CD Reviews

John DuCann - 'The Many Sides Of... 1967 - 1980' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 14, 2012    
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Collection by an overlooked UK six-string slinger.

Best known for his time with Atomic Rooster, guitarist and singer John DuCann’s career was an accomplished one, covering Pop, Prog and good old Heavy Rock. Sadly the talented riff-man died last year, just as the finishing touches were being put to this collection of his work which covers five bands - six if you include a reformed stint with Rooster, as well as an at the time unreleased solo album.

DuCann’s first serious band were the Psychedelic Pop act The Attack and while ‘Magic In The Air’ and ‘Mr Pinnodmy’s Dilemma’, relied on Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd for inspiration, they do show the burgeoning six string prowess with which DuCann would go on to impress for many a year. By 1969 DuCann had moved onto the altogether heavier and subsequently more interesting Andromeda, with ‘Too Old’ sitting in Uriah Heep/Deep Purple territory, while the ambitious and intricate three part ‘Return To Sanity’ covers everything from acoustic and vocal sections to fiery guitar histrionics, becoming the sort of thing that fans of 60’s and 70’s Hard Rock will lap up.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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When an offer came for DuCann to join Atomic Rooster the guitarist jumped at the opportunity, although it has to be said that in truth it is his playing that really stands out on the three songs featured here. ‘Tomorrow Night’ is an unmistakable piece of DuCann as he trades licks with keyboard player Vincent Crane, although the gritty ‘Devil’s Answer’ and the stomping ‘Night Living’ are also the sound of a musician and band in top form. Ultimately Crane would opt to take the Rooster in a different direction, cutting short a line-up that was on fire at the time - with DuCann and drummer Paul Hammond forming the Bluesier, if no less heavy Bullet, who were forced to change their name to Hard Stuff after a legal dispute. The five tracks from both incarnations of that band which feature here are undoubted highlights of a universally excellent collection of songs. Sadly Hard Stuff fell apart, mainly due to a serious car accident in which DuCann was badly injured, with the guitarist then moving onto a solo project that featured Status Quo members Francis Rossi and Andy Bown as well as future Quo drummer Pete Kircher alongside Gillan bassist John McCoy for two wonderful tracks which add a commercial touch to DuCann’s always excellent guitar work. By 1980 it was back to Atomic Rooster, with two stinging tracks from the band’s reformation closing out this compilation in fine style.

An oft overlooked UK six-string slinger, this collection really highlights the strength of musicianship and compositional skills that John DuCann possessed throughout his career, something emphasised beautifully in the excellent liner notes which feature contributions from the aforementioned McCoy.

Steven Reid

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