Review: Colosseum – Time On Our Side

Posted on: Thursday, Dec 18, 2014

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Review for ‘COLOSSEUM’ – CD – ‘Time On Our Side’ – November 2014 1209

Reflecting on the past achievements of ‘Colosseum’ from the late 60’s until now, it is a great pleasure to review their new album ‘Time On Our Side’. You can’t pigeon hole the music and in Jon Hiseman’s words they create “rocky, jazzy rhythms, vocals with intelligent words and improvised solos”.

The band, as it stands, consists of Jon Hiseman on drums, Dave Greenslade on Hammond and keys, Clem Clempson on guitars, vocals and keys, Mark Clarke on bass and vocals, Chris Farlowe on vocals with the amazing Barbara Thompson on saxes.

With a wealth of new material the story starts with a Santana like track, ‘Safe As Houses’. Great sax input from Barbara and compelling vocals, finishing off with a revelling on the skins. Next a lilting bluesy number, ‘Blues To Music’, with female vocal input along with Chris Farlowe.

With a touch of rock, funk and jazz, ‘The Way You Waved Goodbye’ gave us plenty of blending rhythms and some great vocals, also a superb guitar solo from Clem. Slowing the tempo with ‘Dick’s Licks’, a track reminiscent of days gone by, with a slow jazzy feel and some haunting sax.

‘City Of Love’ begins with some pure jazz, but leads into a rocky build up with some gritty guitar. Chris’s singing is at his best, with great backing vocals, excellent. Dropping the pace right down with terrific piano and vocals on ‘Nowhere To Be Found’, brings in acoustic guitar and magic keys. With a touch of that Hammond, it all added to the ambiance of the track, with a finishing flourish on the electric guitar.

Love the funky intro on ‘You Don’t Get It’, with Jon on drums taking a focal role. Super sax and Hammond input with some great rhythms, with a bit of slide guitar to add to the flavour. ‘New Day’ is more of a ‘classic’ track and a bit more predictable, but a great sound.

The penultimate number on this excellent album is ‘Anno Domini’, bringing the sax into its own. With piano and Hammond input and the big brass sound, it is an iconic track. The final and bonus ‘live’ track, ‘Morning Story’, was written by the late, great Jack Bruce. This puts the jazz influences firmly in place and also gives a taster of what a live experience of the band can be. Just superb!

A class CD from a class band who are, after almost half a century, still presenting something fresh on the table. In Jon Hiseman’s words “I know that when we get together we feel like we are coming home.” this is evident in camaraderie of the band and the musical expertise throughout this excellent album.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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