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Egan; Joe: Out Of Nowhere

"Stuck In The Middle" is still a song you're likely to hear on the radio or as incidental music on TV, its memorable chorus and hummable melody propelling Stealers Wheel into chart hit status back in 1973. It didn't last though, the band's core, Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty, deciding their destinies lay down different paths. For a variety of reasons (mostly legal) neither could release solo material for the three years after the band's split, Rafferty going on to global acclaim thanks to a cracking song and the ultimate saxophone intro, in the shape of "Baker Street". Egan however took a year longer to get his debut solo effort out there, Out Of Nowhere hitting the shelves in 1979 and scoring minor singles chart success through "Back On The Road". The album however didn't make much of a mark, the follow up Map, two years later gaining even less traction. Causing Egan to bow out of the public eye and in latter years become a music publisher. However Out Of Nowhere, available here for the first time on CD, proves what a loss this undoubted talent has been.

A close listen suggests this remaster comes from a vinyl source, a few pops and clicks evident in the quieter moments and yet the sheer vibrancy of the music makes up for any slight sonic deficiencies. Laid back and mainly acoustic, Out Of Nowhere delivers a confident, assured set of songs which take it easy, while still being crammed with energy. Egan's voice is in commanding form, his smooth style carrying the melody as often as not and instantly engaging the ear, while the clever guitar work much of which is acoustic sets the scene. Unsurprisingly there's a strong likeness to the classic Stealers Wheel sound, while the links to Gerry Rafferty's solo output ensure fans of one really should be fans of the other.

"No Time For Sorrow" drips in vocal harmonies The Eagles would be proud to call their own, while "Leaving It All Behind" (which along with "Why Let It Bother You" appear to be referencing the parting of Stealers Wheel) adds a thoroughly believable boogie element. "Pride" on the other hand finds a slice of soul played out in confident manner, as "The Last Farewell" suggests that Rod Stewart could have had a massive hit with it, had he got his tonsils round it. Add in the maudlin and possibly most obviously linked to Rafferty in musical style, "Back On The Road", which opens the album in beautiful fashion and breezy bar blues of "Ask No Favours" and Out Of Nowhere proves a gently eclectic release which barely puts a foot wrong.

With some of the less than stellar albums that have been given copious reassessments and reissues over the years, it really is amazing that an album this good has sat on the shelf for more than three and a half decades. Credit to Angel Air Records and Joe Egan for righting that wrong. With interesting liner notes from Egan's brother Kevin, comments from the album producer David Courtney (who did a great job of capturing the relaxed vibe, yet making it sound vibrant) and a full set of lyrics, Out Of Nowhere really is an excellent re-release. Hopefully Map is next, however even more interestingly, the liner notes also hint at other previously unreleased Egan recordings seeing the light of day. Until then, get set to welcome Out Of Nowhere in from the cold. It'll warm your heart if you do.

Track Listing
1. Back On The Road
2. Ask For No Favours
3. Natural High
4. Why Let It Bother You
5. The Last Farewell
6. Freeze
7. Pride
8. No Time For Sorrow
9. Leaving It All Behind
10. Out Of Nowhere

Added: March 22nd 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Out Of Nowhere at Angel Air
Hits: 1670
Language: english

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Egan; Joe: Out Of Nowhere
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-03-22 22:56:17
My Score:

Sometimes the music business offers up a harsh slice of reality. Such is the case with Joe Egan's debut solo album Out Of Nowhere released in 1979.The Scottish musician formed Steelers Wheel with fellow Scotsman Gerry Rafferty in 1972. The band had a huge hit in 1973 with "Stuck in the Middle With You" but broke up in 1975 due to slow album sales. Unfortunately, because of his recording contract Joe had to put his solo career on hold. As a result, Out Of Nowhere did not get the attention it so truly deserved, that is until this recent rerelease put forth by our good friends at Angel Air Records.

Out Of Nowhere is one of those albums that is just so easy to listen to. Each song has a melody that will keep you coming back for more. The album's sound is of course firmly rooted in '70s folk rock recalling his sidekick Gerry Rafferty at times as well as The Beatles, John Lennon and other giants of that era. The vocal harmonies are gorgeous throughout the album and Egan has one of those voices that cannot help but invite you in.

The album begins with "Back On The Road", one of the album's best tracks. The melody is beautifully poignant as acoustic strumming, Egan's superb laid back vocals and softer hued instrumentation with lovely keyboards and organ take the song home. The carefree "Ask For No Favours" is a jaunty little number with another nice melody and excellent backing vocals. It's breezy laid back vibe I found to be completely endearing. The album is also beautifully orchestrated as shown in the easy going rock of "Natural High" and the more rocking "Why Let It Bother You" with its Lennon-like guitar and vocals. Other highlights include the beautifully orchestrated "Freeze" and the wistful title track ending the album on a poignant note of optimism.

Out Of Nowhere is sure to satisfy anyone who enjoys the mellower side of '70s rock. A classy album through and through.

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