Lee Speaks About Music… #206

Deeper Than My Roots – The Davey Johnstone Band


Something completely different in relation to much of the PROGMATIC! music I tend to purchase the most and what we have here is a brand new album by Elton John’s longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone. I’ve always admired this guy’s guitar skills ever since he was with the band Magna Carta back in 1971 on their Songs From Wasties Orchard album. Although his stint with the band was very short-lived when the producer Gus Dudgeon cottoned on to the young Scottish man’s talent and Elton was struggling to get the self-titled track done from what was to be his 5th studio album (counting the Soundtrack album Friends) Madman Across the Water back in the same year.

It did not take long for Johnstone to sort that particular track out and he’s always been a quick thinker with his arrangement and writing skills he was soon hired and has been with Elton ever since. Although he was only hired as a session player for that album the fact that he brought a lot to the table was why he was made a full-time member by the time the next album Honky Château came which spurned the classic hit “Rocket Man“.

Over the many years he has been with Elton he has co-written many songs and has been his chief musical director with his arrangement skills. Johnstone is very much a string player and is not only a well-accomplished player of the guitar but also the mandolin and banjo. Both the mandolin and banjo were certainly well utilised on both the albums Madman Across the Water and Honky Château and many more.

I’ve always loved Elton’s earlier material and what I like a lot about the album Madman Across the Water is that there was never a single released from it when it came out and it is perhaps one of Elton’s least commercial albums he has ever written along with his 3rd album Tumbleweed Connection. I totally love his mandolin playing on “Holiday Inn” which was also used along with “Goodbye” later for the B-Side of “Rocket Man”.

In a recent interview with Johnstone, he spoke about his favourite times playing for Elton and they were very much when they became known as The Elton John Band. That all really started with the album Honky Château when they were a four-piece with Elton on keys, Davey on guitar and both Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums. It continued right up until the album Rock of the Westies in 1976 and being as he is a family man and all his offspring are all budding musicians it was that period of his longtime career with Elton that inspired him to put his latest album under the name of The Davey Johnstone Band.

You could say that his new album Deeper Than My Roots is a family affair although he has called upon a couple of musicians to guest on the odd track or two, including his old bandmate Nigel Olsson and the American drummer Denny Seiwell who formed the band Wings with Paul McCartney many C-Moons ago. To help out with the lyrical side of things he called upon another old friend actor and poet Rick Otto.

Most of the inspiration for the songs came from the 60s and ’70s and you could say that Johnstone was going back to his hippie days, especially with the psychedelic album cover. I think he’s always considered himself a bit of a hippie with the coloured shirts he often wears on stage but before we go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…

The CD comes in a gatefold Digipak and the good thing about the Digipak is that it is sturdier in relation to a Digisleeve or File and holds the CD firmly in place with its plastic tray and hub. I do however find the print on the back of the cover very small and if like myself you are getting on a bit you will need reading glasses to read it.

The 16-page booklet is also in very small print and is paper-thin though it is printed on glossy paper and comes with the usual liner notes and credits plus the lyrics. It does not contain any informative information but it does come with some good pictures that very much relate to the history of his musical career.

I purchased my copy from Amazon UK for £11.49 which I see as good value for money and it’s around its right price point. Overall it’s a very neat looking package and the artwork just might be on the bright coloured DAZZLING! side of things but looks quite cool. You certainly would not have any trouble finding it either stored on the shelf with your other CD’s.


The album covers concept and design were done by his daughter Juliet Johnstone and I have to say she has done a smashing job of it and I am sure Davey is very proud of her. You can see by the pictures from the booklet below I pieced together how she’s captured her father’s musical career.

The way, the photos have been placed on each page of the booklet along with the songs and lyrics. It puts me in mind how Ian Beck did the concept design for Elton’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album and I think Juliet may very well of drawn some of her inspiration from that album.

The Album In Review…

Deeper Than My Roots by The Davey Johnstone Band was released on the Spirit Of Unicorn Music label distributed by Cherry Red Records on the 4th of February 2022. The album itself contains 12 tracks (counting the two bonus tracks) and has an overall playing time of 47 minutes, 28 seconds which is a very reasonable time slot for an album making it a lot easier to digest.

The biggest majority of the tracks on the album are songs with lyrics although it does have a couple of instrumental tracks that Johnstone had written a good few years back whilst other songs were written during the lockdown period that prevented live music from being played due to Covid. It was down to Elton John having to suspend his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour which very much gave him the opportunity and time to work on new numbers and complete the album.

It must have took quite a while for the album to get released looking at the album cover and CD because it does have the year 2021 stamped on them both. Even though the album is tagged as The Davey Johnstone Band it could also be seen as his second solo album and it was almost 50 years ago back in 1973 that he released his first solo album entitled Smiling Face that was released on Elton’s own record label Rocket Records.

Judging by the photo on that album cover you can see that Johnstone has always liked to keep things in the family and the cover design for that album was done by his wife. I am pretty sure that the picture is of his oldest son Tam Johnstone though I could be mistaken.

Being on the road with Elton and working on many albums with him for the past 51 years has kept Johnstone very busy, too busy to find the time to work on his own solo albums which is why only a couple of albums from his solo career have surfaced over all those years.

However, during Elton’s Big Picture Tour back in 1997/8 he did find time to do a collaborative album with John Jorgenson who like Johnstone has played for many other artists including the likes of the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr., Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, Roy Orbison including Elton himself.

Crop Circles was released on Solid Air records back in 1999 and were part of the Groovemasters series. It’s very much an album of instrumental tracks that showcase the acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo taking in musical styles such as Bluegrass and Celtic folk music.

Getting back to the new album most of the material was recorded at Johnstone’s own home in California and at Kenrose studios by Charlie Johnstone and Major Wynne respectively. No commercial studios were used and most of the recording was done with the use of Pro Tools.

Most of the songs on the album are very much played by Johnstone with his family supporting him though as I mentioned earlier there are a good few additional musicians and singers who make an appearance on some of the tracks. The couple of instrumental tracks that were recorded much earlier are believed to be the last recordings bass player Bob Birch had played on before he passed away back in 2012.

Johnstone’s first encounter with Birch was back in 1989 at the end of one of Elton’s tours to which keyboardist Guy Babylon introduced him to him, and along with Babylon, Birch, Billy Trudel and Nigel Olsson they put the band Warpipes together and churned out a one-off album entitled Holes In The Heavens.

The album was released in the US on Artful Balance Records in 1991 and later on Bridge Recordings here in the UK in 1996. It was through Johnstone that Birch got to play with Elton back in 1992 when Elton never had a bass player for The One tour. The couple of instrumental tracks on Deeper Than My Roots are dedicated to the memory of his life.

It’s not the first time Davey has done anything with his siblings and back in 2013, he performed with Tam (Vocals & Drums), Jesse (Bass) and Charlie (Keyboards) at the Elton John Expo in Los Vagas. This amateur video that somebody had filmed captures them performing Elton’s “Grow Some Funk Of Your Own” at the small venue which was in one of the suites of the building.

Actually, the film footage is quite good although the camera that captured it could not really handle the sound and it is badly distorted in various parts throughout. It does however show you how well his siblings have come on as musicians and no doubt he must be very proud of them.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by Davey Johnstone. All Music & Lyrics Written by Davey Johnstone & Rick Otto except tracks 4 & 9 Written by Davey Johnstone, Jesse Johnstone & Tam Johnstone. Track 11 Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney. Track 12 Written by Davey JohnstoneCharlie Johnstone & Rick Otto. Recorded sometime during 2021 at Kenrose & Chel Johnstone Studios, California, USA. Recording & Mixing Engineers Major Wynne & Charlie Johnstone. Mastered by Howie Weinberg. Album Cover & Concept Design by Juliet Johnstone.


Davey Johnstone: Guitars – Bass – Mandolin – Sitar – Vocals – Synth.
Elliot Johnstone: Lead Vocals.
Charlie Johnstone: Keyboards & Vocals.
Jesse Johnstone: Drums.

Additional Musicians.
Denny Seiwell: Drums (Tracks 1, 7 & 11)
Bob Birch: Bass (Tracks 4 & 9)
Tam Johnstone: Synth (Tracks 4 & 9)
Nigel Olsson: Drums (Track 5)
Major Wynne: Drums (Track 8)
Ben Babylon: Strings (Track 6)
Vanessa Bryan: Lead Vocals (Track 12)
Adam Chester: Additional Vocals (Tracks 8 & 12)

The Album Tracks In Review…

When listening to much of the material on Deeper Than My Roots I would say that the biggest influences are from The Beatles. He even chose to cover one of their songs and I would say the album is quite BEATLE-ESC! in places. Johnstone has always been a MASSIVE! fan of the band and I would say that most of the songs we have here hark back to the 60’s more so than the 70’s.

