'creative' cuisine, 'guitar' bands are back in style again. Rock 'n' roll with no frills, fuelled by a
lot of enthusiasm and even more beer. Music for having a good time, like the
British band Thunder, revived last
year with Wonder Days, its first
album in 7 1/2 years. The disc not only earned excellent critical reviews but,
most importantly, unexpected sales figures for a group that was widely
considered to have dropped off the map. But apparently not from recalling the
great records-Laughing on Judgement Day,
The Thrill of it All- that took them
to the top in the first half of the '90s. The ‘one to blame’ for all this is Luke Morley. He is the 'guitarist' of
The box set they just released at the start of 2016 has a lot to do with the need to refresh that memory and 'explain' to their new fans who they are and what they were doing 20 years ago. The 2CD set includes one CD recorded live in the studio, without editing or overdubs, of Wonder Days virtually in its entirety, along with a number of covers including Superstition by Stevie Wonder and The Rocker by Thin Lizzy. The second CD is a genuine 'live' performance recorded at the Brooklyn Bowl in London featuring some past hits like Low Life in High Places along with the material on the first CD. A DVD with a documentary on their career and concert clips complete the package.
As you could guess, their music falls halfway between hard rock and heavy metal with a healthy dose of blues in the mix. Danny Bowes, the great singer who co-founded the band with Morley in 1989 under the name Terraplane, contributes the melodic component that was crucial to the band's success. At 55, he still retains that smooth voice capable of making you feel the emotion of a blues and at the same time rock around the clock (or whatever). Almost the entire original line-up remains alongside Morley, with Gerry ‘Harry’ James on drums, Ben Matthews on keyboards and second guitar and Chris Childs playing bass.
Morley is one of those magnificent guitarists whose instrumental prowess outstripped his talent as a composer. He's not a flashy showman either, but a musician who puts economy -and tastefulness- above any temptation to go off on tangents while levitating over the stage. Wonder Days and the 12-minute performance of Dirty Love from the London concert are two perfect examples of his versatility. Hard but, more than anything, elegant. Just the right effects. And, of course, he's left-handed.
Above all, he's a classic player just as comfortable strapping on his Gibson Les Paul Custom or the Fender Telecaster he switches back and forth between in the studio and onstage. Like any true child of his time, his collection includes a mint Flying V that he features in the promotional video for All You Can Eat. Morley is also a Marshall man. Without his Vintage Modern model amps, there's nothing to do.
Our special thanks to photographer Marty Moffatt for giving us the picture we used for the home-banner (and the first one from the gallery).
All Pictures: © -Cheesyfeet- (flickr)