In from the Cold

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Ashkan are most known for having been led by guitarist Bob Weston, who was in Fleetwood Mac for a while in the early '70s; he'd also replaced Paul Kossoff in Black Cat Bones when Kossoff left to form Free. Unsurprisingly, given those connections, Ashkan's sole album is in the British blues-rock vein, with most of the songs written or co-written by Weston. The songwriting, however, is some distance behind the competent playing. Too, gravelly lead singer Steve Bailey, while bearing trace similarities to Joe Cocker, Robert Plant, and Spooky Tooth's Mike Harrison, isn't nearly as distinctive as any of those vocalists. The songs putter along in an unremarkable heavy blues-rock style, and though there are shades of folk in "Stop (Wait and Listen)" and (appropriately enough) country in "Slightly Country," the compositions are pretty sketchy. That's also true of the 12-minute closer, "Darkness," which has the feel of striving for an ominous epic without justifying its length. The 2010 reissue on Grapefruit adds historical liner notes.