Blood On The Highway

Ken Hensley

Ken Hensley: the man's name is 'tied' with the most of 'classic' URIAH HEEP. Meaning: […]
By Grigoris Chronis
June 17, 2007
Ken Hensley - Blood On The Highway album cover

Ken Hensley: the man's name is 'tied' with the most of 'classic' URIAH HEEP. Meaning: the Rock legends' ex-keyboardist is - long time speaking - deep in the Hall Of Fame for the vast majority of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands. Responsible for many of the HEEP's memorable 70s tunes, Hensley comes back to 'music' life with a release that - for bands of his CV - is nothing more than a breathtaking album. So, hold your breath and dive in the magical moments of a musician associated with monumental songs like July Morning, Look At Yourself, Lady In Black, Easy Livin', Stealin' and Free Me.
Ken Hensley is 62 years old by now. Can you imagine this? His career started with THE GODS (along with ROLLING STONES guitarist Mick Taylor); a band whose lineup(s) also featured mammoth artists like Greg Lake (KING CRIMSON, ELP), Paul Newton and Lee Kerslake (both to join URIAH HEEP afterwards) plus John Glascock (of JETHRO TULL fame). The band recorded two albums in the late 60s. His post-HEEP 'deeds' include recordings with Southern Hard Rock superstars BLACKFOOT (Siogo and Vertical Smiles) plus US Shock Metal rockers W.A.S.P. (The Headless Children). Needless to say, Blackie Lawless' comment regarding Ken Hensley's contribution to keyboards in (generally) Hard 'n' Heavy music is as accurate as possible: Ken Hensley wrote the rule book for Heavy Metal keyboards as far as I'm concerned.
In a good quantity of solo albums from the early 1973 to 2005 - Proud words On A Dusty Self is a must-have for many Classic Rock lovers (even if Hensley considers it to be one of the lowest points in his career), while Cold Autumn Sunday featured all brand new versions of Ken Hensley original solo songs - it was a good not-so-much-of-a surprise to see Blood On The Highway being released these days. The surprise was not existent since Ken had - in various interviews - pre-stated he'd occupy himself with such a release. Blood On The Highway truly is a Rock Opera, focusing on the rise and fall of a Rock idol, to be evolving in a subsequent re-ignition. By reading the The Ken Hensley story upper title in the CD cover, you know what the reference is, right?
A relative book has been (or will be, I dunno) issued in relevance to the Blood On The Highway album, but let's focus on the music side. And we do we get here? An excellent concept release with tons of nostalgia moments - in terms of songwriting and sounds - by Ken Hensley, who - fine enough - does invite lots of guests to participate in this release. We see grand singers like Jorn Lande (LANDE/ALLEN, MASTERPLAN, ARK, MILLENIUM) and Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, TRAPEZE, HTP, IOMMI) featured in Blood On The highway, while John Lawton (URIAH HEEP, LUCIFER'S FRIEND, ZAR) sets the album on fire in one song and only! Ken has chosen the perfect singer for each 'era' in the concept, so It Won't Last is - so far - my favourite track off the album, since it features the astonishing voice of Lawton; the Lawton-HEEP days did emerge in front of me in seconds. In addition, tunes like Blood On The Highway (sung by Lande) and The Last Dance (Glenn Hughes is in it) spit emotion and 'atmosphere' supremacy. All these in an album featuring no bad cut; it's noteworthy to confirm how much 'magic' Hensley has poured in this effort. I really wish the promo copy had an 'attached' booklet...(just gonna wait to purchase the original CD, no worries).
The 70s 'aura' is scattered everywhere, many elements of British Melodic Rock will you also find, the vocal performances are amazing (Hensley's included, of course!), Okay (This House Is Down) becomes my favorite track in the next audition, and the production of Blood On The Highway will tug your URIAH HEEP heartstrings, no matter the cost! I was sceptic towards Hensley stating this album may be ...perhaps the most exciting time of my professional life in over 30 years...; I may be proven too suspicious after listening to the album for (another) 30 times! An the grade will - increasingly - climp up to...

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

"Blood On The Highway" Track-listing:

(This Is) Just The Beginning **
We're On Our Way */**
Blood On The Highway **
You've Got It (The American Dream) **
Doom (Scene 1)
It Won't Last ****
Think Twice *****
Doom (Scene 2)
There Comes A Time *
Okay (This House Is Down) **
What You Gonna Do ***
Postscript *
I Did It All *
The Last Dance ***

Ken Hensley Lineup:

Ken Hensley - Lead (*) & Harmony Vocals, Hammond, Synthesizers, Electric, Slide & Acoustic Guitars, Dobro
Jorn Lande - Lead Vocals (**)
Glenn Hughes - Lead Vocals (***)
John Lawton - Lead Vocals (****)
Eve Gallagher - Lead Vocals (*****)
Juan Carlos Garcia, Tommy Lopez - Drums
Antonio Fidel, John Smithson - Bass
Ovidio Lopez - Principle Guitars
Rafa Raposo, Dani Saiz - Guitars
Vicente Ruiz - Piano
Antonio Molto - Alto Sax
The Alicante Symphony Orchestra - Strings

linkcrossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram