Hughes, Glenn - 2003 Songs In The Key Of Rock

ARTIST: Hughes, Glenn
ALBUM: Songs In The Key Of Rock
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: Glenn Hughes - all lead vocals, backing vocals, bass * JJ Marsh - guitar * Jeff Kollman - guitar * Gary Ferguson - drums * Alex Ligertwood - backing vocals * Chad Smith - drums on 'Get You Stoned'

TRACK LISTING: In My Blood * 02 Lost In The Zone * 03 Gasoline * 04 Higher Places (Song For Bonzo) * 05 Get You Stoned * 06 Written All Over Your Place * 07 Standing On The Rock * 08 Courageous * 09 Secret Life * 10 The Truth * 11 Wherever You Go


There's very little I can say about Glenn Hughes that hasn't already been said many times before. The man is a legend. His work with Deep Purple between 1974-76 is unrivalled. I'd even go as far as to say that in my opinion (who elses?), 'Burn', 'Stormbringer' and the under-rated 'Come Taste The Band' are better albums than any recorded by the classic Mark II line-up. As for the Hughes/Thrall album (1982), don't get me started.

It all seems so long ago now. It's another year and another album from Hughes. I really hoped it was going to grab me, especially after I was disappointed by the Voodoo Hill offering and the album by the Hughes-Turner Project didn't quite live up to 'my' expectations.

The Songs

'In My Blood' captures Glenn wailing at the top of his lungs, in a full-on rocker with all the drive and energy of Purple-coloured days gone by. While it certainly commands attention as an album opener, it sounds very much like a man wheeling out a very tried-and-tested formula.

'Lost In The Zone' is slightly more melodic all round, it's funky edge complimenting the soulful (yet still very hard rock) vocal delivery.

'Get You Stoned' is another track which benefits greatly from a funk drive, a good example of the kind of thing Glenn has performed very well in recent times. Although not quite as heavy, it's a track which certainly wouldn't have been out of place on his 'Addiction' album from 1997. Nice to see Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers guesting on drums here too.

The funky soul aspect of Glenn's repertoire makes another appearance on 'Written All Over Your Face'. This is definitely one of the stand-out tracks, I'm left wishing the album featured more songs with this kind of feel, as these days I much prefer the softer side to Glenn's vocals. The song has everything going for it, right down to the vibrato-filled guitar solo. Proof enough that although this album could have been better, Hughes can still pull a great song out of the bag when it counts.

The retro-pop of 'Courageous' also presents itself well, kind of like Head East without the pompiness, with vocals which are still easily recognisable. 'Higher Places' is a ploddy Led Zeppelin-esque affair which at least explains the 'Bonzo' credit. While doing exactly what it says on the tin, it's not exactly Hughes at his best.

In Summary

While this album is solid enough and I'm sure we'll agree, it's great that someone as legendary as Glenn Hughes is still out there making music in 2003, but at the end of the day, he can do so much better.

Even as late as the mid 90's, long after Glenn's glory days, he was able to release consistent albums, if you've not done so, you need look no further than 'From Now On' and 'Addiction'. Me, I'm off to dig out the Hughes/Thrall album and crank it up to 11.

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