If you are a fan of Progressive Rock Music you should already have this album on your shelf, in fact, you probably already do in one way or another. Recollections: A Tribute to British Prog plays like a compilation because it basically is one, some of the most well known Prog songs from the sixties, seventies and eighties are to be found on this record. What is exquisitely refreshing as a listener (and collector) is that the album is intriguingly familiar from start to finish, every track is a classic, you simply have to hear the polished sound of this album to understand how well it has been produced and how talented the musicians are.
After purchasing Recollections, you might find that you are naturally inclined to start skipping through the songs on your music player in order to hear a new version of an old favourite. Originally I had not perused the albums content and was pleasantly surprised upon sitting down to play it; the experience of hearing the songs for the first and yet second time was a pure delight and incredibly exciting, I can only relate it to opening your first Christmas present as a child and knowing Santa brought you what you asked for and knowing/hoping there is more of the same to follow.
Originally intended as a solo John Payne album, Recollections was released as Asia Featuring John Payne due to the musicians involved; Jay Schellen, Bruce Bouillett and Moni Scara respectively. Asia Featuring John Payne reformed in 2006 with the original members of Asia contractually agreeing to co-exist after reforming for the 25th anniversary of the band. All of the music on Recollections is very faithful to the original recordings and derives from several classic Prog bands, many of which the Asia members past and present have been part of; Yes, King Crimson, ELP, UK, Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest, Camel, Moody Blues and the Alan Parson’s Project.
A personal favourite is the cover of Barclay James Harvest’s Rock And Roll Star – it really is a stand out for me, but then again so was the original. It is hard to think as a lifelong fan of Barclay James Harvest that someone could come and cover this song and make it sound anywhere near as good as the first recording with Les Holroyd’s haunting vocals and shared guitar work with John Lees; well, John Payne and Co. have done it here. Payne’s album notes signify this perfectly, he states that to him music will always be “about hooks and not a mathematical exercise.” If this song does not get any listener to hum or sing along with it, it will be highly surprising!
The cover of UK’s Nothing To Lose fits John Payne’s vocals so ridiculously well, this has to be because he followed John Wetton as the lead singer of Asia for 8 studio albums, singing his own Asia songs and naturally Wetton/Asia classics has automatically guaranteed that this song will fit his style like a glove, it sounds like a song that Payne has been singing for years as oppose to just recently; fantastic.
Another absolute gem on this album is the bands version of Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath which was also re-recorded by Martin Barre and Dan Crisp recently on the album Order Of Play. On Recollections the piano opening is all but gone and the familiar guitar riff kicks in after fifteen seconds for what becomes a much heavier and guitar laden track than the original. Bouillett’s guitar solo on this track is so impressive that it completely distracts your thoughts away from the trademark Anderson fuelled flute-work that should be in its place.
If you are a fan of Prog Rock, Asia and the 8 studio albums that John Payne was involved in, you should already own this album, if you don’t, simply buy this next payday as it is not a purchase that you will ever regret. If a person was new to Progressive Rock and wanted to hear what was on offer, Recollections – A Tribute To British Prog would be a great place to start, it is new, classic and a history lesson at the same time, as well as being a genuinely impressive tribute.
01. Sirius (2:13)
02. Eye In The Sky (5:04)
03. It Can Happen (5:36)
04. Court Of The Crimson King (9:16)
05. Highways Of The Sun (4:44)
06. I Know You’re Out There Somewhere (6:56)
07. Rock And Roll Star (6:20)
08. Nothing To Lose (4:26)
09. Locomotive Breath (3:39)
10. Lucky Man (4:17)
Total Time 52:31
Bruce Bouillett – Lead, Rhythm & Slide Guitars
John Payne – Lead & Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Bass, Keys & Synth & Programmed Drums
Jay Schellen – Drums
Moni Scaria – Rhythm & Slide Guitars (2) & Lead & Slide Guitars (7)
Record Label: Cardotunes Records
Year Of Release: 2014