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Glenn Hughes

The Way It Is (2 CD Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

This is one of the entries in the new series of Glenn Hughes reissues. Like the rest, they add a second CD, this time a concert from 2000. I think this Hughes solo album is one of his best. It does a great job of combining his love for funk and soul with the hard rock most associate with him. It's odd, but I never made the connection before to Robin Trower, but a lot of this album makes me think of that rocker. It seems a shame Hughes and Trower have never worked together. It should be noted that the live CD sounds like it started as a bootleg, therefore the sound isn't great. It's not bad enough to really distract from the power of the performance, though. I should also mention that a lot of Hughes' banter on that disc earns parental advisories.

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Track by Track Review
Disc 1: The Way It Is
                
The Way It Is

This comes in with a cool rocking sound. The groove and tone on this are classy. It does a great job of combining the more soulful sound of a lot of Hughes work with the more rocking end of the spectrum. This is catchy and so strong. The slide or pedal steel guitar on this number is a great touch. The more energized closing section really drives it home.

You Kill Me
Another smoking hot stomper, this has a great funk rock texture to it. There is some screaming hot guitar soloing on this piece.
Neverafter

The same merging of the funky concepts with a harder rocking sound is on hand here. This is not as fiery as the previous cut was. It's a killer tune that has a lot of class. The vocals really sell it, though.

Rain on Me

This definitely makes me think of something Robin Trower would do. This actually feels like something that would have fit well on Trower's Bridge of Sighs album. Of course, Hughes' vocals bring a different dimension. This is such a killer rocker. The guitar solo section brings it almost closer to a heavy metal styled jam. There is a slower jam later that has some psychedelia built into it. In a lot of ways that section makes me think of Prince.

Curse

I mentioned Prince in the last track review. This song makes me think of his former associates Wendy and Lisa in a lot of ways. Mind you, I'm just talking about the musical arrangement. The vocals are unmistakable as Hughes. This is much more of a soulful pop based rocker. It has some elements of progressive rock and psychedelia in the mix, too. While it's not my favorite track here, it works quite well and brings some variety to the table.

Freedom
Robin Trower is a valid reference point here, too. This is a screaming hot number with a lot of Hendrix in the mix. There is some serious funk built into this. We also get some smoking hot guitar soloing. There is a bit of studio banter at the end of the piece.
The Truth Will Set Me Free

High energy and hard rocking, this one is purely on fire. While not a huge change, this is just very effective.

Stoned in the Temple
Here we get another stomper from the Glenn Hughes type of cloth we've gotten throughout. It's a great groove.
Too Far Gone

A mellower, soulful groove, this is such a classy tune.

Second Son
I'm reminded of Living Color in a lot of ways on this screaming rocker. It's not a big change, but it does bring some variety. It really rocks, particularly after the mellower piece that directly preceded it.
Take You Down
A slower, more fully soulful number, this is all class. Hughes vocals really sell it. He's purely on fire with passion.
Don't Look Away

Here is another that lands on the mellower end of the spectrum. It's also driven essentially by the vocal performance. This has a bluesy sound to it merged with a bit of a prog rock edge.

Freedom (Shagmeister Mix)
This is basically a dance track remix. It's okay, but not up to the level of the rest of the stuff on this first CD.
Disc 2: Live at the Astoria 2, London, 22nd November 2000
           
The State I'm In

The sound on this cut is really not great. Additionally, I think Hughes might have been having some trouble hearing himself in the monitors at first. Still, this high energy stomper is a very metallic jam that rocks like crazy.

Midnight Meditated
Another stomper, this is on fire. The sound isn't improved, but that only matters so much.
Gone
There is quite a bit of stage banter before this number. A song that was co-written by Tony Iommi, this has a killer Black Sabbath kind of feel to it. Yet it's unmistakable as Glenn Hughes. This is another powerhouse rocker for sure.
Might Just Take Your Life
I've always been a big fan of this song. They put in a high energy stomping rendition. I love the guitar solo on this thing. There is some extended stage banter here.
Muscle and Blood
A screaming (at times literally) hot hard rocker, this is strong.
You Kill Me
Another furious stomper, this carries on the tradition in style. There is extended stage banter at the end of this cut.
Medusa
Here we get a song from the Trapeze days. The mellower segment at the start gets followed by some fierce, seriously hard rocking stuff further down the road. It drops back to the mellower motif to carry forward. The fired up section that comes next eventually takes it to its close.
You Are the Music
This hard rocker has a seriously hot groove. There is some funk built into it. The mid-track jam is full on funk, in fact.
Your Love Is Alright
This comes straight out of the previous cut and is another solid funk rocker. There is a vocal work-out section near the end of the piece, too.
Coast to Coast
There is a soaring kind of melodic rock vibe to this. The guitar soloing is really classy.
Purple Medley: Owed to "G" / Sail Away / Lay Down Stay Down / Gettin' Tighter
Drums bring this Deep Purple medley into being. They launch out from there to the smoking hot hard rock. This is an extensive medley that covers some great Purple territory. There is some serious funk built into this thing at times. This gets incredibly intense before they take it to the end.
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