Alan White
Ramshackled


2.5
average

Review

by e210013 USER (113 Reviews)
December 17th, 2018 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ramshackled isn’t an essential purchase, even for followers of Yes. There’s a bit of good material here, but the album as a whole simply isn’t that notable.

“Ramshackled” is the debut solo studio album of Yes’ drummer Alan White, and was released in 1976. The line up on the album is Alan White, Peter Kirtley, Kenny Craddock, Colin Gibson, Alan Marshall, Bud Beadle, Andy Phillips, Steve Gregory, Henry Lowther, Madeleine Bell, Joanne Williams, Vicky Brown, David Bedford, Jon Anderson and Steve Howe.


As we all know, Alan White is better known as the drummer of Yes for more than thirty years. But, before that, he was a very successful session drummer that played with a lot of musicians from local unknown bands as well as with many famous musicians and bands, such as, John Lennon, George Harrison and Joe Cocker, only to mention a few of them.

So, it was in this context that appeared his collaboration with some of the musicians that appear on “Ramshackled”. He had worked with Pete Kirtley and Kenny Craddock in the Alan Price Set and Happy Magazine. White, Kirtley, Craddock and Colin Gibson worked together in the short lived Griffin in 1969. In the early of 1970, White, Kirtley, Craddock, Gibson and Bud Beadle played together in the band Simpson’s Pure Oxygen. So, naturally he invited them to the album. “Ramshackled” was one of the five solo works released in the same period by all Yes’ members, during a hiatus of time by the band, after the release of their seventh studio album “Relayer”, in 1974. The other albums are Jon Anderson’s “Olias Of Sunhillow”, Chris Squire’s “Fish Out Of Water”, Patrick Moraz’s “Story Of I” and Steve Howe’s “Beginnings”.

“Ramshacked” is a very strange album for a solo album of any solo artist. Not a single track on “Ramshackled” was written or even co-written by White. So, somehow, this is a band project only tangentially related to Yes, released under the Yes’ name due to a fluke of circumstances. For his solo debut, White returned to his side project with other session men, dating back to before his membership in Yes. So, due to his music past with so many collaborations with so many and diversified musicians with so many different styles of music, and none of them was a prog musician, naturally we would expect a strange album too. Even in terms of quality, as well, there’s something about a 70’s collaboration of session men from outside of the progressive scene that almost seems to doom the project from the beginning. Throughout the various styles that are featured on this album, and to be fair, it’s rather diverse, or if you prefer, too much diverse, there seems to be a strange and exotic aura over the entire album. Perhaps any such collection is bound to suffer in comparison with Yes. But even on its own terms, though, “Ramshackled” isn’t all that so impressive, really.

“Ooooh Baby (Goin’ To Pieces)” begins with some good drumming and the presence of a distorted saxophone. The sound is mainstream with a few prog inflections. It has nice moments, the introductory section, the keyboard setting shifts and the acoustic guitars too. “One Way Rag” has jazz influences. It’s a sort of track that would dominate “classic rock” radio. The guitar solo and the wind instruments add a bit to the track. “Avakak” is the first instrumental, the most experimental and the most successful track. The piano introduction and the percussion section are good. It isn’t Yes, but it isn’t bad. “Song Of Innocence” features an arrangement that even Anderson couldn’t save. Howe’s role is good enough, but peripheral. The participation of the rest of the band is limited. “Giddy” returns the listener to the soul/funk of the initial track. The performances aren’t really problematic, but there’s still not much to recommend. “Silly Woman” is a reggae number. However proficient the musicians have been, the essence of the song isn’t great. But, the lyrics are the most dismal part of the number. “Marching Into A Bottle” is a good and brief instrumental, somewhat atypical of the album. Acoustic guitar, flute and percussion dominate the track, featuring a pleasant melody and good performances by all musicians. “Everybody” is another rock/soul track vaguely with a prog form. The vocalist attempts a Joe Cocker impersonation. White isn’t bad and the return of the steel drum is favourable enough. “Darkness” is a good track. The arrangement, the lyrics and the singing are really good. The subsequent keyboard and trumpet leads are good as well.


