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On disc: Martin Orford

The Old Road - Claudia Ehrhardt - 10 stars

The Old Road

The Old Road
(InsideOut - 2008)

Prog rock fans will know Martin Orford from IQ and Jadis mainly, in 2000 he released a solo album and The Old Road is the follow-up, but also his last one! Martin Orford announced to step back, coz he is disappointed and disillusioned by nowadays music culture which includes free music and also internet piracy. He don't want to deal with this any longer and so he takes his leave as an active musician as well as the label boss of Giant Electric Pea label.
Martin Orford gathered some old fellows and as everybody is part of the music world for a long time there is no need for the presentation of skill - just to satisfy the ego. And somehow the title can also be seen as the way Orford goes. It's the old road of sounds which aren't new or modern. Perhaps can be described as retro, but all this doesn't matter, coz the aim of this album was to play music and to say farewell to his fans. The opener is called Grand Designs and could be labeled as art / prog rock, but the songs what counts. And Mr. Orford is playing guitar and keyboards beside adding the vocals. After a sacral keyboard passage the drums of Andy Edwards present a short marching drum part, but then Orford and friends head into an instrumental part with a beautiful guitar passage. In the booklet you find detailed information about who's playing and the songs are accompanied by fantastic photographs which somehow capture the songs... With Power And Speed he presents an up-tempo instrumental tune which seems to be forced ahead by Nick D'Virgilio's drums. But keyboard and guitars give it some airiness... and somehow the song carries a happy vibe. John Mitchell took over the lead guitar and added some impressing passages. With Ray Of Hope Orford hands over the microphone to David Longdon. The semi-ballad comes alive with Longdon's emotional vocals. Dave Meros' bass seems to be the stable playground for Orford's guitar and keyboard. One of the highlights! At Take It To The Sun he passes the microphone - and bass - to John Wetton. The tune is a keyboard-based tune which got ennobled by John Mitchell's lead guitar! The classical-based piano piece Prelude leads into the title track The Old Road. Somehow the song reminds me of Asia and the next moment with the fiddle I have to think of some Irish folk band. The song will enchant you! And lyrically Martin Orford passes the message about what makes him step down. And even if there are 3 more songs, the mentioned ones are worth buying the album - and the rest won't disappoint you! ;)
I can understand Martin Orford's disappointment about the music scene and the way it went with internet. But it's a pity that we won't get another one like The Old Road, coz it will be a pleasure to follow The Old Road many times in future.

10 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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