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Big Sky

Peter Bardens

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Album Review

Keyboardist Pete Bardens continued his string of largely instrumental new age and atmospheric rock albums with 1994's Big Sky. The Camel alumnus' previous album, 1993's Further Than You Know, was a little heavier on the vocals, so this is a bit more like his superb Seen One Earth from 1987 and Speed of Light from 1988. Unfortunately, the songs aren't quite as strong here. Longtime vocalist Neil Lockwood, guitarist Neale Heywood, and drummer Jethro DeFries are still along for the Big Sky flight, and Fleetwood Mac drummer and longtime Bardens friend Mick Fleetwood makes another guest appearance. The lilting, lazy (in a good way) "China Blue" is relaxing. Bardens' more eclectic influences are evident on "Puerto Rico" due to its percussion- and horn-like keyboard riffs. "Big Sky" is one of Bardens' trademark hypnotic, flowing pieces. The lively instrumental "Gunblasters" is the best song here; the artist's repetitively catchy keyboard lick and Heywood's rhythm guitar chords and slicing solo are the highlights. "A Brave New World" starts out slow, smooth, and watery before exploding and receding back to a gentle ending. Bardens' former Camel bandmate Andy Latimer contributes backing vocals to "On a Roll," a percussion-heavy bit of light Caribbean funk. Bardens' short solo piano piece "Scarletti" wraps up Big Sky.

Biography

Born: 1944 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

An accomplished organist, Peter Bardens was a founder member of the Cheynes, prior to a brief spell in Them. By 1966 he was fronting a club-based act, Peter B’s Looners, which included drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Peter Green. The unit recorded a single, "If You Wanna Be Happy," but was then absorbed into the Shotgun Express, a soul-inspired revue that featured Rod Stewart. Bardens later formed the short-lived Village before releasing his first solo album, The Answer, in 1970. This informal...
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Big Sky, Peter Bardens
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