❉ This album is a slow burner, and reveals its magic and beauty over repeated listens, writes James R Turner.
After The Nice disbanded, drummer Brian Davison formed a nucleus of musicians to record what became Every Which Way, joined by Graham Bell on electric piano, acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Geoffrey Peach on reeds, flute and backing vocals, Alan Cartwright on bass and John Hedley on lead guitar. Their eponymous album was released by Charisma in September 1970, and hasn’t been available for a very long time.
Anybody expecting the proto-prog and in your face power of The Nice will be disapointed, instead what we get here are far more sophisticated and slow building songs, the bulk of which are written by Graham Bell.
Instead of diving into a major project, Davison reflected on his future and built around him a collection of excellent musicians that he thought he could work with, and this approach worked perfectly for this album.
Whilst ostensibly credited to Brian Davison based on his reputation, this is a much more democratic group led album, with every player stepping up and building and contributing; Davison, always a formidable drummer, gets to show his versatility as the album grows, from the opening Bed Ain’t What It Used To Be, with the whole band building together, and some sublime sax work from Peach.
The fact is this album is a slow burner, and reveals its magic and beauty over repeated listens, and Bell’s songwriting is superb, and whilst there’s only six tracks on here, they are all of the highest quality, not prog, not jazz, not singer-songwriter, but something that sits comfortably within all three genre.
Tracks like All in Time and The Light showcase how the musicians gelled and worked together to create the finest performances for a collection of intelligently written and well-crafted songs that give so much when you give them repeated listens.
This democratic, ego-less, approach makes it all about the music, and whilst the band ultimately fell apart (with Davison going on to Refugee before sadly passing away in 2008) and Alan Cartwright moving onto Procul Harum, the musical legacy they left in this wonderfully timeless album is one that can be enjoyed and revisited time and again, some 50 years after the event.
I’d never even heard of this album before receiving my review copy, and I am glad I took the time to listen to this and appreciate its quiet majesty. It’s one that i will revisit time and again, and is a wonderful testament to one of the pioneers of progressive rock.
❉ ‘Brian Davison’s Every Which Way: Every Which Way – 50th Anniversary Edition’ (ECLEC2709) is out now from Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records. £10.95. Click here to pre-order directly from Cherry Red Records.
❉ James R. Turner is a music and media journalist. Over the last 25 years he has contributed to the Classic Rock Society magazine, BBC online, Albion Online, The Digital Fix, DPRP, Progarchy, ProgRadar and more. James’ debut book is out in September and he is head of PR for Bad Elephant Music. He lives in North Somerset with his fiancee Charlotte, their Westie Dilys & Ridgeback Freja, three cats and too many CDs, records & Blu-Rays.