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ALAN WHITE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Alan White biography
ALAN WHITE has been the drummer for the band YES for more than thirty years, contributing to all their albums from the live "Yessongs" until the present. Before joining that band, however, he played with a lot of musicians, from local unknown bands to famous artists like John Lennon, George Harrison, Ginger Baker`s Air Force, Joe Cocker, Balls, Griffin, "Bell & Arc", Alan Price, Gary Wright, Jesse Ed Davis, Billy Preston, and many others.


Alan White was born in Pelton, Co. Durham, in northern England, on June 14th, 1949. He started taking piano lessons at the three years of age, but, encouraged by one of his uncles who also was a drummer, he was given a drum kit and he took lessons, leaving them later to find his own style of playing. He started playing in local bands, and by the age of thirteen he had become a professional musician. In 1969 he was playing in a club in London with a local band, and one day John Lennon and Yoko Ono were in the club listening to Alan`s band. It seems that Lennon was impressed by White`s playing, so in September 1969 White received a phone call which he initially thought was a joke - however, it really was John Lennon asking him to join his band (The Plastic Ono Band) for a concert in Toronto, in the "Rock and Roll Revival Show". He joined Lennon`s band along with Yoko, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann, and they rehearsed in the flight to Toronto, Alan without drums, only using his drumsticks to play on one of the seats of the airplane, while the other musicians played acoustic guitars. This concert was released as the "Plastic Ono Band - Live Peace in Toronto 1969" album in December 1969. Maybe this was the most important event on which he had participated until then. This led him to also play with George Harrison in his "All Things Must Pass" solo album in 1970. He also appeared on Lennon`s hit single "Instant Karma", on his album "Imagine" (including the title track) and on the live disc of the "Some Time in New York City" double album.


Alan White was also briefly a member of Ginger Baker`s Airforce in 1970, where he also played keyboards. He also appeared as a session musician in several albums by famous artists. In 1972 he was playing on tour with Joe Cocker and, in June of that year, at the end of the tour, he was asked to join YES by his friend Eddie Offord (who was YES` producer then), Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. Original YES` drummer Bill Bruford had left the band in July of that year after recording ...


Alan White was born in Pelton, Co. Durham, in northern England, on June 14th, 1949. He started taking piano lessons at the three years of age, but, encouraged by one of his uncles who also was a drummer, he was given a drum kit and he took lessons, leaving them later to find his own style of playing. He started playing in local bands, and by the age of thirteen he had become a professional musician. In 1969 he was playing in a club in London with a local band, and one day John Lennon and Yoko Ono were in the club listening to Alan`s band. It seems that Lennon was impressed by White`s playing, so in September 1969 White received a phone call which he initially thought was a joke - however, it really was John Lennon asking him to join his band (The Plastic Ono Band) for a concert in Toronto, in the "Rock and Roll Revival Show". He joined Lennon`s band along with Yoko, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann, and they rehearsed in the flight to Toronto, Alan without drums, only using his drumsticks to play on one of the seats of the airplane, while the other musicians played acoustic guitars. This concert was released as the "Plastic Ono Band - Live Peace in Toronto 1969" album in December 1969. Maybe this was the most important event on which he had participated until then. This led him to also play with George Harrison in his "All Things Must Pass" solo album in 1970. He also appeared on Lennon`s hit single "Instant Karma", on his album "Imagine" (including the title track) and on the live disc of the "Some Time in New York City" double album.


Alan White was also briefly a member of Ginger Baker`s Airforce in 1970, where he also played keyboards. He also appeared as a session musician in several albums by famous artists. In 1972 he was playing on tour with Joe Cocker and, in June of that year, at the end of the tour, he was asked to join YES by his friend Eddie Offord (who was YES` producer then), Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. Original YES` drummer Bill Bruford had left the band in July of that year after recording their "Close to the Edge" album in order to join King Crimson, leaving YES without a drummer just a few days before the start of their tour. Alan learned all the songs from the tour in three days, and he and the band gave each other three months to see if they were comfortable to play together. He has been YES' drummer since then, and with Chris Squire he has played on all their albums from 1973 until the present. His style of playing is "heavier" in comparison to Bruford`s, who has a technique more geared towards jazz-rock; however, Alan White has adapted his eclectic style to YES` music, playing complicated drum parts while also adding "power" to his playing.


