Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Alcatrazz have Parole Denied again

Not content with his resurgence with the Graham Bonnet Band, Bonnet has put most of his original post Rainbow band together to repay the Japanese faithful with a few gigs and play the songs that brought them success in that rock and metal mad country. Well, when I say most, it is a mix of his current and past as Jimmy Waldo on Keys, Conrad Pesinato – Guitars and Mark Benquechea – Drums, are part of the GBB but original bassist Gary Shea joins them on this live outing.

Recorded in Tokyo in March 2017, Parole Denied takes on the Alcatrazz songbook and finds GB in fine voice as they take us through material from the Widdly Malmsteen, the Diddly Vai and the Danny Johnson albums. Pesinato is an extremely good guitarist and handles all three roles very well and, although no longer in the GBB, he is a real talent and worth listening to on this and the GBB’s The Book release…the physical release comes with a DVD to watch them too as GB sings like someone (at least) half his age and the band plays a blinder behind him.

Whenever I have seen him live (many times), I always worry that tendons should not stand out that much! Highlights include Hiroshima Mon Amour– always a superb song and interpreted so well here, with Bonnet’s voice still able to reach those improbable notes. No, there isn’t anything on disc one that fans won’t have similar recordings of…however, disc two provides a fascinating insight into the recording of most of their albums with demos from the first two and from the criminally underrated Dangerous Games – ‘Blue Boar’ is simply brilliant.

You may not recognise all of the titles as they are obviously rehearsals, and some them didn’t make the cut so we get some new songs, which are still pretty good, but you can’t help but agree that the original selections were the right ones. In saying that, ‘Emotion’ is a slow emotional ballad that is pure enjoyment and ‘Rider’ may hit some AOR tropes but still hits the mark.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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