I"Blood on the Highway" is a CD
"Blood on the Highway" is a concept.
But "Blood on the Highway" is so much more than that.
Indeed - it is the best to come out of the Uriah Heep camp since "Demons and Wizards"

This is Ken Hensley's autobiography and is absolutely brilliant. The first time since he left the band in the eighties we can see what we have missed. With the help of his friends Jorn, Glenn Hughes, John Lawton and Eve Gallagher, he has created a masterpiece. No other classic rock band has in many years created something that nearly compares to this album. By using modern sounds - and still incorporating the classic Heep sound, Ken has surprised me with this mini masterpiece. The title "Blood on the Highway" might refer to "Blood on the tracks" by Bob Dylan who was also the latter's autobiographical comeback album, as well as to the story in the Bible about Paul's Damascus experience.

But let us review the album track by track.

This is just the beginning: The album start with a typical Heep upbeat song. He does not know where to begin but this is a very good beginning. It is immediately clear that the choice of Jorn as lead singer is paying off. With a mix of nostalgia and upbeat tempos, the listener immediately knows what to expect. With words like dream, pain, Rock and Roll history you can feel his pain, anticipation and regrets. The background vocals are typical early Heep. With Kerslake as part of the choir it would have been perfect (8.5)

We're on our way : This song start the beginnings of Heep at Benny's pub. I love the dobro ( or is it steel guitar?). A small beginning that went on to limos and groupies. The music is brilliant. In another world it definitely would have been a hit. Is such brilliance still possible. I was a sceptic, but Ken shows me wrong. It is still possible. The mix of rhythm, melody and the old sound is so good. So effortlessly. Even the short guitar solo is so in place. Ken and Jorn sing together as if they have done it a lifetime. (10)

Blood on the Highway : Jorn's vocals in the beginning already pronounce something dark. The darker side of a star is brilliantly portrayed by the bass line, low voice and simple melody. The two voices mixed as if 2 personalities are appearing. Again the instruments are brilliant - the switch between the piano and guitar solo in the middle says it all. He is doing both and then the words : "There's blood on the highway, so many lies between the lines , There's blood on the highway, And a lot of it is mine". The words are a confession, the vocals are low and lonely, and the instruments are that of a one man show. Wow! (10)

You've go it : It is very interesting that Hensley goes back to the late seventies early eighties sound to portray the success of Heep in the early seventies. But it is possible that the subtitle - The American Dream - determined this American AOR sound of this song. Very catchy tune. The choir that repeats the choir before Jorn shout it out, gives a sort of a universal approval to his dream that came true. How brilliant? (10)

Doom scene 1 : Just the words : "Honey, you know ... you really are the band!" Just these words. Is it a reflection to John and Yoko. Was it a reflection to the record companies view at that stage? Or was it his alter ego speaking. Don't know. But that was the beginning of the end. Therefore the very fitting title "Doom scene 1"

It won't last : Very fitting he is using John Lawton as vocalist for the period that Lawton was the singer of Heep. This again is a very catchy tune. Possibly Lawton's best vocals for years. The keyboard's behind the catchy riff is so good - it is scary. This song is definitely up there with Free me and some of Heep's best singles. The vocals and words still reflect that doubt if leaving Heep was the best idea. But he is convinced it was : " "It wasn't your mistake, you were trapped and you had to escape " Do we sense a bit of self-righteousness here - definitely. But it is not convincing - listen to the vocals in the last 20 seconds. (10)

Think twice : Is this a reflection to Dylan's "Don't think twice it is all right" It is interesting that for the second time on the album, Hensley uses the voice of a woman to justify him leaving Heep. Is it some kind of Freudian plot? Whichever way - the choice of using Eve Galagher pays off. Interesting that there is no confirmation from the choir on this song. More a solo thing. Still good. (8.5)

Doom scene 2 : Again the woman. He has to go solo. But what about his own mind. This follows in the next song. And very fitting it is sung by none other than the main character - Ken Hensley.

