Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review: Laing, Hunter, Ronson and Pappalardi

Laing, Hunter, Ronson and Pappalardi - The Secret Sessions (Floating World Records)
Odd one this, for sure. The Hunter/Ronson partnership was pretty well established in the late ‘70’s following Hull’s finest’s appearance during the last days of Mott, but how and why they found themselves hooked up with Corky Laing and Felix Pappalardi, formerly two thirds of Cream-indebted power trio Mountain, remains a mystery.

Recorded in 1978 at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio these eight tracks (not quite an album and fleshed out by two takes from Laing’s contemporaneous solo record) have certainly been a well-kept ‘Secret’, and make their first public performance here. Results are mixed as is often the case with an enterprise born out of a group of guys having a good time rather than sharing an artistic ambition; but on balance the release is justified on merit, not just curiosity or rarity value. Evidence comes more by courtesy of Hunter’s poignant ‘The Outsider’ (complete with first class guitar solo), and gritty Laing/Hunter co-write ‘I Ain’t No Angel’, than it does the unwise inclusion of Randy Vanwarmer’s ‘Just When I Needed You Most’, a dreadful song which Ian’s unconvincing flat vocal does nothing to redeem.
Neil B.

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