Picks and Pans Review: Flesh and Blood
Obsolescence isn't always planned. Eight years ago Roxy Music was a cutting-edge band, driven by the strong personality of Bryan Ferry. His singing was seductive, and his tunes explored an ethereal world between sweet dream and nightmare. The rhythm was strong and fluid, and the group discovered street-corner-Romeo saxophone long before. Bruce Springsteen hired Clarence Clemons. In the days of bent notes and long-sustained tones, guitarist Phil Manzanera was one of the best. But Roxy petered out, and in 1977 disbanded—a decision the boys should have stuck by. Ferry, with Manzanera and saxman Andy Mackay the only survivors from the group's 1972 debut LP, simply coast on pink clouds of listless writing. The Byrds' Eight Miles High taxis but never takes off, and surely the band didn't mean to turn Wilson Pickett's classic Midnight Hour into a lullaby. "Young loving may be so extreme/Maybe we should try the same old scene," Ferry writes, defining his problem. Listening again to the glories of the old Country Life, Stranded and For Your Pleasure albums underscores the point: Flesh and Blood is just skin and bones.
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