The album runs along the lines of rock/pop but don’t expect anything like “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” or “Saturday Nights Alright For Fighting” for example. It’s very much more of a tamer affair where he focuses more on the melodic structure and guitar tones unlike a guitarist album that is more on the flamboyant side of things to showcase the instrument like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai would do sort of thing.

To put it in a nutshell it’s more straightforward and not over the top and focuses on doing what is required for the song to work so without further adieu let’s now dive into the album and the couple of bonus tracks and take a closer look at it.

Track 1. Go Easy On My Heart.

The album gets off to a fine start with its opening track and it’s quite a catchy and easy-going pop song that does have a BEATLE-ESC! feel to it. I would even say the lyrical content harks back to when The Beatles first started out in the early 60’s with songs like “Love Me Do” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in that it’s a love song sort of thing. Although the relationship here seems to be breaking down sort of thing and has Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones might have sung back then “I used to love her but its all over now” 😊😊😊.

I even think Davey’s youngest son Elliot Johnstone sounds like John Lennon on this song and I have to say he does have a GREAT! voice. Even his father’s backing vocal harmonies also work very well and the vocal side of things does fit the musical side of things like a glove as you can see and hear in the video that was put out by the record company to promote the album.

You can see they went to town on the video and really have done a CRACKING! job of it. Like the video, the song is also very colourful and I personally think the song does have all the qualities to make a potential chart hit. Though the fact that many band members hardly get any recognition in relation to most singers who are in the limelight such as Elton for example, I don’t see the song actually making a dent in the charts so to speak which is a shame really.

This is one of three tracks on the album to feature the EX-Wings! drummer Denny Seiwell on drums who does a GREAT! job even in his ripe old age. Seiwell has had quite a successful career and has played the drums for the likes of Billy Joel and Liza Minnelli in the past and played on scores for films such as Waterworld, Grease II, and Vertical Limit. His drumming was also used in TV shows such as Happy Days and Knots Landing.

Besides vocal harmonies, Davey Johnstone plays acoustic, electric and bass guitars on the song and you can see he’s kept things nice and simple and utilised his guitars to give it the right textures, tones and colourful balance to everything. There is nothing over the top here except perhaps his shirts in the video 😊😊😊. Though all jokes aside you can see why the record company would put it out cause it does have that single potential and is one of the stronger songs on the album.

Track 2. One Look In Your Eyes.

This next song is also very BEATLE-ESC! and like most of the songs on the album more of a family affair featuring Elliot (lead vocals), Charlie (keyboards & backing vocals) Jesse (drums) and Davey (guitars, bass & backing vocals). The song itself is perhaps more keyboard-driven leaving Davey with only really the rhythm side of things to do on this one. It’s also the keyboard side of things, the mellotron in particular that gives it that Beatles sound that was found on songs such as “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” from around 1967. Like those songs it also builds up from a slow start into something with more of an upbeat to it.

Track 3. Meh Amour.

The same family quartet feature on this next song to which the title has a Spanish ring to it though given that it’s spelt “Meh” and not “Mi” it perhaps rings out to the Portuguese side of things. However, I am sure the translation of “my love” in English works out the same. The song itself has more of a Latin laid back ballad feel and approach and gives Davey a chance to utilise his acoustic guitars a bit more. He also adds some nice subtle lead on the electric to blend into it all nice too.

It’s quite different to the opening couple of tracks and perhaps something more along the lines of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour or something a bit more on the jazz side of things. I have to admit I had to check who was actually singing the song because it sounds like a woman is singing it and not Elliot 😊😊😊.

Track 4. Walt Dizney.

The first of two instrumental pieces was written a good while back whilst Bob Birch was still alive and it features him on bass guitar. The title was most likely inspired by it being more like Soundtrack music for TV and films sort of thing and sort of takes me back to Elton’s second double album Blue Moves from 1976. That was an album that also had a couple of instrumental tracks that run along the same lines of Soundtrack music “Your Starter For…” and “Theme From a Non-Existent TV Series” are a couple of prime examples.

This piece is not uptempo like those early Elton pieces and is much more laid back to which Davey is focusing on subtle lead lines and tones from his guitar. However, it does build up very well and gives him a chance to fly a bit at the end. Charlie and Jess are accompanying on the keyboards and drums respectively and his oldest son Tam contributes a bit of synth to the piece.

Track 5. Melting Snow.

This next song was inspired by a friend who knew he was dying of cancer and the lyrics very much reflect upon those circumstances which are once again very well put across sweetly by Elliot. The song also features Davey’s longtime friend Nigel Olsson on drums and regarding the lyrical content, Davey also felt it appropriate to throw in a bit of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns with the words “Ae fond kiss” which was also turned into a song and has been covered by many artists over the years.

It’s very much an emotional sad heartfelt ballad of a song as you can hear and see for yourself with the very first promotional single release that was put out by the record label. Besides some lovely picking on the acoustic guitar Davey’s bass also works wonders along with Hammond from Charlie.

Track 6.  You Lied To Me.

This next song harks back to the 60’s or even 50’s and is what you could call a rock n’ roll ballad of a song. The melody line played on the piano puts me in mind of “I Understand” by Freddie and The Dreamers and it also reminds me of some of the songs John Lennon was doing in the early 70’s. To be honest Davey’s lead guitar work on this does give it more of a 70’s feel and you could even think along the lines of what the likes of Showaddywaddy or even The Bay City Rollers to some extent were also doing in that decade.

The song is perhaps too heavily influenced by tons of artists that came out in the 50’s to the 70’s but nevertheless, they do a GRAND! job all the same and up till now this is perhaps the best lead solo Davey has played on the album. Besides the usual Johnstone CLAN! it also has some strings provided by Ben Babylon which were mostly likely played on the keyboard with the use of softsynth software.

Track 7. Deeper.

It’s back to the BEATLE-ESC! sounding numbers on the album and the album’s self-titled track digs deeper into the harmony side of things in that the vocal side of things is handled by a quintet. Singing along in unison with Elliot and Davey there is Nigel Olsson, John Mahon and Vanessa Bryan, of which the latter and female of the group does tend to get the most prominent part and you could say is perhaps the soul of this lot.

It’s the second song on the album to feature drummer Denny Seiwell and along with Davey, they handle the musical side of things. It’s quite a rocked up tune to which it is the harmonies that do give it that BEATLE-ESC! feel and I quite like how Vanessa’s voice gives it a nice soul gospel vibe with her GREAT! voice.

Track 8. Boxer In The Corner.

Another quite good ROCKY! number to which I dare say you could even associate that word with the title of the song being as it’s about a boxer. This song has more of a 70’s feel to it and apart from guitars, bass and synth it also is the only song on the album that Davey takes on the lead vocals himself and I have to say he does a very good job of it as well. It also features Major Wynne on the drums who engineered and mixed the biggest majority of the tracks on the album.

Helping out on the addtional vocal side of things is Elliot and Davey’s longtime friend and surrogate Adam Chester who he brings in when on tour with Elton rehearsing the songs for the set. One of the things Elton does not like doing when touring is rehearsing with the band so Chester is brought in because his voice sounds like Elton and is easier to work with the band at rehearsals.

Track 9. Black Scotland.

The second of the two instrumental tracks on the album and this one is also the longest track on the album and once again features the late Bob Birch whose bass really drives this one along with Jesse on the drums. It’s a piece that really motors its way along and the sort that would accompany you on the road. The title can be associated with black history and slavery although Davey got the title from a conversation with Little Richard who said to him after asking where he came from “man where you come from must be the black side of Scotland”.

Like the other instrumental piece, it was Tam who engineered it and once again contributed a bit of synth. Besides guitar Davey also throws in the sitar however, it is really Birch’s bass lines that go to town on this track and no doubt he is sadly missed.

Track 10. The Final Quarter.

From the longest to the shortest track on the album and once again this song also has a bit of a Lennon feel to it. It’s quite a subtle ballad of a song that features Davey on acoustic guitar accompanied by Elliot’s vocals only and the lyrical content is perhaps pertaining to not taking life for granted especially as far as breaking the rules are concerned. It winds up the main album very well as its closing track. Although the title may very well suggest, it’s not the end so to speak.

Bonus Tracks.

