Most rock fans remember bassist Nick Simper as one of the founding members of Deep Purple, as well as forming the heavy rock band Warhorse. Sadly, not much is ever said about his late '70s group Fandango, that he formed with Warhorse guitarist Pete Parks, vocalist Jim Proops, and drummer Ron Penney. The band released two albums, Slipstreaming in 1979 and Future TImes in 1980, before folding for good due to a general lack of interest from the music community. That's a real shame, as much of what you'll hear on these two releases (both available on a nice 2CD set from Angel Air) is really well done heavy rock, pop, and straight up rock 'n' roll that will no doubt appeal to any fan of Deep Purple and Warhorse.
Slipstreaming contains a bunch of really crisp, melodic hard rock numbers, such as "Candice Larene", "Rocky Road Blues", "Slipstreaming", and "Schoolhouse Party", that are quite memorable with some tasty instrumentation. The instrumental "The Stallion" even allows the band some prog-rock moments, while "Sister" brings on some funk before the band settles into some fiery boogie with "Mississippi Lady". Through it all Parks' guitar work is tastefully executed, often showing some Blackmore type flair on a few songs, and Proops gives a strong vocal performance, even though not possessing the greatest voice out there he certainly had his own sound & style. "Time Will Tell" sees the band approaching Uriah Heep dramatics, augmented by guest keyboard player Neil McCarthur, who adds plenty of piano and organ textures throughout the album. This reissue includes the bonus tracks "Just Another Day" and "Wish I'd Never Woke Up", both recorded shortly before the band broke up, and feature Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher on organ. The sound on these tracks is more upbeat, kind of a mix of hard rock with disco beats, as well as some country rock elements, both of which were popular in the early '80s. Catchy stuff nonetheless.
Over on Future Times, Penney had left the band, and replaced by the ex-Warhorse drummer Mac Poole, resulting in 3 former Warhorse members now in Fandango. Opener "Pull Out & Start Again" is a heavy rocker, perhaps trying to let the fans know this group can certainly rock out like Simper's two former bands. After the power ballad "I'll Never Get Over You", the band launch into the bluesy, almost Southern Rock sounding "Get Down, Lay Down", which features some sizzling guitar solos from Parks, "She Was My Friend" has plenty in common with some of Nazareth's more ballad based material (complete with a great vocal from Proops), while "Future TImes" is a moody blues rock number with some gutsy melodic guitar leads from Parks. The heavy rock returns on "Undercover Man", a scorching ZZ Top/Nazareth styled heavy blues-rocker, followed by the bland ballad "Somethings Burning". The regular part of the album closes with the raunchy rocker "Hard Drinks & Easy Women", featuring some deep grooves from Simper & Poole as well as scalding riffs from Parks. It's easily one of the best tracks on the album. The two bonus tracks on this CD are also from the period just prior to the band breaking up, the catchy pop of "Is My Love in Vain" (which could have easily been a hit single) and the roosty, bluesy rock number "The Point of No Return". Again, comparisons to early '80s Nazareth are unmistakable here.
After these albums and few singles the band were no more, all but forgotten by most of the rock community. Too band Fandango never really had that big break, as there is some great material on these two albums, though Slipstreaming is by far the more solid of the two. If you are an avid fan of Deep Purple and keep close tabs on their 'family tree' so to speak, you'll definitely need to investigate these albums as well. Nick Simper might not have hit 'wow' factor with Fandango as he did with Warhorse, but this is still very enjoyable stuff.
1. Candice Larene 6:35
2. Rocky Road Blues 5:04
3. Independent Man 6:33
4. The Stallion 3:51
5. Slipstreaming 4:24
6. Schoolhouse Party 4:15
7. Sister 4:52
8. Mississippi Lady 4:17
9. Time Will Tell 5:53
10. Just Another Day 3:58
11. Wish I'd Never Woke Up 3:47
12. Pull Out & Start Again 5:15
13. I'll Never Get Over You 2:50
14. Get Down, Lay Down 5:40
15. She Was My Friend 4:50
16. Future Times 4:51
17. Undercover Man 5:47
18. Somethings Burning 4:51
19. Hard Drink & Easy Women 3:47
20. Is My Love In Vain 4:02
21. The Point Of No Return 4:23