAs.

As for the set list, I personally like every song on it BUT the majority would probably have been better presented - and likely received - by the original composers (Fagen, Henley et al) Obviously, Marvin Gaye was unavailable and, mercifully, Bob Dylan did not appear. I'm baffled by John's half-hearted renderings of his own "Heat of the Moment" and "Battle Lines". Both would have been better covered by Hank Azaria in any number of character voices. For me, the only song containing even an ounce of passion is Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows", although I personally prefer the original (Olivia Newton- John's cover is quite lovely, too). Wetton has long had a justified respect for Wilson's compositions, as evidenced by his charming tribute to the Beach Boy, "Voice of America". For this gig, however, a medley of surf and hot rod tunes might have gone over better.

For me "New York Minute" (the album - not the song) is an unnecessary record. It could have been cut by thirty-three minutes and offered as a Beach Boys tribute single. I can only award it two stars.

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 John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.93 | 28 ratings

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John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon
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Review by brainsuccasurgery

3 stars Having dropped out of the Asia wagon since the station stop from John Wetton there's a couple of decades , I do not expect much from the record production of Geoff Downes. But without me nostalgic for that period of prog, reactivation of the collaboration between the two men could not leave me indifferent.

Their record is called Icon, which is a nice title, and starting with "Let Me Go", a song that Asia might have forgotten to put on his first album back in the majestic inspiration, if not original. With "God Walks With Us", still nothing new under the sun Asian or on the bottom or on the form but an exceptional emotional power enhanced by a guitar solo that works, performed by the impeccable John Mitchell (Arena) . Intro to major organs on the following title, "I Stand Alone", which unfortunately does not avoid the trap of melodic ease unpleasant reinforced by the apparent sentimentality of "Meet Me At Midnight" impression, but swept by the air costs unstoppable "Far Away," the kind of candy would have been able to write the Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues the best years.

Is it useful to review all these melodies slightly outdated or obsolete, but that the moving song Wetton, in his soft, husky voice that has gained flesh it has lost clarity, manages to make pride and depth? Why not, especially since Icon is the most worthy our two prog legends have done something long ago. These ten tracks, alternating catchy soft-rock (the radio calibration worthy verse / chorus of "Hey Josephine"), neo-symphonic prog news ("Please Change Your Mind") and feverish ballad ("Sleep Away" with John Mitchell still comfortable), surely not have the relief of a UK which led him to cry masterpiece, nor for the potential commercial launch of the first Asia (even cry, but from the labels), but you will wait until the next showpiece of one or the improbable resurrection of the other - and if the sentence is too long, repeat slowly from the beginning.

But if you do the math, it lacks two titles in our passage reviewed and these are the two best: "Spread Your Wings" (well of course!), Small pearl breath athlete and careful arrangements (intro piano / violin magic of the rise, and Mitchell, always him, a solo Clive Nolan must regret pass) where Downes put all his knowledge of simple and original melody. And finally the aptly named "In The End", ladies and gentlemen, "In The End", which to my surprise crying with joy, is illuminated by THE great voice of prog in person, I have appointed the former Renaissance Annie Haslam. If I dared, I am happy to finish this review with the name of Annie Haslam.

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 Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones) by WETTON, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
1.95 | 2 ratings

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Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones)
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars This is obviously a "for collectors only" kind of release. All the more ridiculous one, as it puts together an obscure, poor rock'n'roll album recorded in 1978 and a compilation of demos and other seedy stuff from a long timeline. First about the studio album Jack-knife.

It contains nine tracks, five of them seemingly covers written by others, two by guitarist Richard Palmer-Jones (best known as KING CRIMSON's lyricist after Pete Sinfield), and two by Wetton and Palmer-Jones together. Let's be honest: I didn't listen to this disc more than perhaps half a minute each song. The music is straight-forward mainstream rock and has nothing to interest me. Don't expect anything even distantly reminiscent of U.K. or ASIA!

"Monkey Business 1972-1997", originally released in the late 90's, is described as a scrapbook in the introduction text. The collaboration between the two musicians started already in 1962 when they met at school. In 1972 they rejoined forces in King Crimson, in which Palmer-Jones only wrote the lyrics. Some of the material that would have been on the follow-up of Red is found here in the demo form. The classic CRIMSON songs 'Book of Saturday' and 'Starless' are featured as lyricless raw demos that were hometaped as a basis for lyric-writing. To be more precise, the latter is only as a half minute beginning - twice! But the disc ends pleasantly with the pair's recording of 'Starless' from 1997. From the same year are 'Doctor Diamond' and 'Cologne 1997', both among the most worthy contents of this release. The latter song, concerning "the mixed feelings of many Americans born after 1945 of German origin on first visiting their emigré parents' home country", is featured also in its original form recorded in 1977. Not a bad song at all.

'Magazines' is a demo from 1974, originally written for King Crimson. 24 years later it appeared on Wetton's album Arkangel. Just before Christmas 1976 Wetton & Palmer-Jones spent a week in a French farmhouse, trying to write some songs for Wetton's solo debut, but the outing emerged only 'The Laughing Lake'. There are several brief tapings of it here. How wise such scrapbook representation is, is very debatable, but in its complete form it is a pretty nice, calm winter song.

