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Glenn Hughes

Building the Machine 2CD Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This is one in a series of new Glenn Hughes reissues. The first CD is a studio album (with one bonus track). The second disc, as is the pattern, is a live set. I have to say that this studio album is one of the best from Hughes' catalog. It has a great blend of funky soul with hard rock. It just works really  well. The live performance is heavy and Deep Purple material, which is probably a good thing to a lot of people. It's a great show. The only issue with that is the fact that it seems to be a bootleg recording, so less than perfect in quality. Still, it's very much listenable. Besides, it's a bonus, and a cool one at that. All in all, this is one of the best of this series.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
CD1: Building the Machine
          
Can't Stop the Flood

A cool guitar riff opens this. Organ and other elements bring a different angle to the piece. The vocals tie it together with a smoking hot hard rock meets soul approach. This is such a cool tune. It's a great way to start the set in style.

Inside
While the mix of sounds is the same here, this has more of a funk nature and also a hard rocking edge. There are parts of this that make me think of Hughes' era of Deep Purple. This is a screaming hot tune. As good as the opener was, this might be even stronger.
Out on Me
There is a lot more funk on this number. It makes me think of a cross between Lenny Kravitz and Prince in some ways. It's on fire. It is a killer tune that brings some variety to the table.
I Just Want to Celebrate
Here is a cover of the classic Rare Earth tune. This is a lot like that one, but with more of a meaty hard rock texture added to the mix. I think it's great.
Don't Let It Slip Away
There is some great funk in the mix here. I again can hear some Lenny Kravitz along with some Parliament and James Brown. Yet there is plenty of hard rock edge to it, too. This is a killer.
Feels Like Home
A balladic cut, there is still a lot of soulful sound here, mainly from the vocals. The break mid-track takes it into almost prog rock territory.
High Ball Shooter
High energy and meaty, this a killer cut. It does a great job of combining hard rock with soul and funk.
When You Fall
While the general road map isn't greatly changed, this is another screaming hot rocker. I dig the keyboard led section later.
I Will Follow You
A mellower cut, this is quite soulful. It gets more powered up before it is over, but doesn't rise the level of a lot of the rest in terms of musical intensity. That said, the vocal performance is definitely intense.
Beyond the Numb
There is a lot of fusion built into this thing. I love the guitar explorations on this. It's another cool change, landing more in the mellower zone.
Big Sky
Another balladic cut, this is particularly pretty. While this is solid, it's not up the same level as some of the rest. I think that without the bonus track it might have been a bit of a let-down in terms of a closing.
Cosmic Spell (Japan Bonus Track)
I dig the cool funk meets hard rock vibe on this thing. There is some great bass work here. The guitar gets meaty and almost metal later. The closing bit on this reminds me so much of Parliament. This is a great ending for the disc with some James Brown-like vocal bits on the fadeout.
CD2: Live in Koln, Germany 6th December 1999
         
Stormbringer

After a bit of an introduction, they fire out into this Deep Purple classic. As loud as the audience sound is, I'm guessing this started as an audience recorded bootleg. Still, while the music feels a bit distant, the sound quality is reasonably good.

Might Just Take Your Life
Another Deep Purple cut, this isn't quite as fiery as the opener was. It loses nothing in terms of style and charm, though.
You Kill Me
Another hot rocking tune, this is meaty and particularly strong.
Neverafter
The guitar riff that starts this is downright mean. The whole cut has a cool hard-edged groove to it. While Hughes is talking after the song there is a conversation going on in the audience near the microphone that is incredibly annoying.
No Stranger To Love
This was a song that was done when Hughes was in Black Sabbath. It starts with keyboards and during that part the conversation continues to annoy a bit. Who pays money to go to a concert and then stands around talking instead of watching the show? In any event, after the keyboard bit at the start that conversation disappears. They take it into the song proper, an intriguing power-ballad approach.
Gettin' Tighter
We're back into Deep Purple territory with this screaming hot hard rocker. A couple minutes in they work out into some different stuff including some smoking funk bass. They work back to the main song from there to work forward.
You Keep on Moving
Hughes brings this in with some soaring vocals. The cut works out in a balladic fashion from there. It's another that's marred a bit by audience talking. The cut has a bluesy element to it. It also earns a bit of a parental advisory. Apparently the first three minutes plus consist of a song that's not credited. It works out from there to "You Keep on Moving," which is another from the Deep Purple era. It works forward in a cool motif that's rather proggy in some ways. It's subdued, but manages have a rocking feeling. There is a nice balance between mellower stuff and harder rocking.
Burn
Another Deep Purple song, I've always loved this title track. Hughes and company deliver a screaming hot live take here. The audience participates a bit later, and the band is purely on fire at times here. A little guitar solo call and response bit with the audience gets a little tedious further down the road. That said, there are some great moments of guitar soloing built into this before it powers back out into the song proper.
You Fool No One
A drum solo starts this encore cut. The song is another from the Deep Purple catalog. It's also another killer hard rocker. The powerhouse instrumental jam later in the track really works into some particularly proggy territory.
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