"Wales is well known for the quality and stamina of it's rock musicians. From Dave Edmunds to Andy Fairweather Low, Deke Leonard to the Manic Street Preachers, their pedigree is unparalleled. And in Lone Star they produced an outfit to rival the best.
The band that first drew collective breath in May 1975, and at the time of their debut Radio 1 In Concert broadcast the following year comprised leather lunged vocalist Ken Driscoll, a pair of duelling guitarists in Paul 'Tonka' Chapman and Tony Smith and synth- equipped keyboardist Rick Worsnop, backed by a solid rhythm section of Pete Hurley and Dixie Lee on bass and drums respectively. All bar Canadian Worsnop were South Walians and new names to the national scene; only Chapman, who had replaced Gary Moore in Skid Row before featuring briefly alongside Michael Schenker in UFO, had past form of note.
Radio 1 had already played a major role in their careers in the shape of a notable January 1976 Saturday Rock Show session, and Lone Star were more than happy to peddle their live sound to a waiting nation later that year in support of their just-released debut album. Few bands have the assistance of a superstar producer first time out, but Roy Thomas Baker- The man who masterminded Queen's epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and all their early albums- was at the desk for 'Lone Star', and many of his tricks of the trade found their way into the band's stage arrangements as well as their recorded repertoire.
The first broadcast from the Paris Theatre, central London, reprises four tracks from that stunning debut, including their pomped-up version of 'She Said She Said'- barely recognisable in this form as the Beatles' 'Revolver' track. Elongated to eleven minutes, its breathtaking dynamics make it the one single with which the band will always be associated. The outstanding 'A Million Stars' opened the set as, indeed, it did the album, while 'Lonely Soldier' offered thought-provoking lyrics and an immediate change of pace. 'Hypnotic Mover' would not be cut until the next album, so this version with Ken Driscoll on lead is rare indeed. It showcases his Rod Stewart-like husky tones to good effect, as well as Peter Hurley's bubbling, muscular and often overlooked bass skills.
Our second, late-1977 broadcast features the line-up that appeared on the follow up album, 'Firing on All Six'. This bettered its predecessor by nine places in reaching Number 36 in September. By the time it was recorded, vocalist Driscoll had been replaced by Cardiff's John Sloman- only 20, but blessed with prodigious ability. Comparisons with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant were perhaps inevitable, but quite a compliment. His recruitment changed the band's sound significantly, giving them a harder edge, and we make no apology for including a second version of 'She Said She Said' which offers an immediate comparison.
It opened the set, preceding two songs from the new album, 'The Ballad of Crafty Jack' and 'The Bells of Berlin', while the first LP's 'Flying in The Reel' was revamped to bring matters to a suitable rousing conclusion. Their previous In Concert appearance having been as support to Mott, the band had now graduated to headline status, sharing the billing with Pat Travers. Recorded at Queen Mary's College in East London in front of an appreciative audience, you could believe that punk never happened!
Sadly, though, Lone Star imploded in November 1978. Sloman passed through Uriah Heep and Gary Moore's band en route to a solo career, Paul Chapman rejoined UFO and is now turning his experience to producing guitar tuition videos in the United States, while Dixie Lee (with Thin Lizzy/Rainbow spin-off group Wild Horses) and Tony Smith (the new wavey Screen Idols with ex-Bowie drummer Woody Woodmansey) both had further cracks at stardom before disappearing. Pete Hurley was sighted in the 1990's playing with Welsh roots rockers Red Hot Pokers, and it seemed likely that Lone Star's other members were still active on a local, if no longer national, stage.
Back in the mid Seventies, though, Lone Star shone brilliantly, if briefly, and most memorably live. Now, thanks to Windsong Records and Radio 1 In Concert, they're blazing once again."
What we have on offer here is the second of these two recordings featuring John Sloman on vocals
- Paul Chapman , guitar
- Rick Worsnop , keyboards
- Tony Smith , guitar
- Pete Hurley , bass
- Dixie Lee , drums
2. Crafty Jack
3. Bells Of Berlin
4. Flying In The Reel