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John Wetton - Battle Lines [Aka: Voice Mail] CD (album) cover


John Wetton


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3.48 | 60 ratings

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4 stars The passing of John W. has affected me deeply, so I went back and gave a spin to some of his work, that may have not been on the top of my list over the years. "Battle Lines" turned out to be an unexpected pleasant surprise. Initially released under the name of "Voice Mail" in 1994 in Japan only, it was re-released internationally as Battle Lines with the same musical content but different artwork, and again in 1996 with the additional bonus track: "Battle Lines" (acoustic version). I read an interview w/Ron Nevison in 2015, a famous producer, he was the producer and engineer on this release. Here's a short quote from that interview, on how he felt about the record:

"There were two albums I did in the early '90s that got swallowed up because of Kurt Cobain. One of them was an album with John Wetton that didn't do well. John has a sound. We did a wonderful record, I still believe it is a great album. Those albums never saw the light of day because everybody ran to Seattle. So, there are things that don't work out. I was very disappointed in how those were received. That's what happens in the music business."

Initially I just about dismissed it as a too mainstream effort, especially if you are fan of the famous KC trilogy of albums he was a part of. After a more concentrated effort to actually "listen" to each track, I came to a conclusion that it is not such a bad effort after all. I happen to agree w/the producer on the statement that; John has a sound. Now whether you like it or not, it IS his sound, and as much as we all want him to replicate some of the KC or U.K. that we like soooooo much, we need to accept the fact that it was a certain period coupled w/the input from the rest of the musicians at THAT time.

The musicianship is top notch, given John's standard throughout his career it is hardly a surprise. The personnel on the recordings is quite impressive; Steve Lukather / guitar; Robert Fripp / guitar & devices; Simon Phillips / drums ... just a mention a few.

If you have access to it, give it another chance, you might like it a little more than the first time around.

tvtennis | 4/5 |


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