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Peter French - Ducks in Flight

  by Lisa Torem

published: 1 / 3 / 2018

Peter French - Ducks in Flight
Label: Repertoire Records
Format: CD


Excellent until now unreleased 1978 album which headed by rock vocalist Peter French and also including Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy and Kenney Jones from the Faces finally receives the acclaim it deserves

Scratchy-voiced Peter French fronted this super group album. The ‘Ducks in Flight’ team consisted of explosive, electric guitarist Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson, the fierce Faces’ drummer Kenney Jones and bold bassist Dave Markee. Slide guitarist Micky Moody, keyboardists Tim Hinkley and Peter Wingfield, sax player Raphael Ravenscroft and banjo player Joe Brown also added their own vibrancy to this hard rock project. ‘Ducks in Flight’ has had a curious history. In the late 70s, this album project was unexpectedly stalled, Although the talented, touring group was more than ready to sign, the then label executives “only wanted Peter as a solo artist.” He was asked and expected to promote his work by singing alone at showcase gigs to backing tapes.” Obviously this plan didn’t go down well with the vocalist at that time and other plans ensued, but finally, ‘Ducks in Flight’ is getting the attention it always deserved. This album begins with a blast of cold air in the face and more than a touch of blood and guts with ‘Slipped and Stumbled’. ‘Same Old Questions’ finds French toning it all down in sort of a Rod Stewart ‘Maggie May’ fashion. The tempo changes in the outro and adds a great touch. ‘Sweet Annabella’ is another throat grabber with sharp, rhythmic turns and French’s amazing hoots. “Robbo” is right on it, adding exuberant accents and sizzling wails, not to mention a taste of feedback. ‘Shame Shame’ goes down just as easy and here French loosens up even more. His voice is naturally expressive and provocative, and, smartly, he, as vocalist, and the backing musicians don’t mess with each other’s respective boundaries. The lyrics are sparse, allowing French to draw tons of inspiration from each phrase. ‘Without you’ drifts and careens magically due to the hypnotic guitar. It’s a song of supreme heartbreak that French and his talented mates know how to translate and synthesize. Classic rock lovers will swoon over the deep dynamics and virtuosic solos. And all the while, French brings us deeper into the fold with his focused escapades. ‘Hold Me Take Me’ racks up the decibels. Kenney Jones is the precocious culprit and “Robbo” and Markee follow like pros. ‘Goodbye Jesse’ celebrates hero/villain Jesse James. The keys and banjo add some terrific colour, but the song seems largely out of place in an album full of hard rock riffery and passionate ballads. Still, the musicians seem to be having a blast, so why grouse? The album ends with ‘Schooldays’ which fits right back in, with tight, expressive lyrics, a cool beat and strong performances from all involved.

Track Listing:-
1 Slipped And Stumbled
2 Give Me Your Love
3 Same Old Questions
4 Sweet Annabella
5 Shame, Shame
6 Without You
7 Hold Me Take Me
8 Goodbye Jesse
9 Schooldays

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