Exposé Online banner

John Wetton — The Studio Recordings Anthology, Volume 1
(Primary Purpose PP004CD, 2015, 2CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2015-07-31

The Studio Recordings Anthology, Volume 1 Cover art

The release of this compilation of John Wetton’s solo studio work is likely due to his prior compilations, King’s Road (1990) and Anthology (2001), being out of print. Plus, he may have acquired the rights to these songs and is in a better position to profit from them. Fans of Wetton’s work with Asia and as a solo artist will be right at home among these two 32 song-stuffed disks. However, the “studio” part of the title omits his work with King Crimson and UK. Even the liner notes make pains to distance Wetton from his proggy past. So be it, but some of Wetton’s best work as a bassist and vocalist happened in those bands and to discount that part of his history is to leave the listener with an incomplete picture of the man’s talents. Instead we’re only able to appreciate Wetton’s uneven skills as a pop-rock songwriter. Songs like “Hold Me Now” and “Second Best” sound like refugees from the soundtrack to an 80s teen romance flick, while tracks like “Where Do We Go from Here” and “Say It Ain’t So” are indistinguishable from the melodic rock typical of Asia. The songs pulled from 1980’s Caught in the Crossfire and Wetton’s collaboration with Billy Sherwood, 2011’s Raised in Captivity, worked best for me. The writing and production are more potent and Wetton’s gifts as a singer and bassist are well represented. Interestingly Wetton admits his preference for 1994’s Battle Lines, though to my ears that material – suffused with Ron Nevison’s slick LA production – hasn’t aged so well. Still, despite the sense that most of the songs are at least 10 years past their expiration date, Wetton throws himself into every one. Hopefully this collection will bring this talented musician to the attention of a new generation of fans.


Filed under: Archives, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, John Wetton, Ian McDonald, Martin Barre, Billy Sherwood, Clive Nolan

Latest news

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Azalia Snail - Escape Maker – Anyone remember when indie rock really was far-out and "alternative?" Welcome to the lo-fi, do-it-yourself world of Azalia Snail, an eccentric, individualistic woman with an intensely...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues