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Climax Blues Band: Flying the Flag (remastered)

Flying the Flag, the 1980 release from seminal blues/rock/pop/funk act Climax Blues Band was originally intended to signify the band 'flying the flag for their homeland Britain', but as it worked out the album only further cemented their success in the US. With a second smash hit single in the form of "I Love You", the band were continuing on with their more commercial direction, but there were still a few bluesy nods to their past in this otherwise very solid and enjoyable release. Recently reissued by Repertoire Records, Flying the Flag sounds better than ever, and includes a gorgeous digipack containing artwork, photos, and a full essay on the band and this release.

The album kicks off with the uptempo "Gotta Have More Love", an energetic pop-rock number with killer grooves and an addicting chorus, plus a sizzling guitar solo from axe hero Peter Haycock. "So Good After Midnight", a real catchy Haycock number, had definite hit potential, and features smooth vocals, tight guitar work, and an irresistible chorus. The band then launch into a raunchy, almost Southern rock style number called "Horizontalized", a real fun tune complete with scorching slide guitar licks, honky tonk piano, and vocals right out of the Lynyrd Skynyrd playbook. "I Love You" is one of the early 1980's great unsung pop tunes; written by bassist Derek Holt, this one features strings, lush piano, and Haycock's tasty George Harrison inspired slide guitar. Just a great song, and though it was a departure for the band, there's no denying how sensational it is. There's more melodic pop on "Hold On To Your Heart" (I detect a little ELO on this one) and "Dance the Night Away" before the band rock out for a couple of tracks. "Money Talkin' " is a lean rocker, with some scorching guitar licks from Haycock, and the albums heaviest track is "Blackjack and Me", a real crunchy number with some powerful vocals and gritty guitar riffs courtesy of Haycock that sounds like a cross between ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. After the pleasing pop track "Nothing But Starlight" the album closes with "One For Me and You", as the band inject some jazz, funk, and blues into their pop rock for a real groovy, catchy tune highlighted by a squonking sax solo from Colin Cooper.

Certainly less blues on Flying the Flag, but as an accessible mix of pop and rock with some blues, jazz, and funk elements, it succeeds on all levels. Instantly memorable and a lot of fun, this would be Climax Blues Band's last really big seller, though they did continue to have some success throughout the '80s.

Track Listing
1) Gotta Have More Love
2) So Good After Midnight
3) Horizontalized
4) I Love
5) Hold On To Your Heart
6) Dance the Night Away
7) Money Talkin'
8) Blackjack and Me
9) Nothing But Starlight
10) One For Me and You

Added: February 20th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1856
Language: english

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