For those who do not know, specially the youngs, English born KEN HENSLEY joined the mystical group Uriah Heep in 1969 and left in 1980.
Keyboard player (especially Hammond organ), guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, Ken was part of rockers Blackfoot before starting a solo career during which he participated in many musical projects.
After his autobiographical CD 'Blood On The Highway' five years ago, this veteran musician is back with "Love & Other Mysteries".
"Love & Other Mysteries" is a laid back album, plenty of acoustics and sweet, soft melodies.
He explains; "No-one is free from emotion and its effects. No one. I am a poet and songwriter with the dreams and ambitions of an 11-year-old boy still running rampant in my heart.
The songs on this CD came to me as naturally as breathing, from the source I have always believed in and in which I now believe more strongly than ever. I think this CD represents a very positive shift in my musical focus and for me it is exciting to travel new and unexplored territory.
It must be every songwriter's dream to be able to make a record in this way. I know it was mine. The lyrics are the single most important thing on this album and it is these words that were permitted to produce and guide the direction of the album”.
"Love and Other Mysteries" sees Ken joined by guest vocalists from different origins, including Glenn Hughes, Santra Salkova, Sarah Rope, Irene Forniciari & Roberto Tiranti.
Perhaps Hensley should not worry about his voice: for all its current limitations, only Ken himself is able to truly inhabit these songs like he does, softly, like in "Eyes (The Girl In The Purple Dress)" or in the melodic opener "(This) Bleeding Heart".
Anyway, the guests add variation and refinements to the songs.
"(Please) Tell Me When", well delivered by Sarah Rope, comes only with a Hammond line and slide guitar.
Glenn Hughes and Santra Salkova bring sterling emotions to the dramatic ballad "Romance", but "No Matter" performed by Irene Fornaciari & Roberto Tiranti fail to convey the feelings inherent to this author's work.
The slide-oiled lift of "Come To Me" is classic Hensley, though - when in romantic mood, at the piano and organ, like here and in "(This) Bleeding Heart", Ken drives his MOR message home.
Roberto Titanti's honeyed pipes render "Respiro Tu Amor" quite well, and on the strings-drenched "Little Guy" and "No Matter", his soulful duets with Irene Fornaciari are a somehow operatic.
But if in "This House" it's the instrumental wrapping - rather than Ken's singing - that holds melodic focus, the acoustic vivacity makes the countrified "Walk Away" an irresistible offer.
Hensley never has followed any trends or a specific genre since he went solo 30 years ago. With this new recording he will surprise many of his fans, for good or wrong.
"Love & Other Mysteries" is a laid back album full of calm moments and breezy melodies. The prog elements are sparingly and the hard rock edge of previous works is gone.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing, this is the kind of album he wanted to do, and it's a good one regarding the styles.
01 - (This) Bleeding Heart
02 - Romance
03 - (Please) Tell Me When
04 - No Matter
05 - Come To Me
06 - This House
07 - Walk Away
08 - Eyes (The Girl In The Purple Dress)
09 - Respiro Tu Amor
10 - Little Guy
Ken Hensley / Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion
- Glenn Hughes & Santra Salkova / lead vocals (2)
- Sarah Rope / lead vocals (3), backing vocals
- Irenere Fornaciari / lead vocals (4, 10), backing vocals
- Roberto Tiranti / lead vocals (4, 9, 10), backing vocals
- Claudia Flores / backing vocals
- Pau Schafer / pianos & accordion
- Juan Carlos Garcia / drums
- Antonio Fidel / bass guitars
- Ovido Lopez / principal guitars
- Dani Saiz / guitar, backing vocals
- Matt Dela Pola / string arrangements
- Paco Garcia / classical guitar
- Angel Diaz / percussion
- Armando Garcia, Herbert Perez Jones, Lesste Meija Ercia, Romany Cana Flores, Patxi Urchegui / strings
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