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(53:22; Lucifer’s Records)
I must confess I hadn’t realised that Lucifer’s Friend had reformed a few years ago, so this album was a pleasant surprise. Founder members John Lawton (vocals), Peter Hesslein (guitar, keyboards) and Dieter Horns (bass) are there strutting their stuff again. Original drummer Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach has passed away, so his place was taken by Stephan Eggert, while keyboard player Peter Hecht declined to return so on the album keyboards are provided by Hesslein. Any fan of classic rock will know about Lucifer’s Friend, which for me I always think of as a German Uriah Heep, for musical reasons as well as of course that Lawton replaced Byron in that band. It must be said that playing this album is like putting on a warm blanket, it is instantly comforting, and Lawton (if Wikipedia is to be believed) shows no sign at all of being 73 years old! His voice is as powerful as it has ever been, and the ten numbers he has written with Hesslein shows a band who are determined to make their presence felt as opposed to resting on their laurels. It has been fifty years since Lawton left Stonewall and joined the members of The German Bonds in forming Asterix, which became Lucifer’s Friend’, but those decades have flown by on this classic hard rock album which could have been recorded in their heyday. The guitars are as tough, plenty of riffs, while the keyboard provide levity, but whatever is going on underneath is lifted by the superb vocals of Lawton. I dare anyone to play “Call The Captain” and not smile at its’ annoying infectious simplicity – one can imagine this being a radio hit in the Eighties, and that is probably as up to date as the band gets, but who cares? Classic rock, from a band who really were there at the beginning, this is for fans of bands as diverse as Uriah Heep and UFO, and everything in-between. If ever an album defined “fun” then this is it.
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