In The Skies, by Peter Green
Suggested by Lee Terence Brook
This album has bongos. A surplus of bongos. An extravagance of bongos. A cavalcade of bongos. It’s a veritable Bongopalooza.
Yes, I like saying “bongos.”
My historical musical knowledge is very spotty, which comes from being All Metal, All The Time through my adolescence. Consequently, I know Fleetwood Mac (of course), but I’d never heard of Peter Green. Seems like he was a founding father of Fleetwood, then left really early in their pomp. This solo album was recorded with a host of experienced session musicians, and released in 1979.
And I think that’s my issue with it.
It’s blues-based and even-tempo’d (almost plodding in places), and while it’s nice, it feels very much like a jam session. I think that may be a by product of the fact that every other song is an instrumental. If more than 50% of the songs on your album have no lyrics, we’re into Jazz Odyssey by Spinal Tap territory. Sorry Pete, but noodling on your guitar over standard blues riffs butters no parsnips in Chez Craig, dear me no. And that’s before you introduce the Bongoverload.
A weird feature of this album, likely due to the tones used and the songs’ standard arrangements, is that each song sounds like a classic tune, without actually being a classic tune. That takes skill, I guess, but may also be an aspect of the sound / scene at the time. Maybe some of these songs were on adverts back in the day or something, and thus lodged in my subconscious, but let’s face facts, they’re not The Chain.
I’m likely being over-harsh about this album. It’s 41 years old, and it’s definitely a great example of what it is. If you like blues instrumentals and the classic seventies melodic blues sound, you’ll love this. And if you like Bongos, you’ll probably vomit up a kidney in excitement.
My favourite track is probably Seven Stars, which has an almost Christian Rock sound to it. I so wanted to say my favourite was Funky Chunky, as that could have been my nickname back in my clubbing days, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
I’ll give this album 5/10, but if you’re a fan of the genre then it won’t disappoint. It was all a bit pedestrian for me, unfortunately. Despite the Bongo-geddon.