U.K. | Reissues

0
1632

I know you’re saying to yourself: “Self, I’ve always wondered about the band U.K. They’re underrated and under appreciated. I never
thought they got a deserved airing.” Well you need not worry anymore. Eddie Jobson, keyboardist, composer and violinist for the group, has acquired the rights and released the three U.K. albums — their first self-titled album, Danger Money, and the live Night after Night, remastered for the 30th anniversary of one of progressive rock’s most
misunderstood bands.The first incarnation of this late 70s band was a quartet with Bill Bruford on drums, Allan Holdsworth playing guitar, John Wetton on bass and vocals, and Jobson on electric violin and keyboards. This was about as powerful a lineup that you could find playing this kind of intense music.

And from the first few notes of U.K., you know that this is indeed a powerful record. The three-part “In The Dead Of Night” is pure perfect U.K., a grand opener and portent of what’s to come. There’s a Holdsworth-heavy first part, then lilting keys and violin from Jobson in “By The Light Of Day.” It all closes out with Bruford coming to the fore on “Presto Vivace and Reprise.”

Holdsworth and Jobson unite on “Thirty Years,” whereas “Alaska” is all about Jobson — spooky and a crowd pleaser if you’ve ever
seen the dude live. “Time To Kill,” the commercial tune of the album, pumps forward with Bruford providing the beat, some good backing vocals and even a few hand claps. “Nevermore” features Holdsworth’s amazing acoustic work and more lush stuff from Jobson. The record closes out with “Mental Medication,” most notable for Bruford’s odd stylings, which couldn’t have come from anywhere else but the ex Yes/King Crimson drummer.

Danger Money saw big changes for the band. Reduced to a trio (Holdsworth and Bruford were out, drummer Terry Bozzio was in), this was a streamlined U.K., relying now on solos primarily from Jobson’s keys and violin. With tunes written by Jobson and Wetton, this pairing would prove the group’s strength as well as problematic. But this is a good bunch of tunes, maybe not as wide in scope as the first release.

The opening title track might plod along a little too much, but “Rendezvous 6:02” is great with Jobson’s obvious skill and assured vocals from Wetton. “The Only Thing She Needs” shows what we all knew or what come later to learn about Bozzio — that he is one of the best drummers ever. This tune also showcases some great organ and violin from Jobson. There’s the killer violin pluck and slice of “Caesar’s Palace Blues” (you just gotta love how Wetton barely gets in a breath singing this one); another truly commercial
outing with the slightly somber “Nothing To Lose”; and what is by far the best one here, “Carrying No Cross.” Wetton’s voice truly
reaches, Bozzio doesn’t overplay but keeps it big and dramatic, and Jobson…well, Jobson is Jobson with light keys in the beginning and intricate work later on. If U.K. was anybody’s band, it was definitely Eddie Jobson’s.

The live Night After Night, taken from a 1979 Japanese concert, may be the best of these three anniversary CDs. Though Eddie Jobson really did some fantastic remastering on all three (they are crisp but deep, keys lush, all instruments very clear), it’s on this live CD where the tunes from Danger Money and U.K. really benefit from the three-piece tightening their grip. I jump around like a madman every time I hear the opening “Night After Night.” Jobson’s lush keys more or less flood through the speakers on the perfect “Rendezvous 6:02” and I don’t think Wetton has ever sounded so good. “Nothing To Loose” is pretty faithful to its studio version, but there is some cool violin from Jobson.

The ‘new’ song “As Long As You Want Me Here” (supposedly the tune that broke up the band) is ironically a pretty decent tune, with Bozzio especially keeping up with cowbell and his ‘shunkkaka’ snare playing. “Alaska” opens it all up with Jobson’s keys, going right into a killer “Time To Kill” with Jobson switching to violin. Bozzio begins and pushes his band mates on “Presto Vivace” (this one especially sounds great from the remastering) right into his big rolls on the ballsiest this band gets on “In The Dead Of Night.” Then it’s Bozzio battling with Jobson’s violin on “Caesar’s Palace Blues” and Night After Night comes to a sudden end.

So there you have it, three CDs from U.K. They’re probably releases you never thought you’d hear again, let alone sounding as good as they do. Luckily for us Eddie Jobson wove his remastering magic and U.K., Danger Money and Night After Night is ready for your re-education.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

Bookmark and Share