In 1975, after the tour for YES` "Relayer" album, the band members started to record solo albums. Alan White recorded his first solo album called "Ramshackled" (released in April 1976) with the collaboration of old friends from his previous bands. Although this first solo album is not very well-known among YES fans (with the LP being out of print since the late Seventies and previously only being released on CD in Japan), it contains some interesting material for progressive rock fans. He applied his previous experience of playing with musicians of different styles in his career to create an eclectic album, showing his versatility as a drummer, and also including some Jazz-Rock and Prog influences in the arrangements of the songs . In 2006 the album was released on CD for the first time in the United States.


Alan White has also been playing in recent years with other part-time bands, like Mer Ka Ba, and with his own band called WHITE (which also includes former YES keyboardist Geoff Downes), recording an album with them. He also continues to play as guest with other musicians on albums and in concerts, and he also gives drum clinics when he is not working with YES. He is a respected drummer with a lot of experience.

Guillermo





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Alan White has been Yes' drummer for over thirty years. His solo album "Ramshackled" deserves to be included alongside the solo efforts from other members of the band, as it contains much of interest for prog fans.



Discography:
Ramshackled (studio album - 1976)read more

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RamshackledRamshackled
Wounded Bird Records 2014
Audio CD$8.15
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ALAN WHITE discography


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ALAN WHITE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.64 | 26 ratings
Ramshackled
1976
2.96 | 4 ratings
WHITE
2006

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ALAN WHITE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 WHITE by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.96 | 4 ratings

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WHITE
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is an album recorded by YES`s drummer ALAN WHITE while he was working with some musicians from Seattle (Kevin Currie, Steve Boyce and Karl Haug) with the addition of Geoff Downes from ASIA on keyboards. White has lived in Seattle for several years, and after YES`s last tour with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman in 2004, YES was inactive as a band until 2008. So, White, like Chris Squire (who worked a bit with THE SYN during those years) worked for a time with these musicians from Seattle , and they recorded and released this album, which is not really a solo album from Alan White, but more a collaboration album which was released in 2006 under the band`s name WHITE. Alan White has credits as songwriter in 5 of the 10 songs of this album, but the main songwriters are Haug, Currie and Boyce, with some collaborations from other musicians like their former keyboard player Ted Stockwell.

The musical style of this band is more Hard Rock with some Prog Rock arrangements and sometimes sounding a bit Pop Rock. Currie`s vocals (who by the way has the same name as one of Supertramp`s former drummers from the early seventies) sound more oriented to Pop Rock and Hard Rock than to Prog Rock. The rhythms are not very complicated and are very related to Hard Rock and Pop Rock too. The main instruments in this album are the guitars played by Karl Haug, who is a very good guitarist, and the keyboard arrangements are more in the background, playing a more supportive role.

The listener can`t really expect this album to sound related to YES`s musical style, like in Alan White`s first solo album from 1976, titled "Ramshackled", which also was more a collaborative effort with other musicians than a real solo album by White. But at least in this WHITE`s band self-titled album Alan White collaborated to the songwriting. He plays the drums very well, as always, and his style of playing shows his talent for playing several musical styles very well. The recording and mixing of this album is very good, but the mixing gives more emphasis to the guitars and the drums.

The cover art was done by Roger Dean, and it is maybe the most YES-related thing in this album, more than the musical style of the band by itself.

