As the League head north, possibly chastened by the previous evening’s encounter with a mouthy fan in London, there’s only a rather fleeting stage announcement from Fripp tonight. There’s a business-like feel to the concert which is not to say that it’s in any way deficient or lacking. Rather, the band maintain a tight focus on the notes perhaps rather than it’s spirit. Major hits are scored with Hepataparaparshinokh and the wild-card sorties that are Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx I & II have the effect of bulldozing aside any doubts or worries about such matters.
Smooth jazz stalwarts the Rippingtons infuse their trademark brand of instrumental pop with a Latin aesthetic on Wild Card. Once again featuring the lead guitar of Russ Freeman, the Rippingtons deliver a solid collection of mellow contemporary pop and lite jazz that should please longtime fans. Evenly split between R&B-inflected cuts such as the Aretha Franklin hit "Till You Come Back to Me" and Latin tracks including the flamenco-inspired "Spanish Girl" and the salsa-ready "Mulata di Mi Amor," Wild Card is a pleasant listen.
Gallagher's second album for Chrysalis – and last with his longstanding trio of Lou Martin (keyboards), Rod De'Ath (drums) and Gerry McAvoy (bass) – was a milestone in his career. Although Calling Card was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and not surprisingly contained some of his most powerfully driving rockers, tracks like the acoustic "Barley & Grape Rag" and the jazzy, soulful, finger snapping title cut – a perennial concert favorite – found the Irish rocker not only exploring other musical paths, but also caught him on one of his most consistent songwriting streaks ever…
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