So if you're a completionist, you will have interesting things in here (compared to high-prized multiple-disc things like Road To Red this is harmless!). If you're not such person, you will more likely be frustrated of all the mess of short and bad home tapings.

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 Nomansland - Live In Poland by WETTON, JOHN album cover Live, 1999
3.51 | 9 ratings

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Nomansland - Live In Poland
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Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars King Crimson invaded Poland

John Wetton seems to have found many fans in Poland as more than one live album of his have been recorded in that country. The present one was recorded in 1998 and features, in addition to Wetton himself on vocals and bass, a line-up of Martin Orford (of IQ fame) on keyboards and flute, Steve Christy (Jadis) on drums, and David Kilminster on guitar. They form a very tight band.

The set list features many songs that Wetton originally performed with other bands in the 70's and 80's, including King Crimson's Book Of Saturday and Easy Money from Larks' Tongues In Aspic, The Night Watch from Starless And Bible Black, and Starless from Red; UK's In The Dead Of Night from their self- titled debut and Rendez-Vous 6:02 from Danger Money, and Sole Survivor from Asia's self-titled debut. All of these classic songs are very good and they represent Wetton's musical career perfectly. Thankfully, he spares us the tedious Heat Of The Moment this time! Everything is performed very well.

Orford and Kilminster are both allowed their little solo spots which create very nice instrumental interludes between the vocal numbers. Tatras is Orford's piano solo and Bygosh!! is an acoustic guitar number performed by Kilmister. The two men then collaborate on The Birth of Igor. Both are excellent instrumentalists.

The Last Thing on My Mind, Emma, and After All are taken from Arkangel, the John Wetton solo album they were touring in support of at the time. While Arkangel is not a strong album on the whole, these songs are not bad.

This live album is in many ways similar to the excellent Amorata live concert video that I have reviewed previously and given the same high rating. The Amorata DVD (and, as far as I understand, the same concert also on CD called Agenda) features John Mitchell from Arena instead of Kilminster, but many of the same songs are present of both releases. You need at least one of these!

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 King's Road 1972-1980 by WETTON, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1987
2.41 | 10 ratings

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King's Road 1972-1980
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Review by Per Kohler

3 stars There are two good reasons to purchase this Cd, 'Night after Night' and 'As Long as You want Me here'. No doubt about it; they are both worth the price of the record. Particularly as none of them are to be found elsewhere on Cd. Jobson/Wetton worked well together and this is their last legacy from initial period. Jobson's solo on 'Night' is raw like Japanese Sushi. Served by the most delicious Geisha. 'As Long as' is something that could've been delivered from the reformed King Crimson if they had opted for a return of Wetton. Possibly in a slightly reworked and stripped down version. Asia never even touched any of these great compositions, the smile in their eyes is a result of collected bundles of banknotes. The other songs of interest here are already in your collection. The least relevant, one must admit, are taken from quickly forgotten solo album Caught in the Crossfire. The one and only song by Jack Knife says little to the prog fan.

King's Road serves as an introduction for the multitudinous group of record buyers who got high on 'Heat of the Moment' and 'Sole Survivor'. They have a long way to avant-garde Starless. What unites the album is the record company E.G. and the artist himself. Otherwise very little. Wetton deserves more than a single Cd for his contribution to the various bands he has taken part in. The music listeners as well. Wetton's comprehensive recording history isn't easy to survey. Not only how many bands/artists he has visited or been in, but also what exactly he contributed. Sang, played, wrote and/or produced.

If you're not in possession of all material related to the rock icon you're most likely not knowledgeable about what happened where. Not even with the informative invention called internet by your side. If all contractual issues could be solved there should at least be a double-Cd including 'One Way or Another', 'That's That' and 'Same Time Next Week'. Just to mention a few. Any surviving rehearsal tapes from the time spent with Wakeman/Bruford? Wetton's Phenomena colleague Glenn Hughes is luckier with his collected work(they have both played/sung with everybody except each other). Perhaps next step in their career?

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 Rock Of Faith  by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.93 | 20 ratings

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Rock Of Faith
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It was back in #62 that I raved about John's latest album, 'Sinister', and said that it was his finest work since he had left Asia and here I am now saying the same thing again, because although 'Sinister' was good it wasn't as strong as this which has to be one of the best albums John has ever been associated with throughout his long career. The core of the band was John himself, Steve Christey (Jadis) and John Mitchell (Arena) who are both in his touring band and one Clive Nolan (Arena, Shadowland, Pendragon etc). John Wetton had gone to Thin Ice to record the drums and liked it so much he stayed! Clive's partner in crime, Karl Groom, engineered the album and the Thin Ice guys co-produced it with John. There are also a few guests, including one Geoffrey Downes who he hadn't worked with in years, but for this album they also co-wrote two songs together. Something that will most definitely be of interest to all Asia fans.

But what makes this such a strong album? The songs are much more in the melodic/hard rock field, but slower, with an emphasis on orchestral overtones with the main listening point being the vocals. Each song is aimed at maximising the power of the voice, with the music as a vehicle, and this has really allowed John to shine. The album starts with an atmospheric instrumental, where Clive and John Mitchell combine to good effect to build on the emotion, which in turn leads to the title cut which segues in gently, gradually building on John's vocals.