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 Ramshackled by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.64 | 26 ratings

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Ramshackled
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Certainly a departure from his day job, 1976's 'Ramshackled' proves the real oddity amongst the numerous Yes solo albums issued in the wake of both 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and 'Relayer'. Whilst his cohorts produced either classy symphonic rock(Squire's excellent 'Fish Out Of Water'), classically-influenced piano prog('Story Of I' by Patrick Moraz) or glacial art-pop (Jon Anderson's delicate 'Olias Of Sunhillow') White opted to a navigate a different path, cooking up a funky, jazz-rock mixture glazed with cool pop melodies and augmented by the occasional fusion-laced instrumental flight-of-fancy. Strangely, a glance at the writing credits reveals not a single mention of the name 'White', with 'Ramshackle' written entirely by the little-known trio of Peter Kirtley, Kenny Craddock and Colin Gibson. White does contribute a collection of impressive percussive displays - check out the whirring, rock-solid beat of the groove-licked 'Avakak (a.k.a. Twelve Ways To Drink Meths)' - yet he is by no means the star performer. A slick, polished and slightly over-sweet album, 'Ramshackled' nevertheless exudes a certain infectious charm, the streamlined blend of rock, fusion and funk tinged with just enough progressive artfulness for it to maybe catch the ear of the odd Yes aficianado and beyond. Some may find it all a bit too close to Weather Report or suchlike for their liking, those who dabble in the occasional slice of classic 1970s funk - Green, Gaye, Hayes etc - may just find their next favourite album. Kudos to Alan White for treading such an unexpected pathway. Yes this certainly ain't; 'Ramshackled' really does proves a very apt title. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Ramshackled by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.64 | 26 ratings

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Ramshackled
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars White goes black!

After the release of the Relayer album, the members of Yes decided to all release solo albums. Jon Anderson released his Olias of Sunhillow, Steve Howe his Beginnings, Chris Squire his Fish Out Of Water, Patrick Moraz his The Story Of I and Alan White released this. While none of these solo albums are similar to the style of Yes music, Ramshackled is definitely the least Yes-like of them all. This is a laid-back, very funky, jazzy and soulful album! Ironically this White album has a very black sound!

This is not poorly performed or badly recorded; Alan enlisted a number of talented musicians and helpers here. However, this is just not my cup of tea at all. Also, the role of Alan himself is very dubious. He played drums for sure, but everything else, including all the writing as far as I understand, was handed over to other people. This is an Alan White album in name only.

All this make this album into a typical example of an album that is for completionists only - people, like myself, who wants to have everything Yes related just because it is Yes related and for no other reason. But this album stretches the boundaries even of how far even I am willing to go for Yes related stuff.

Alan was smart to enlist Steve Howe and Jon Anderson to perform on one track making the album more interesting for Yes fans. But even with this song included it is not enough to make this album really interesting for more than one listen. All five 1975-76 solo albums by the Yes members took fans far away from Yes in many diverse and interesting directions, but this album simply took us too far away!

This is perhaps not a poor album, but the Prog quotient is very poor indeed. And the relevance of this album to Yes is almost none. Therefore, one star only.

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 Ramshackled by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.64 | 26 ratings

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Ramshackled
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by gr8dane

3 stars Been getting into Billy Cobham,Lenny White,Soft Machine,Larry Coryell's Eleventh House ,Perigeo and the likes lately.Was browsing I-Tunes for something new and stumbled upon this one.Listened to the snippets and read the reviews here.Thought what the hell and bought it.

I can see where EasyLivin's review is coming from, but I tend to lean towards Guillermo's review myself.

There is some great drum and bass play on here.I am not gonna go into the song by song review,'cause Guillermo's review nails it pretty good.I am not sure if I like these tracks totally,as I think I would prefer the music here to be instrumental,but it ain't half bad and adds some soul to the whole picture.

I guess my point here is,if you like the music I mentioned in the beginning of my review there is a good chance you will like this.

I will rate this album 3 *s since there are a couple of out of place tracks on here,but what the hey. Had they been replaced with another track like the last one,and this been an instrumental record,I would have rated this 4 *s.

So for the $9 I spent ,I would say I got great value.

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 Ramshackled by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.64 | 26 ratings

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Ramshackled
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars The (ALAN) white album

Alan White's only solo album to date is this 1976 release recorded subsequent to the "Relayer" album, when the entire band decided to indulge themselves in solo activities.