There comes a time : Ken Hensley's Damascus Road experience - referring to the point where he had to make a u-turn. It is not accidental that he uses a metaphor from the Book of Proverbs ( just think about the song from the Byrds - Turn, turn, turn ). It is also not accidental that the song sounds very similar to " Our Father who art in heaven " and that the melody is very similar to that one and the songs that the church uses when you confess your sins. That explains everything - this point was not so much a point where he had enough of Heep and the members, than he had enough of a certain lifestyle. He did not turn his back on Uriah Heep as much as he turned his back on that lifestyle. And the whole melody and song - without any aggression or any blames - brings some perspective on that split. This is one of those rare songs where everything - from the instruments to the words, to the chords - paints a perfect picture. Another perfect song. Sung by the sinner and confessor himself. (10)

Okay this house is down : Now was the moment. The decision was made. Now he had to go through with it. And the ones that had to be told, were the fans. Were they the harlot, or just innocent people. Don't know, but he had to cut him loose from them as well. This is a very up-tempo song for such a sad occasion, but Jorn's vocals perfectly convey the message. Words like remember emphasize his sadness - even though he wants to deny it by the word Okay. He even spells it in capital letters. Still he is not convinced, but it had te be done. The echoes shouting OKAY, confirm his decision. Very nice song. (9)

What you gonna do : Who better to sing this song that Mr Rock himself, Glenn Hughes. Nobody - and I mean nobody - can convey feelings better than Glenn Hughes in a song. A much more soul funk song than the previous rock songs. This song emphasizes the consequences of the decision. Everything from the dobro to the vocals emphasize the uncertainty. Very interesting is the gospel undertones in the Hammond and tune. (10)

Were on our way : One of the most beautiful shortest songs I have ever heard. There is a typical Bruce Springsteen tone in here. Something that belongs on an album like Nebraska or The Rising. Just Ken and his dobro - with just one verse. The distance. In one verse he summarizes everything - from the beginning (London ) to the end ( Where they are now, I don't know ). Ken Hensley has been known to produce very superficial lyrics (especially in the eighties ), but this are is best lyrics ever. (10)

I did it all : Do we sense regrets. Definitely. Again it is the theme of them and I. Somebody new in the band. And he ........ But there is a new acceptance : "No matter what the new star sings, I never will forget I did it all ". But still there is the emptiness. This is a very toned down song, with strings, that brings the scene to mind where somebody walks away from something good. Very sad song. (9.5)

The last dance : This is without a doubt the best song Ken Hensley has ever written. It is so filled with emotion that he had to use the message of a gipsy ( a metaphor or figure of speech ) and Glenn Hughes to convey this message. And the message is : it is not about us. It is about the music. Isn't it brilliant. And the guitar, strings and piano ( very similar to a Beethoven's tune) and vocals from Hughes convey this perfect message. I hope the rest of the uriah Heep clan gets it - everything was not about Ken Hensley, Mick Box, Lee Kerslake or anybody else. It was about the music. "Music was my first love, music was my last, music is the future and music is the past - John Miles" Absolutely perfect end to a perfect album. If you only need one album, it is this one. if you need only one song, it is this one. (10)

 


Ken Hensley - Blood on the highway

Release date: 2007

Line-Up on the CD:
Vocals: Jorn Lande
Vocals: Glenn Hugues
Vocals: Eve Gallagher
Vocals: John Lawton
Vocals, Guitars, keyboards: Ken Hensley
Guitars: Dani Saiz
Guitars: Ovidio Lopez
Guitars: Rafa Rapos
Bass: John Smithson
Bass: Antonio Fidel
Drums: Juan Carlos Garcia
Drums: Tommy Lopez
Keyboards: Vicente Ruiz
Alto Sax: Antonio Molto
 

01. (This Is) Just The Beginning
02. We're On Our Way
03. Blood On The Highway
04. You've Got It (the American Dream)
05. Doom (Scene 1)
06. It Won't Last
07. Think Twice
08. Doom (Scene 2)
09. There Comes A Time
10. Okay (This House Is Down)
11. What You Gonna Do
12. Postscript
13. I Did It All
14. The Last Dance
 

Everything but especially : The last dance.
 

Perefct album


 

 

Home | Genres | Reviews | Links | Contact

Copyright (c) 2006 DINOSAURDAYS. All rights reserved.