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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Marsden, Bernie - 1979 And About Time Too
 
Marsden, Bernie - 1979 And About Time Too



ARTIST: Marsden, Bernie
ALBUM: And About Time Too
LABEL: Parlophone/EMI
SERIAL: PCS7215
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1995, RPM (UK), RPM 152

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bernie Marsden - guitars, vocals

Featuring: Don Airey - piano, moog synthesizer * Jon Lord - hammond organ * Jack Bruce, Neil Murray - bass * Ian Paice, Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell - drums * Alan Carvell, Stuart Calver, Doreen Chanter, Irene Chanter, Tony Rivers - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 You're The One * 02 Song For Fran * 03 Love Made A Fool Of Me * 04 Here We Go Again * 05 Still The Same * 06 Sad Clown * 07 Brief Encounter * 08 Are You Ready * 09 Head The Ball

WEBLINKS: www.berniemarsden.co.uk


Background
When you can count on a list of musicians like Jon Lord, Cozy Powell, Jack Bruce and other 'A listed friends' you know that this release is going to be worth investigating. Or as many the case in the past, does it just become an old boys act when quality songs sometimes don't always rise to the surface. Thankfully, Bernie takes a good control on proceedings and finished up with a highly recommended album. Take a glance at the 70's 'sitcom' style cover, yes factories do look like that, no plush offices and skyscrapers that graced many a US album cover, (America - 'Perspective' being one). Flip the cover and take a look at the pictures of the main protagonists, except of course for Don Airey, where you just have a hand drawn picture of some keyboards, how did this get past quality control, I wonder! After my recent review of Kyoji Yamamoto plus the Alaska singer, Bob Hawthorn, I came across this 1979 release for the sum of Ať1, that was even cheap 30 years ago, so really I had nothing to lose. What I didn't expect was a finely crafted album of westcoast and AOR tunes. Obviously Bernie had a yearning for those soft harmonies before he entered the cold wastes of the highly acclaimed Alaska. This album has more in common to the melodies being propelled from across the Atlantic during the 70's rather than from at the time, a strike torn Britain. It was in the period, that Bernie had begun his tenure as a full time employee of Whitesnake that would last till 1982, which in this relevantly brief period, produced arguably the most productive and classic era of Whitesnake, although not in financial terms.


The Songs
We commence with 'You're The One', which has a great westcoast feel with some funky guitar. Very much like Glenn Hughes but without the over the top 'funk' that sometimes gets in the way of the melody on Glenn's compositions. Bernie's voice has a touch of Tommy Shaw and the special relationship is maintained by the American styling to this track with a British guitar solo.

'Song For Fran'.. an instrumental as the second track? I'll get me coat.... no don't be too concerned, this is a good one, instinctively Thin Lizzy, could easily be one of Phil Lynott's more thoughtful moments. It is played at a sedate pace with passion that resonates from Bernie's piece of finely tuned timber, lovingly polished to reveal years of character.

'Love Made A Fool Of Me' takes a somewhat different turn, it's like someone has opened a window and the sunshine just streams through. Seem to be tinkering around the edges of Pablo Cruise, it is laced with some fine pop infused backing vocals followed by the moog synthesizer, very pleasing to the ear, even on the first listen.

'Here We Go Again' notice the use of 'we' rather than 'I', so no confusing this with a future Snake classic, this continues on in a similar style but with the added extra of a more harder feel. From the same colour chart as Desmond Child and Rouge, with even a touch of effeminate vocals while the backing singers providing a response to Bernie's questions, again more westcoast than AOR. Special attention must be given to the backing vocals provided by sisters, Doreen and Irene Chanter, I'm sure you have heard of these quality singers, if not, answers when we hit Side 2.

To close the first side we have 'Still The Same' this being a real slow burner. The guitar solo ignites the fuse, this type of blues-rock tune just isn't as common as it once was. This is the first track that is not a 7 furlong sprint but more of a 4 mile chase with jumps. The song has time to mature and develop. Thankfully it does not resort to the quick chorus and forgettable verse, please could the current crop of melodic record label owners take note. This loses the happiness of the previous 'pop' tunes, it is more sombre, reflective, but is results in the most essential song on the album. Bernie provides his most accomplished vocal performance bringing together again Tommy Shaw senses and most notable John Waite in his Babys era. David Coverdale could well hijack this and put this on a new Whitesnake album, it's waiting to be taken advantage off.

Side 2 begins with 'Sad Clown', this is classic 70's AOR, lightweight vocals, hammond organ, with the extra ingredient of hand clapping, this even borders on pomp territory, Angel, Starcastle anyone?. Back to the question I set earlier, the backing vocals on this album really shine through, how about Tony Rivers and Stuart Calver, who both appeared on Tarney/Spencer Group releases, next up Alan Carvell who appeared on Brits ABC (am I right Eric?), which leaves us with the answer concerning Doreen Chanter who along with Kati Mac (yes I remember her!) were part of Meatloaf's Neverland Express.

'Brief Encounter', is another excellent instrumental, slow brooding, again highlighting Bernie's presence on guitar. Also again has a Thin Lizzy feel but with interjections of the blues, and only for the second time you are reminded of Whitesnake.

'Are You Ready' raises the tempo, it has a southern and rock n' roll texture with more female backing vocals. To me, it doesn't sit comfortably with the rest of the album, maybe it's just the throwaway nature of the lyrics, yes they sound like they are having fun, but it's the first bad mark on Bernie's time sheet.

'Head The Ball', is the third and final instrumental, in the field as Dixie Dregs classic 'Take It To The Top', although it falls short of that powerful reminder of the Friday Rock Show.


In Summary
So, a total of 9 songs, 3 of which are instrumentals. The remaining lyrical songs are worth well of further investigation as an insight to the foundations that formed Alaska and the less successful S.O.S. Lots of reference points here with small moments of Robbie Patton, cuts of the aforementioned Tarney/Spencer, Breathless and early Charlie. Bernie went on to release in 1980 'Look At Me Now' which I am rather keen to track down, although I can't say the same for his more recent blues filled albums, much like the path taken by Gary Moore I am afraid. Why these two followed the blues is an interesting question, but I feel that if Bernie had continued in the AOR/Westcoast vein maybe we could be discussing him in the same company as Mike Slamer. This album is very much a reminder of the late 70's and it's quite a surprise that such good tunes and a style not always reflective of its origin has been produced here. Certainly it's 'about time too' that this album receives some recognition it richly deserves.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on March 16 2009 12:11:57
Nice to see this record here. Right about Carvell Chris, he also worked with Elton John for a while.
#2 | englandashes on March 17 2009 13:36:41
Eric, I wonder if any of the backing vocalists especially Carvell, Calver and Rivers did anything in their own right?
#3 | Eric on March 17 2009 22:28:03
Hey Chris, had to get home from work to do do a proper search! I can't find anything solo by Carvell or Calver, but I did find this web site : www.tonyrivers.com

I have the Harmony Grass CD/ reissue- really nice sunshine pop like The Association, but it doesn't look like he did much solo stuff.hmm!
#4 | englandashes on July 05 2009 21:34:45
This was actually released on cd through Purple Records with 3 bonus tracks, being You and Me (b-side), Who's Foolin Who (live) and Shakey Ground (live)
 
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