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U.K - 1978 U.K



ARTIST: U.K
ALBUM: U.K
LABEL: Polydor (UK, EG (USA)
SERIAL: 2302 080 (UK), PD-1-6146 (USA)
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1988, EG, EGCD 35 * 2009, Globe (USA), GLO 9100-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Wetton - vocals, bass * Allan Holdsworth - guitars * Eddie Jobson - keyboards, electric violin, electronics * Bill Bruford - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 In The Dead Of Night * 02 By The Light Of Day * 03 Presto Vivace And Reprise * 04 Thirty Years * 05 Alaska * 06 Time To Kill * 07 Nevermore * 08 Mental Dedication


Background
A supergroup of epic proportions. As it appears on paper at least, but back then, line-ups like these were common place, so U.K probably didn't have the same impact as they may have had. In any case, some superb drawn out pieces with 'progressive' being the operative phrase here. In fact, symphonic is a better fit, with ex Roxy Music keyboardist Eddie Jobson providing the soundscape for the other members (mainly Allan Holdsworth) to play over.


The Songs
Side One starts out with the three part 'In The Dead Of Night', that is true in keeping with progressive albums from that era (ELP, Todd Rundgren etc). Opening bars of keyboard swells combine with Bruford's ebb/flow percussive passages, which make for a dramatic entrance. The punctuated approach occurs often throughout this first phase. Jobson provides unusual keyboard sequences which will have the average 'prog-head' looking to break out their imaginary Jupiter 8 synths from thin-air! The second phase 'By The Light Of Day' takes an ambient path and slows up noticeably. The electric violin of Jobson is heard to great effect here. The intro to the third part 'Presto Vivace And Reprise' is even more symphonic, like Rush, Kansas and Yes meeting on Interstate Prog 101, before returning to the familiar theme of the overall song. 'Thirty Years' is a dreamy mystical piece which despite the title, only lasts a shade over 8 minutes. The track 'Alaska' is the album highlight. Bombastic keyboards which has every ivory ever tinkled (or even thought of being tinkled) by the band Saga as an example. This leads into 'Time To Kill', which features some strong vocals by Wetton. 'Nevermore' and 'Mental Medication' are longer pieces which meander through extended playing times. An attribute only prog fans will truly appreciate.


In Summary
Fans of Allan Holdsworth will not see any comparison to his OTT playing style evident elsewhere. Unusual textures and phrasings are about all you'll see, though I did read somewhere that the great Steve Vai was interested in transcribing Allan's brief guitar dabble on 'In The Dead Of Night'. In retrospect, fans of prog, and crossover AOR will make a meal of this. Very technical, but considering we're talking about 1978, some people would prefer this album to live in the past. Not us, hence a deserved review.


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Tags: U.K 
 
Comments
#1 | tompa on April 22 2006 12:23:14
Rarely has an album featured a better opener than In The Dead Of Night. The bass-drive of John Wetton carries the song along, with Jobson and Holdsworth adding sparkling colours. All backed-up with the technical drumming of Bruford. This song is a perfect Ten! And by the way, the rest of the album is also good...
#2 | rostoned on June 28 2008 12:42:25
Mysterious cover, fantastic progressive album by an all star ensemble. An intricate masterpiece featuring the art of Allan Holdsworth, one of the most unique guitar player ever (see also Ollie Halsall) clap
#3 | Eric on June 28 2008 13:43:50
A brilliant record. They did a couple gigs opening for April Wine in Canada when the record came out. One of those 'what were they thinking?' bills.
#4 | reyno-roxx on August 17 2008 12:06:44
Gave this a blast last night. Terrific record. I'm a big fan of Eddie Jobson's fantastic 'Zinc: The Green Album' as well.
So far as mystefying bills are concerned, Blue Oyster Cult supported by The Jam appears to be the most curious!
#5 | rkbluez on July 25 2012 23:05:45
A prog rock masterpiece...amazing line up...how could it not be good...In The Dead Of The Night is a timeless classic tune of epic proportions...I'm also a fan of Eddie Jobson...saw him with Jethro Tull on the 'A' album tour...another amazing group of musicians...the show was great.
 
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