PHOENIX formed after ’70s classic band ARGENT disbanded, as it consisted of John Verity, Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit. Verity had joined Argent for their last 2 albums, replacing Russ Ballard; the band took on a change of direction, but Verity wanting to get back to a more straight ahead rock band came up with Phoenix. The band debuted in 1976 with their self-titled album. Not sure how well it did, but it is a classic ’70s hard-rock album, full of great guitar, Verity’s distinctive vocals, and a killer rhythm section., and stand outs like From The Ashes, Woman Like You, and Easy. Highly recommended ’70s rock listening, with Verity putting out a 30th anniversary CD edition some years ago.
Anyway, the band went in to record a 2nd album (which is the topic here), which was shelved as the record company at the time wanted the band to take on a more American radio friendly sound, hence 1979’s flop – In Full View. The band would release 1 more single before disbanding.
Now, nearly 43 years later that 2nd ‘lost’ album has been rediscovered and mastered for release by John Verity. Titled Out Of The Sun, with a cover that resembles that classic album cover for the Phoenix debut album, featuring 8 tracks individually penned by each band member, as well as a track from Chris White (Zombies).
Upon first listen through, it is safe to say if you liked that first Phoenix album – you will really like this! A great mix of rockers, ballads, a bit of funk, blues… Out Of The Sun opens with Are You Ready, an upbeat heavy rocker, very fitting musically and lyrically here. (Can’t help but be reminded of Grand Funk’s song of the same title). There are a couple of piano based ballads [featuring Rod Argent] – Fallin’, which is highlighted by Verity’s vocal, harmonies, and a smokin’ guitar break, as well as the cut When My Boat Comes In, again with a great high vocal,, a bit of synths, – this one would’ve made a fine single. Loser is a rocker, with a good bit of attitude; this song really makes me think these guys were really having a blast recording this stuff. Spider Woman is a cool sounding slower number, a bit funky, great groove, one of my favorites here, as is Take My Music, a bit more of an uptempo rocker, complete with some nice backing harmonies, a few changes, killer guitar sound; too bad this one fades out so soon. Winds Of Change, followed by You Got Soul close out this disc, both strong cuts, a bit of blues, soul, funk, and solid rock.
It is a shame this album was lost for so long, because it is a fantastic follow up and equally as impressive as the debut. Not a dodgy cut here. Just a very cool sounding guitar rock album of the 70s, from a tight sounding band that ended too soon.
RIP Jim Rodford, 2018
Order at > http://www.johnverity.com
Originally published: OUTSIDER ROCK /JANUARY 5, 2022/