When David Sancious left Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band to pursue a solo career in 1975, his admirers tended to assume that his own albums would be Springsteen-like. It was a logical assumption, but an incorrect one. Recorded for Arista in 1978 and reissued on CD by One Way in early 2001, True Stories by Sancious and his group Tone doesn't sound anything like Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ or Born to Run. This album is pure progressive rock, and it has more in common with Yes, Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd, and early Journey than the Boss. Though True Stories contains a few instrumentals, most of the tunes feature vocalist Alex Ligertwood (of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express fame). A bluesy, gritty belter, Ligertwood has some inspired moments on imaginative tracks like "Sound of Love," "Ever the Same," and "Matter of Time." This is, without question, an ambitious album, although it's a different album from the one Sancious originally had in mind. At first, Sancious envisioned a collection of four suites, but Arista feared that such a project would be ignored by radio. So Sancious made True Stories more radio-friendly, although it was still imaginative and risk-taking. Comparing this album to an LP by Yes, it might be said that the songs are closer to the radio-friendly "Roundabout" than the extended "The Gates of Delirium." Many of the lyrics have a spiritual quality and call for a nicer, more loving world, although Sancious avoids sounding preachy on this consistently appealing CD.
True Stories Review
by Alex Henderson