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Rococo: Run From The Wildfire

British rock outfit Rococo was one of those would have, could have, should have bands that slogged it out throughout the 70's but sadly emerged from that decade empty handed. Originally Formed in 1972 by a couple of journalists turned musicians, keyboardist Roy Shipston and guitarist Geoff Ward, the group was a fixture on the underground rock scene and was largely known for their ability to turn musical styles on a dime. While they managed to record a few singles and even shared bills with the likes of Thin Lizzy and Ten Years After, for some reason Rococo were never able to snag a record deal, that is until now. Thanks to the UK's premiere heritage label Angel Air Records the bands first ever collection of music entitled Run From The Wildfire is now available for serious music aficionados everywhere.

Rounded out on this recording by vocalist Ian Raines, guitarist Rod Halling and the rhythm section of cousins Clive Edwards on drums and John "Rhino" Edwards on bass, Run From The Wildfire offers the listener a plethora of individual fireworks and dynamic musical arrangements. I have to say that I'd buy this record just for the first four songs, as the group quickly demonstrates their flair for delving into a variety of genres early on. The tailor made radio anthem "Hoodlum Fun" is a straight ahead, high octane rocker reminiscent of Sweet and Mott The Hoople that features an absolutely infectious chorus and some fine guitar work from Halling. From there they glide straight into the multifaceted theatrics of "The Hollywood Brats". Featuring Raines' charismatic vocal delivery, Shipston's sparking piano playing and Halling's fluid solos this song has all the dramatic panache of early Queen. By the third track "Quicksilver Mail" the group has brought the tempo down slightly and veered off into Beach Boys territory as this track is peppered with absolutely gorgeous vocal harmonies and some delicate acoustic guitar work. Likewise another laid back composition "Home Town Girls" proves to be another showcase for Raines who turns in a splendid lead vocal here.

The highlights don't end there though as "Midsummer Hill", the colorful "Bellatrix" and "Street Boy" continue the musical journey with their sweet sounding melodies and elegant arrangements before culminating with the band's epic theatrical piece, the ten minute "The Living Rock". In my opinion this elaborate composition perfectly sums up what Rococo were all about as it not only once again highlights their propensity for writing, stirring and complex arrangements, but in the end it also proves to be both a perfect ensemble piece, as well as one which allows the talents of each individual member to shine through. Rounding out this stellar collection of music are a couple of Rococo's first recordings, a rough mix of a song called "Wildfire" from 1973 and the 1972 demo "Ultrastar" which save for Shipston and Raines, the rest of the contributing musicians are unknown.

Angel Air has really hit the ball out of the park with this excellent archive release and here's hoping that it brings Rococo some long overdue recognition. Fans of 70's theatrical, classic rock artists such as Queen, Elton John, Sweet and Mott The Hoople will not want to miss this one.

Track Listing
1) Hoodlum Fun
2) The Hollywood Brats
3) Quicksilver Mail
4) Home Town Girls
5) Out In The World
6) Midsummer Hill
7) Bellatrix
8) Street Boy
9) The Living Rock
10) Space Tone
11) Wildfire (bonus track)
12) Ultrastar (bonus track)

Added: September 8th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Angel Air
Hits: 2023
Language: english

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