The album comes with a couple of bonus tracks to which I personally find a bit odd as to why they decided to call them bonus tracks in the first place. For example, it’s not as if this album came out a few years ago and this is a remastered reissue with which bonus tracks are commonly associated. In general bonus tracks are often made around the same time the album was being made and left off the album because they did not feel they sat in with the material that was written for the album at the time. They are also often used as B-Sides of single releases.

The first of the bonus tracks is a cover of The Beatles song “Here, There And Everywhere” and I can understand to a degree with it being a cover is why they used it as a bonus track. However, this was the very first song that Davey worked on with his youngest son Elliot and was the very thing that sparked off the reason for making an album with his siblings in the first place according to many of the interviews I have watched and listened to.

They do a fine job of the song, to be honest, and once again Denny Seiwell is the guy behind the drum kit. Though as with any cover I think the biggest majority are always going to prefer the original and covers are perhaps the hardest things to do any better than the original. I also think that being that most of the songs on the album are quite BEATLE-ESC! it’s not really out of place with the rest of the material on the album.

The second bonus track “All The Time In The World” was penned by Davey Johnstone, Charlie Johnstone and Rick Otto and is a very soulful meaningful song that features the GREAT! voice of Vanessa Bryan who really puts the soul and her soul into it. It is quite different to the other material on the album though I have to say this is a very well written song and not one that you would really use as a bonus track. It’s way better than that and one of the stronger tracks on the album.

This soulful song puts me in mind of somebody like Aretha Franklin and its musical structure was very much written around the piano to which I would credit Charlie with writing more or less the musical side of things we have here. You can hear it for yourself with the video that was made for it which Vanessa posted on her tube channel back in 2020.

It is, without doubt, one of the better-written songs on the album which I personally feel merits a lot more than being placed as a bonus track. It’s also not the type of song you would place on the B-Side of a single either and would easily sit more at home as the A-Side.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up my review of Deeper Than My Roots by The Davey Johnstone Band. It’s an album that is perhaps most influenced by The Beatles, and along with other influences they give the album quite a bit of variety. The material is very well written however the downside might very well be that the album does not really give you anything new, and in relation to today’s chart music and a lot of the younger listeners, I fail to see how it is really going to really appeal to the mass majority.

Like I mentioned earlier it’s not an album that showcases Davey’s true potential on the guitar and is like I said quite tame in that respect. It does, however, showcase the talent of his siblings and that may very well have been his intention with this particular album, he is also obviously a very proud father who is dead proud of his family and who would not be.

It would not surprise me if you hear a lot more from his youngest son Elliot Johnstone in the near future who really does have a GREAT! voice. It’s something Elton immediately spotted haven spoken to him to congratulate him after hearing the album. Elton has always been good at spotting new talent and helping them on the road to success so to speak.

In conclusion of my review, I would say there is no doubt the album is very well produced and most of the material upon it is very bright and easy-going like most pop music. It’s a very pleasant album to listen to and there is not really a bad track on the album. It is however perhaps too overinfluenced in places for its own good which really begs the question of who will it appeal to?

The answer to that is simply people like myself who are into Elton John’s music enough to note the GREAT! musicians he has had playing with him over all the years. When Davey Johnstone joined Elton back in the early 70’s he brought a lot to the table much of which I admire a lot. The biggest majority of Elton’s songs are not about flying lead guitar solos as you will hear on “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and are more about what is required to make the song work. Those are some of the attributes Davey brings to the table and are why he is very much Elton’s musical director.

In many respects, those are the same attributes Johnstone has applied to this new album and my personal highlights from the album are “Go Easy On My Heart“, “Melting Snow“, “Boxer In The Corner” and “All The Time In The World“.

Deeper In My Roots is not really an album that I would go running along to my friends to tell them about nor is it a GOTO! album amongst the many albums I have in my record collection. It does not really give you anything different to what you have already heard before. However, it contains a fine bunch of songs and is a very pleasant and colourful album to listen to. I certainly do not think I wasted my money on it either.

A Family Affair That Keeps Things In The Family…

The CD Tracklisting is as follows:

01. Go Easy On My Heart. 2:51.
02. One Look In Your Eyes. 3:53.
03. Meh Amour. 4:08.
04. Walt Dizney. 4:49.
05. Melting Snow. 3:52.
06. You Lied To Me. 3:23.
07. Deeper. 5:00.
08. Boxer In The Corner. 4:01.
09. Black Scotland. 5:46.
10. The Final Quarter. 2:14.
11. Here, There And Everywhere [#]. 2:20.
12. All The Time In The World [#]. 5:11.

The Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
The Album Rating Score. 6/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #205

Pulse (Restored & Re-Edited) – Pink Floyd


Released back in February this year, Pulse is yet another individual concert release from The Later Years box set that Pink Floyd originally released back in 2019. I am pretty sure most fans of the band are still eagerly awaiting for the box set release of Animal’s to be announced whenever Roger Waters and David Gilmour can sort out their differences that is so one cannot really say. Although according to many rumours it is expected at some point this year.

One of the good things about individual releases from box sets is that it gives us poorer folk or peasants the chance to get our hands on something we want without having to sell a kidney so to speak. Although I have to confess that this particular individual package was far from cheap and it was originally released with a retail price of £49 which is well over the odds for a 2 disc box set even if they are blu rays. As a matter of a fact, many fans were hailing it as a RIP-OFF!

I have to admit that I myself was in two minds about whether to buy it and I nearly cancelled my pre-order on Amazon a couple of days before it was due to be dispatched. The only thing that prevented me from doing so was the fact that this is a concert I went to see at Earls Court, London back in 1994. So for me even though I had the concert already on DVD from years ago my particular interest was in how the concert footage had been restored and re-edited more than anything.

That was me back then sporting the T-Shirt after the concert on Saturday the 15th October 1994. The ticket cost me £22.50 as you can see on the ticket and I was even offered £150 for it outside Earls Court before the concert started. Do you think I would sell it? Not on your Nellie 😊😊😊.

That concert was one of the most spectacular shows I have ever been to and all the lasers, projections and backdrops were even more spectacular than seeing Jean-Michel Jarre live at the London Docklands back in 1988. It took years for the DVD to come out of the concert and when it finally arrived in 2006 I was quite disappointed. Basically, because there was no way the film footage could capture everything I saw with my own eyes at the concert.

To be perfectly honest my own memories of that show even still till this day have a lot more vision than the way the film was edited for the DVD and I prefer to live with those than watch that concert on DVD.

My major reason for buying this new release was to see if it was any better than what they had done regarding the editing of the show and if it could rekindle some of those finer aspects of the show I have installed in my own mind and memories. To put it in a nutshell, would this new version give me something I could actually watch and get something from? Well, before I go any further let’s take a look at the artwork and packaging.

Packaging & Artwork…

The two discs are packaged in a Gatefold cardboard Digipak the same size as a DVD and are more or less a replica of how they packaged the 2006 DVD. Only it’s also stored in a cardboard hardshell slipcase and on the spine of the case is the Pulsing LED light that was originally only ever put on the Double CD release back in 1995. Also included inside the slipcase is a 60-page paperback book that is mostly filled with pictures from the concert, it does contain the usual liner notes and credits but unfortunately no real informative information in the way of a written essay.

To be quite honest I was quite surprised how well they packaged this box set in relation to how both Floyd and Gilmour releases have been done in the past where the discs come in single cardboard sleeves and this is a much better presentation in my book. However, I will say that I am very disappointed with the 60-page book in which at least 70% of the photos appear to be out of focus and in my opinion are a complete waste of time putting them in there.

I pre-ordered my package from Amazon UK back in December and it arrived on the day of its release. I did manage to get it for £43 and I believe it has come down slightly to around £40 now most likely due to the lack of interest and its high price point.

Personally, I felt it should have retailed for around £35 and not its original £45 price tag it was on Floyd’s official website. However, overall I am quite pleased with the package and to give you a better glimpse of the package I made this video presentation to give you a closer look and my own thoughts about it all so to speak.


The new design for this latest package was done by Peter Curzon from StormStudios under the direction of Aubrey Powell (Hignosis). Curzon was also involved with original design along with Storm Thorgerson. The photography was also taken care of by Powell along with Rupert Truman. To be honest there is not a lot of difference between the 2006 DVD and this 2022 release when comparing the front covers of the Digipaks.

As you can see in the photo above the only real change is that the new version has the eyeball looking objects on the sea instead of on the beach. There is perhaps more of a change with the background on the cover of the hardshell slipcase where the objects have been put in the desert.

