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Phil Mogg- Vocals
Michael Schenker- Guitar
Pete Way- Bass
Paul Raymond- Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Andy Parker- Drums
Songs by: [songs predominantly by Mogg/Schenker/Way]
Engineer- Mike Clink [later went on to produce Guns N Roses]
This is a review of the 2008 Remaster.
UFO are a largely underrated 'hard rock' band from the 1970s, in many ways their name does them no favours, in the past making me think they would be quite naff being called that. I first heard the band properly about 2 years ago after seeing the name crop up constantly on lists of all time great rock albums [mostly in 'classic rock' magazine]. This album, 'Lights Out' and 'Force It' seem to be the fan and critics choice. I went ahead and purchased 'Obsession' as the classic 70s albums by the band had been remastered.
Track one is 'Only You Can Rock Me', a song with some Status Quo sounding 12 bar blues riffs. Its clear early on that Phil Mogg is a very fine vocalist with a rich and powerful voice perfectly suited to this sort of rock music. The other jewel in UFO's crown is German guitarist Michael Schenker, who would quit the band after this album and go on to form the 'Michael Schenker Group'. The opening track is a great rock classic and I was amazed that I hadn't heard the song before somewhere, although it does have some elements perhaps borrowed from other bands, there is still enough creativity and quality to make it stand out from some of the hard rock dross.
After such a strong beginning 'Pack It Up [And Go]' keeps the energy levels going with an 'Immigrant Song' style drum pattern leading into a powerful rocker. Lots of reverb on the vocal and more white hot riffing from Schenker.
'Arbory Hill' is a rather unnecessary 'musical interlude', a 1 minute instrumental that would be more appropriate on a Yes album than here, where it sounds out of place with all the guitar and vocal flash. It does provide a nice link into Track 4 though.
'Ain't No Baby' shows a touch more musical ingenuity with Schenker doubling up his electric crunch with some tasteful acoustic picking. The chorus has a great anthemic feel to it: 'I ain't no baby!, so get outta my way!'....it's to Phil Mogg's credit that any slips in lyrical quality are more than made up for in his passionate delivery, which I think absolutely ranks him with Plant, Rodgers, Coverdale and any other rock belter you could think of.
'Lookin' Out For No.1' is a classic 'rock ballad' which borrows rather heavily from Bob Dylan with its main lyric in the chorus of 'how does it feel?, to be.....out on your own', 'Like A Rolling Stone' anyone?!. Despite this it would be a bit unfair to slate the song, which is hardly up to the mentioned Dylan track, but is as good as any other rock ballad of the 70s. Might be a candidate for a drunken rendition at Karaoke, in an alternate universe where more people have heard of UFO!.
'Hot N Ready' is a return to the harder rocking sound with another catchy riff from Schenker with the usual sort of sexual innuendo lyric found in abundance in 70s hard rock. Quite disposable but good fun all the same.
Next is the album's undisputed highlight, 'Cherry' is an awesome example of the 'Ballad verse', 'Rock chorus'. Mogg is on particularly stunning form here and Schenker comes in with a typically chaotic but brilliant bridging solo. Love the vocal harmonies on the 'We are Golden' bit leading into the chorus, so good. A perfect single length at 3mins 30secs, I think this pretty much sunk without trace on release, perhaps music fans had moved on to Punk and New Wave by this time, but this is a great track that everyone should check out.
'You Don't Fool Me' continues the high level as we reach track 8 in this remarkably consistent album. Thumping drums, more great solos and great singing, it's a shame this is followed by another slightly redundant musical interlude in the form of an instrumental reprise of 'Lookin Out For No.1'.
Next up 'One More For The Rodeo', not much variety in the sound from other tracks on the album, but again its very convincingly performed by a band at the peak of their powers. To finish things off there's another very decent ballad in the form of 'Born To Lose' with some very sweet and soulful guitar playing from Schenker, not evident in the other tracks so this provides a pleasant surprise. Three live tracks taken from contemporary tour dates rounds out this remastered album package.
So thoughts?, I'm impressed with this album for sure. Although I've talked a bit about where the album may have borrowed from other acts, UFO have no shortage of disciples themselves including Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slash all having sung the band's praises in the past. It's a great pity that Schenker left after this album because what he went onto produce as a solo artist was not really up to his work with both UFO and Scorpions. Likewise, after Schenker's departure, UFO struggled to reach these musical heights again now plying their trade in small to medium sized venues around the country.
Obviously this album is not going to be to everyone's taste but if you like the blues rock bands of the late 1960s through to the more stadium rock bands of the 70s, there will be something for you here.
1. Only You Can Rock Me
2. Pack It Up [And Go]
3. Arbory Hill
4. Ain't No Baby
5. Lookin Out For No.1
6. Hot N Ready
8. You Don't Fool Me
9. Lookin Out For No.1 [Reprise]
10. One More For The Rodeo
11. Born To Lose
12. Hot N Ready [Live]
13. Pack It Up [And Go]
14. Ain't No Baby
Produced by Ron Nevison
Released June 1978
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Only You Can Rock Me (2008 Digital Remaster)
2 Pack It Up (And Go) (2008 Digital Remaster)
3 Arbory Hill (2008 Digital Remaster)
4 Ain't No Baby (2008 Digital Remaster)
5 Lookin' Out For No 1 (2008 Digital Remaster)
6 Hot 'N' Ready (2008 Digital Remaster)
7 Cherry (2008 Digital Remaster)
8 You Don't Fool Me (2008 Digital Remaster)
9 Lookin' Out For No 1 (Reprise) (2008 Digital Remaster)
10 One More For The Rodeo (2008 Digital Remaster)
11 Born To Lose (2008 Digital Remaster)
12 Hot 'N' Ready (Recorded Live In Columbus 17/10/78)
13 Pack It Up (And Go) (Recorded Live In Columbus 17/10/78)
14 Ain't No Baby (Recorded Live In Kenogha, Wisconsin 14/10/78)