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Hughes, Glenn: Play Me Out (extended remaster)
With Deep Purple disintegrating after the tragic death of guitarist Tommy Bolin, who had joined up for the 1975 album Come Taste The Band, bassist and singer Glenn Hughes tried to resurrect his former outfit, Trapeze, the chief song writer once again teaming up with guitarist Mel Galley and drummer Dave Holland. However, with things quickly transpiring against the trio, Hughes decided to turn his focus towards putting together his first solo album instead. Also joined by Bob Bowman and Pat Travers on guitar, both Galley and Holland would continue to contribute alongside the likes of Mark Nauseef (Ian Gillan Band), Terry Rowley and Robert Bailey. More key, however, was the inclusion of a brass section as Hughes followed the advice of his early choice of producer, David Bowie, and refused to allow his sound to stand still (arguably something which, unlike Bowie, has hampered Hughes' solo career over the years). Ultimately the singer would produce the album himself, saying in the excellent Malcolm Dome penned liner notes "It was all about having a freedom I'd never known before...", which allowed the man known for heavy rock to explore his Tamla Motown, soul and R&B influences; something that ex-Purple guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, had rather distastefully described as 'shoe shine music', when it was sprinkled over the Deep Purple sound on the Stormbringer album.
Even with that in mind, it's difficult to know exactly who Hughes was aiming Play Me Out at, his current followers always unlikely to fall in love with this well executed display of soul and funk. From the off, "I Got It Covered" slinks into view, funky chunks of guitar sparking languidly off trumpet blasts, while Hughes disproves his nickname the voice of rock to become the king of soul instead. Across the album he really is in imperious form, hitting the vocal heights and adding a gritty power as he pulls notes you never thought possible out of the air. "Space High", while still moody and atmospheric adds a bluesy edge, while "LA Cut Off" funks it up quite considerably. Good though it all is, anyone trying to migrate across from Deep Purple even Mark IV, Come Taste The Band era could already be completely befuddled by what met them. Unfortunately things slide on what would have been the old side two, "Soulution" the sort of generic funk that US TV cop shows were using, as Hughes seems to get lost in a host of vocal machinations, before "Your Love Is Like A Fire" is so lacking for a spark that you wonder if it's a Shirley Bassey cast off. The pop-soul of "Destiny" and smoothest of the smooth, "I Found A Woman", doing little to end the album on a high and confirming that from hugely promising beginnings, Play Me Out often gets buried under its own intentions.
This excellent remaster from Cherry Red/Purple Records comes with a second disc gathering together five bonus cuts that have featured on previous reissues of this album; "Smile", which was a scrapped 1978 stand alone single following in the same path as the album, while two 1978 tracks intended for a follow up release that never materialised "Getting Near To You" and "Fools Condition" both feature a little more forcefulness than much of Play Me Out possessed. The final two tracks of this section, "Take Me With You" and "She Knows", are from 1994, Hughes believing they have a similar style to the album they accompany, when in truth, both feel more like something Simply Red might have considered on a downbeat day.
A four track cover section closes the disc out, Hughes having teamed up with keyboard player Al Kooper and Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward in what was meant to become the band The Hollywood Horns. Settling in together they recorded these disco funk covers including a head shaking 16 minute "Glimmer Twins Medley" of Rolling Stones numbers
yes really before the band fell apart. Their label, Casablanca, looking to recoup their loses released the four tracks in 1979 as Four On The Floor, Hughes asking for his name to be removed from the credits. In truth, toe curling though the tweeness of this is, Hughes was still in mighty vocal form and if you're looking for some utterly throwaway disco fun, then why not make it the Stones' "Paint It Black" or "Let's Spend The Night Together"
In the liner notes Hughes alludes that timing helped kill Play Me Out, punk taking the youth of the day in a different direction completely. However, with the soul, funk and R&B set already having their heroes and Hughes' rock following never likely to buy into this album's ethos, that it fell on deaf ears surely isn't all that shocking. Hindsight may show some of this album in a much stronger light, but if you're looking for any sort of heavy rock from the man known as its voice, you'll be sorely disappointed.
DISC ONE: ORIGINAL ALBUM
1. I GOT IT COVERED
2. SPACE HIGH
3. IT'S ABOUT TIME
4. L.A. CUT OFF
7. YOUR LOVE IS LIKE A FIRE
9. I FOUND A WOMAN
DISC TWO: BONUS TRACKS
2. GETTING NEAR TO YOU
3. FOOLS CONDITION
4. TAKE ME WITH YOU
5. SHE KNOWS
FOUR ON THE FLOOR (CASABLANCA 1979)
6. THERE GOES MY BABY
7. GYPSY WOMAN
8. ANY DAY NOW
9. GLIMMER TWINS MEDLEY:
i. LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER
ii. LADY JANE
iii. PAINT IT BLACK
iv. UNDER MY THUMB
Added: June 4th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Play Me Out at Cherry Red
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