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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ty Tabor

Moonflower Lane

Review by Scott Prinzing

After King’s X parted ways with their manager/producer, Sam Taylor, after their eponymous fourth album in 1992, it was only a matter of time before their Lennon/McCartney-esque pair – bassist Doug Pinnick and guitarist Ty Tabor – found additional creative outlets in solo and side projects.  Tabor did virtually everything on his self-produced independent debut, Naomi’s Solar Pumpkin: writing, engineering, all instruments and vocals, as well as the cover art.  Initially intended as a demo to shop for a solo deal, he sold it himself through the mail.  After King’s X left Atlantic and signed with Metal Blade, the otherwise mostly death metal label was more than happy to add their solo albums to their catalog.

Tabor released this album, comprised of mostly songs from Naomi’s Solar Pumpkin, but with Alan Doss of former label/management-mates Galactic Cowboys on drums (the remainder of that band appears here as well, in minor roles).  Also making cameos are Frank Hart (another former stable-mate from the under-appreciated Atomic Opera) and Tabor’s son, Josh on French horn.  Tabor again writes everything himself, produces, sings, plays all guitars and basses, organ, as well as cover art.  The album reveals just what Tabor brings to the King’s X triumvirate.  As perhaps the more-McCartney half of the primary songwriting pair of the band, he also brings a good deal of Harrison’s songwriting style; in fact, his voice sounds closer to Harrison’s.  The songs are more pop-sounding than the darker, heavier and harder Poundhound album that Pinnick released about the same time as this.  There is also a decidedly more-prog element that Tabor injects into King’s X. 

Fifteen years ago, in 1998, King’s X released Tapehead, along with these two solo albums.  All three albums are top-tier and essential for any King’s X fan’s collection. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Do
While the prog element runs through everything Tabor does, he opens the set with the post pop-oriented of his songs here.  It’s got a positive vibe during what was a difficult time for his marriage.  “I’ve got a good life / I do.”
The Island Sea

The one place on this album that Tabor raises his voice above conversational level occurs during the chorus to this album: “Take me to the island Sea / There’s a world outside my window pane / but I can’t face the thought of rain, so let me keep it inside of me.”

Live in Your House

Tabor slips in a bit of his religious thinking that was more present in the early days of King’s X.  “And a man stands tall for the one true God / an evolutionist says it’s a pile of wad / and the scientists’ dogma seems awfully religious to me.”

I Know Everything

There’s a definite Beatles groove to this one, complete with a sitar/table interlude with distant spoken word hovering underneath.  A touch of cello takes us out.

The Truth
This is one catchy tune.  The theme of King’s X’s “Mission” is revisited here when Tabor observes televangelists, “He said ‘just believe and get everything / a Lamborghini, a big diamond ring / Don’t worry about the hungry and poor / We can all pray for them’ / And I wonder what God thinks of him.”
Without You
Sounding like an outtake from King’s X Ear Candy, the sweet harmonies stick in the inner ear for hours.  Lyrically, there’s a nod to McCartney: “Your love was always there to give / I thought I needed something else to live / Now I stand amazed at how blind I’ve been / Just a fool on the hill again.”
Hollow Eyes
This is my favorite track of the bunch.  There is a lot of dynamic range within the King’s X-sounding riff and sweet harmonies.  Lyrically, it seems to deal with mortality: “The sunlight burns into my veins but death’s no guarantee.” Cello adds nice flourishes again as it bookends the song.
Walk with My Love
Simple acoustic pop with a tasty guitar solo is how I’d describe this one.  Lyrically, it leads right into the next song.
Another Day
Even though he borrows another McCartney title here, and the song has an early-Beatles tint to it, this is trademark Ty Tabor: drop-D chords under ’60s psychedelic hum-a-long harmonies.
Her Palace
Like with all of these tracks, this would sit comfortably on any King’s X album, but it is distinctly Ty Tabor.  The harmonies recall those of “The Difference (In the Garden of St.-Anne’s-on-the-Hill).”  The almost psychedelic ending gives Tabor a chance to delve into his trademark soloing. 
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