Omnivore Recordings is fast becoming the go to label for hard to find, out of print CDs by classic artists. In recent months they’ve released back catalogue titles by The Knack, Jellyfish, Roger Taylor and Big Star just to name a few.
Now Omnivore is giving Peter Frampton his due with 3 new releases starting with “Premonition.” Released in 1986 “Premonition” served as a comeback for Frampton who had been out of the public eye for 4 years and no longer on the A&M recording roster that had been his home since 1972. “Premonition” finds Frampton embracing the big 80’s production sound to varying effects. Peter’s singing is front and center and while many people know him as a guitar god it’s easy to forget what a soulful voice the English native has. The album scored a big hit with the song “Lying” which found Frampton in heavy rotation on MTV and rocking out once again on rock radio stations. Unfortunately “Lying” is one of the few highlights on an album that might have been better with fewer keyboards and a little less production. This reissue will definitely interest diehard fans for it’s inclusion of the 2 bonus tracks “So Far Away” and “Nothing At All.”
The second release in this Frampton trifecta is “When All The Pieces Fit” which was released in 1989 and produced by Frampton and Chris Lord-Alge. The album is the perfect combination of Frampton’s hard rock guitar and 80’s production and nails it with standout tracks such as “More Ways Than One,” “Holding On To You,” “Back To The Start” and “Now And Again.” This album slipped under the radar when first released and here’s hoping that this rerelease finds an audience with music fans who missed it the first time out.
Finally we 2003’s “Now” which is without a doubt the best of the 3 reissues and just might be one of the best albums in Frampton’s discography.
“Now” kicks off with the song “Verge Of A Thing” with it’s chugging guitar and sing-along chorus this tune is absolute perfection and set the table for what’s to come. Next up is the bluesy “Flying Without Wings” and then a double shot of acoustic based ballads with “Love Stands Alone” and “Not Forgotten.” Frampton pays tribute to George Harrison with his version of the classic Beatles tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Frampton does such a masterful job on this track that you can almost forgive his acting debut in the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie. This album has got something for everyone and there is not a bad song on the entire disc. Of the 3 releases I would definitely start “Now.”
Let’s hope Omnivore Recordings digs deeper into the Frampton catalogue to unearth some other forgotten discs such as “The Art Of Control” and “Breaking All The Rules.”
Premonition… 5 out of 10 drumsticks
When All The Pieces Fit… 7 out of 10 drumsticks
Now… 10 out of 10 drumsticks
Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.