Wetton, John - Rock Of Faith

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEP 1033
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:09:00

Whilst on holiday I saw a newspaper with a photograph of Alex, wife of George Best. She had just left home and was heading for her parents as Best had once again taken to the bottle. Having a beautiful, much younger wife apparently isn't enough to win the battle against king alcohol. It was almost in the same flash that I saw an image of John Wetton before my eyes. First the good looking man he was, for sure a rarity in the domain of progressive rock! Next, an image of a swollen Wetton, only the shadow of what he once was. Message in a bottle. Indeed. So when John's latest solo effort was released, I wasn't sure whether at all from a musical perspective he could still be his "old" self, whether that skill, too, wouldn't be on the decline. It is with great pleasure that I can say that part of his life has been untouched. But for how long, I hear you ask?

In my humble opinion, John Wetton has one of the most wonderful voices in rock. Together with Paul Rogers, Wetton is one of my all time favourites in the male vocal department. Many classic rock tunes carry his singing, and looking at his impressive career and the number of top rock bands he's been involved with, this guy should at least be a millionaire a couple of times over. As we all know, this is not the case, and if we are to believe certain sources, John's life today is more a case of struggling to survive. Surviving in these difficult climates, especially where music is concerned, can only be done by delivering top notch material. Helped out by Asia buddy Geoff Downes, Jadis drummer Steve Christey and the Arena tandem of John Mitchell and Clive Nolan, he does exactly that. IQ's Martin Orford guests on flute, ELO's Hugh McDowell helps out on cello, Pendragon's Pete Gee delivers some neat fretless bass, whilst Mike Stobbie once again creates some outstanding arrangements. All friends that give John a helping hand. The result is yet another collection of near perfect rock songs leaning towards AOR with a dash of progressive rock. As always, the collection also contains purely autobiographical lyrics, containing as Wetton depicts himself: love, uncertainty, desperation, lust, morality, anger, hope, death and acceptance.

There's no point in describing track by track as a John Wetton album hardly changes that much, yet I can underline the ethnic rhythms in "Rock Of Faith," the use of the "original" Asia-piano in "I've Come To Take You Home," the inclusion of two instrumentals, the almost Supertramp-like feel of "I Believe In You," the nice harmonies and string sections in "I Lay Down," and the a capella version of "I Believe In You," which has been re-titled "When You Were Young." A special mention should certainly go towards the wonderful song "Who Will Light A Candle," sporting the fabulous contribution from the Orkesta Isola Di Cani. Conceived together with notorious producer Richard Palmer-James in Vienna it's probably down to Mike Stobbie's fantastic arrangement that the word "immortal" is written all over this song.

In 2003, Wetton has entered an aura of peace, of positive confidence. He has received that aura of positive feeling thanks to some exceptional people around him. Let's hope he'll be able to catch at the straw which is called Rock Of Faith, as by now we all have plenty of faith in the musician as well as the person John Wetton. Grab'em with both hands, John, we're 100% behind you!

Mondrago (2:12) / Rock Of Faith (3:57) / A New Day (5:16) / I've Come To Take You Home (4:19) / Who Will Light A Candle (3:39) / Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way (5:36) / Altro Mondo (3:42) / I Believe In You (5:22) / Take Me Down To The Waterline (6:08) / I Lay Down (4:04) / When You Were Young (1:34)

John Wetton - lead, harmony vocal, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
Clive Nolan - keyboards, monk
John Mitchell - all electric guitars
Steve Christey - all drums
Geoff Downes - virtual grand,B4 (4, 10)
Other guest appearences:

Martin Orford - flute
Peter Gee - fretless bass
Hugh McDowell - cello
Tim Garland - alto saxophone

Caught In The Crossfire (1980)
Kings Road (1972-1980) (1987)
One World (w/Phil Manzanera) (1987)
Battle Lines (akaVoice Mail in JP) (1994)
Chasing The Dragon (1994)
Akustika - Live In Amerika (1996)
Chasing The Deer (1998)
Arkangel (1998)
Monkey Business 1972-1997 (w/Richard Palmer-James) (1998)
Live In New York (1999)
Live In Tokyo (1999)
Sub Rosa - Live In Milan 1998 (1999)
Nomansland Live In Poland (1999)
Sinister (2001)
Anthology (2001)
Rock Of Faith (2003)
Agenda (Live In Poland) (2003)
Amata (2004)
Icon (w/ Geoff Downes) (2005)
Icon II - Rubicon (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon Live - Never In A Million Years (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon 3 (w/ Geoff Downes) (2009)
Raised In Captivity (2011)

Live In The Underworld (DVD) (2003)
Amorata (DVD) (2003)

Hensley - Wetton - One Way Or Another (2002)

Hensley - Wetton - More Than Conquerers (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: October 19th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.johnwetton.co.uk
Hits: 623
Language: english


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