Album of the week 05-2012: Trapeze – You Are The Music…We’re Just The Band

Besides having possibly the best album title ever, Trapeze’s third album ‘You Are The Music…We’re Just The Band’ is in many ways the perfect illustration of why I consider the glorious seventies the best musical decade ever. The way it blends British Hardrock, Soul and Funk with a dry, organic production that fits the exciting music perfectly is something that couldn’t have come out of any other decade. And no other band did this crossover with an appeal that was anywhere close as Trapeze’s.

By the time ‘You Are The Music…’ was released, Trapeze was already a road seasoned band. After slimming the band down to a trio following the debut album, the Brits released the powerful ‘Medusa’ album and did remarkably well in America, where they toured extensively. All the energy and musical togetherness made ‘You Are The Music…’ their magnum opus and though all the band members would all end up in more popular bands – guitarist Mel Galley in Whitesnake, drummer Dave Holland in Judas Priest and my favorite singer/bassist of all time Glenn Hughes in Deep Purple – a highlight, possibly even the highlight, in their individual discographies.

‘You Are The Music…’ shows the band doing what they do best in many ways. ‘Keepin’ Time’ and the title track are prime examples of British seventies Hardrock, ‘Coast To Coast’ is a brilliant soulful ballad sung expertly (of course) by Hughes, who would revisit the song many, many times during his solo carreer, ‘What Is A Woman’s Role’ shows Trapeze trying their hands at traditional Soul and ‘Way Back To The Bone’ is an irresistable vamp that is so incredibly funky, that it’s almost impossible to believe we’re dealing with white musicians here.

Looking at the individual performances of the members here, it almost seems like they’ve outdone themselves. The dynamic, dancable grooves of Dave Holland are miles away from the incredibly dull drumming he decorated Judas Priest’s eighties records with, Mel Galley is firing on all cylinders and Glenn Hughes…well…what can I say that I haven’t said before? The man is simply a brilliant, powerful singer and shows all of his strengths on this album. Just check how he switches from introspective to over the top in ‘Keepin’ Time’ or how lovingly soulful he sounds in ‘Coast To Coast’. Also, that raw tone in the chorus of title track is amazing. But let’s not forget his brilliant bass playing; the way Galley and Hughes fill the spaces they have left each other in ‘Way Back To The Bone’ is just amazing.

There’s no excuse to not listen to ‘You Are The Music…We’re Just The Band’. Even if you’re just casually into Rock, Soul and Funk, this will be an album of your liking and even in its own time, it was nowhere near as popular as it should have been. Today, fourty years later, the album has lost none of its initial appeal and Hughes must have realized that, playing many of the songs live for a special Trapeze set on his recent DVD ‘Live In Wolverhampton’. ‘You Are The Music…We’re Just The Band’ belongs in the collection of anyone who thinks he or she is in fact the music.

Recommended tracks: ‘Way Back To The Bone’, ‘What Is A Woman’s Role’, ‘Keepin’ Time’, ‘Coast To Coast’

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