Album review: Hughes/Thrall Band, Hughes/Thrall (1982)


By Steve Newton

The formation of the Hughes/Thrall band is somewhat of a marriage made in heaven for heavy-rock fanatics. Glenn Hughes, it will be remembered, was an essential driving force to the latter-day Deep Purple. His bass and vocal abilities highlighted the red-hot Burn and Stormbringer albums, and he was voted by megastar David Bowie as one of the seventies’ finest rock singers.

Pat Thrall is best known for his stint in the Pat Travers Band, and particularly for his wicked lead playing on the hit single “Snortin’ Whiskey”. In concert, it was not unusual for Thrall to blow Travers–no wimp when it comes to riffing himself–off the stage with flurry after flurry of seething blues barbarianism.

Considering the past credits of Hughes and Thrall, it was with little trepidation that I slid their first effort together onto my turntable and cranked up the volume.

As much as I’ve come to like the Hughes/Thrall debut, I have to admit that on the first couple of listens I was less than impressed. I probably expected too much too soon, or just didn’t know what to expect. The sound here is much more mainstream that I thought it would be, coming from so adventurous a pair of seasoned rockers.

But then again, I can’t blame the two for seeking a safe, salable formula. It seems that Hughes, when he joined Purple back in ’72, signed a ten-year contract that denied him recording privileges till just recently. That’s a long time to live off just a couple of records’ royalties. And I don’t suppose Thrall was heaping in the bucks playing second fiddle (and first guitarist) to Pat Travers.

In any event, Hughes/Thrall is a pretty decent record, especially the cuts “I Got Your Number” and “The Look in Your Eye”. But it’s not so much the record as the band itself that I’m excited about. Once these two feel each other out and get a sound of their own, it’s going to be dynamite.



Leave a Reply