With a sound that falls somewhere between Dire Straits and Pink Floyd, the goofily-named Wallycreates a musical ambience that is rooted in classic rock styles, yet vaguely contemporary-feeling. On their latest, Montpellier, they go lots of places, and it's an engaging ride.
"Sailor" opens with keyboard textures straight out of Meddle- complete with "seagull" guitar work, but then quickly shifts gears into a piano-based melody that owes more to Supertramp or Harry Nilsson. There are a lot of appealing qualities to Wally' music, but their not-so-secret weapons are steel and pedal steel guitar. Not sinceDavid Gilmour, Steve Howe and Glenn Ross Campbell (The Misunderstood) has steel guitar been used so effectively in this sort of music. Soaring, dive-bombing guitar runs are joined by female-chorus vocals (more shades of Pink Floyd, but with less of a space-rock bent) as the lengthy-but-never-boring "Sailor" unwinds......Read the rest of this review here.
Click here to listen to the interview.
Much to the excitement of progressive rock fans across the globe, UK '70s prog legends Wally have signed to Gonzo records and the first release will be the CD titled 'Montpellier'. Comprising of reworked demos from the band's earlier incarnation, along with new material written by founding members Roy Webber and Paul Middleton, the CD is scheduled for release on February 10, 2012 in the UK on Gonzo MultiMedia. Over the coming year the entire back catalogue of Wally albums will be repackaged in special edition sleeves and with added rare tracks not previously on those albums.
Wally, led by singer/songwriter Roy Webber, originated in Harrogate, Yorkshire in England in the early '70s. In 1973, after playing the northern UK pub rock circuit, the group entered a new act competition organized by English music paper Melody Maker. The band made it to the finals held at London's Roundhouse Theatre, but did not win. They did however catch the eye of one of the judges, "Whispering" Bob Harris, legendary DJ of The Old Grey Whistle Test. The runners-up prize was the opportunity to record a session for Harris's BBC radio show The Monday Program. Taking Wally under his wing, Harris secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records. "I really liked them," recalls Bob Harris. "I liked the swirling sound they made...acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, Fender Rhodes piano and pedal steel guitar. I liked their harmonies, the way their voices matched. I liked their influences...David Crosby, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. But most of all I liked Roy Webber's songs."
The group's eponymous debut album, recorded at Morgan Recording Studios in London, home of Black Sabbath and YES, was released in 1974. It was co-produced by Bob Harris and legendary YES keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who had seen Wally perform at the Roundhouse. "I will never forget the first time I heard Wally," Rick Wakeman relates. "I was completely bowled over by both the music and enthusiasm of the guys in the band for what they were doing. Whilst singing their praises to all the music industry I came across over the next few weeks, which included my management at the time, and Phil Carson, who was the head of Atlantic Records, was discovering that my great friend Bob Harris was also a massive fan and this culminated in the pair of us having the privilege of producing their first album together."
After Wally's debut release, now managed by Brian Lane, best known as the manager of YES, embarked on a series of tours through the UK, Japan and US and also made an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. "The band recorded sessions for my 'Sounds of the '70s' show on Radio 1 and played on Whistle Test," says Bob Harris. "They slept on the floor of my London flat, we did big tours together, bought one-legged pedal steel guitars and broke the bar-bill record at Morgan as half of Harrogate arrived to put a drink on our tab, or a tab on our drink...we didn't care. We were having far too much of a good time." "The great thing about Wally for me was the fact that they were as tremendous on stage as they were in the studio," adds Rick Wakeman, "so I had no qualms whatsoever when inviting them onto the bill at my 'Journey To The Centre of the Earth' concert at Crystal Palace in the summer of 1974, and as expected, they were tremendous." Wally released a second album titled 'Valley Gardens', but by that time continual touring had taken its toll and the band eventually parted after Atlantic ended their contract. Wally's members would go their separate ways, only to reunite after a 30 year hiatus!
In 2009, the surviving members of Wally's original line-up (Roy Webber, Paul Middleton, Pete Sage, Roger Narraway and Nick Glennie-Smith, augmented by Frank Mizen on pedal steel and Will Jackson on guitar) reunited and performed to a sell out crowd in their hometown of Harrogate. A DVD of the concert titled 'The Urban Man' was released later that year. Which brings us to the release of the bands first studio release in decades 'Montpellier'. "I've always believed that if music is placed above individuals as regards to importance, then it will live on forever," says Rick Wakeman about Wally's reunion. "It's a relief to report it still has all the qualities that made this instrumental band special all those years ago," says Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser about Wally's new CD. "Emotional but not sentimental, epic but grounded, warmly melodic but with the emphasis on harmonies and the overall feel than the central riff." Along with playing another reunion show in April 2011, Wally's track "Your Own Way" from their debut album has been included on the latest The Old Grey Whistle Test country compilation album to be released later this year.
Listen to the Wally and Jackson<>Webber interviews at the Gonzo Media Group website.
Click here to redirect to Gonzo Radio.
Hi Folks, apologies for being quiet recently but now there is some exciting news.
Tune in to hear about the new Jackson Webber band (I can't believe it's not Wally) interview, complete with new studio track on www.classicrockradio.eu on Friday 14th of October 8pm, repeated Saturday 15th October 8pm.
Tune in again to hear an interview with Wally on www.classicrockradio.eu on Friday 29th October 8pm, repeated Saturday 30th October 8pm.
Both Interviews can be listened to after that on the classicrock radio 'listen again' section.
Let us know what you think after listening on the www.wallymusic.co.uk website.
We hope you like the new track.