Pulse (Restored & Re-Editied) In Review…

This latest double blu ray edition of Pulse by Pink Floyd was released on the 18th of February 2022. The restoration and re-editing that we have here was done back in 2019 and was originally released back then in The Later Years, box set as I mentioned earlier. The later years does not really cover a lot of Floyd’s career when you look at it and even though it takes in the years between 1987 – 2019 I find it a bit of a farce. Simply because in reality apart from the time the band got back together with Roger Waters in 2005 to perform at the Live 8 Festival they have not really done a thing since 1994.

You could say they only ever produced 2 real studio albums between 1987 to 1994 because The Endless River was made up of leftover material from The Division Bell back in 1994. So even if it looks like you get a lot for your £350 or more in the box set above there is very little to interest me. As a matter of fact The Division Bell was the only album they made that spoke to me after the departure of Waters and it was that very album that made me go out and buy a ticket to see them at Earls Court.

Originally Pink Floyd was only scheduled to play 3 nights at Earls Court but because of popular demand and all 3 nights selling out within a couple of hours, a further 11 shows were added and that’s how I managed to get a ticket. Just 3 days before I went to see them on the 12th of October, less than a minute after the band had started playing “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. The scaffolding stand on block 9 of the arena holding 1200 fans, collapsed, throwing hundreds of people 20 feet to the ground.

In total 96 people were injured, with 36 needing hospital treatment. Six were detained overnight with back, neck and rib injuries, but all were expected to make a full recovery. The show was immediately cancelled and re-scheduled for October 17th which was originally planned for a rest day for the band. Mr Smith the owner of the performance hall was fined by the courts to the sum of £108,971.

The concert was originally released back in 1995 on Vinyl, CD and Cassette and despite the much higher price of the double CD with its flashing LED light it still shifted many units and the album did extremely well reaching Number 1 on the album charts in 16 different countries.

It was also released on VHS Video and Laserdisc in the same year and the VHS video was the most popular format selling more units than any other format and even going 7 times Platinum in the US in relation to the album that went 2 times Platinum in the same country.

I myself much prefer a concert film in relation to any album when it comes to “Live Music” the only way I would ever buy a live concert on CD is if the concert was only ever released in audio-only. I have to admit that the VHS release escaped me though thinking back then there were a couple of reasons why it may have. The first being that I got fed up with buying concerts on tape and many of the concerts I brought on VHS like the Cassette wore out in no time at all and some of these things were sold at £20 a pop which was quite expensive.

The other reason why I may not have been interested in purchasing the VHS Video is that I knew that the DVD Player was only around the corner and was released here in the UK a year later in 1996. Laserdisc I completely avoided because it was way too expensive. The DVD Player also introduced Surround Sound and one of the things I noticed as I walked up to the entrance of Earl Courts Exhibition Hall on the day of the concert was that it had in huge letters “Pink Floyd in Dolby Prologic Surround”.

The birth of the DVD Player very much made me the surround FREAK! I still am today. It was a format that breathed a new visual and audio life and experience into watching live concerts, and even though it was bettered by the birth of the Blu Ray Player a decade later it is still the most used format for music concert releases today. Speaking of the Blu Ray let’s now take a look at the couple that comes in this package.

The Blu Ray.

The Blu Rays main menu on the first disc is very nicely animated and displays the desert background cover that’s on the hardshell slipcase of the package with the objects flying in and out and around it. It also has the eery sound of the wind of the desert running in the background. In my personal opinion, this is the best way you will ever see an album cover especially displayed on a large HD or Ultra HD Television screen. It’s pristine and brings out way more detail than any album cover could ever do.

The Blu Rays interface is very easy to navigate and comes with three simple options to choose from. “Play All”, “Tracks” and “Audio Set-Up”. Unlike the DVD release where the concert was spread over 2 discs along with the bonus content. This first disc contains the concert only so you do not have to change the disc. The second disc contains the bonus content only.

The main menu is also very fast and responsive and as you can see by clicking on “Tracks” in the two menus above it simply displays the tracks on one menu without having to load to another. The one thing I have noticed is that for some reason they have not included the last three tracks that were the encore. They are however included and not left out and the only way of getting to those is to either watch the whole concert or use the skip button on your remote.

Clicking on “Audio Set-Up” displays the audio options and here they have kept it simple with the choice of an LPCM Stereo mix in 48K/24Bit and a high-quality surround mix with 5.1 DTS-Master in 96k/24Bit. The surround mix is superior to the DVD and it’s good to see them do away with Dolby Digital which is really an inferior sound format.

The Bonus Blu Ray.

The Bonus Disc menu is also very nicely animated and displays the rolling waves of the sea with the objects flying in and out and around it. It also has the eery sound of the wind of the desert running in the background which I felt would have been better if they used the rolling waves of the sea. Though once again the menu is pristine and very impressive.

Here you have the choice of seven options to choose from “Play All”, “Music Videos”, “Pulse Tour Rehearsal 1994”, “Concert Screen Films”, “Documentary & Additional Material”, “Audio Only” and “Subtitles”. Once again the menu is very fast and responsive without having to load to another menu to display the bonus content. There is no audio option because all of the bonus content is in stereo only.

The “Music Videos” section contains three videos over an overall playing time of 18 minutes, 16 seconds and there is a slight difference in relation to the 2006 DVD that only came with a couple which were “Learning To Fly” and “Take It Back“. This new version also includes “Take It Back” but does not include “Learning To Fly” and instead you get “High Hopes” and “Marooned“. The latter of those two is in widescreen and high-res stereo of 96K/24Bit as it’s the 2014 version of the video unlike those done back in 1994.

Clicking on “Pulse Tour Rehearsal 1994” presents you with two different versions of the band rehearsing “A Great Day For Freedom” and you also get to see them rehearsing “Lost For Words“. You get a total playing time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds which is a lot more than the 2006 DVD they also come with a high-res stereo of 96K/24Bit. The rehearsals come from two different venues in the US to which the band rehearsed at the Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California on the 3rd of March 1994 and at the Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida on the 23rd of March 1994.

As far as I can make out “Concert Screen Films” are the same as what you got on the 2006 DVD. The only real difference is that here they come with a high-res stereo quality of 96K/24Bit and that they are all in one place instead of scattered around on the DVD. The other difference is that they also look visually more STUNNING! on Blu Ray. The total playing time of this section is 48 minutes, 21 seconds.

The “Documentary & Additional Material” is perhaps the most interesting section of the bonus material and although many of the same things that were on the 2006 DVD are included in this section such as the Tour Stuff, Pulse TV Advert and Stage Plans what we have goes into way more detail.

It contains interviews with lead technicians for The Division Bell Tour and has an overall playing time of 53 minutes, 37 seconds which is much longer than the 13 or so minutes that were allocated on the 2006 DVD. The audio quality is LPCM Stereo 48K/24Bit.

The “Audio Only” section includes a couple of live tracks from different venues. The first being “One Of These Days” recorded at the Niedersachsenstadion football stadium in Hanover Germany on the 17th of August 1994. The second of them “Astronomy Domine” was taken from their opening show of The Division Bell Tour at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on the 30th of March 1994. Both live recordings are in a high-res stereo quality of 96K/24Bit and sound GREAT!

The final section “Subtitles” gives you the choice of 11 different languages to choose from mostly from European countries but it also includes China and Japan. All in all the bonus material that comes with this package is very good, especially the documentary, concert screen films and couple of live tracks that are in audio-only. Let’s now take a look at the picture and sound quality plus the editing.

The Picture & Film Editing Quality.

The original concert film footage that captured the band at Earls Court back in October 1994 was directed by David Mallet who had a crew of 17 cameramen on board to capture all the angles at the show. One of the unfortunate things is that the show was filmed with videotape and not 35mm film making any restoration extremely difficult and the chances of HD quality go entirely out of the window.

The other unfortunate thing is that it was not captured in 16.9 widescreen resulting in them still having to use the original square box 4:3 aspect ratio making it even more unsuitable to be put onto a Blu Ray that is designed for high-quality HD purpose in the first place. This might also suggest that you have just wasted your money buying the Blu Ray and you may as well have brought the DVD or stuck with the original 2006 DVD?

Well in answer to the latter part of that question regarding wasting your money on the Blu Ray it’s certainly not the case although apart from the sound quality it is possible that the new 2022 DVD release could produce the same picture quality played in a Blu Ray player with good upscaling. But then again considering that the DVD is only a couple of pounds cheaper than the Blu Ray I would personally recommend you get the Blu Ray because it will give you better sound quality with a LOSSLESS! audio format.

