MAX BACON From The Banks Of The River Irwell (Blueprint 2002)
Max Bacon was the vocalist in Nightwing and Bronz in the 80’s but many
may remember him from GTR. He was the vocalist in this ‘supergroup’ that
included Steve Hackett (Genesis) and Steve Howe (Yes) and the band put out
one classic album. Max also had a solo CD out in the mid-90’s via Now &
This is a compilation of various parts of his career since 1989. The
first five tracks feature Geoff Downes on keyboards (Asia/Yes), Scott Gorham
on guitar (Thin Lizzy/21 Guns), Michael Sturgis on drums (21 Guns/A-Ha/Asia)
and Phil Spalding on bass (GTR/ELO). Some of these tracks will be familiar
to John Payne era Asis fans as ‘Someday’, ‘Who Can Stop The Rain’ and ‘Boys
>From Diamond City’ all appeared on the ‘Aqua’ album. The arrangements are
slightly different and perhaps give a glimpse of what Asia may have sounded
like with Max at the microphone. Downes keyboards combine well with Bacon’s
higher range vocal style. ‘Boys From The Diamond City’ is simply awesome -
great vocal performance, a classic AOR song.
‘Earth Moving’ features Mike Oldfield and this track originally appeared
only on a Mike Oldfield 12 single. The track on Oldfield’s album of the
same name features a female vocalist. This is a superior version, with a
classic Bacon vocal performance.
Other tracks on this CD were recorded with other local musicians in his
native Cheshire. ‘Carrie’ is a bouncy keyboard driven rocker. One or two
tracks are pretty unmemorable ‘Take No Prisoners’ and ‘Hold Me Close’.
‘Get It Right This Time’ is a guitar led piece of melodic rock. Closer,
‘Breakout’ is the heaviest track on the album and sounds like Brit rockers
Shy. A fine way to end the album.
A fine resume of Max Bacon’s work since 1989. The Geoff Downes tracks
will particulary interest Asia fans. An album full of quality, keyboard led
AOR tunes and a must if you like Asia.
Review by Jason Ritchie