REVIEW: Glenn Hughes: From Now On… (1994 inc. 2 bonus tracks)

scan_20170122GLENN HUGHES – From Now On… (originally 1994, 1996 Explorer records reissue)

Glenn Hughes had his struggles, from being kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1986 to a long coked-out period of inactivity.  He began making waves again in 1992, but it was 1994’s From Now On… solo CD that really inaugurated the lean, clean & mean Glenn Hughes that still dominates today.  He has continued to release powerful soulful rock music under his own name and with supergroups such as Black Country Communion and California Breed.  The critics can’t stop raving about Glenn Hughes today, but in 1994 he wasn’t getting the attention deserved.

From Now On… features a Swedish band including two members of Europe: John Levén (bass) and Mic Michaeli (keys).  Comparing this album to the music that Levén and Michaeli make today, you can hear their influence.  There is the soul but also big big hooks.  The first opening track however is wide open and takes no prisoners.  “Picking up the Pieces” probably had an autobiographical meaning for Glenn, but the track is fast-forward bluesy metal as his old band Deep Purple have been known to do.  His voice is enviable, powerful and clean.  John Levén is a superb musician, but one only wishes it was Glenn on bass too, since he is the original maestro.  He takes it to a slower, sexier groove on “Lay My Body Down”, with big soul vocals.

Epic melodic rock diamonds begin to take shape with “The Only One”.  This epic track echoes some of the big choruses Glenn did with the supergroup Phenomena.  Think old tracks like “Kiss of Fire” and “Still the Night” from 1985.  “The Only One” is a successor to those tracks, with a big melodic chorus and a killer performance from Glenn.  “Why Don’t You Stay” is a soul ballad, but still in gear with the big 80s-style Glenn Hughes choruses.  It is closest in direction to Europe (a-la Prisoners in Paradise).  Hold on tight because that chorus crashes in like a tidal wave.

Back in the Deep Purple days, Glenn was the funky one.  “Walkin’ on the Water” brings a little bit of that funk vibe, but the focus is Glenn’s slinky vocalizin’.  A little bit of the Sabbath chug emerges on “The Liar” which acts as a natural side closer.  Rainbow’s 1995 album Stranger in Us All has a song with similar hooks called “Cold Hearted Woman”, but this is probably just coincidence.  Wicked guitars dart across the speakers as Glenn protests, “You’re the one they call the liar!”

There is a subtle progressive vibe to “Into the Void”.  Glenn sings it soft on the verses, and with power on the choruses.  You can hear the spooky keyboard influence of Mic Michaeli who co-wrote the song.  An unreleased Hughes/Thrall song finally emerged on “You Were Always There”, a funky little 80s number.  Re-recorded for 1994, it nonetheless sounds like period in which it was written.  Unfortunately “You Were Always There” begins a sluggish patch midway through the second side.  Rolling into the ballad “If You Don’t Want Me To”, nothing stands out like the previous songs.  “Devil in You”, another unreleased Hughes/Thrall song, begins to get things on track.  “Homeland” really delivers and it’s back to the soaring power choruses.  (And no, it’s not the same song as Europe’s “Homeland” on Prisoners in Paradise.  This one is co-written by Mel Galley.)  It’s bright days indeed, and “Homeland” is a beacon.  This builds up to the original CD closer and title track “From Now On…”.  This track pulses with understated power, and the incredible “voice of rock”, as Glenn is called.

The 1996 Explorer records reiusse adds two bonus tracks:  remakes of Deep Purple’s “Burn” (from Burn, 1974) and “You Keep on Moving” (from Come Taste the Band, 1975).  While Deep Purple re-recordings are numerous (hello Joe Lynn Turner and David Coverdale!), these two by Glenn Hughes are among the best you will find.  It is true that Whitesnake’s The Purple Album also has re-recordings of these two songs.  Glenn’s versions get the edge, due to the sheer power of the man’s vocal performance.  He didn’t have to downtune the songs as David did.

No album by Glenn Hughes will lead you astray, but From Now On… (with or without bonus tracks) is easy and cheap to find used.  Why not make it your first solo purchase from the man that the Japanese call “The God of Voice”?

4/5 stars

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33 comments

  1. Good album. I’m never drawn to this as much as some of his other solo albums but it’s definitely worth checking out and a good place to start. I know my copy has Burn but not sure about You Keep on Moving though, going to have to check that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think John Levén and Mic Michaeli joined up with Hughes cause they wanted a wee break from the Evil Joey?

    All joking aside though, this sounds pretty good. Been doing some reading on Hughes and think I’m gonna try pick up an album or two. I’ll add this one to the list, cause sounds like I might dig it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hughes should give u and Jompa a lifetime Backstage Pass for all the props that you’s have bestowed upon him!
    My first real time listening to Hughes sing was not by Purple but on the fantastic Gary Moore Run For Cover album…Hughes sang on a few tracks but it all fell apart when he and Moore had a falling out shortly after…still though the Cat brought it on that record…

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I read that Paul McCartney and John Lennon became friendly again just before John died. That makes me happy…old grudges mean nothing over time! I was surprised as anyone when Gary Moore passed.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah me too! He was back to playing rock guitar again and even enlisted once again Neil Carter(x-UFO on keys and guitar) ..shame really….

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  4. I love this album. I think it’s his second best solo album right behind Resonate.
    Also, drummer Hempo Hildén got the boot right after this album was released and Ian Haugland took his place – he’s in the video for Why Don’t You Stay.
    Speaking of which, me and some of my friends are in the video for Pickin’ Up The Pieces, we were at the front row at the gig where the video was shot. We’re only in it for a second or so, though…

    I also have to go a little besserwisser on you. The project Hughes was in was called Phenomena, not Phenomenon. An amazing album, that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jon! I knew Haugland was with Hughes at some point, because he was on a live album I saw. But I wasn’t sure the circumstances around that. Interesting that Glenn Hughes was working with 3/5ths of Europe. Like I said I think you can hear their influence on songs like Homeland.

      I wanna see that video but I couldn’t find it!

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      1. He said that he found God and all that, but his band members used to call him the man-whore behind his back on the tour for this album because he pretty much nailed everything that moved. And he also had a thing for waving around his dong whenever he could. Apparently he was kinda proud of his size…
        Too much information…? ;-)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. HAHAHAHAH!

          Oh hahahahahaha. Why does this A) not surprise me, and B) make me like Glenn even more?

          Maybe he’s one of those Steve Vai Christians who think every time you fuck, you’re fucking God?

          Like

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