The restoration and re-editing were done by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis from the original tape masters and I have to say he has done one SPECTACULAR! job of it. Powell has always had a keen eye for photography and that might be the major difference as to why this concert has come up so much better. Many parts of the concert do look like it was filmed in HD and some quite pristine quality in appearance. The only thing I can put this down to is the light and lighting at the venue itself and that the original master videotapes were still in excellent or immaculate condition to work with in the first place.

You will, however, notice some grain in the darker footage where the lights are not projecting on the stage but that is understandable and overall I am well impressed. I am even more impressed by Powell’s work on the re-editing of the concert which really gives the concert an entirely new look parts in comparison to the 2006 DVD that was edited by Dave Gardener.

What Powell has done here is bring out everything larger than life, especially the musicians themselves and it really does in many places look like it was filmed in HD. He’s also utilised many different angles to achieve the excellent result and he really has gone to town on the video footage and it totally blows away the 2006 DVD to which you might as well throw in the bin 😊😊😊.

A typical example is this snapshot I took above from the blu ray of the chrome cymbal stand on Nick Mason’s drum kit from “On The Run“. I’ve watched the same track a few times over on both the Blu Ray and 2006 DVD and you will not even find that close up shot on the 2006 DVD at all. I will say that most of this track does use more of the same angles that were on the 2006 DVD but there are many others where different angles have been used and the picture quality has been vastly improved.

No doubt Powell must have put in loads of hours re-editing the video footage and he really has done a TOP JOB!. When it comes to HD quality it’s not up to the standards of today’s concerts that have actually been captured with HD Cameras so it’s never going to look as SPECTACULAR! or PRISTINE! as the quality of the US + Them live concert that Roger Waters put out back in 2020 for example. However, I do feel the work he has done is worthy of 8 out of 10 and I can actually enjoy this version of the concert a lot more.

The 5.1 Mix.

The sound quality of the new Blu Ray is a vast improvement over the 2006 DVD and this concert never sounded better. I am not sure if James Guthrie who was the original sound engineer has done new stereo and 5.1 mixes and it’s a bit confusing when reading the credits on this 2022 release and the 2006 release. For example, on both versions, it states that the music production was done by Guthrie and David Gilmour, although on the 2006 release it states that the 5.1 mix was done by Gutrhie & Gilmour. Yet on the 2022 release, it states that both the stereo and 5.1 mixes were done by Guthrie only.

It was most likely that no new mixes were done and it uses the same mix that Guthrie did back in 2005 for the 2006 DVD release. I would have also presumed that Gilmour only ever sat in as an overseer whilst Guthrie did the mixes and the reason why it sounds way more superior on the new release is down to the differences between the audio formats and the disc that were used.

Even though the 5.1 mix on the 2006 DVD offered you two choices of 448kbps and 640kbps sample rate resolutions to choose from. The fact that they only used Dolby Digital meant that the quality had really gone out of the window even with the higher sample rate. These days many of the top surround mixing engineers are refusing to use Dolby Digital and this can only be a good thing in my book because it really is the lowest of the low surround formats when it comes to quality and bringing out any real detail.

As I mentioned earlier the Blu Ray uses a LOSSLESS! audio format which means that the audio is not compressed so you are getting all the data that was in the original recording. The 5.1 DTS-Master 96k/24Bit is way superior and fluctuates between 28mbps to 38mbps bringing out every detail in the recording giving you the full immersive experience. It really displays how well Guthrie’s 5.1 mix was in the first place to which the 2006 DVD could not really bring out all the detail and is another reason why the 2006 DVD might as well be thrown in the bin 😊😊😊.

Musicians & Credits…

Directed by David Mallet. Produced by Lana Topham. Executive Producer Steve O’Rourke. Music Production by James Guthrie & David Gilmour. Concert Production & Lighting Designer Marc Brickman. Concert Screen Footage by Storm Thorgerson, Peter Christopherson, Ian Emes, Peter Medak, Fiz Oliver and Caroline Wright. Restoration & re-Editing by Aubrey Powell. Package Design by Peter Curzon. Package Directed by Aubrey Powell. Stereo & 5.1 Mix by James Guthrie.

David Gilmour: Guitar – Vocals.
Richard Wright: Keyboards – Vocals.
Nick Mason: Drums.

Additional Musicians.
Jon Carin: Keyboards – Vocals.
Tim Renwick: Guitars – Vocals.
Guy Pratt: Bass – Vocals.
Dick Parry: Saxophone.
Gary Wallis: Percussion.
Sam Brown, Durga McBroom, Claudia Fontaine: Backing Vocals.

The Concert In Review…

Pink Floyd’s Division Bell World Tour kicked off in North America at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on the 30th of March 1994. It’s estimated that the band played to around 5.5 million people across 66 cities including the European leg of the tour and ended in Europe at Earls Court, London on the 29th of October 1994. In total the band played 110 shows and grossed over £150 million and at the time it was announced as the biggest tour ever. However, the record was short-lived as less than a year later The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge Tour topped it by taking in around £38 Million more.

It all sounds impressive and that the band made a fortune but when you count up what it actually costs to put on and promote a tour like this we are once again running into millions of pounds. Before the tour kicked off in North America the band had two airships made to promote the show. They also had another one made for their European Tour and had it flying over Battersea Power Station.

It also took a crew of 161 people and 53 articulated lorries to carry the 700 tons of steel for the new stage they had built. That alone cost £23,000,000. The European Leg of the tour was sponsored by Volkswagon and at every concert in Europe they gave away one of their top-selling cars the Golf that had Pink Floyd decals on it as in the picture below.

As with the 2006 DVD, the new restored & re-edited 2019 version captures the whole show that was filmed at the Earls Court Exhibition Hall on Thursday the 20th of October 1994. The concert runs for 2 hours, 23 minutes and 52 seconds including the end credits. I am pretty sure the venue back then had the capacity to hold around 18,000 to 19,000 people or even extra seating may have been put in for the 14 nights that the band played there.

Regarding the extra seating, I also could be getting confused with the National Exhibition Center in my own town of Birmingham and both of these venues were pretty much in competition with one another. Sadly the venue no longer exists and it was demolished between 2014 to 2016 despite many protests to save it and London lost another part of its heritage.

On With The Show…

The band get off to a CRACKING! start by almost playing the whole of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and play parts 1-5 and part 7 of it. Five days earlier on the night, I went to see them they actually kicked off with “Astronomy Domine” and then followed it up with this epic track from the Wish You Were Here album. They also have saxophonist Dick Parry who played on the original album with them and his sax features very well throughout the piece. No doubt this is one of the strong highlights of the show where even David Gilmour’s guitar gets to shine.

The band then roll out a six-song set from the post Waters years starting off with “Learning to Fly” this is perhaps one of the better songs from the A Momentary Lapse of Reason album and works very well with the laser projections and the lighting. It also gives Tim Renwick to play a couple of well TASTY! lead solos and he really is another excellent session player and guitarist who has worked with countless bands and artists over the years.

The video above was premiered on Floyd’s official Tube Channel back in 2020 and it gives you a good idea of how well the video footage has been restored and re-edited. Though you do lose some quality due to it being streamed and compressed on Youtube in relation to the blu ray. It still looks pretty good though all the same.

The band then turn their attention to their latest album The Division Bell at the time and processed to roll out three numbers from it starting with my personal favourite of the album “High Hopes“. They follow it up with “Take It Back” and “Coming Back to Life” then it’s back to their previous album as they roll out “Sorrow” and they finish off this part of the set with another GREAT! track from The Division Bell “Keep Talking“.

It’s all pretty much pre-post Waters material from here on and the band turns their attention to The Wall album and does a very good job of “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II“. My second highlight of the show is up next with a classic song from the Meddle album and “One of These Days” rounds off the first half of the set in style and more than pigs fly on this one 😊😊😊.

The band kicks off the second half of the set by playing the whole of The Dark Side of the Moon album and this is the strongest highlight and my personal favourite part of the show. They always tend to find GREAT! female backing singers for “The Great Gig in the Sky” and Sam Brown, Durga McBroom and Claudia Fontaine do a smashing job on it. They also go to town on “Money” by JAZZING! and REGAEFYING! it up.

The band leave the stage and come back on for a final encore starting off with the self-titled track from their 1975 album “Wish You Were Here” which is perhaps the highlight of this final section. This gets followed up by another couple of songs from The Wall to which the first of them “Comfortably Numb” might very well be another highlight only I feel it gets murdered by the way the verses are sung and they really do miss Waters on this one. I cannot take anything away from Gilmour’s vocals on the chorus and  his guitar solos which are superb.

