Alpha Centauri - Alpha Centauri

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited July 28 in year-1977

image
ARTIST: Alpha Centauri
ALBUM: Alpha Centauri
LABEL: Salt Audio Devices
SERIAL: SAD003
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1996, Pacemaker Records (Canada), PACE005 * 2018 Rock Candy Records, CANDY408

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Jess Redmon - guitars * Randy Thompson - vocals, keyboards * Garth Hannum - bass * Kurt Smith - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hard Life * 02 One Night At A Time * 03 I'm A Rebel * 04 Earth In Motion * 05 Love Is A Curse * 06 You Shot Me Down * 07 Love Only You * 08 Make It At Rock 'n' Roll

Background

Here's a band best remembered by that one line quote from the International Encyclopedia Of Hard Rock And Heavy Metal. The worlds best undiscovered pomp band.) And since then, Alpha Centauri has appeared on everyone's wants list as the ultimate album to obtain. Was the hype worth it? IMHO, yes.

This album has a number of positives. Originally from Colorado, the band travelled extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest of the USA, before settling in Alberta Canada to release their debut album. The music was hard rock with lots of keyboard and piano embellishments from Randy Thompson, and excess guitar power from Redmon.

You will also need to bear in mind that this is late 70's hard rock, and as such, bound by the constraints of the era. If there are any modern day buffs trying to make comparisons to the high-tech achievements of todays AOR artists, then you'll be comparing chalk to cheese.

The Songs

Perhaps the only bands that I know who would veer into Alpha Centauri's orbit would be fellow Canadians Zon, Cinema Face and Avalon. The arrangements are technical, with similarities to style and sound. Only eight tracks abound, ranging from the hard rock intro of 'Hard Life' to the soaring keyboard masterpiece that is 'Love Is A Curse'.

Elsewhere, the synths are on overdrive alert on 'Earth In Motion', while 'You Shot Me Down' is an organ filled western drama, with southern style guitar. 'Love Only You' has elements of Roadmaster circa 'Hey World' contained within the song structure. 'Make It At Rock N Roll' sees Randy Thompson emulate Jon Lord's keyboard wizardry, and the song could very well be a Deep Purple work out.

In Summary

Talking of Deep Purple, the band dedicate the album to the late Tommy Bolin who died the year before. Thankfully, the Alpha Centauri album has become easier to track down now, and is available on Pacemaker Records in Canada, and in 2018 on Rock Candy.

As for the guys in the band, they are still around, though doing 9-5 and still involved socially at least, within music. Redmon, Thompson and Smith all still live in Colorado while Hannum has moved to Oklahoma. However, there may yet be some life breathed into the Alpha Centauri bubble once again. Lets wait and see.


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    That quote from the Encyclopedia of Hard Rock also made an impression on me many decades ago and for years I was led to believe this was an album that was truly indispensable and a monumental obscurity. Sadly after repeated listening over the years I've never been sold on this. I decided to give it a spin at work this morning and it still doesn't move me. George states 'You will also need to bear in mind that this is late 70's hard rock, and as such, bound by the constraints of the era.' I understand that point completely, but even still it reeks of third division hard rock/pomp. It's hard to get past the impression of similar period acts like Aerosmith, Kansas, Kiss, Starz, Ted Nugent, whoever, to realize this is overrated and not up to the hype.

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