GRAHAM BONNET – Flying Not Falling 1991 – 1999 [3-CD Box HNE Remaster +17]
With the recent Hear No Evil / Cherry Red Records GRAHAM BONNET reissue campaign having already taken in his early solo work, time with both Alcatrazz and Blackthorne and a wider reaching best of collection, this 3-CD Box Set “Flying Not Falling 1991-1999” moves on to the three solo albums the ex-Rainbow and MSG singer produced during the decade in question.
Unusually the Box order actually run back in time, newest to oldest, so, just to be obtuse, let’s start with disc 3, 1991’s Here Comes The Night.
Listen to Bonnet’s early work and you’ll discover that much though it’s heavy rock he’s known for, at his heart the man is a good old fashioned rock n’ roller. Hence the 1991 album, ‘Here Comes The Night’, which saw the singer flanked by guitarist Ray Fenwick and keyboard legend Don Airey, harks back to that sound.
It’s all ’80s sounding stuff with a commercial production, Bonnet is in fine voice, taking on his own early Marbles hit “Only One Woman” with real verve, while also beautifully handling covers such as “Here Comes The Night”, “Eyes Of A Child” and “Don’t”.
Disc 2 is ‘Underground’, which arrived five years later few people heard. It’s much more in keeping with what Bonnet’s fans would expect, the singer making a surprise reunion with the third man to play guitar in Alcatrazz, Danny Johnson; Cinderella / Shadow King drummer Kevin Valentine completing the core trio.
Guests show up in the shape of fretless bass monster Tony Franklin and keyboard man Pat Regan for what proves to be a much more memorable set. From the off the title track surges with a darting riff, underpinned by enigmatic keyboards that remind of Blue Murder’s debut output, while, if anything, “Whiplash” ups the intensity, Bonnet howling and baying for blood as he really lets loose. The bass is funky, but unlike on the previous album, the threat here is real and the results much more exhilarating.
“Cajun Pink” pushes and shoves with a gleeful intent, as Bonnet reveals the smooth but deadly voice he’s long been known for. From “The Strange” to “Winter Skin” everything here hits the mark.
For the end there’s a solid cover of Rainbow’s “Lost In Hollywood” with a Nineties feeling, and the Hendrix standard “The Wind Cries Mary” nicely done.
An Alcatrazz heavy seven track live show (read bootleg) from 2000 is added at the disc’s tail and it has to be said turns out to be rather special. Bonnet bang on the money and his band on top form; tracks such as “Island In The Sun”, “God Bless Video”, MSG’s “Dancer” and Rainbow’s “All Night Long” sounding fresh and energetic.
Something that can also be said for what is a hugely underrated album in the shape of the unfortunately prophetic ‘Underground’.
Then Disc 1 is 1999’s “The Day I Went Mad”. Why an album bristling with big name star guests, a top notch vocalist and a convincingly hard rock attack seems to have been roundly ignored at its time of release, I’m not sure, but looking back now, this really is an under appreciated little belter of an album.
Johnson and Valentine were back but with the likes of Franklin, Tim Bogart and ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick providing bass, the surprise is that the real big name stars were Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard / Whitesnake / Dio) on the raucous “Killer”, and Guns N’ Roses man Slash, who adds his unmistakable tone to the upbeat slap of “Hey That’s Me”.
However the album doesn’t stand or fall on those cameos, the song that gives this whole set its name, “Flying Not Falling”, the sort of insistent heavy rock Bonnet provided alongside Michael Schenker, while the album’s title track actually nods back to Alcatrazz, both in its melodic bite and the John Thomas provided killer guitar solo. Awesome song.
But really you could highlight pretty much everything from the heartfelt “This Time” to frantic “Spiked!” and find they come across remarkably well.
“The Day I Went Mad” actually stacks up against anything that Bonnet has recorded over the years and when you consider the amazing catalogue he’s amassed, that’s not a claim you make lightly.
A further six live cuts are added this time, a mix of covers like “I’m Down / Lucille” and “Oh! Darling” rubbing shoulders with Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and, quite refreshingly, three tracks from this album, “Spiked!”, “Killer” and “Don’t Look Down” transferring well to a live setting, even if the sound quality is hardly cutting edge.
“Flying Not Falling 1991-1999” is a really welcomed 3CD Box set, unearthing three quite unknown and diverse Graham Bonnet albums. All remastered and at affordable price tag.
DISC 1 : The Day I Went Mad remastered
01 – The Day I Went Mad
02 – Killer
03 – Flying Not Falling
04 – Hey That’s Me
05 – Lolita Crush
06 – This Day
07 – Model Inc.
08 – Spiked!
09 – Greenwhich Meantime
10 – Don’t Look Down
11 – Oh! Darling
12 – I’m Down / Lucile (Live at Easington Rock Garden, 22/11/2001)
13 – Killer (Live at Coconut Teaser, 23/09/2000)
14 – Spiked! (Live at Culver City, 12/05/2000)
15 – Don’t Look Down (Live at Culver City, 12/05/2000)
16 – Since You Been Gone (Live at Culver City, 12/05/2000)
17 – Oh! Darling (Live at Culver City, 12/05/2000)
DISC 2 : Underground remastered
01 – Underground
02 – Whiplash
03 – Breakaway
04 – Movin’ On
05 – Sail On
06 – Cajun Pink
07 – The Strange
08 – Winter Skin
09 – Lost in Hollywood
10 – The Wind Cries May
Bonus Tracks (Live at Culver City, 12/05/2000)
11 – Island in the Sun
12 – S.O.S.
13 – Only One Woman
14 – God Blessed Video
15 – Will You Be Home Tonight
16 – All Night Long
17 – Dancer
DISC 3 : Here Comes The Night remastered
01 – Something About You
02 – Here Comes the Night
03 – Long Time Gone
04 – Only One Woman
05 – Please Call Me
06 – A Change is Gonna Come
07 – I’ll Go Crazy
08 – I Go to Sleep
09 – Look Don’t Touch
10 – Eyes of a Child
11 – Don’t
12 – What She Says, You Hear It Means
13 – Gone in a Minute (Demo)
14 – A Hole in My Soul (Demo)
15 – Please Call Me (Demo)
16 – Greenwich Meantime (Demo)
Graham Bonnet – lead and backing vocals
Don Airey – keyboards
Ray Fenwick – guitars, keyboards
Terry Pack – bass
Dave Storey – drums
Danny Johnson – guitars
Mario Parga – guitars
Kevin Valentine (Cinderella / Shadow King) – drums
Jamie Carter (Jon Butcher) – bass
Tony Franklin (Blue Murder) – bass
Todd Jensen (Hardline) – bass
Matt Boyd – bass
Pat Regan (Kiss / From The Fire) – keyboards
Teddy Andreass – keyboards
Tim Bogert – bass
Bruce Kulick – bass
Slash – guitar
Vivian Campbell – guitar
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