The band go out in explosive style with “Run Like Hell” as you can see from the video above and personally I think this is much better done here live than the actual studio version. This is another song where you really need Gilmour’s and Waters’ voices to pull it off though Guy Pratt has more or less got Waters’s vocal parts down to a tee and his bass work on this live version is much better than what Waters ever did with it.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up my review of blu ray edition of Pulse (Restored & Re-Edited) by Pink Floyd. I have to say I am well impressed with the work that has been put into the restoration and re-editing of the video footage and they really have thrown some life back into this old concert. To be honest, there is not a lot you can really do regarding restoring old videotape footage in relation to 35mm film and if like myself you got the aLCHEMY Live blu ray by Dire Straits that was put out back in 2010 you will be able to see just how hard it is to try and work with old videotape footage.

Many people were well disappointed with that release and even though it had one of the top video and film directors working on the restoration (none other than) Dick Carruthers. The only real way I personally see it was worth putting that on blu ray was for the audio quality only and not the picture which turned out nowhere near as good as this concert we have here.

To be fair to Carruthers his task was a lot more difficult because that Dire Straits concert was filmed at the Hammersmith Odeon 11 years earlier back in 1983. The Hammersmith Odeon is also a very dark and dismal place (I can almost still smell the damp and mould in the place) and it’s not the best venue to film live concerts at all. He did however manage to restore some of the light back into that video footage but the grain is very intense and it is nowhere near the HD quality that is fit for the purpose of a blu ray, unlike the concert we have here which can look as if it was filmed in HD at times even if it’s was not.

I am pretty sure that where Aubrey Powell had the advantage of restoring the video footage for Floyd’s concert was with the lighting on the stage more so than the actual venue and that did help cut out most of the grain. His work on the re-editing is really down to his keen eye for photography as I mentioned earlier and he really has done a top job all around with this old concert.

In conclusion of my review, there is no way any concert on film can capture the atmosphere of being there yourself. Though if like myself you were there this newly restored and re-edited edition is by far the best version that has been put out. It leaves the 2006 DVD in the dust and both the picture and sound quality are superior to it. The 5.1 mix will even please Surround FREAKS! like myself to which it never really said a Dickie Bird to me on that old 2006 DVD. It really goes to show just how inferior Dolby Digital is in relation to DTS and an HD Uncompressed audio format.

I think even James Gutrhie himself will be pleased that his original 5.1 mix has now finally been brought out into the light and it really does give you a quite a GREAT! immersive experience and brings out much of the detail that was lost in it. I would even say that the sound more or less replicates the sound I can remember at the concert itself and for those who were at the concert, I do feel this new edition is a must.

The bonus material on the second disc is very good and well worth having and once again is a lot better quality than it was on the 2006 DVD. Plus you get a lot more of it as well. The concert screen films look GREAT! and I really enjoyed the documentary that goes into a lot more detail about what it took to put on a tour like this.

There are only really two things that are disspointing about this new release and the first would be it’s expensive price point. The second is the 60-page book (or booklet) that comes with it to which most of the photos are out of focus and do not really give any justice to those who took them. It would have been much better if they would have got rid of a lot of the photos and gave you something to read like a well good detailed written essay about the concert itself.

Despite it’s high price point I do feel a lot of work has been put into this edition and don’t really consider it a RIP-OFF! The package is very well made and and like I mentioned earlier should have retailed for around £35 to which I think is about the right price. Consdiering you can pick it up now for around £40 it’s not really that much over the odds to say its a rip-off so to speak.

It Still Breathes And Keeps Talking…

The Tracklisting for both discs is as follows:

13. TIME


1. TAKE IT BACK 1994
2. HIGH HOPES 1994
3. MAROONED 2014


14. BRAIN DAMAGE + ECLIPSE North American Dates
15. BRAIN DAMAGE + ECLIPSE European Dates
16. BRAIN DAMAGE Earls Court, London Dates

18. PULSE TV AD 1995
20. BEHIND THE SCENES Interviews with the Lead Technicians for the Division Bell Tour



The Package Rating. 10/10.
The Price Point Rating. 7/10.
The Picture Quality Rating. 8/10.
The 5.1 Surround Mix Rating. 9/10.
The Overall Concert Rating. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music…#204

A Song Of Spring – Tiger Moth Tales


Pete Jones is back with a new album and A Song Of Spring is either his 6th or 7th album depending on how you look at the Still Alive EP that he put out back in 2020. I would also say that the new album has more of a spring in its step so to speak especially in relation to the last album he put out The Whispering Of The World to which he was only accompanied by the piano. Not that was a bad album and if anything it was perhaps more of a meaningful songwriter’s album though I have to confess it’s perhaps not one of my GOTO! albums of his.

It appears that Jones perhaps has a fetish for the seasons and it’s not the first time he has chosen to write something about them. His 3rd album In The Depths Of Winter very much reflects on that season of winter and even though the album was not stripped back like his previous album and could be seen as a meaningful songwriter’s album. Likewise, I have to confess that is also not one of my GOTO! albums of his.

I think what it is about both of those albums is that they have more of a serious side given to the material that was written for them. They do not really allow none of his humorous side to shine through like it does and can do on his other albums. One of the first things I always look for when he puts out a new album is the titles and in general, you can usually spot the whimsical songs a mile off. For example when Jones released his 4th studio album Story Tellers (Part Two) back in 2018, both “Toad of Toad Hall” and “Three Little Pigs” instantly stuck out like a sore thumb.

Pete Jones is a man who has a big heart and can be a child at heart at times and his music can even instil and bring out the child in your own heart at times. His music even has the power to take you back to your own childhood days with songs like “A Visit To Chigwick” from his debut album and the many nursery rhymes he has done in the past.

The name Tiger Moth Tales he chose for his project can also reflect on why he will occasionally write songs around children’s nursery rhymes and there are times when I think this guy is a GENIUS! at doing such songs. His 4th album Story Tellers (Part Two) I actually saw as a return to form with the format that was well apt for his project name. It was a return to his magical sense of humour in many respects and it’s things like this I will often look out for whenever he puts out a new album.

There is one song in particular that sticks out like a sore thumb to me on this latest album of his to fit his project name like a glove. The question is can this latest offering also be seen as a return to form? Well before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork per usual.

Packaging & Artwork…

The CD comes in a cardboard gatefold Digisleeve that has die-cut pockets to hold the CD and the Booklet. The 16-page booklet contains all the lyrics and a few words of thanks printed on the back of it. It does not come with any informative information. However, there is a bit of informative information printed on the inside of the sleeve behind the booklet. The linear production and credits notes are also printed on the inside of the sleeve underneath the CD as you can see in the picture above.

Overall it’s quite a neatly presented package. I preordered my copy from White Knight Records and it arrived on the day of its release. It was priced at £12 plus £1.80 for P+P and I consider that to be a very respectable price and I have no complaints here at all.

The one thing I did however notice is that the wrong catalogue number has been printed on the spine of the sleeve. Though with the name of Tiger Moth Tales it is easy perhaps to see why the error occurred. White Knight Records is the sister of Tigermoth Records owned by Robert Reed. TMR is the abbreviation of Tigermoth Records which is generally used for cataloguing albums tied to that label. WK is the abbreviation that is generally used for cataloguing albums tied to White Knight Records and the number printed on the spine of this album is TMRCD0322 instead of WKCD0322.

Release Formats & Other Packages.

A Song Of Spring was released in the format of a Digital Download which is the cheapest way to get your hands on the album and is priced at around £8 on Bandcamp and other outlets such as Amazon e.t.c. The only other format is the physical CD priced at around £13.80 including P+P.

It was also released on CD with a companion disc entitled Spring re-Loaded as you can see above and this package is priced at £20 excluding P+P. One of the main reasons I opted out of this package is that the companion disc contains instrumental and alternative versions of the album tracks which is not really my bag. It also includes a couple of live tracks.

With the way Jones puts out many different bundled packages of his albums I dare say that at some point Spring re-Loaded will be made availble as a Digital Download for around £3 and available to purchase on CD for around a fiver.


The artwork was done by John Holden to which he also contributed a few lyrics to the album along with his wife Elizabeth. I think it’s well apt for the album’s title and just by looking how some of the trees are hoping about no doubt spring is in the air and in its step. It also puts me in mind of Lord of the Rings and it definitely ties in with Jones’s sense of humour.

The Album In Review…

A Song Of Spring by Tiger Moth Tales was released on the 4th March 2022. The album itself contains 8 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 57 minutes, 28 seconds. Most of the written material is on the lengthier side of things so you do have quite a bit more to digest and let sink in here. Although I do find a lot of the material accessible enough to draw you into a few of the tracks immediately, it’s not an album that requires many spins for it to sink in sort of thing.