Conclusion: “Ramshacked” is an eclectic mix, sampling soul, rock, jazz, classical and even with a little bit of reggae. Somehow, you could say the same about Steve Howe’s “Beginnings”. But “Ramshackled” isn’t as good as all that, with White ceding the song writing to his old Griffin’s band mates Craddock, Gibson and Kirtley. If “Ramshackled” fails, it’s because the rest of Yes were talented musicians with a vision. White might just as well have gone fishing during Yes’ hiatus. Instead, he recorded this low key album of songs. “Ramshackled” great sin may be that Yes’ fans, who were curious for a window into what made White, knew so little about him now, as they did before. In reality, the revealing science of percussion it isn’t, but approaching this with realistic expectations, will go a long way toward appreciating “Ramshackled” for what it is a solo album from a 70’s session drummer who had only recently hitched up with Yes.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
December 17th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's now time to conclude my my prog journey through the solo albums of the members of Yes. And naturally I needed to close it with the album of White.

In reality, this is one of those albums that everybody knows its existence but that few have listened. Sincerelly, I knew about it but I never had interest in check it. Still, since I decided to do this journey, of course it would be a big failure not to include it on my reviews.

Surprisingly to me, it isn't as weak as I thought. In general it isn't a bad album. It's true that it has very few lines of prog, but in my opinion that isn't surelly its main Achilles' heel. The bigest problem of this album is that it's full of so many different styles of music, too many for my taste, that it seams a to me a kind of a sandwich with too much ingredients on it. And as we know, that never can be a great thing.

So, as I said before this will be my last review about the solo albums of Yes' members. And it will be my last review in this year too. In the next year I'll continue with my prog journey around Yes, but this time about Yes' members and their paticipation and creation of some collaborative projects and their participation in some other bands.

Merry Christmas my prog friends and a Happy New Year.

TwigTW
December 17th 2018


3789 Comments


Yikes, 2.5, I'm gonna skip this one... Thanks for shining a light on a lot of great music this year e. I really enjoyed the 'solo album' reviews. Happy Holidays!

e210013
December 17th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks a lot Twig. It has been a pleasure to talk with you in all these years, my friend. I hope to continue with your support in the next years, too to keep very high the flame of the prog rock music alight.

Happy Holidays to you my brother in prog.

Divaman
December 17th 2018


3779 Comments


Very good review. I'll also be passing on this effort, though. But I'm glad you gave it a review.

Digging: Screaming Orphans - Life in a Carnival

e210013
December 17th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks my friend. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Divaman
December 17th 2018


3779 Comments


Likewise e.

Jethro42
December 17th 2018


15909 Comments


Good review, mate. Kudos for your good work around Yes and its members. It's rare that you put on a negative review. So, it's even not White's material. Probably it was intentional by his record label (if he had one) or by White to record it under his name for the sake of doing more money, and it was in vein I guess. I won't get around that album either.

Happy Holidays to you guys and your loved ones. Keep on progging!

MotokoKusanagi
December 17th 2018


1838 Comments


another good one mr e, always a nice read

Digging: Special Request - Vortex

e210013
December 18th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@ Jethro

Thanks, my friend. Happy Holidays to you too and your loved ones. We'll see us again in the next year, keeping on progging.

e210013
December 18th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@ Moto

Thanks for your compliments. It's always a pleasure to be encouraged and to see our work recognized.

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

TheIntruder
December 18th 2018


411 Comments


Great work all over this year. Another great review. Continue your good work. So, have another pos.

e210013
December 18th 2018


2433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks my friend. Be welcome again. I felt your absence. I hope count with you in the next year again.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

TheIntruder
December 18th 2018


411 Comments


I've been a bit busy lately. Soon as I can I'll appear. Merry Christmas to you too.



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