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Caught In the Crossfire

John Wetton

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Album Review

Upon leaving UK, before reaching Asia, journeyman John Wetton released his first solo album, Caught in the Crossfire. Although a vocal doppelgänger of Greg Lake, as a songwriter Wetton was always more of a team player, so there was no occasion in Wetton's past work where you could say, "Aha, this is what he'd sound like on his own." And he is largely on his own here, handling vocals, bass, keyboards, and even guitar while writing all of the material (though Peter Sinfield does chip in on "Get What You Want"). The result is surprisingly good; Wetton is clearly more comfortable writing songs on the bass, but he fleshes them out nicely with keyboards, supported by Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, embellished with the plaintive guitar leads of Jethro Tull's Martin Barre, and polished with a pair of saxophone solos from Malcolm Duncan. The songs could be seen as Asia on a more intimate scale ("Baby Come Back," "When Will You Realize?"), though in some cases the taut sound of UK is also evident ("Turn On the Radio"). While there are occasional missteps, such as borrowing the Monkees' "Daydream Believer" for "I'll Be There," there are also occasional moments of near-greatness, such as the haunting "Cold Is the Night." Far from the grab-bag approach that these maiden voyages often take, Caught in the Crossfire benefits from a consistent vision and execution. Wetton's not trying to dazzle you with his songwriting or range, just make an album of relevant, intelligent music. And he succeeds more often than not here. F.Y.I., the Renaissance reissue features different cover artwork than the original EG editions.

Biography

Born: 17 July 1949 in Derby, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

John Wetton has had one of the most varied careers in progressive rock. He has played in the majority of the big names in prog, in many cases in their classic lineups. His first major band experience came when he joined Family in 1971. He was featured on two of their albums: 1971's Fearless and Bandstand (released the following year). He performed various functions in the group, but his primary role was as bassist. Previous to this group he had recorded with Edward's Hand and Mogul Thrash. He left...
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Caught In the Crossfire, John Wetton
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