UK - Danger Money (1979)

Having impressed the remaining prog audience and the most open-minded musical press of the late 70s, the combined forces of symph prog and jazz rock stopped being allies and became mutually incompatible while the band was touring. It was clear then that the most unsatisfied parties - jazz purveyors Holdsworth and Bruford - had to leave, and so they did. That left Jobson and Wetton in charge of determining UK’s direction, and that trend was focused on an ELP-ish bombastic symph prog with an incorporated powerful melodic aspect - ELP-ish albeit neither cloning nor ripping off. The trio was completed with the entry of drummer Terry Bozzio, who unfortunately couldn’t afford to let his particular magic develop within the band’s artistic confines, which had already been determined by Jobson and Wetton as more restrained, in order to wash off any remains of the jazzy grandeur that the estranged alumni had provided for the band’s debut album. On the other hand, “Danger Money” turns out to be a more cohesive album, indeed, and anyway, Bozzio can still manage to dispose of some room to display his own percussive skills now and then, appropriately bringing his peculiar sense of energy to the band’s overall sound. IMHO, ‘Caesar’s Palace Blues’ and ‘Carrying No Cross’ stand out as the album’s most accomplished gems. The former is a hard rocking tour-de-force, featuring Jobson’s most explosive electric violin performance ever: the powerful rhythm anchor provided by Wetton and Bozzio proves crucial in order to sustain an appropriate articulation for the incendiary, electrifying fire that keeps itself constantly burning at white-hot level. The latter is an amazing old-fashioned prog suite that dates back from the days of the “UK” album touring. Performed now by the power trio formation, it successfully conveys a solid variation of motifs and moods with robust fluidity. Both gems are showcases for the trio’s ability to interplay masterfully. I find tracks 1-3 less impressive in comparison, but still they are great tracks. ‘The Only Thing She Needs’ is an up tempo piece that comprises some of the best drumming provided by Bozzio: the way he uses his kit as a vehicle for dialogue with Jobson’s keyboard harmonies is awesome, and so are the successive violin and organ solos performed by the latter. Meanwhile, Wetton plays his bass lines as a bridge between his two partners. ‘Rendezvous 6.02’ is a melancholy ballad that conjures images of a lonely pub before the first light of dawn: the romantic atmosphere is delivered with absolute elegance and the complex rhythm patterns are structured with a deceitful air of simplicity - actually, there's a bossa-nova vibe in it that makes it subtly complex in many passages. Oh,and those eerie synth adornments and ambiences during the interlude are simply delicious. The post-apocalytptic lyrics, which set a portrait f solitude among ghosts, adds to the music's ethereal sadness. The namesake opener is the least impressive to me: it certainly is powerful and catchy - that’s undisputed - which makes it an effective opener, but in terms of compositional creativity it turns up to be less satisfactory than the other two aforementioned numbers. Now, let’s talk about ‘Nothing to Lose’. What can I say? It’s a favourite prog guilty pleasure of mine. This prog-pop showcase contains a beautiful violin solo and a clever alternation of 3/4 and 4/4, which makes it quite dynamic; it also comprises an inventive series of keyboard orchestrations that makes the song rise above the ‘intended single’ status. But those silly lyrics and those corny backing harmonies… my God, how they ruin what could have been just a nice prog tune, taking it dangerously closer to ABBA-meets-The Wings territory, instead. What was supposed to be a celebration of self-determination ends up a trivial sing-along about whatever. All in all, my specific objections regarding this particular song (which, as I stated before, I happen to enjoy) won’t stop me from labeling “Danger Money” as an excellent album, a very valuable successor of the amazing debut. - Review by Cesar Inca (César Inca Mendoza Loyola)


Track Listings

1. Danger money (8:12)
2. Rendez-vous (5:00)
3. The only thing she needs (7:53)
4. Caesar's Palace blues (4:42)
5. Nothing to lose (3:57)
6. Carrying no cross (12:20)

Total Time: 42:02
Line-up/Musicians

- Terry Bozzio / drums, percussion
- Eddie Jobson / keyboards, electric violin
- John Wetton / lead vocals, bass


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thank you!

7 de dezembro de 2008 20:01  

Hello, i listen to UK's Danger Money really a lot in these days. I understand your point of view at Nothing to lose. Its quite amusing if i imagine someone looking at this song from the other side (as you described ABBA-meets-The Wings territory). Thats why it feels to me like a bridge from one side to another, though. According to me, prog-pop with 'intended single' status is just right in modern prog-disco territory. However, for me the progress of carring no cross is the most amazing moment! The end of "The only thing she needs" gives my ears pretty accurate white heat as well! Thank you for introducing this album to the rest of the world!

2 de março de 2009 15:44  

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