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Alan Davey

Bedouin

Review by Bruce Stringer

For those unaware, Bedouin is Alan Davey's outlet for material that is otherwise unsuited to Hawkwind, yet - ironically, is very Hawkwind-like. The songs are very bass driven and tend toward the Middle-Eastern influence that Hawkwind were known for with songs like Assassins of Allah (re-invented when Alan joined Hawkwind in the mid-80's).

This CD is a solo effort that Alan has put together outside the immediate band, however tracks like Rock Palace have made it to Bedouin's live set. After speaking with Alan, who is deeply inspired by the Middle East one can see how close he feels to the tribal life of the desert nomad… or the rock musician!

Alan believes that his Bedouin material would work well in the Japanese market (and I tend to agree with him), so if there are any budding record labels from Japan reading this then Bedouin may be for you!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Rock Palace
A thumping opener to the album! In recent years Hawkwind have moved on from this type of heavy rock piece, however this really lets loose and sets the pace of the album. A real stomp that has some great lead guitar by Sean Massett, Palace has found its way into Bedouin's live set and really lets loose... like Motorhead!
Wadi Dhar
The longest piece of music on the album, Wadi Dhar allows Alan to experiment with his wave synth and create a sound-scape over four and a half minutes before spiralling into an Electric Tepee style instrumental rock piece. By the ten-minute mark we are back into the sound effects.
Passion is an Animal
Wasn't this a Hawkwind song? Guess not. Reminiscent of Valium 10 with its vocal repetition, Alan even bursts out on a 6-string guitar playing some great solo passages! (I wonder if Alan has ever thought about taking on lead guitar responsibilities within the Hawks?). Passion is a great rock song for all fans of Hawkwind and one of only two on this album with vocals.
Alhadan
I am reminded of my Lebanese friend's O'ud videos that we often watched. The O'ud is a nylon string guitar-like instrument that is used in many of the epic poetry pieces from the Arab world and popularised in modern times by Fred "the deaf". From the credits it looks as though Alan plays synth behind some sampled/ borrowed Arabic vocals and O'ud and is a nice departure from the rockier pieces on the CD.
Space Rock Café
Space Rock Café is another great piece in line with Rock Palace that has some interesting guitar work and sequencing. It is thematic and bold and a worthy inclusion to the CD (especially with its whole-tone scale ending the song!)
One Moon Circles
Danny Thompson makes an appearance on this tribal number, beating those skins while Alan plays some nice thematic keyboards. There are some interesting drum fills that looked to have been looped onto the piece and there is a brooding mood throughout. It was a pity that Danny only plays on One Moon Circles (- the other pieces are programmed), however it is an Alan Davey solo album, so I shouldn't complain. This is my personal favourite after Alhadan.
Queen of the Dark
Another great song with Alan's harmony vocals and a stomping riff, simple but effective and also another song that I could imagine Hawkwind playing. Sean Massett appears again playing what sounds like Huw Lloyd-Langton-style guitar soloing. Taking us into a break we hear some interesting modern lead guitar playing and the song is over… Or, is it?
Eyes In the Dark
It's back to sound-scape material, which once again builds like Wadi Dhar, however this time into a Middle Eastern electronic piece. The guitars are mixed a little lower to allow the sequencing to hypnotise its prey. There are parts of Eyes which are very similar to moments on Space Bandits, which are obviously Alan's influence on Hawkwind.
Sand Devil
Probably the strangest piece of electronic music on the album, Sand Devil is quirky (or should that be quarky?) and was a 4-track piece that Alan had, dating back to 1987.
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