Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The opening track, "Don't Ask Me How I Know," introduced Trapeze listeners to a new vocalist when the group's "Hold On" recording was released around 1979. Singer Pete Goalby sounds a bit like the group's longtime guitarist/vocalist Mel Galley, though not quite as nasal or sharp in the upper register. And without the record sleeve notes in hand, you might not have guessed the band's line-up had changed.
But the writing style on "Hold On" marks this album as separate from the rest of the Trapeze collection. The funk influence, most evident on '74's "Hot Wire" album, stays to the shadows here, peeking around corners in just a few tracks. Solid rock tunes and soulful ballads rule the song selection on this CD, where on earlier Trapeze records these styles were represented but were flavored heavily with funk, jazz and blues.
Goalby, who does the bulk of the lead vocals and some guitar work on "Hold On," probably wasn't at the root of the shift in sound. Of the album's nine songs, three are written by him, the most inventive being "Livin' On Love" where you'll hear some nimble vocal lines and harmonies with Galley. The six remaining tracks are Galley compositions, and even the more up-tempo songs among these have a melancholy tone.
"Running" may rank as the album's most driving rock song, dotted with creative harmonies and trading of vocal lines between Galley and Goalby. "You Are" shows that Goalby can sing with feeling and features more high range harmonies from Mel Galley. Fans of Galley's singing will be interested in "Time Will Heal," a pain-soaked, slow number that puts him at the lead microphone.
Originally released on Aura Records (and re-released on CD by Purple Pyramid), "Hold On" proved to be the last Trapeze studio effort. Original drummer Dave Holland was still in the band, as was bassist Pete Wright who joined after Glenn Hughes moved to Deep Purple. Guitarist Rob Kendrick, part of the group for "Hot Wire" and its follow-up, "Trapeze," is not listed as a contributor. "Hold On" demonstrates another stage in the evolution of Trapeze -- funk feel fading, rock replacing it -- as the '70s came to a close.
All songs written by Mel Galley, except where noted.
1. "Don't Ask Me How I Know" (Pete Goalby) – 2:48
2. "Take Good Care" – 3:34
3. "When You Go to Heaven" (Pete Goalby) – 4:08
4. "Livin' on Love" (Pete Goalby) – 3:47
5. "Hold On" – 5:02
1. "Don't Break My Heart" – 5:43
2. "Running" – 4:27
3. "You Are" – 4:45
4. "Time Will Heal" – 6:37
* Mel Galley – guitars, vocals
* Dave Holland – drums, percussion
* Pete Goalby – lead vocals, guitar
* Pete Wright – bass
Running Order (For German Release)
2. Livin' On Love
3. Don't Ask Me How I Know
4. Take Good Care Of Me
5. Time Will Heal
6. Hold On
7. Don't Break My Heart
8. When You Get To Heaven
9. You Are
Steve Huey called Hold On by Trapeze, reissued on CD in 1998, their "final proper studio album (and) quite possibly their best, as the group had perfected the sort of blustery heavy rock that filled arenas in the mid- to late-'70s." Credit must be given to the late producer of the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Miller, who smoothed out the gruff sound of a band like Motörhead, handing that particular group Overkill and Bomber, two metal classics that would not be the same without the production maestro's participation. Miller was also involved with the Plasmatics at this point in time, working multiple projects by influential bands who may not have had the impact of Jagger and Richards, but were still musically vital. So, too, with the straight-ahead blues-rock of Trapeze featuring founding members Mel Galley and Dave Holland. Miller tightens up their sound and puts it in a very proper setting, Savoy Brown with a bit of an edge. Mr. Jimmy's appreciation of the fusion of blues and rock was fundamental to his production style, and though there are none of his trademark percussion sounds here, extras that frosted the cake for artists from the Rolling Stones to Johnny Thunders, the three Pete Goalby originals, and six songs from guitarist Mel Galley play with briskness and uniform continuity from track to track. The toughness of "Take Good Care" and "When You Get to Heaven" is matched by the two best songs on the disc, the poppy title track, "Hold On," and the exquisite slow sustain of "Time Will Heal." You can hear Bad Company and Humble Pie in the grooves, the last song reflected in the back cover of a full moon and clouds against a night sky. It also recalls music Jimmy Miller created ten years earlier with the Hungarian group Locomotiv GT and Doug Fieger of Sky (later, the Knack). "Don't Break My Heart" veers off from Rolling Stones to Free, solid British rock with bite. Hold On by Trapeze may have a second life as Jimmy Miller's work outside of the Stones finds renewed appreciation. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide