U.K.
U.K.


4.5
superb

Review

by e210013 USER (119 Reviews)
August 19th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is one of the best prog albums made by a super group. Wetton and Bruford carried on where King Crimson’s Red ended.

“U.K.” is the eponymous debut studio album of U.K. and was released in 1978. The line up on the album is Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson, John Wetton and Bill Bruford.


U.K. was formed by four well known prog rock artists who had already played into other bands. It features John Wetton who formerly have performed with Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music, Eddie Jobson who formerly have performed with Curved Air, Roxy Music and Frank Zappa, Bill Bruford who formerly have performed with Yes, Genesis and King Crimson and Allan Holdsworth who formerly have performed with Tempest, Soft Machine and Gong.

But, before this, some other things happened before. It all started when Wetton and Bruford were members of King Crimson. As many we know, Wetton and Bruford were members of King Crimson between 1973 and 1974 and released three studio albums, “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic”, “Starless And Bible Black” and “Red”, and one live album “USA”, inside the band. But, in 1974, Robert Fripp decided to disband the group with no intention of reforming King Crimson.

There had been an attempt to form a band in 1977 with Wetton, Bruford and Rick Wakeman. Still, that never happened because Wakeman didn’t want it to happen. So, when Wakeman left, Bruford and Wetton decided to carry on once again and create something bigger. The premise was that Wetton would bring in a musician of his choice, and Bruford would do the same. So, Wetton brought Jobson, who he knew from his work with Roxy Music, in 1976, and Bruford got Holdsworth, who had played guitar on Bruford’s debut album, “Feels Good To Me”. That brought U.K. into existence.

So, featuring members of Yes, King Crimson, Roxy Music and Soft Machine, U.K. was one of the most prominent progressive rock groups of the late 70’s and one of the first of a concept that would be called “a super-group”. Various members of U.K. had all played together in their previous bands, but when the group was formed in 1977-78, it was the first time that all musicians have played together. However, the group was short lived. Still, the band kept a dedicated cult following years after their early 80’s breakup. U.K. released two studio albums but only their debut has this line up. Holdsworth and Bruford left after one album to form Bruford. Terry Bozzio replaced Bruford and they didn’t hire another guitarist. As a result U.K. became a trio with a classic ELP’s line up, keys, bass and drums. But, that’s another story.

“U.K.” has retained a dazzling mixture of the classic prog rock and the jagged-bulky jazz rock of the 70’s. The album has complex improvisations by Jobson and Holdsworth, as well as the usual brilliant Bruford and John Wetton in the prime of his creativity. Sometimes it’s rocking and some other times jazzy, but always very experimental with a wealth of new harmonies, sounds and ideas. The real sensation of this album, looking back, is the extraordinary contribution of Holdsworth's jazzy guitar style. His jazz style was, with a few exceptions, unnoticed in the prog community until now. Only he played with his fluid, squiggly riffs in the prog annals drew with just one album equal to the great guitarists Howe, Fripp and Hackett. Noteworthy is certainly the later so often spurned John Wetton, who here, far from the commercial attitudes as in Asia, convince perfectly well. U.K. didn’t turn out to be a mere King Crimson’s spin-off, or even plagiarism, but a band with a very own character. Without carrying the same rhythms or cadences through each song, U.K. implements some differentiation into their music, straying from the sometimes over-the-top musicianship that occurs with the gathering of such an elite bunch. The melodious finish of some tracks showcases the overall fluency of each member, and shows no signs of any progressive tediousness that could have easily evolved, really.

Conclusion: U.K. is one of the few big progressive super groups formed in the 70’s. It’s with Emerson, Lake & Palmer one of the two best progressive super groups formed in those times. It became the last great progressive rock band formed in the classic rock years. The musical skill of these four gentlemen is a joy and a blessing for our ears and is rare and truly amazing to see a band producing such a special crossover between so diverse musical styles with such a unique and quality sound. U.K.’s debut stands as a very strong and unique progressive album released in a time where most progressive rock bands were losing their steam. It’s really a pity that U.K. had such a short existence and these four musicians only have released this studio album and a couple of live albums. This is a truly great album, one of the most underrated, blending genres together into a rich and complex amalgam of sounds. There’s not a bad moment on this album. It’s excellent from beginning to end. Since “U.K.” was made in the end of the golden era of the prog rock music, it’s hard to believe and a shame, that a music lover doesn’t have this album in their collection. This is really an awesome line up and the musicianship is absolutely great. So, do yourself a favour, buy or simply check it, as you wish.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (77)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
ProgJect (4.5)
The superb effort of a short-lived group that never got the attention it deserved....


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And to close my reviews about Bruford projects, no other album could be better than this one. This is one of the best prog albums released in the end of the 70's.

Curiously and strangely, it has only one review made so many years ago by ProgJet of my friend Jethro, but a good one, indeed. Still, I think it's time to have another one, despite there aren't different points of view between us. Besides, I needed to do this and albums like these deserve more attention and not be forgotten.

