When Robin George burst on the scene in the mid 80’s great things were predicted. With a vocal style reminiscent of Marc Bolan, his rockstar cheekbones and pop-metal sensibilities saw him lauded as the next big thing. The single ‘Heartline’ was all over Radio 1, yet somehow despite this and the heavy support of the rock press his career didn’t take off in the manner anticipated. A mystery really as his appeal should have straddled both rock and pop markets.
Whilst his commercial potential has never been fulfilled his talents have certainly been appreciated by his peers. Offers to join Asia and Thin Lizzy were proffered back in the day but a combination of bad timing and events beyond George’s control scuppered his chance to bask in the big time. ‘Overcome’ is a case in point. These recordings stem from a major label deal that fell apart in the 1990’s when grunge reared its head and arena rock crashed and burned.
Originally slated to be a solo record for George, the fates decreed that a chance meeting saw the prodigious vocal talents of former Deep Purple member Glenn Hughes added to the party. Hughes, freshly cleaned up from his decade long lost weekend of self-medication in the seventies and eighties sings his proverbial ass off on these recordings. The opening sparkle of ‘Flying’ immediately transports the listener back to the eighties and gets things off to a promising start. With acoustic guitars and synths to the fore underpinned by a growling guitar line, Hughes’ effortless vocals confirm his world class status as ‘The Voice of Rock’.
The soulful rock funk of ‘Overcome’ and ‘Sweet Revenge’ highlights the chemistry at work here. There’s some really hot playing and parping horns that draw comparisons to Sly and The Family Stone in their pomp – Hughes’ vocal gymnastics had me laughing out loud in appreciation and disbelief. Elsewhere the decidedly Wang Chungy pop-rock of ‘Machine’ and the shimmering ‘Haunted’ – heard on the film soundtrack to Highlander 2 – showcases versatility and highlights what might have been had label politics not scuppered their chances.
A lo-fi bootleg of this album has been doing the rounds for years, but this is after a mere thirty-three years the real deal – from the original master tapes. Sometimes these archive recordings should be left in the can but these are a fascinating insight and tribute to Glenn Hughes’ rehabilitation and god given talent.