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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Illsley, John - 1988 Glass
Illsley, John - 1988 Glass

ARTIST: Illsley, John
ALBUM: Glass
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: 834 311-2 (UK), 9 25638-2 (USA)
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: 2010, Creek Records (UK), CREEKCD3


LINEUP: John Illsley - vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards * Mark Knopfler, Mick Dyche, Jerry Donahue, Phil Palmer - guitars * Albert Boekholt, Alan Clark, Guy Fletcher - keyboards * Frank Ricotti, Jamie Lane - drums, percussion * Vicki Brown, Sam Brown, Julian Littman, Billy Nicholls - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 High Stakes * 02 I Want To See The Moon * 03 Papermen * 04 All I Want Is You * 05 The World Is Made Of Glass * 06 Red Turns To Blue * 07 Let's Dance * 08 She Wants Everything * 09 Star For Now


The second and best solo album from Dire Straits bass player and occasional lead vocalist John Illsley, 'Glass' is a tour-de-force of sophisticated rock. With Mark Knopfler, Illsley was the only member of Dire Straits to last in the group from their beginnings in 1977 as a run-of-the-mill pub band to their anti-climactic end in 1995. Personally, I thought they were a brilliant band on early albums like 'Making Movies' and 'Love Over Gold', but am the first to admit there was a 'sameness' to much of their product culminating with 1985's 'Brothers In Arms' which sold like bottled sunshine, but for this listener was just more repetition. Their final album 'On Every Street' from 1991 had it's moments but the 'been there, done that' vibe on the record was stronger than ever and packing it up was a wise decision.

The Songs
In an attempt to spread his wings during the group's peak of popularity, Illsley released his first solo in 1984. The odd thing was 'Never Told A Soul' could have been Dire Straits 'part two' with Illsley searching for his own musical voice in the midst of mediocrity. 'Glass' in turn was a marked improvement with a nice set of songs and plenty of variety. Here Illsley's music fits into the category of Chris Rea, Gerry Rafferty and Chris DeBurgh and in fact his voice is very similar to DeBurgh's although not quite as powerful. There's some good stuff here for fans of this style including 'High Stakes', 'Papermen' and the atmospheric 'The World Is Made Of Glass' which is quite beautiful. While I'm not a big fan of reggae, 'Red Turns To Blue' works nicely although I could do without 'Let's Dance' which seems like filler, out of place and the sort of thing you would find on the later Phil Collins albums. Enough said. Fortunately 'She Wants Everything' and 'Star For Now' are in keeping with the quality of rest of the album which should have sold more than it actually did.

In Summary
Since the demise of his former band, Illsley has taken up painting and recorded an album 'Beautiful You' with Irish singer Greg Pearle. Really nice to see him active again, although I wonder if a Dire Straits reunion will be in the works at some point.

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#1 | Eric on August 09 2011 03:44:02
Finally out on CD with the rest of Illsley's catalog on Creek Records.
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