As far as I can make out from interviews with Jones, most of the material was written and recorded last year sometime between February to July. He had originally planned to get the album done by April to release it in springtime that year however he got a bit of writer’s block with some of the lyrics and it took him much longer than planned. In the end, he called on his old friend John Holden to lend him a hand. Jones contributed to Holden’s first three solo albums so I guess this was his way of paying him back sort of thing. Although the album was completed in July 2021 he decided to hold on till the spring of this year to release it.

Another old friend he called upon for one of the tracks was Camel’s legendary guitarist and composer Andy Latimer. Jones has been keeping himself busy with other projects such as Cyan who are not only doing a few live shows this year but it is also rumoured that they are working on new material for another album and turning it into another ongoing project. He’s also been working on a new album with Red Bizare that will most likely be out sometime in the summer and it’s believed that he will be back on the road with Camel in 2023 as they have planned another world tour.

Getting back to the new album in question in contrast to the winter which is one of the seasons, he decided to write about back in 2017. Spring is a season that reflects light and life and the material we have here very much touches on not just the more cheerful and brighter side of life but also the dark side in a way of bringing a sense of balance to the album. To be perfectly honest one of the tracks on the album touches on my own recent experience of losing my wife and having to come to terms with it all.

I lost my wife to cancer right at the end of last year in the darkness of winter and I can honestly say that I was left with the feeling that life no longer had a purpose for me to be here. That woman gave me the best 42 years of my life and it’s only just in the last couple of days in the middle of March where the air of spring is starting to feel warmer and the lighter nights are coming back that have really given me some sense and feel of hope again.

What we have here with this latest album is very much a collection of songs that are all related to spring so it’s very much a concept album about that season. I would also say it’s quite different with how some of the songs have been structured and it’s like he’s very much combined POP with PROG! to a certain extent to get where he is going and there is quite a bit of diversity thrown in here to boot. I would also say that some of the songs have quite a bit of SAX! appeal and that instrument does get very well utilised on this album more so than others.

Musicians & Credits…

Music & Lyrics Written, Recorded & Produced by Peter Jones except for track 4 Recorded & Produced by John Holden. Tracks 4 & 7 Lyrics by John Holden. Track 5 Lyrics by Elizabeth Holden. Track 8 Lyrics by John & Elizabeth Holden, Peter Jones. Recorded at Peter Jones home studio sometime in between February – July 2021. Artwork by John Holden.

Pete Jones: Vocals – Keyboards – Saxophone – Guitars – Drums – Percussion – Recorders & Whistles.

Additional Musicians.
John Holden: Keyboards & Programming (track 4 & Pad track 3)
Andy Latimer: Electric Guitar (track 8)

The Album Tracks In Review…

As Pete Jones mentions in the bit of informative information that is printed in the Digisleeve. A Song Of Spring is an album that he wanted to evoke the spirit of rebirth, renewal, light and new life. By throwing in the contrast of darkness touches on the darker and sadder aspects lurking in the background that take you by surprise. Which is how life tends to be after all.

Looking at the lyrical content it’s plain to see that just like the lyrical content that he wrote for In The Depths Of Winter they are very meaningful lyrics. Although for me personally it was the musical side of things that I felt was overcooked on that particular album and it was an album that I felt because of the length of some of the tracks there was a danger of SNOOZEFEST! creeping in.

Although A Song Of Spring is a good 14 minutes shorter than his third album, most of its tracks are panned over the lengthier side of things like that album. You do get the feeling that Jones may well have gone back to that album with how some of the longer tracks have been placed close together like that album which created some of the SNOOZEFEST! in the first place.

Though I will say that long tracks are a common factor throughout the Tiger Moth Tales discography and in general they bring out more of the PROGMATIC! elements to it all. So let’s now see how this album turns out as I take you through the album tracks.

Track 1. Spring Fever.

The album gets off to a flying start and races its way along in GREAT! style. It’s very much a song that crosses musical flavours and contrasting styles with how it’s been put together over its near enough 7 minutes. It’s perhaps a “FEVER” that one would not mind catching and it really does have a spring in its step so to speak. The way the song has been structured you could say it was synth-driven although the guitar also makes up the rhythmical side of things so it’s very much a combination of the two. Although personally for me it’s the saxophone that perhaps steals the show here and he really has done a TERRIFIC! job on the instrument.

Musically it has me thinking of PROGMATIC! bands such as Camel and Genesis but has it builds itself along it goes into more of a swinging soul-jazz vibe with a bit of funk thrown in and more popular artists such as George Benson and Stevie Wonder spring to mind. I think some of the saxophone playing on this track will even give Gerry Rafferty’sBaker Street” a run for its money.

An edited down shorter version Rob Reed posted on his Tube Channel to promote the album before its release. However, it’s unfortunate that the video does not capture the main sax section that brings it all to a MAGIC! climax so you really need the album to get the best out of this song.

Staying with the musical structure one of the key elements that give the song such contrasting styles is really down to how the couple of breaks (or come down) sections differ from one another. Basically, they are the same musical backbone structure only more has been taken out of the second section to allow the sax and other soul-jazz vibes to come into play.

For example, the first-come down that comes into play around the 2:40 mark after a nice bit of nylon guitar, has that touch of Genesis to it in particular with the guitar which borrows a few lines from the “Eleventh Earl of Mar” from their Wind and Wuthering album. It’s not that the first time Jones has used these lines either and you will find them on his 3rd album In The Depths Of Winter along with some lines from the album that followed it …And Then There Were Three… Whereas the second section is stripped right back to bass, drums and percussion to which the bass steps up the funk allowing for Jones to give the sax a blast and boy does it give it a GREAT! one.

The lyrical side of things is also all well apt to spring and are very well written detailed words. I can see that Jones never had writers block for this song and one particular verse that stands out to me, especially after all I have been through with the loss of my wife is thus:

“Don’t think about the things
That you can’t change
A Brand new start
Let your heart be reborn
Like the seasons, begin again”

This song for me sees very much a return to form from Jones it not only touches on the meaningful side of things with its lyrical content that we got on albums such as In The Depths Of Winter and The Whispering Of The World. But where the form returns in is in the musical side of things with it having more go to it and being much more to my liking. There is also perhaps a lot more influences here than I mentioned and it is, without doubt, one of the highlights from the album and a very strong contender for the album’s TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 2. Forester.

This is another song where POP! is combined with PROG! and strangely enough, the lyrical content or story we have here was also inspired by a member of a pop band none other than Stephen Gately the singer of Boyzone. Gately, unfortunately, died of an undiagnosed heart condition back in 2009 before he could finish off a novel he was writing entitled The Tree of Seasons and it was his partner Andrew Cowles who used his notes to finish it off. The story is actually quite different to the picture I chose here which is actually a moth that goes by the same name as the title. The book however, is more along the lines of a fantasy adventure that was perhaps influenced by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings sort of thing.

Although with how the song starts it does sound a bit like an acoustic pop ballad of a song the interesting thing about it is that it’s not verse and chorus structured. As a matter of a fact, the song does not even have a chorus and the words are portrayed or put across in verses that go through quite a few transitional changes along the way. So it is more PROG! than it actually sounds.

What makes the song even more PROG! and interesting is the actual instrumental sections and a nice little fast synth solo comes into play around the 2:38 – 3:31 mark. This is followed by a short acoustic section that puts me in mind of early Genesis and even though the song utilises an Irish whistle instead of a flute the first few notes where it comes into play put me in mind of the sweet part that comes into play in the “Apocalypse In 9/8” section on “Supper’s Ready” from the Foxtrot album.

The song also features a couple of TASTY! electric guitar solos and builds itself up quite well towards the end before falling back into another Genesis like acoustic section and gets rounded off nicely at the end too. It is without doubt another very strong contender for the album’s TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 3. Dance ‘Til Death.

This next rather lengthy track weighs in at 10 minutes, 20 seconds and is the longest track on the album although the season of spring reflects life and light, Jones was looking for something darker to balance the album out a bit and for this particular song his inspiration came from Igor Stravinsky’sRite of Spring“. As with much of Stravinsky’s music, it was used for ballet and set to some bizarre story and the scenario behind this one depicts various primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring, after which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death. Hence the reason for the title here.

Jones was perhaps more inspired by the story than the actual musical side of things though he may have used some variation of the music as an inspiration as well. I have to admit the piece starts off BEAUTIFULLY! with this delightful little ditty on nylon-stringed guitar and is a bit reminiscent of something that Steve Hackett would do on the instrument. You could even think with how this intro has been placed before the main track that it was inspired by “Supper’s Ready” though the outcome is entirley something else.

