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Gary Boyle - The Dancer CD (album) cover


Gary Boyle


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 33 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another that I'm hearing for the first time in quite a long time. I always felt strongly about it, of course fortified by any time it would grace my ears by way of shuffle. What I hadn't realized before was that this featured the great Rod ["F*cking"] Argent on keys as well as Simon Phillips on drums. Gary Boyle, hailing from the fantastic band Isotope, is an incredibly talented guitarist and this was his debut solo album, 1977, a fantastic era for the genre.

"Cowshed Shuffle", our album opener is one I've always been thrilled to listen to. Fantastic, super feeling Fusion number. Sort of reminiscent to me of Brand X or Colosseum II, perhaps? The title track, "The Dancer" , is another highly memorable number. Bright and upbeat, it is a happy cacophony of percussion and our various melodic instrumentation. This one is also (somewhat therefore) dynamically and texturally interesting. The composition breathes, so to speak. In the groove and the funk, it is an awesome solo showcase for Gary and others (including a wondrous bass solo). I certainly wish I knew who was who (and didn't just assume Argent was the guy here, despite all appearances). So much soloing, though... Sheesh.

Softness ensues on the quick, bass-led "Now That We're Alone". The bassist here is a Doni Harvey. A welcomed reprieve, for sure, and in it, performed in the most delightful and beautiful way. Bass melody continues over the groovy, blaxploitation-esque "Lullaby for a Sleepy Dormhouse". A lot of lovely key-trills are featured here, as well as some tasteful acoustic/classical moments from Gary. Next is the funky, yet spacy, "Almond Burfi" (a Burfi is a sweetened milk-based dessert from India). It's pretty consistently just... statically the same(?) for over 3 minutes and then shifts into a nice bit of quirk in its end. Even so, not the strongest we've heard from it thus far. But again, its last minute or so makes it all worth it. Really, very cool.

Back in the low 'n' slow on "Pendle Mist". Cymbals are singularly hit over soft shimmers of guitar and gliding keys. It's a slow build. And really, it does crescendo pretty much the entire song. Interesting choice. Yet a very of-the-time sort of choice. We are finally back into some stellar groove and solo mastery on "Apple Crumble"! It is a keyboardist's dream. In the last half, Gary takes the helm with a quirky yet blazing solo himself. It does not let up. In the best way. Finally we have the soft and tasty "Maiden Voyage" (totally not me avoiding the word "sexy" on a ProgArchives review /s). Just a fantastic song to close out a very very good Fusion classic.

True Rate: 4.25/5.00

DangHeck | 4/5 |


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