I hope you check the album or revisit it. I'm waiting for your comments, as usual.

Madbutcher3
August 19th 2019


2348 Comments


I like a lot of the context in this review but the description of the music is a little too "track by track" without enough depth. Could do with a bit more work on talking about why those factors are effective, the mood set, ect

Decent review overall though, great album too, the In the Dead of Night solo still blows my mind

e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok, Madbutcher. Thanks for your comment and your help. But I didn't want the review was even much bigger. I preferred the review was more informative than personal. I left to the listeners the personal feelings about the tracks. Besides, we had already the other review more in that format. But I admit that it's perhaps a bit telegraphic on some tracks.

Madbutcher3
August 19th 2019


2348 Comments


I would consider eliminating the whole track by track element then, just talk about the album more broadly, the descriptions just aren't really detailed enough atm. Also, this IS a review, pretty much the one context where you say what you think of the tracks over anything else, so I think it's fine to get a bit personal

e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Madbutcher, I decided to change completely that paragraph. I decided to avoid mention the individual tracks on the album. I hadn't much time to do that, but I think it's not bad.

TheIntruder
August 19th 2019


422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review and nice to see a new review of this great album. It is a pity so few comments. Have a pos.

e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, it's true. Only two members till now. But I'm already used to it. After all, we aren't talking about one of the most known prog bands. For instance, my two last reviews about King Crimson had much more comments.

"C'est la vie", as our friend Jethro would say. We need to live with that, dude.

Thanks.

TwigTW
August 19th 2019


3820 Comments


Nice one e. This is such a great album that I haven't listened to in Million years. I'll give it a spin today, while I read your review.

Digging: David Bowie - Station to Station

Jethro42
August 19th 2019


15958 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're right e21 bro, 9 years gone since I wrote a review of this for Progject, a collaboration between Nagrarok and me, and 5 years gone since our last review (Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord).

This U.K. album is a blend of eclectic prog and jazz rock with KC's rhythm section, and a virtuoso guitarist and keyboardist/violin player who need no presentation. U.K. were welcome at the end of the 70s. Album contains beautiful melodies and exciting arrangements, instead of being noodling and over-bombastic as they could be. Shame they only did two LPs.

I don't have the time to read your review now, will do as soon as possible. C'est la vie ;)

e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This is such a great album that I haven't listened to in Million years."

This is one of the reasons I made this prog journey. There are many albums that we never paid much attention, the attention that they deserve really, especially albums like this.

Thanks, Twig. It's always a pleasure to talk with you. Tell me something latter, if you want.

e210013
August 19th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, many years passed Jethro. C'est la vie, indeed.

But I really didn't know that your project lasted so long. Amazing thing really. And that was a wonderful thing that you must be proud. It's a rarity to have a collaborated project, indeed, especilly in these years of individul personal values.

Ok, my friend. Tell me something latter. Since is almost midnight here, almost certainly I only answer you tomorrow.

Good evening to you and good night to me. Lol.

Jethro42
August 20th 2019


15958 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My review combined to yours are saying the truth. Pretty much everything has been said. UK sounded original with crunchy and punchy parts merged with spacey, atmospheric, ethereal segments. It's complex, but accessible. it's a team work, and every musician has the chance to prove himself. i think i have a copy since its release.

Good job, my friend. I wish more people would take the time to discover this album, but as we know it, progheads are harder to find on Sput currently. Keep them coming nonetheless, brother.

e210013
August 20th 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, it seems you're right. Progheads are hard to find here, nowadays.

By the way, I forget to comment one thing of your first comment. You said that Jobson is a virtuoso guitarist and keyboardist/violin player who need no presentation. That is right, but I really think he is one of the most underrated prog artists. The man has a true impressive career that passed by Curved Air, Roxy Music, U.K., and even very briefly by Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull and Yes. This is really amazing. However, he is almost only remembered due to Roxy Music, which is great of course. His work on the three albums he participated with Roxy Music is excellent. Personally I always had a great admiration by him and I always was a great fan of him.

I think this must be said. He deserves that recognition, really.

Thanks, my friend.

Jethro42
August 21st 2019


15958 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I got to know Eddie Jobson with UK first, then with Jethro Tull (A), Curved Air (Air Cut) and Roxy Music (Country Life, Siren) , and he did a very good job in all of those bands. I mainly like his versatility and adaptation from a band to another, and the way he can be gentle and yet tight and aggressive on his violin. He is really good at making progressive patterns.

Maybe you're right, Jobson is perhaps an underrated artist, but I think he's well known and appreciated into the prog community. It's just that he appears for short periods into sparse albums, here and there.

Cheers!

e210013
August 21st 2019


2533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, maybe you're right my friend. But you know, I've that feeling that he deserves a better recognition.

Cheers too. I'm keeping them coming bro.



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