Peter Bardens

The Answer

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Prior to this solo debut, Pete Bardens had been on the British R&B-rock and psychedelic scene for about half a dozen years, playing in early bands with Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green, as well as (briefly) in Them with Van Morrison. The Answer was his chance to step out of the shadows, and while his skills as a keyboardist were formidable, his songwriting just wasn't up to carrying an interesting album of his own. Devoted to a half-dozen lengthy tracks varying in duration from five to 13 minutes, Bardens offered a blues-progressive stew that, despite some flashy licks, lacked focus. It's a shame there wasn't better material to work with, for some quite talented musicians were among the supporting cast, including Love Affair singer Steve Ellis, session vocalist Linda Lewis, Bruce Thomas (later to back Elvis Costello in the Attractions), and most of all his old friend Peter Green. In fact, Green offers some of his best playing as a sideman on this record, which both makes it better than it could have been, and makes it worth checking out for serious fans of the guitarist. In common with some of Green's own solo work, however, it's a meandering record, bits of promising ideas swirling around before they've been honed into something cogent. Against the odds, however, the 13-minute "Homage to the God of Light" is the highlight, its mesh of Latin-esque rhythms, burning organ, and bluesy guitar recalling some of early Santana's more jammy grooves.

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