White, probably wisely, chose not to try to create an album which sounded anything like his mother band, but instead went down the jazz funk route. He gathers together a proficient band, White's roll appearing to be primarily one of co-ordinator and co- producer, apart of course from being the drummer! White is not involved in the song writing either, leaving that aspect to the principal musicians on the album.

After a couple of vocal dominated funky numbers, "Avakak", which according to the lyric sheet also has a number of rather silly alternative names, is a piano based jazz instrumental which drifts through a number of moods and lead instruments. I have to confess it is too jazzy for my tastes, but those who enjoy the music of bands such as Soft Machine may find it appealing.

The only other Yes members to contribute are Jon Anderson and Steve Howe who appear on "Song of innocence", written by William Blake. The song is the most orthodox on side one of the LP (yes, I still have the record!), essentially sounding like an Anderson solo work.

Things take an unfortunate dip on side two on the second track "Silly woman", which is a second rate clone of 10CCs "Dreadlock holiday". According to the lyric sheet, the title of the following instrumental was to be "Darch of the lesbian Mwarphs", but the more prosaic "Marching into a bottle" was used instead. The track is quite different to the rest of the album, being a flute based acoustic piece with baroque influences. It sounds like Alan White may not actually perform on this track at all.

"Everybody" sees things take a turn for the worse again, in an rather unfocused melee which sounds like "Captain Beefheart" on an off day. The best is however saved for last. "Darkness" has an impressively progressive structure, and much tighter composition. The first section is a bluesy vocal performance which leads into an orchestrated jazz rock burst. A delicate latter section, with good vocals and a trumpet voluntary concludes the album in fine style. This is undoubtedly the finest track on the album. Had the rest of the tracks been of a similar style and quality, White could have been competing with Squire for the best Yes solo album award. As it is, this is a competent but unexciting offering which is a solo album in name only. The fact that it took Alan the best part of 30 years to take one the role of leader on an album again (see WHITE) perhaps indicates that he recognised that he could achieve far more as 20% of the finest prog band ever.

The album sleeve is, unsurprisingly, similar to that of "The White Album", inside though is a colourful print of the hand written lyric sheet, and an insert with an illustration by Henry S Hodgson which at first appears to be a sophisticated old man, but closer inspection reveals his face to consist of a number of naked ladies.

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 Ramshackled by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.64 | 26 ratings

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Ramshackled
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My late father was a great record collector of mainly Classical music records. Also he liked to have the best audio equipment available in the seventies (and later in the 80s-90s, but with less interest). So, he had subscriptions for some audio equipment magazines ("High Fidelity", "Stereo Review" and "Audio") and also, as a very good customer of one record shop, he was given for free (for years too!) the monthly Schwann record catalogues! He lent me his magazines and his record catalogues and I was more interested in reading the record reviews in that magazines and to see the new released albums in the record catalogues. So, I remember that I read in those magazines the reviews for many albums, and I read there the reviews for the solo albums that the then members of the band YES released between 1975 and 1976. The only album from which I never read a review was for this album, Alan White`s "Ramshackled", released in April 1976, but I knew about the existence of this album because it was listed in the Schwann catalogues. I also have a cousin who had a very good record collection of Prog Rock musicians, and he also had the other solo albums from the members of YES, but he didn`t have this album. I remember that I also read in one Schwann record catalogue from 1978 that this album was marked as "to be out of print soon; it is not going to be included again in the future editions of this catalogue". So, I never have seen a copy of the old LP of this album, and it seems that many people never knew about this album being released. But, in 1992, a now defunct and very missed FM Radio station in my city broadcasted a series of programmes dedicated to the discography of the band YES and also to some of the solo albums recorded by their members and former members. So, I recorded it in a cassette. But this album was previously released on CD only in Japan, but in this year, it was released for the first time on CD in the U.S., so it is available again, and I`m going to buy it as soon as I see it in the record shops.

