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Zed - 1981 Zed

LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 19299
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Nigel Jenkins - lead vocals, guitars * Graham Jarvis - drums * Paul Westwood - bass

Additional Musicians: Dave Lawson - keyboards * Mike Moran - piano * David Lloyd - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dark Horse * 02 Luckless Romantic * 03 Right Now * 04 Casino * 05 No Prisoners * 06 Universe * 07 Human * 08 This Time * 09 Energy

Taking their name from the British pronunciation of the letter Z, Zed released two albums although I've never come across the group's second 1983 Europe only release 'Holding On'. Who were this unknown trio? Well for starters, all three were well respected session players in the UK, appearing on albums from Cliff Richard and Jon Anderson to Gerry Rafferty. Even more interesting were Zed's choices for additional players, in particular Mike Moran who played keys with Queen more than once and Dave Lawson from Greenslade who according to the band's bio was Zed's behind the scenes 'unofficial' fourth member.

The Songs
Entirely written and co-produced by group leader Nigel Jenkins, the album never took off, selling paltry amounts before disappearing in cut-out bins. That's not to say it was a bad album. In fact, it's quite good but from a production standpoint sounds like it was recorded in the late 70's. Early Charlie, Aviator UK and even Dave Mason take a peek in, but more importantly the first two Chris Rea albums, in particular his 1979 'Diamonds' release are the strongest points of reference. Rea and Jenkins have a similar bluesy vocal style and on 'Right Now', the two gentlemen are almost interchangeable. Lyrically, Jenkins tends to explore the dark side of life, while the rich instrumentation; in particular Lawson's keyboard work creates an album with a lot of depth and feeling. 'Casino', the anthem-like 'No Prisoners' and the rollicking 'Universe' are all excellent although it's easy to understand how this might have gone over the heads of American kids still grooving to 'Hi Infidelity' and just discovering Foreigner '4' and 'Escape' as Zed sound like they come from another planet in comparison.

In Summary
Zed's albums have never been on CD and it's doubtful they ever will. Like so much British rock and AOR from this period (75-81) the reissue labels have yet to tap bands like Krazy Kat, the aforementioned Aviator, Jet, Voyager, The Local Boys, Merlin, John Townley's excellent 'More Than A Dream' album and The Movies in favor of the North American bands, second and third time reissues of 'name' artists and bands as well as those with a traditional '80s sound. Money is an issue of course, accessibility to masters and some of this stuff just won't sell other than to geeks like me and yet in the meantime, so much good music goes unheard, deteriorating in a vault somewhere. Maybe someday..

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#1 | DEMONAOR on July 18 2010 07:57:26
Great music and someone should put em out on CD asap.
#2 | rkbluez on July 22 2012 02:16:28
Remember having this on vinyl...but can't remember what it sounded like...I'd probably buy a CD just to refresh my memory...even mediocre stuff from back then still sounds better than some of the music from this era.
#3 | super80boy on June 15 2013 16:46:28
Solid effort here with high grade songs in 'Luckless Romantic', 'Casino', 'No Prisoners' and 'Universe'. They even dabble into some new wave rhythms with the catchy synth inflected 'Human'. Overall a good mix of melodic rock and AOR arrangements.
#4 | gdazegod on November 07 2013 10:54:08
We probably should do the second.. put that on my list..

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