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GILLAN No Easy Way Angel Air SJPCD273 (2008)


Angel Air have been terribly kind to "Gillan" fans over the years with many well produced archive releases offering great service to a much loved band somewhat overlooked thanks to the lead singer's success elsewhere. "No Easy Way" continues the trend and is the first, to my knowledge anyway, to combine a CD and DVD in the package for what they term a "Sound & Vision" release.

The CD is prime-time "Gillan" captured live at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in 1980 at the peak of their popularity. Classic tracks live "Unchain Your Brain", "Mr. Universe" and "Running White Face City Boy" spring forth impressively in a set that whilst neither complete (iconic bass-player John McCoy humorously apologises for the missing bass solo in the sleeve notes) nor flawless in sound superbly captures the energy, intensity and sheer enjoyment this band could muster.

The DVD proves to be something of a mixed bag though. Interesting and enjoyable enough certainly but somehow frustrating at the same time.

A five track set broadcast on Scottish TV around the time of the concert featured on the accompanying CD finds the band apparently in fine form but in front of a studio audience seemingly glued to their seats! An interview feature that collects recent reminiscences from McCoy, Colin Towns, Bernie Torme and Mick Underwood is fascinating too but ultimately proves somewhat incomplete without Gillan's own version of events. What a shame his thoughts on what was clearly an enjoyable time but an acrimonious split couldn't be included as this would then have become the definitive history of the band perhaps?

Elsewhere on the DVD there are a few bonus tracks including another bash at "Smoke On The Water" (am I the only person with enough versions of this song?) and a decent taster for McCoy and Torme's new "GMT" project amongst other things, whilst the sleeve notes are up to usual Angel Air standard.

A few gripes aside then, it's probably as good a set as circumstances would allow and is without doubt recommended for that live set on the CD if nothing else.


Review by Bill Leslie

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Unchain Your Brain

© 2008 Angel Air Records. All rights reserved.

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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