It is, without doubt, the most powerful track on the album and utilises heavier power chords on the electric guitar although I would say that the main section is more keyboard derived regarding the structure of the piece and the ending bit, in particular, is most likely programmed. The sax even gets utilised in the piece and it also has John Holden lending a hand with the use of a keyboard patch or pad. It also features a nice synth solo towards the end and for me personally, it is the little nylon-stringed guitar ditty at the beginning and the powerful ending that are the most interesting sections.

It really does build up to a powerful crescendo at the end and sounds like an orchestra having a FRENZY! I would even say it would rattle Simon Rattle’s cage with how powerful the ending is 😊😊😊.

Track 4. Holi.

According to an interview with Jones on Progzilla Radio conducted by Jon Dunnington, the only thing Jones does on this track is sing it. The musical and lyrical side of things was all taken care of by John Holden including the production. It’s very much a song that has a touch of the East and takes in Indian culture or the ritual of spring. Jones had always had a fascination with Indian music in particular with the Sitar that he used on “Tigers In The Butter” on his debut album.

Holi is a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Spring, the Festival of Colours or the Festival of Love that takes part in India on the 18th of March. It’s perhaps something that Holden was more clued up on has he had been to the festival in India and seen it with his own eyes. The musical side of things was all done on keyboards and programming most likely with the use of soft synths and samples. The lyrical side of things remind me of the sort of thing that Jon Anderson of Yes would write about and sing and Jones does a pretty good job of delivering the words in the way of a joyous occasion.

Track 5. The Goddess And The Green Man.

This is the shortest track on the album though only by a few seconds than the previous track. Musically it’s a bit like the material that was on his previous album The Whispering Of The World in the way that it mostly features Jones accompanying himself on the piano, though he does throw in some keyboard strings, flute and a bit of acoustic guitar as it progresses along. In some ways, it puts me in mind of “Match Girl” from Story Tellers (Part Two) with the way he delivers it sensitively with his voice.

John’s wife Elizabeth Holden penned the lyrics and they take in the mythology or Pagan belief of the Green Man who is believed to symbolise the cycle of life, death and re-birth. The symbol in the picture I used here is a Pagan symbol that heralds Spring after a long winter and the renewal of lush vegetation. It all ties in very well with the album’s concept and is a pleasant way to simmer things down.

Track 6. Mad March Hare.

The quirkiness returns with this next track and this is what I look for on every Tiger Moth Tales album ever since he did “The Merry Vicar” on his debut album. One of the other things that also returns is the saxophone to which although he uses the instrument quite frequently for the other bands he plays for this is the first time he used it on his own albums since his debut album. I love the colour the sax lends to the song and in some ways, the way the sax is utilised on this album does add to making it that bit different.

There are some who do not like this side of Jones and prefer the more serious side in relation to the humour he puts to children’s stories on many of his albums. I myself in particular feel that some of these types of songs are what really bring out the magical GENIUS! side of his writing and songs like “The Piper” from his second album I certainly think you would have to be some sort of genius to pull that off and come up with something like that.

Many of the quirky and humorous songs do have a PROGMATIC! side to them including “The Merry Vicar” and although this particular song does not have the humour, it very much has those PROG! elements and more besides and this is the type of song that I have always said fits in with the title of his own project and fits it like a glove.

It was his own wife who suggested that he should write a song about the Mad March Hare and having the character from Alice in Wonderland tie in with the season of spring you would have to be HOPPING! mad not to do so 😊😊😊. Hats off to Kimberly for suggesting it is all can say.

It’s very much a playful song with JAZZY PROGMATIC! undertones and more influences from early Genesis with the wonderful acoustic guitar transition that pops in around the 1:46 mark. It really is another super arrangement has you can see for yourself with the second promotional video release that once again Rob Reed posted on his Tube Channel. It has to be another strong contender for the album’s TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 7. Rapa Nui.

Jones really ROCKS! things out on this next track and DRAMATICS! also are featured heavily along the way and you could say we are going on a VOYAGE! with this one. Once again John Holden penned the lyrics and I dare say the title and the subject matter of the song also came from him. The song itself tells the story of how the captain of a Dutch ship captained by Jacob Roggeveen came across the island of Rapa whilst searching for Davis Land and has he arrived at Rapa island on an Easter Sunday back on the 5th of April 1772 he gave the island the name of Easter Island. It’s been known by that name ever since.

Easter Island is the home of the mysterious Moai statues which there are over a thousand of them dotted around the island. It’s one of the world’s most isolated inhabited islands and has suffered its fair share of doom over the centuries and many fascinating stories have been told about it over the years.

This is another quite long track over its seven and half minutes, it does also tend to rock its way along over the first four of them and is driven along mostly by the bass, drums and guitar to support Jones’s voice. A couple of dramatic transitional changes comes into play and the first of them pop up around the 3:56 mark and is where the sax comes into play. This short haunting section reminds me of Rob Townsend’s style of playing on the instrument that can be found on many Steve Hackett albums.

The second dramatic transitional change is more CINEMATIC! and is perhaps inspired by Vangelis, especially with how he BIGS! things up with his orchestral approach to music. It’s also got his keyboard sound thrown into boot and fits in very well with the historical voyage across the sea here.

Track 8. Light.

What appears to be the final track on the album is also the longest given that it’s been allocated some 15 minutes, 25 seconds or so it appears. There are in fact two songs here and the latter is a hidden bonus track entitled “May Time” and “Light” takes up 8 minutes, 20 seconds of the allotted time here. This is the track (that I mentioned earlier) where the words reflect upon the light of spring giving us new life and hope again especially after losing your other half in the darkness of winter as in my own personal experience.

Musically it’s quite a pleasant song and the piano and acoustic guitar in particular give you shades of Genesis putting me in mind of “Your Own Special Way” from the Wind and Wuthering album sort of thing. However, the way the vocals are delivered gives the song more of a popular angle to it but all is well good here. It also features quite a nice guitar solo by Andy Latimer, though unlike many of his solos I would not say it was one that I would associate the guitarist with if I were to hear it on the radio and did not know who was playing it so to speak.

However, the “Light” is very much another contender for the album’s TOP SPOT! and that is really down to the well meaningful lyrics that have been written for the song. It’s very much a song that I simply cannot hold back the tears and one I would not play whilst other people are around me.

A minute of silence follows “Light” before the hidden bonus track kicks in and “May Time” is very much a Jazz-Funk instrumental track that Jones has so skillfully knocked up that utilises even more Sax, Recorders and Whistles. It perhaps adds a bit more than a spring in the step to springtime but nevertheless this sort of puts the icing on the cake and once again I am thinking of Stevie Wonder regarding the production. The sounds of nature with the birds singing away bring the album to a wonderful close.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my review of A Song Of Spring by Tiger Moth Tales. Considering the album is near enough an hour-long I did find that it seems to fly by in no time at all which can only mean that Pete Jones has once again come up with a very good album. It’s quite near enough a solid album with how well the material has been written and presented and I would also say that this album is very much a welcoming return to form after his last album and is what was needed to balance things up a bit.

As concept albums go it most certainly works as one and everything ties into the season of spring throughout. I would also say that this album is much more to my liking and right up my street and certainly a GOTO! album.

As an album, it flows very well and is very easy to digest even over the distance with having some of the lengthier tracks following one another. I cannot really fault the track placement and my personal highlights from the album are “Spring Fever“. “Forester“. “Mad March Hare” and “Light“. All of which I personally feel share an equal right of taking the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! and I simply could not pick a fave out of all four of them.

A Song Of Spring is an album that should appeal to most MOTHSTERS! and PROGSTERS! alike and the production speaks for itself. I cannot recommend the album enough and I highly reccommend you check it out. You can do so right here on Bandcamp https://tigermothtales.bandcamp.com/album/a-song-of-spring

Or alternativly here on White Night Records https://www.whiteknightshop2.co.uk/home/Tiger-Moth-Tales-c36255878

Brings A New Twist & Step Into Spring…

The CD Tracklisting is as follows:

01. Spring Fever. 6:53.
02. Forester. 7:51.
03. Dance ‘Til Death. 10:20.
04. Holi. 2:46.
05. The Goddess And The Green Man. 2:39.
06. Mad March Hare. 4:00.
07. Rapa Nui. 7:34.
08. Light (Hidden Bonus Track May Time). 15:25.

The Packaging Rating Score. 9/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
The Album Rating Score. 8/10.