GTR - King Biscuit Flower Hour

EricEric USA
edited November 2022 in Year-1997


ALBUM: King Biscuit Flower Hour
LABEL: King Biscuit
SERIAL: 70710-88021-2
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Steve Howe - guitar * Steve Hackett - guitar * Max Bacon - lead vocals * Phil Spaulding - bass * Jonathan Mover - drums * Matt Clifford - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Jekyll And Hyde * 02 Here I Am * 03 Prizefighters * 04 Imagining * 05 Hackett To Bits * 06 Spectral Morning * 07 I Know What I Like * 08 Sketches In the Sun * 09 Pennants * 10 Roundabout * 11 The Hunter * 12 You Can Still Get Through * 13 Reach Out (Never Say No) * 14 When The Heart Rules The Mind


You just knew when the GTR album came out, few in the progressive rock community would get behind Steve Hackett and Steve Howe and support an album with obvious commercial leanings.

It was Asia all over again, a blatant sellout and a sign of the times in prog rock's supposed 'dark age'. Personally, I loved the album, for two reasons.

The first was Steve Hackett, my favourite of all the prog rock guitar players and the man behind one of the best albums of the genre, his astounding 1979 solo 'Spectral Mornings' which should be in everyone's collection.

The second was lead vocalist Max Bacon who at the time was already in my favor for his work with Bronz and Nightwing. I thought Bacon had a promising future, but that didn't quite pan out with Robert Berry replacing Bacon for a second Hackett-less GTR album that never got beyond the demo stage.

The Songs

The 1986 North American GTR tour took the band through posh 2,000 seat theaters, naturally pulling from both the debut and the careers of Hackett and Howe.

Recorded on July 19, 1986 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles near the end of the tour, what's interesting is how much more dynamic the band sound compared to the album.

Hackett has said GTR was interesting 'for five minutes' but that's difficult to understand listening to this show and such a cohesive unit.

'Jekyll and Hyde' and 'Here I Wait' are both a notch above the originals and the unreleased 'Prizefighters' show the potential a second album might have had.

Midway through the set both Hackett and Howe dip into their more famous band's back catalogs. Steve Hackett cuts loose on the too cleverly titled 'Hackett to Bits' followed by 'Spectral Mornings' and the Genesis classic 'I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)', although it has to be said Bacon was no Peter Gabriel.

Steve Howe gets his shot with 'Pennants' from 1979's 'The Steve Howe Album' and of course 'Roundabout' brings the house down, but again Bacon was no Jon Anderson either.

Clearly Max fares much better on the straighter AOR material including 'Reach Out (Never Say No)' and the stellar 'When The Heart Rules The Mind' which outshines the original hands down.

In Summary

Never a scene to let a commercial album get it's proper due, it's no surprise the GTR album still inflames much of the prog world which is really too bad.

A great record and even better live band, GTR was a product of a time that unfortunately we'll never see again.

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