GLENN HUGHES - BUILDING THE MACHINE
Track list: Can't Stop the Flood (4.11), Inside (4.53), Out On Me (5.32), I Just Want To Celebrate (3.23), Don't Let it Slip Away (4.58), Feels Like Home (4.38), High Ball Shooter (4.29), When You Fall (4.58), I Will Follow You (6.11), Beyond the Numb (7.52), Big Sky (4.38).
The musicians on the majority of Building the Machine with Glenn Hughes - who sings lead and backing vocals, plays bass and is the supplier of the funk - are Joakim J Marsh on guitars and drummer Gary Ferguson (both of whom appeared on Hughes' Return Of Crystal Karma album) together with Vince DiCola on keyboards. A selection of other musicians and singers also appear on some of the tracks.
The pages of the booklet that accompany this CD are presented like a fashion shoot. The svelte Hughes with chiseled cheekbones and sculptured sideburns wears a selection of suede and leather clothing with flowered shirts - each photo tinted a different shade. No lyrics are printed, but these are available from the man's websites.
The album opens with a funky bass riff, soon joined by Hammond sounds, that sets the tone for what's to come... This first song, Can't Stop the Flood, clearly demonstrates Hughes' vocal talents as he sings both the melody and counterpoint against a strong instrumental backdrop ... an excellent start.
Heavy rhythms usher in Inside, a song featuring Bobby Kimball (Toto) on backing vocals. Some nice guitar work provides a lighter midway break in the driving rhythmical music with Hammond highlights.
The next track, Out On Me, is cited as Hughes' favourite song from the album. This is a smooth, moody number with a full on blues feel and guitar-led instrumentation.
I Just Want To Celebrate is a cover of the Rare Earth song. Pat Travers plays guitar on this one as well as providing vocals, while additional background vocals come from David Tedds, Lol and Cindy Tolhurst. This version is generally pretty true to the original - although Hughes stamps his own vocal mark strongly.
Don't Let it Slip Away is the second track with Bobby Kimball singing backing vocals. Superb funky instrumental work supports and enhances the great vocals.
A change of pace and mood with Feels Like Home. The more subtle vocal line is set against acoustic guitar work for the first half of the tracks. Then more instruments are layered onto the backing track, creating more texture while retaining the delicate and understated ambiance.
And it's back to the more upbeat sound with High Ball Shooter - a Deep Purple song from the album Stormbringer - featuring lots of Hammond organ.
When You Fall is a truly soulful number with totally yummy, spine tingling vocals. A fabulous guitar-led instrumental sector makes it even better! JJ Marsh and Doug Bossi (of David Coverdale's band) supply backing vocals on this one ... a wonderful song.
A more mellow mood is invoked in I Will Follow You. This begins quietly and the pace changes throughout the piece. The sublime vocals are supported by some satiny guitar playing, while the keyboards from John Beasley fill out the sound.
You can really chill out to Beyond the Numb. A tinkling piano calls attention to the rich instrumentation which blends jazz and bluesy sounds effectively, creating a warm ambiance which cradles the yearning vocals.
The concluding track, Big Sky, is listed as Hughes' favorite ballad on this CD. Brett Ellis plays the pure and clear sounding guitar that provides the backdrop for this track together with the merest touch of keyboards ... a lovely song, a fabulous end to the album.
Glenn Hughes says about Building the Machine, "I felt good going into the process of making this CD ... I believe this is the most solid album as far as songs, that I have done in the last 10 years" ... I think he's right. This is a superb set of songs and comes highly recommended.
Release date: September 24th.
Marisa September 5th, 2001