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Bacon, Max - 1995 Higher You Climb

ARTIST: Bacon, Max
ALBUM: Higher You Climb
LABEL: Now And Then
YEAR: 1995


LINEUP: Vocals - Max Bacon * Guitars - Scott Gorham, Steve Hackett, Steve Howe * Keyboards - Matt Clifford, Geoff Downes, John Young * Bass - Phil Spalding * Drums - Nigel Glockner, Mike Sturgis, Jonathan Mover

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Higher You Climb * 02 Boys From Diamond City * 03 Walk Away * 04 All Grown Up * 05 When I Was Young * 06 Hold Him Closer * 07 Desperate Times * 08 Love Comes Down * 09 Hungry Warrior * 10 No One Else To Blame * 11 I Know What I Like * 12 Roundabout

This album is Max Bacon's debut solo album, even though he's been in the biz for years. Better known for his stints with Nightwing, the supergroup GTR, plus working on the Phenomena project and alongside Mike Oldfield, Bacon has a unique vocal talent, combining melodic power and passion. Honestly, this guy could sing the roof off, such is his range, so in a way, it's great to see him on his own. As you can see from the assembled cast, all of the GTR guys are there, plus a few hangers on from the Phenomena project. It's difficult to tell just whose material Max is singing here, as there are no songwriting credits listed. Whatever the case, it's mainly AOR, though to be honest, it's an album of two halves. Slower ballady-type songs versus some strident rockers!

The Songs
I have to admit the uptempo songs get my attention first and foremost. The title track for starters 'The Higher You Climb' has Geoff Downes all over it, sounding very much like an Asia track. Continuing with 'Boys From Diamond City' (incidentally, an Asia track off their album 'Archiva I'), this rocks all along at a good clip. The other highlight is the superb 'Hungry Warrior', a moody atmospheric piece harking back to GTR's debut. 'No One Else To Blame' ain't too bad either, AOR by numbers admittedly, but catchy nonetheless. The live rendition of 'Roundabout' (which appeared on GTR's King Biscuit Live CD') makes a return here. Of the ballad material, most of it just washes over me unfortunately. Only a couple make any headway.. 'All Grown Up' and 'Hold Him Closer' are the two of note.

In Summary
However, you do get great value for money on this disc, twelve tracks clocking in at 56 minutes all up. Though there is scant detail on the album jacket, this is an essential collectors item from a gifted vocalist within the AOR genre.

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