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Great album, different from his work with the Mac
Review written by Anonymous, February 24th, 2005
I bought 'In the Skies' when if first came out in the U.S. in '78 or '79. At the time I was a little disappointed -- I was hoping for something more in the 'Then Play On' mode. I liked the songs but felt the instrumentals were somewhat unfocussed, again especially in contrast with those on 'Then Play On' (though I recognised that they were models of cogency compared 'The End Game'). But over the years, I have found it a very satisfying album -- as I judged it on its own merits rather than in comparison with Green's greatest stuff with Fleetwood Mac. Its not as dynamic as Fleetwood Mac -- the rhythm section kind of lopes along, and the guitar work is more lyrical than much of his previous work. This is really obvious in the remake of 'Fool no More' where in the original, the guitar bursts in and then shuts down, like the heavens opening up, whereas the version here is less dynamic. But the emotional punch is still there, if more subtle, relying on timing instead of dynamics. I think it an outstanding version (my 15 year old daughter does too -- its one of the only rock songs she listens to on her own)
'In the Skies' and 'Seven Stars' are both essentially paraphases of the Revelation of St. John (not eastern spirituality as other reviewers assume), I hate to say this because it will probably turn people off , but they are a sort of Christian rock. But they are not the usual tripe that is passed off under that name -- these are very good songs, understated lyrically, and true to their source, making their point musically, not by jawboning. (If thinking its new agey makes it easier to give it a listen, go ahead.)
Great album. The english cover is more attactive than the one used on the Sail label that was put out in the U.S., if that matters to you.
Green at his best!
Review written by Anonymous, February 24th, 2005
Since I first saw the Mac in Bournemouth (England) live in the late 60s I have been a Peter Green fan. Yesterday for the first time in about 10 years I put on In The Skies - I really had forgotten just how good this non-F.Mac LP was - green vinyl, Green brilliance, faultless and instantly recognisable moody blues (pun!). Will be listening to this more often now.
First Rays of a New Day
Review written by Richard J. Orlando, February 24th, 2005
In the Bible, Jacob wrestled the Angel. The Angel was overcome, but Jacob would, ever after, walk with a limp. By the late seventies, Peter Green had temporarily overcome his personal demons long enough to record this collection, the first, and arguably, best, album of his first "comeback" period. Green too, was marked by his struggle. The precise Blue Flame of his acetylene style that defined his playing in his early years, has now flared and cooled to a warm orange glow. Having not played in nearly five years before beginning these recordings, Green was surrounded by familiar players; Peter Bardens on keyboards and Snowy White on guitar, and a sympathetic rhythm section, Kuma Harada on bass and Reg Isidore on drums, who would create an undulating flow rather than "rock" solid foundation, that Green could then wade into. He could float above it, let it carry him or submerge himself completely. Lennox Langton's percussion dapples it all like sunlight on water.
Much has been written about how Green supposedly pushed Snowy White to do all the guitar parts on this album. Of the nine tracks, White only plays the lead solo on the title track and then takes the lead on "Slabo Day"; Green plays lead on the rest. More importantly, it misses the point of what Green was attempting to achieve. With Fleetwood Mac, Green recorded "songs". Whether the song was his own, one of the other member's or a cover, the song's author / arranger, within the band, was always readily apparent. Here, Green is recording "Music". The musicians assembled here must work as a unit. Green had long expressed the desire to subsume not only his playing, but his very persona, to the music being made. As befits the concept, only four of the nine tracks have vocals. The strongest of these, and the album's strongest track, is a remake of "A Fool No More". This track also most vividly illustrates the changes in Peter Green. Whereas the original's guitar playing crackled and stung with rage at the betrayal, here, he simply acquiesces, absorbing, but not buckling beneath, another of life's blows. His trademark use of sustain creates a vast, internal emptiness through which he wanders, searching vainly for an answer. The other three vocal tracks all have lyrics written by Green's then wife, and contain a quasi-spiritual theme. "In The Skies" is the strongest of these, similar in feel to Santana's "Samba Pa Ti" on "Abaraxas".
"Seven Stars" brings to mind one of Pete Townshend's odes to Meher Baba on "Who Came First". "Just For You" is lightweight pop, the weakest track of the collection. "Slabo Day" finds Green repeating a brooding rhythm pattern as White splashes and slathers bright colors of sound over the darkening background. The other instrumental highlight, is "Tribal Dance" which he re-recorded with the Splinter Group on "Destiny Road", twenty years later. I have to give the nod to the original here. Slightly slower in it's pace, it's rhythm is more human, more closely approximating it's title. The interplay of Green's guitar, Bardens' electric piano, the bass, drums and percussion become seamless, each player complementing and supporting the others.
Compare this to "Proud Pinto". On this track with Godfrey MacLean (who worked with Green on "The End Of The Game"), replaces Isidore behind the drums. The difference is striking: though Green's playing evokes the strength and spirit of wild horses, the drummer just keeps time, rooted in place as Green romps around him. This is followed by the album closer, the tellingly titled "Apostle". Featuring only Green and White it begins in quiet contemplation, stretching out to a more complex sense of questioning and then briefly flowers in hope before dissolving once more to contemplation.
The answers not found, the journey continues
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Charts Peak: UK #32 (Jul 1979)