John Wetton: Anthology: The Studio Recordings

Sailing alone around Asia.

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Ultimately, John Wetton’s solo career is a tale of missed opportunities, ludicrous record company politics and his own debilitating alcoholism, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some fine artefacts for prog diggers to savour on this two-CD collection from his six studio albums.

Caught In The Crossfire (1980) shows what he would bring to Asia, particularly on the slow, bass-driven Woman featuring Simon Kirke and Martin Barre. His second album, Battle Lines, 14 years later, is awash with synths and portentous acoustic guitars (check out Hold Me Now) by producer Ron Nevison.

Arkangel (1997) lacks Nevison’s expensive polish but features some of Wetton’s finest anthems (The Circle Of St Giles, The Last Thing On My Mind, After All) while 2001’s Sinister features a rare Ringo Starr co-write on the lush, acoustic Real World, amid more big choruses.

Rock Of Faith in 2003 reunites the Wetton/Geoff Downes partnership that retains its magic and leads back to Asia. And 2011’s Raised In Captivity rounds up guitarists Steve Hackett, Mick Box, Billy Sherwood and Steve Morse on the magnificent Lost For Words.

Wetton has sequenced the album non-chronologically which makes sense when you hear it. And Robert Fripp completists will need it for their hero’s considered contribution to Arkangel.

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Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.