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White Spirit: Right Or Wrong

It’s no understatement to suggest that this second album from White Spirit is something of a surprise, given that the band debuted with a self-titled effort some 42 years ago. That first outing saw this UK outfit lumped in with the in full flow NWOBHM scene, but anyone who bought the album hoping it would clad the trooper in some denim and leather would have been a little confused by the classy 70s infused hard rock they found. Given that background it’s maybe not too surprising to discover that White Spirt never quite set the world alight, and yet, as the years rolled on, so the mystique around this act began to grow, fuelled no doubt by their then guitarist Janick Gers now being a long serving member of Iron Maiden.

Gers, who also served alongside Fish and Ian Gillan, wasn’t the only Spiriter to make the move into other acts, with guitarist Mick Tucker also being part of Tank and Axis, while the band’s final vocalist before they split, Brian Howe, successfully fronted Bad Company post-Paul Rogers before releasing some sterling solo work. Howe didn’t feature on the White Spirit album, but he did begin recording what was meant to be their second release, and sadly it was the singer’s tragic passing in 2020 that once again brought together his old band mates in White Spirit, Tucker and keyboard player Malcolm Pearson. The pair reminisced about their time in White Spirit and the unreleased music they’d recorded. Before they knew it, demo tapes from the time had been unearthed and restored as best they could. Wanting to pay tribute to their fallen comrade, five tracks with Howe fronting them were brought up to standard with the help of some new recordings by the duo alongside Black Sabbath/Whitesnake legend Neil Murray on bass and Uriah Heep drummer Russell Gilbrook. However, with a further five songs without vocals also discovered, White Spirit recruited not one but three of the current rock scene’s premiere singers to help finish them off. Hence, Right Or Wrong not only has those five Howe fronted tracks, but two apiece from none other than Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie, Sons Of Apollo and solo) and Lee Small (Shy, Lionheart and current Sweet bassist), while FM legend Steve Overland lends his golden tones to the final cut.

That’s one heck of a line-up and one that’s really not wasted for a single second on this album, which, while still occasionally possessing the same 70s spirit of the self-titled debut, more often than not heads into melodic hard rock territory. Lead single, “Runaway”, fronted by Howe lands somewhere between synth-style Van Halen and Foreigner, whereas the Soto led title-track is a stunningly catchy melodic rocker and no mistake. The mid-paced smoothy “Holy Water” - yes the track Howe sang in Bad Company - is perfect for Overland’s peerless vocals, while “Don’t Say No” finds Small once more reminding us that his Glenn Hughes like tones really should have made him a household name long before now. The real stars however, are a set of songs that are classy and assured and a group of musicians who have done them proud. Add in the absolute pleasure of hearing ‘new’ performances from Brian Howe and lovers of melodic hard rock simply have to know that everything about this album is right, and nothing at all is wrong.

Track Listing
1. Right Or Wrong
2. Runaway
3. The Dice Rolls On
4. Lady of The Night
5. Got To Get Out
6. Watch Out
7. Don’t Say No
8. Wait A Little Longer
9. Holy Water
10. Rock n Roll

Added: September 1st 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: White Spirit online
Hits: 262
Language: english

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