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Widowmaker

Running Free: Jet Recordings 1976-1977

Review by Gary Hill

I've never heard this band before. That's a shame. Don't get me wrong, I've heard of them before. I had just never gotten the chance to check out their music before. These guys create a brand of 1970s hard rock that is not particularly original, but incredibly effective. This is some of the best of this type of music out there. The band is made up of guitarist Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender - who was in Mott the Hoople and Spooky Tooth) along with such notables as Huw Lloyd-Langton (of Hawkwind fame), bassist Bob Daisley and more. Lloyd-Langton and Daisley are a big deal for me because I've always been a big fan of both of those guys. If you've not heard these guys before, I can't recommend this set enough.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
CD One

    

Such a Shame

I love the cool hard rocking riffing that drives this. The vocals are pretty awesome, too. The whole tune just works so well.

Pin a Rose on Me
A classic rocking ballad, there is a lot of folk music and Americana built into this thing. It's just so tasty. It's like something Bad Company might have done, but better to my ears.
On the Road
This cool rocker makes me think of Sweet a bit. It's a lot of fun.
Straight Faced Fighter
I love the tone and mood of this cool melodic rocker. It just doesn't get much better than this.
Ain't Telling You Nothing
Coming in as a bluesy rocker, this explodes out after a time to faster paced rocking jam. The slide guitar on this is an interesting touch. To me this feels a bit like a bit harder rocking version of Free.
When I Met You
Another good time rocker, the instrumental section on this is amazing. This continues the tradition of one great song after another.
Leave the Kids Alone
A melodic soft rocker, this is great stuff. It has a real 1970s rock vibe to it and builds out to quite a cool number. It gets quite involved as it moves forward and is another that makes me think of Sweet.
Shine a Light on Me
This is a soulful rocker with a really classic sound. It has a great energy and vibe to it.
Running Free
A melodic rocker, this isn't anything revolutionary. It's just incredibly effective all around.
Got a Dream
An acoustic based bluesy rocker, this has a great multi-voice vocal arrangement. This sounds like something that was just a lot of fun for the guys as there is a lot of little fun-loving stuff built into it.
CD Two
           
Too Late to Cry
This melodic rocker is full of class and hooks.
The Hustler
There is some old-time rock and roll built into this one. It's another that makes me think of Sweet to some degree. It's a classy tune. The little Island interlude is a bit goofy, but also cool. This gets a parental advisory.
What a Way to Fall
This rocker is cut from a classic hard rock sound. It's catchy and so cool. 
Here Comes the Queen

An acoustic driven number, organ plays an expanded role on this cut. It's a kind of tune that feels a bit like Rod Stewart to some degree. I dig the piano solo, and the bass work is noteworthy, too.

Mean What You Say
Not a big change, this melodic rocker is strong.
Something I Can Do Without
There is a great blues rocking vibe to this number. They turn it out to more of a glam rock thing later in the piece.
Sign the Papers

There is almost a prog rock element as this comes in with a mellower section. It works out to more of the type of rock we've come to expect here.

Pushin' and Pullin'
Honky tonk piano leads the first part of this. The cut works out to more of a psychedelic rocker mixed with glam from there. It's another classy cut. That piano remains a prominent part of the piece at various points along this road. There is a classy blues guitar solo, too. 
Sky Blues
This is a smoking hot blues stomper. Lloyd-Langton was always a big practitioner of the blues. This seems like a classic example, even though he doesn't have a songwriting credit on it. . I love everything about this tune, but the guitar soloing is particularly great.  The harmonica is a nice touch, too. I guess the closest comparison on this song would be early Led Zeppelin.
Talk to Me
Another killer rocker, this lands more toward the glam rock side of the equation.
 
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