UFO - UFO 1
An inauspicious start from this enduring rock band, who're probably best remembered for a couple of notable live albums and their loony tunes relationship with on/off band member, guitarist Michael Schenker.
 
'UFO 1' debuted more than a generation ago, in 1971.
Instrumental opener, 'Unidentified Flying Object' picks up on Syd (Pink Floyd) Barrett's spaced out psychedelia. A manifestation
of the unavoidable sixties' baggage carried by the mothership, as it exited that eventful decade.
Coupled with second track 'Boogie', UFO's embryonic style is conveniently characterised as a raw realisation of rock's blues' roots, informed by sixties' psychedelia.
 
There are echoes of the obvious - The Doors, Hendrix - but also of lesser known US bands like Moby Grape and Quicksilver Messenger Service.  
Way's pugnacious bass - an occasional surrogate lead guitar - and Bolton's bold, brash, brassy guitar licks are huge, larger than life elements. When allied to Andy Parker's unfussy percussive thump and Phil Mogg's knowing, expressive vocals, you could understand why the band's debut attracted such interest.
 
'UFO 1' is the sound of a special band just getting on its feet, still leaning on the occasional cover version as it sharpens its own songwriting abilities.
Blue Cheer to oneside, Heavy metal hadn't been invented when this debut was released, but the prescient, metallised blues blast of 'C'mon Everybody', on the band's cover of the Eddie Cochrane classic, was a breathtaking step into the unknown.
'Come Away Melinda', another cover and an oblique, anti nuclear protest song. Not better or worse than Tim Rose's original, but innovatively and entertainingly different. Heavier, meatier, rockier.
 
'Timothy' is a paean to sixties' acid rock "tune in, turn on , drop out" guru, Timothy Leary, while the cover of Bo Didley's 'Who Do You Love' opens in the image of a Leary mantra.
Ignore the schoolboy humour of the white boy blues of 'Shake It About' and the Ray Davies fixated 'Follow You Home' and instead lap up the trippy, badly scarred 'Treacle People' and the rock voodoo of Pete Way's 'Evil', the album's classy closer.
 
There's no getting away from the fact that 'UFO 1' is patchy, both in terms of the quality of the music and the quality of the recording, but there's also no doubt that throughout, you can clearly hear the birth pangs of one of rock music's acknowledged giants.

Written by Brian
Saturday, August 15, 2009
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Ratings

Brian: 6/10

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Review by Brian

Released by
Repertoire Records - 1971

Tracklisting
Unidentified Flying Object
Boogie
C'mon Everybody
Shake It About
Come Away Melinda
Timothy
Follow You Home
Treacle People
Who Do You Love
Evil

Re-release: 2009


Style
Classic

Related links
Visit the band page

UFO - Official Website

Other articles
Sharks - (Michael)

Interview with UFO vocalist Phil Mogg - (Michael)

You are Here - (Michael)

Showtime - (Michael)

Walk on Water - (Michael)

The Monkey Puzzle - (Michael)

Phenomenon/Force it/No Heavy Petting - (Michael)

Obsession - (Michael)

No Place to Run / The Wild The Willing and The Innocent - (Michael)

Making Contact, Headstone & Misdemeanor - (Michael)



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666 - Unrated

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