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Clarke, Mark: Moving to the Moon

The name Mark Clarke should be quite familiar with anyone into 70's hard rock, as the bassist spent time with acts such as Uriah Heep, Natural Gas, Colosseum, Tempest, Rainbow, Ken Hensley, Mountain, Ian Hunter, and Billy Squier, among others. After 40 years in the business, Clarke is finally getting around to his first solo album, which is finally here and called Moving to the Moon. After spending so much time over the years with such a diverse list of bands, Clarke's solo debut is equally as diverse, which makes for a truly enjoyable listen.

Opening cuts "One of These Days" and "A Cowboy's Song" rock and rock hard, with Clarke's vocals somewhere in between Magnum's Bob Catley and Queen men Freddie Mercury & Brian May. Mark plays bass and keyboards, and he's assisted here by Ray DeTone (guitars, keyboards) and an assortment of drummers. He shows his penchant for Eric Carmen styled ballads on "Without You" and "Modeleine", two catchy pop tracks that in a perfect world could easily see radio play. "The Falling" has a majestic, almost prog rock feel to it, until the anthemic hard rock guitars kick in, while the soaring "Heaven and Hell" could have easily been a leftover from an 80's Queen album. Clarke's vocals are truly inspiring on this one. A return to blistering hard rock can be heard on the title track, complete with some nasty riffs from DeTone, and "Then Tomorrow Comes" has a rootsy, almost Southern Rock feel to it, with Clarke's muscular bass grooves playing off DeTone's layers of electric & acoustic guitars.

Moving to the Moon signals the arrival of a musician who has been a sideman for so long we never really realized just how talented he really is. Plenty of catchy pop, hard rock, and tasty instrumentation abounds on this one. Well done Mark, we knew you had it in you!

Track Listing
1. One Of These Days
2. A Cowboy's Song
3. Without You
4. Modeleine
5. You Save The Day
6. The Falling
7. Heaven and Hell
8. Movin' to the Moon
9. Then Tomorrow Comes
10. A Little Something

Added: June 20th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
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Language: english

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Clarke, Mark: Moving to the Moon
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-19 15:06:39
My Score:

I can't say that the thought of a solo album from a bassist is something that usually fills me with excitement, however in the case of the debut solo release from one time Colosseum, Uriah Heep and Billy Squier four stringer Mark Clarke the results are rather impressive.

Now those previous positions, along with stints with the likes of Rainbow, Ian Hunter and Ken Hensley would suggest that Clarke would come up with something aimed at the classic rock genre. However Moving To The Moon is actually a little softer and smoother than expected, with quite a few soft rockers, which almost veer into ballad territory balancing out a few more rocked up numbers. Clarke handles all the vocals himself and I have to say that his voice of many colours is one of the strong points of the album. I wouldn't say his style is unique, however the varied blend which hints at times towards Roger Daltrey, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Robin Zander and even George Harrison or Roy Orbison really is a pleasant surprise from someone more known for being in the background.

The album kicks off in fine style, with the up tempo "One Of These Days" being the sort of song that immediately has you dancing. This is straight up rock music and with Clarke adding a Daltrey like snarling sneer to his voice; is the type of thing that The Who frontman has put out as a solo offering. The stomping riff of "A Cowboy Song" sounds more like something that Brian May has offered up since the demise of Queen, although the chorus is more like a George Harrison number and as mentioned before Clarke moulds his vocal delivery to suit the musical style. Things calm down considerably from there with the likes of "Without You", the excellently pitched "Modeleine" and "You Saved The Day" taking on a more sedate approach, although the three vary considerably, with everything from a Cheap Trick ballad, classic rock-pop and an acoustic track by Fish being brought to mind. After another slow start "The Falling" injects a little more urgency, before "Heaven And Hell" sees us head off towards a heart wrenching slow Queen song. The title track rocks in the way that Bad Company used to, which leaves "Then Tomorrow Comes" to add a tinge of country to proceedings, while "A Little Something" plays things out in fine acoustic style.

With Moving To The Moon, Mark Clarke has, along with the help of guitarist Ray DeTone produced a gently eclectic set of songs that comfortably straddle the gap between pop-rock and hard rock. Impressively they also grow in strength and character with every listen.

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