Put a bit of the music of Fairport Convention, Greenfield and Cook, Magna Carta and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in a blender and there it is; the typical folk rock music of the early seventies by Keith Cross & Peter Ross (both on guitars and vocals). Bored Civilians is the only album this English duo ever made. In 1972, they teamed up with guest musicians like Nick Lowe - guitar, Jimmy Hastings - flute and saxophones and B.J. Cole - pedal steel guitar, Billy Rankin and Steve Chapman - drums.
The Last Ocean Rider is the opening song of the album. The first part of this track is a nice, acoustic piece of music. During the second part there is a breathtaking slide guitar solo performed by Keith. Next is the title track; this is a relaxing, acoustic folk song in the vein of the legendary English folkie Donovan. More up-tempo and ideal for at a camp fire is the following song, Peace In The End. It's a typical song for the Flower Power period of our pop history. You can hear a lot of traditional American folk influences in the fourth song Story Of A Friend; especially the flute- and sax solo from Jimmy Hastings and the keyboards by Peter Arnesen are quite impressive. It's a strange combination, which made me think of Santana and Rare Earth. When I heard the ballad Loving You Takes So Long, for a minute I thought I heard the voice of Rod Stewart. Pastels, the next song, is more in the vein of a very early single by The Everly Brothers. The Dead Salute is also a very good folk song; just listen to the surprising banjo-, mandolin- and mouth harp solos. Songbird from Fleetwood Mac's fantastic Rumours (1977) album, have must been written after they've heard the sensitive piano ballad Bo Radley. These two talented songwriters put their best foot forward in the final song Fly Home. On the expanded, remastered edition of the album, there are two extra songs. Blind Willie Johnson is an ode to the legendary blues man with the same name. The hoarse Rod Stewart-like voice, returns in the last song Prophet Guilders.
Because their debut wasn't a great financial success, Keith and Peter went their own separate ways. Cross, apparently, became very ill and would never again appear on an album and now lives in America. Other reasons they split up were the fact that they weren't a gigging band and there was no hit single on this phenomenal album. What a pity these two talented guys didn't get the opportunity to become big stars in the world of folk music.
****+ Cor Smeets (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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