It is an album that hearkens back to old times while also showing the future, and on the basis of this album that is very bright indeed. It is immediately accessible and enjoyable and one that I have enjoyed playing a great deal.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

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 Sinister by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.58 | 21 ratings

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Sinister
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars 'Sinister' is John's new studio album, and it is simply the finest thing that he has recorded since the debut Asia album all those years ago. The worry is that it may be ignored as there is so much Wetton material flooding out, but take it from me this is one of the best driving albums you are ever likely to hear.

John has been working with some very strong writers, including Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams), Jim Peterik (Survivor), Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper) and David Cassidy (!!) among others. In addition, he has worked on only one song with Martin Orford and Steve Christey (where instead of using Dave Kilminster he has brought in Gary Chandler). The first song, "Heart Of Darkness" begins and ends as a gentle number, but inbetween it is a fine AOR rocker. Having already been shocked by the quality of the opener, I wasn't ready for "Say It Ain't So" which is a classic. Imagine Asia mixing with Bryan Adams in a power ballad that can also belt along, then you may have some idea of how good this is. "No Ordinary Miracle" is much more in line with his ballads, and slows the album down a little. Then it is back with the third Vallance co-write, which again ups the tempo. A gentle instrumental (featuring Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald) leads into the hardest number on the album. This is "Another Twist Of The Knife", and Dick Wagner riffs the song along, as John gets heavy. This has great hooks and features some of John's best ever singing ? it is worth getting the album for this song alone!!

The song featuring Jadis, "Silently", is the most 'progressive' on the album, and features some very characteristic guitar work from Gary. It comes a close second to being the best song on the album. Both "Before Your Eyes" and "Second Best" are slower numbers, and then it is time for the closer "Real World". This is John with a 12-string, joined by Steve Hackett (on harmonica!). Overall, it is an awesome album, one that I took out of my CD interchanger with much dismay. If you have ever enjoyed any of John's work, or just want to hear a great melodic rock album then this is one that you simply have to get.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

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 Agenda by WETTON, JOHN album cover Live, 2003
2.64 | 7 ratings

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Agenda
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

1 stars I'll start off saying that I like JOHN WETTON's voice but that alone can't save this live album, recorded in Poland. And I simply don't care about his bass playing. There's so many wonderful bass players in Progressive Rock and JOHN is just a regular one, competent, but his playing is always the same in tone and lines.

If ASIA, band which he was a big part of, arrangements usually suck, here JOHN WETTON shows himself able to ruin this versions even more, with cheesy keyboards (thanks to Martin Orford) and lame acoustic guitar versions (thanks to himself and John Mitchell). Steve Chrisley, the drummer, simply doesn't exist, pretty much, but his drums sound can't be praised.

Not to mention souless KING CRIMSON versions and, to complete the whole package, a really bad art on the cover.

JOHN WETTON, to my eyes, is like a Circus, that jumps from town to town (project to project/band to band), never settles down in any place and is always live from a glorious past.

Maybe that's why he never really get a name by himself.

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 John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05 by WETTON, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.48 | 3 ratings

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John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by oldfieldolli

4 stars Heat of the moment- a classic Asia song. Well I don't know how many versions we really do need, but I like this version very much. Wetton and Downes are in good shape. Maybe not prog, but excellent pop/rock after all. Truly wonderful song and I have always liked John Wetton's voice. Let Me go is also a good song and I like to listen it often as well as the whole album Icon. Good songs, excellent tunes. But buy the whole album, not this EP.(Well maybe the ep is not available anymore, but anyway) It is as good as the best Asia albums. Three and a half stars to this ep and four stars to the album.

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 Raised in Captivity by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.27 | 25 ratings

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Raised in Captivity
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars I always admire John Wetton whenever he played with others in what so called "band" like he did with King Crimson, UK as well as Asia - even though the latter is not something as my favorite one because the music is not prog basically. But for some reason I doubt his capability to be a solo artist as many of his albums were not measuring up into my standard. Rased in Captivity is actually not good one or at least there is practically neither catchy or progressive track in the album. Yes, there is a huge effort by him through bringing together big names like Steve Mose (Lost For Words), Robert Fripp (Raised in Captivity), Steve Hackett (GoodBlye Elsinore), Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Mick Box (New Star Rising), Eddie Jobson, Yes, it's an atrraction point and a credit for his effort for this but unfortunately it does not lift up the overall quality of the music. It's hard to say it is good as there is no one track that really makes me hooked with it - everything just flow flat with practically no soul in it. It's totally different with Asia first album, for example, that has many catchy tracks even though the music is straight forward pop rock style.

Oh ...maybe good point with this album is in every single track we would try our best to indicate where and how the 'featuring' stars take place in the music. For example I am really observing the Hackett playing at the third track. One track that is probably quite catchy is The Human Condition - it has nice guitar solo but the contribution of Tony Kaye is not that really obvious.

This album is for collectors only - those who really want to have the work of Wetton throughout his musical career. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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