Cloud 9

One of the top ten Beatles solo releases methinks. Yes this is right up there with ‘Band On The Run,’All Things Must Pass’, ‘Imagine’ et al. Nearly faultless from start to finish. ‘Cloud 9’ starts off proceedings; an excellent bluesy track featuring some superb guitar work from George and Eric and a wonderfully laid back but powerful vocal.

That’s What It Takes’ features a typical Jeff Lynne production and an infectious chorus with some effective backing vocals from George and Jeff. George digs out his old Rickenbacker for ‘Fish On The Sand’ which has a nice Beatley feel to it as a result. Just For Today’ recalls some of George’s classic piano based songs from the past (Many of them featured on George’s most underrated album ‘Extra Texture’). Another heart wrenching vocal from the master. Was this song directed towards Ritchie do you think? Who knows. Despite not being a major hit ‘This is Love’ is one of the most commercial tracks on the LP. Another marvelous production from Jeff Lynne. I seem to recall this being voted the chart beater on the Radio One breakfast show but for some reason not setting the charts alight. C’est la vie. A fab track. Talking of which guess what’s next, yep ‘When We Was Fab’! It’s difficult to listen to this track without the superb video clip coming to mind. Clearly this is George’s tribute to those far off days when people collected bits of his cast off toast! In some ways it is George finally coming to terms with his past. I think it helped bury a few ghosts for him and has led to bigger and better things in his relationship with Joe Public. I think he had forgotten how much we love him till he played at the Albert Hall!

One of the highlights of that gig some five years after this LP was released was the next track ‘Devil’s Radio’. Tipped at the time by many as a single it is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It has a great feel which is what it’s all about and it is difficult to listen without smiling. A marvelous vocal in particular! ‘Someplace Else’ was one of the few highlights contained in themovie ‘Shanghai Surprise’. Not being one to waste good songs, it is one of two songs from that film to turn up here. This is one of the highlights of the album.A beautiful song. ‘Wreck Of The Hesperus’ follows and is another of George’s reflective songs, kind of his ‘Watching The Wheels’in some ways. Its not a very strong song but Jeff’s production gets the best out of what is there. Another track with an understated humourous undertone.

The second ‘Shanghal Surprise’ song is next: ‘Breath Away From Heaven’. It has an interesting oriental feel to it obviously more appropriate to the film than to this LP. This I guess is the worst track on the album and yet I still really like it. Oriental but not Turning Japanese! The album closes with ‘Got My Mind Set On You’. So close to being a No.1 who were the people who bought the T’Pau single? a very song track which quite literally screamed single from start to finish.

By Rob Turner.

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