Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970)
- Dennis Cowan (RIP 1975) -- bass, guitar, vocals
- Neil Innes (RIP 2019) -- vocals, guitar, piano
- Roger McKew -- lead guitar
- Ian Wallace (RIP 2006) -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
Andy "Bubbles" White -- guitar
- 21st Century Schizoid Band (an Wallace)
- The Alberts (Neil Innes)
- Bell + Arc (an Wallace)
- The Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band (Neil Innes)
- Brown's Home Brew (Roger McKew)
- The Crimson Jazz Trio (Ian Wallace)
- Darien Spirit (Dennis Cowan)
- Devils' Disciples (Dennis Cowan)
- Fission Trip (an Wallace)
- The Grimms (Neil Innes)
- Neil Innes (solo efforts)
- Jackson Heights (Ian Wallace)
- King Crimson (Ian Wallace)
- Alexis Korner & Snape (Ian Wallace)
- The Quite Five (Roger McKew)
- The Quireboys (Ian Wallace)
- The Rutles (Neil Innes)
- Sleepy Tears (Ian Wallace)
- Vivian Stansgall Sean Head Showband (Dennis Cowan)
- The Syndicats (Dennis Cowan)
- The Tribe (Dennis Cowan)
- Ian Wallace (solo efforts)
- The Wallace/Trainor Conspiracy (Ian Wallace)
- The Warriors (Ian Wallace)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Lucky Planet
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
This is one of those album's that falls between the cracks, even among Neil Innes hardcore fans. The late Innes is best known for his work with the Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band, his solo albums, his friendship with various members of Monty Pythons Flying Circus and as the brains behind The Rutles. Lost in that catalog is this early 1970s album.
When the Bonzos initially called it quits in 1970, co-founder Neil Innes formed The World. Bassist Dennis Cowan had been a member of The Bonzos and worked on fellow Bonzo alumni Vivian Stanshall's biG GRunt project. along with drummer Ian Wallace. When Standshall became ill and the project folded, Innes recruited the two, along with former The Quiet Five guitarist Roger McKew for The World. The band rehearsed and undertook some local performances before being signed by Liberty Records. Innes' Bonzo credentials undoubtedly helped the quartet score the contract - Liberty coincidently being The Bonzos recording label.
Produced and largely written by Innes, 1971's, 'Lucky Planet" was likely to have come as a major shock to Innes' longtime Bonzo fans. The collection found Innes and company largely abandoned the Bonzo's unique mixture of humor, satire and weirdness in favor of a set that played it relative straight. The interesting thing is how good the results were. Innes had always been capable of crafting a strong song, but on tracks like 'Not the First Time', 'Sail Away' and the country-rocker 'Lead Us' he proved he could write material every bit as conventional and commercial as his better known counterparts. The album also unveiled Innes' sweet and highly commercial voice. You'll note that earlier I used the word "largely". There was no way Innes could keep his playfulness under wraps for a full 40 minutes His sense of humor came out in tracks like the biting '9-5 Pollution Blues', the Chuck Berry influenced rocker 'Come Out Into the Open' and the extended progressive-flavored closer 'Godzilla's Return'.
Planet" track listing:
1.) Not the First Time (Dennis Cowan - Neil Innes) - 4:20 rating: **** stars
As mentioned, the difference between Innes' Bonzo work and this album was jarring. 'Not the First Time' was a wonderful example of what a great pop-rock craftsmen Innes was. Boasting a wonderful, straightforward melody and some lovely harmonies, the track would have made an awesome single.
2.) Sail Away (Neil Innes) - 3:21 rating: **** stars
Sporting a beautiful melody, 'Sail Away' displayed Innes' unexpectedly sweet voice
3.) 9-5 Pollution Blues (Neil Innes) - 4:26 rating: *** stars
'9-5 Pollution Blues' found Innes toughening up the sound with some biting guitar from McKew and guest Andy "Bubbles White". Lyrically the tune found Innes taking a stab at social commentary; in the process letting some of his Bonzo humor flow into the biting lyrics "the day I was born a number on a form said I must be utilized ..."
4.) Lead Us (Neil Innes) - 5:12 rating: **** stars
Sounding like they had overdosed on Roger McGuinn and the Byrds, 'Lead Us' was an wesome country-rocker with one of those refrains that climbs in your head and won't leave you alone.
'Things I Could Have Said' was a bluesy, mid-tempo rocker that boasted one of the album's strongest melodies.
2.) Come Out Into the Open (Neil Innes) - 3:08 rating: ** stars
'50s- Chuck Berry styled rocker. Innes actually sounded a bit like John Lennon on this one. Lucky Berry didn't track them down and beat them into a pulp for having appropriated his signature sound.
3.) Godzilla's Return (Neil Innes) - 10:27 rating: *** stars
The title and lyric were classic Innes melded to an extended largely instrumental and mildly progressive framework. Wallace's seemingly endless drum solo wasn't really necessary.
The band also released a non-LP, Beatles-esque single before calling it quits:
- 1970's 'Angeline' b/w 'Come Out Into the Open' (Liberty catalog number LBF 15402)
Sadly this is another group with a high mortality rate.
- Cowan went on to play with various group, dying in June, 1975 of peritonitis.
- Innis died after suffering a heart attack in December, 2019
- Suffering esophageal cancer, Wallace died in August, 2006
The collection's been reissued a couple of times:
- In 2002 the Vinyl Japan label reissued it in CD format (catalog number ASKCD138)
- In 2004 the British Acadia label reissued it in CD format with an alternative running order, new cover art and the addition of the single 'Angeline' and an alternate version of 'Come Out Into the Open' as bonus tracks (Acadia catalog number ACA 8056)
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