In the spring of this year, we saw the resurrection of legendary UK progressive rock band Flash by original vocalist Colin Carter and bassist Ray Bennett. Unfortunately, it was without original Yes guitarist and founding Flash member Peter Banks, who passed away earlier this year. The original Flash is what most people recall, giving them nearly cult status after there short-lived career.
Now long time friend and business partner George Mizer gives us a glimpse into the Flash that was with this rare live recording. The proper title is Flash featuring Peter Banks In Public Udder Chaos / Live at Cowtown Ballroom, recorded in Kansas City in January 1973. And believe it or not, this is a rather good recording for something 40 years old.
More specifically, it captures the wizardry of Peter Banks guitar style. With a few others back in the day, Banks was a pioneer, ahead of his time with his riffs, licks and leads. He could effortlessly draw out rock to blues to jazz guitar to create his melodic progressive rock. With these elements, the Flash sound was quite complex, some might even say eclectic and mystifying at times. Dropping Carter's vocals and Flash would be, essentially, a progressive rock fusion jam band. All you need do to confirm this is listen 25 minute monster that is Dreams of Heaven; it's a mammoth display of Banks going ape shit crazy with his guitar. But other songs, like Small Beginnings, are quite so eclectic and erratic with guitar work more straight forward while technical and the arrangement bringing out more melodic rock. Another interesting song is Stop That Banging. Written by drummer Mike Hough, it gives him room for some extensive playfulness, especially in the latter half.
In the end, if you're fond of Flash, or simply have an interest in the early development of progressive rock, this piece of musical history will be perfect for you. Within the CD package, Banks writes about Flash's life and sound. It also comes with a nice booklet where many of Banks's peers and friend pay homage to the band.
In Public is a vintage and fine recording of the legendary and eclectic UK progressive rock band Flash featuring guitarist Peter Banks.
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