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Alan White - Ramshackled CD (album) cover


Alan White


Crossover Prog

2.47 | 50 ratings

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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 Yes' "Relayer", 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.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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