Title - Blue Crystal
Artist - Al Ross & The Planets
For those unaware, when Al Ross & The Planets entered the world famous Abbey Road Studios to commence recording in January 2020, they never guessed that a pandemic was about to turn their plans upside down.
As band members became unable to take part, Ross realized that he would need to hire session players to fill the gaps. He asked his long-time friend Lyndon Connah to play keyboards and assist with production. Connah’s extensive resume includes work with Level 42, George Michael, Squeeze, Joe Cocker, Thomas Dolby, Nik Kershaw and Go West.
Next, Wienerworld’s Anthony Broza suggested blues guitarist Norman Beaker. A native of Manchester, Beaker has been involved with the British blues scene since the 1960s and has toured and/or recorded with Jack Bruce, Chris Farlowe, Van Morrison, Chuck Berry and B.B. King among many others.
The wide array of talent involved in the collaboration entitled Blue Crystal (out September 10th, 2021 via the aforementioned AFR Records/Wienerworld) yielded spectacular results, and has Al Ross admitting: Facing huge obstacles in a horrendous year — with two members getting Covid — we have managed to produce a truly great album that we are very proud of.
Despite all the difficulties and stress involved recording under such conditions, it was a great way to pass the hours rather than staying at home feeling depressed! We were able to create something very positive out of 2020 and we cannot wait for the world to hear the results!
2. Something Changed My Mind
4. Blue Crystal
5. In The Middle of the Night
6. All the Things We Started
7. Checkin’ Out the Vibe
8. Sweet Memories of You
First up are the Gospel-imbued harmonies of Crossroads and the gorgeous, laid back, pop rock hipsway of the piano-led Something Changed My Mind (albeit a tune about saying farewell to a lover), and they are seamlessly backed by the pure, unadulterated gossamer of the summery rhythms within Faith and then we get treated to the organically melodic title track, Blue Crystal.
Up next is the lushly mid-tempo In The Middle of the Night and All the Things We Started is a free flowing dose of Muscle Shoals style, infused blues and soul, with my own personal favorite, the foot-tappin’, mid-sax broken blues pop rock of Checkin’ Out the Vibe along next, the album closing on the magnificently constructed arrangements brought forth within Sweet Memories of You.
Al Ross & The Planets - Checkin’ Out The Vibe (Official Music Video)
Al Ross & The Planets - Something Changed My Mind (Official Music Video)
Al Ross & The Planets - Faith (Official Lyric Video)
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