CD Review: Glenn Hughes - Live In Wolverhampton

Glenn Hughes tackles his extensive catalog in this live set.
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Glenn Hughes' career has seen many highs and lows, both on and off the stage. From his promising beginnings in Trapeze to a choice spot in Deep Purple to over a decade of substance abuse followed by more than two decades (and counting) of sobriety, he has seen and done it all, both musically and otherwise. After more than 40 years, Hughes is showing no signs of slowing down. In recent years, he has released three critically acclaimed albums with Black Country Communion, as well as his own strong solo albums. While on tour in 2009 for his album, First Nuclear Underground Kitchen, Hughes recorded a two-night stand in his hometown of Bilston, Wolverhampton, the results of which are captured on Glenn Hughes -- Live In Wolverhampton.

The first of these nights was dedicated to songs from throughout Hughes' long career. The second, entitled "You Are The Music: An Evening Of Trapeze," marked the first time he had performed songs from before his stint in Deep Purple with his solo band. The night was made all the more poignant by the recent passing of his Trapeze band mate, Mel Galley.

Disc one leads off with "Muscle And Blood," from 1982's Hughes/Thrall album. Hughes comes out of the gate with a strong vocal on this gritty, mid-tempo rocker.  Music From The Divine's "You Got Soul" follows and the song delivers just that. The track mixes Hughes' love for funk music with a Hendrix-inspired edge and shows off the impressive talents of drummer Steve Stevens.

A pair of Deep Purple classics make up the centerpiece of disc one. "What's Going On Here" and "Mistreated," both from Burn, really shine in these new renditions. Guitarist Jeff Kollman does his best Ritchie Blackmore on the tracks, staying true to their original feel while adding his own flourishes while Hughes is in fine voice for both.

Disc two is dedicated to the Trapeze material played in the second show and opens with a blistering "Way Back To The Bone." The band's considerable chops are on display in this funk rock workout. Hughes gives an impressive vocal performance on "Jury" while Kollman handles the intricate guitar parts on "You Are The Music, We're Just The Band" as if he had written them. The disc closes with the riff-heavy rocker, "Black Cloud" and shows Hughes as adept singing Stones-inspired material as he is with the funkier tracks.

At a time when many rockers would be slowing down, Hughes seems impervious to the effects of time. His impressive vocal range is still intact and his music is as potent as ever. Live In Wolverhampton shows that for Glenn Hughes, the best may yet be still to come.