This album is very good, IMO, it has a mixture of several styles with good Prog Rock arrangements. It was recorded by Alan White assisted by musicians who played with Alan before he joined YES. The songs of this album were not composed by Alan, but the songs were composed by Kenny Craddock, Colin Gibson and Peter Kirtley, alone or in different combinations. Alan and these musicians played together in a band called "Griffin", and also played together in several albums as session musicians. Craddock, Gibson and Kirtley also composed songs together for other projects before this album was planned and recorded. So, they had a lot of experience working together with Alan White before he joined YES, so I think that it was easier for them to record this album which was released as Alan`s solo album, but it could be also considered as a Griffin album.

The songs:

1. Oooh Baby (Going to Pieces`): it starts with Alan playing drums and percussion in a Samba- Bossa Nova musical style. Then, the other instruments appear and then the singer sings in a Soul music style.

2. One Way Rag: this song is influenced by Soul and Rhythm and Blues music, it is a simple song really, sometimes sounding like Pop music.This song was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976. In the first gigs of that tour, the band played selected songs from their solo albums, but the idea was eliminated soon.

3. Avakak: it is an instrumental piece of music in the Jazz-Rock musical style with the addition of wind instruments and very good rhythm patterns by Alan and basist Colin Gibson.

4. Spring - Song of Innocence: with lyrics by William Blake, this is a song very influenced by New Age music ( a style not so called like that in those days) and Prog Rock, with very good atmospheres, and the guest appearances of YES members Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. I think that this song could have been included in any YES album in those years.Alan plays a slow rhythm similar to YES song`called "Wonderous Stories". There are also very good flute-guitar-keyboard arrangements.Anderson sings lead and backing vocals.This song also was played a few times by YES on their "Solo Albums" tour in 1976.

5. Giddy: is a funny song also influenced by Jazz-Rock and Soul music. The lyrics tells the story of "a night of fun in the city". It includes a very good drum part by Alan. Again, lead singer Alan Marshall sings very well. This song also has a good orchestral arrangement.

6. Silly Woman: a Reggae song with good drums by Alan and a steel drum part. Maybe the lyrics are a bit offensive, but it is a funny song anyway. In the "Yesyears" video it is included a fragment of a promotional video for this song on which Alan appears smiling, and Patrick Moraz said in one interview that he also appeared briefly in this video as guest without having played a note in the song! This could be a good danceable song. It also has wind instrument arrangements.

7. March into a Bottle: is a song with classical guitar, flutes and other wind instruments and tuned and untuned percussion, inlfuenced a bit by Classical music and Folk Rock a la Jethro Tull. It also sounds IMO in the style of Steve Hackett`s music as soloist.

8. Everybody: is an energetic song with very good drums by Alan, a bit heavy, with wind instrument arrangements and backing vocals by Madeleine Bell, Joanna Williams and Vicky Brown. It has very good bass guitar parts, and acoustic guitar and steel drum.

9. Darkness: is the most Progressive song in this album, maybe the most "serious", with three parts, also influenced by Jazz-Rock. It also has wind instrument arrangements and an orchestral arrangement by David Bedford (who previously worked with Mike Oldfield) in the third part. The arrangements are a bit inlfuenced by YES music.There are some lead guitar parts too. The final part of the song includes a trumpet solo.

I think that this album deserves to be "discovered" and listened by the Prog Rock Fans who never have listened to it. The album is very eclectic, but it shows Alan White`s versatility as a drummer. He, in the "Yesyears" video, talking about this album, said that his idea was to record an album with a mixture of several styles. It seems to me that his previous musical experience of playing with artists of different musical styles helped him a lot to record an album with a lot of variety in the musical arrangements. This album, IMO, it is also interesting for Prog Rock Fans who also play drums and percussion (which is my case). I can hear a lot of interesting things in this album, and I hope that other listeners could find something interesting on it too. It also sounds to me like it was recorded with Alan and all the musicians having a lot of fun. So, even being a collaborative effort, not only a solo album, it is very good, IMO.

In Alan White`s official website there are some promotional videos for this album which can be seen there. They are also available in youtube.com .

Update (11-January-2008): a year ago I bought the C.D. version of this album, released in the U.S. by Wounded Bird Records, and it sounds very good, but the booklet doesn`t include the lyrics and the full cover artwork. Anyway, it was a good buy for me.

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