PETER FRENCH - Ducks In Flight (1978)
Renowned for fronting both Leafhound and Atomic Rooster, with this 1978 solo album Peter French took the somewhat surprising step of eschewing the heavy underground trademarks of both these bands and going for a more commercial approach. And it worked. There are influences from the likes of Bad Company, The Faces and Thin Lizzy here, on songs which are sharp with real melodic attitude. Moreover, French brought in a battery of highly proficient musicians to help out. From guitarists Brian Robertson and Micky Moody to drummers Henry Spinetti and Kenney Jones and keyboard player Tim Hinkley, the line-up gives the album a genuine feel of being a bunch of pals having fun, and in the process making a coherent sound. From the funk-fuelled opener Slipped And Stumbled, almost everything here has an upbeat momentum, with Shame, Shame, Schoolday and Hold Me Take Me having a swagger that even Rod Stewart would envy. Only on the rather mundane Without You does the pace slacken. Otherwise this is a purposeful success. The pity is that it’s French’s sole solo album.
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