The Drums Are Back Sessions, DAT Masters Archive (no label)
Disc One – 1992 The Drums Are Back Session #1: (DAT “Album Mixes from 29-1-92”) 01. The Anthem (Battle Hymn); 02. The Anthem (Battle Hymn) Edit #1 (Fade); 03. The Anthem (Battle Hymn) Edit #2 (Stop); 04. Legend of the Glass Mountain #1; 05. Return of the 7 #1; 06. Return of the 7 #2 (Master); 07. Somewhere in Time (The 6/8) (30-1-92); 08. Classical Gas (Edited) 31-1-92; 09. Unchain My Heart (with Vocal) (1-2-92); 10. I Wanna Hear Your Shout (Shout) (2-2-92); 11. The Rocket (2-2-92); 12. The Drums Are Back (Another Mix) (3-2-92); 13. Cryin’ (Edited); 14. Legend of the Glass Mountain #2 (DAT “Album Mixes From 2-2-92) 15. Return of the 7 #3; 16. I Wanna Hear You Shout
Disc Two – 1992 The Drums Are Back Session #2: (DAT “Album Mixes from 6-2-92”) 01. Nothing But Blue – Instl #1 (Somewhere in Time); 02. Ride to Win #1 (Brian May Mix); 03. Lonely Nights (On Vocal – Unreleased Song) (5-2-92); 04. Ride to Win #2 (Heavy Kick) (6-2-92) ; 05. Ride to Win #3 (Guitar Up) (6-2-92); 06. Nothing But Blue – Instl #2 (Brian’s 6/8 – Somewhere In Time) (6-2-92); 07. Classical Gas (Edited Master) (7-2-92); 08. The Anthem (Battle Hymn) #1 (7-2-92); 09. Legend of the Glass Mountain (7-2-92); (DAT “Session Tape” (Cozy Powell – Demo’s) 10. The Anthem (Battle Hymn) #2; 11. Nothing But Blue #3 (Instl Mix – Somewhere In Time); 12. The Drums Are Back (Another Mix); 13. The Rocket (Another Mix); 14. The Drums Are Back (Bass & Keyboard)
Colin Flooks, popularly known as Cozy Powell, assembled an eye-popping resume of being the drummer for legendary groups that included the Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Robert Plant, the Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake, Emerson Lake & Powell, and Black Sabbath. Another drummer who enjoyed similar ubiquity at the time was Simon Philips, whose remarkable playing enhanced artists including the Jeff Beck Group, Judas Priest, the Michael Schenker Group, Toto and numerous others. Powell and Philips, however, were no comparison as drummers. Powell’s style and performances were almost always built around a similar straightforward and almost predictable beat rocking from a big drum sound while Philips’ involved innovation and technique few could approach. One only need listen to Philips’ version of “Into the Arena” on MSG’s first album and Powell’s streamlined version of that song on MSG’s One Night at Budokan to appreciate their distinct differences.
But Powell may have had more behind the curtain than what he recorded and displayed on stage for his genre. Take for example his work for Emerson Lake & Powell, which was seen by some (including this reviewer) as odd because Carl Palmer and Powell were even more different than Philips and Powell. Songs like “The Score” and “Touch and Go” brought much of what Powell had already been doing for years and were nothing like Palmer’s chops and originality. And yet when we hear how Powell played “Tarkus” in that short-lived group’s concerts, it is startling how spectacular and intricate his playing could be when needed. In fact, Robert Plant noted when recording his first post-Zep studio album that it was Powell’s playing on “Slow Dancer” that really woke the band up.
The fact that Powell recorded with Plant after the passing of John Bonham said an awful lot about him as a drummer and band mate. He reportedly had an infectious positivism, strength of character and obviously was a superb stage performer. He also had a love for speed that may have contributed to his unfortunate passing at the age of 50 in a 1998 car accident.
Cozy Powell left behind an enormous wealth of recorded history and after his passing a massive collection of his vault of tape recordings was discovered that has gradually made its way into public. Rough mixes of Rainbow’s Rising and Long Live Rock and Roll, as well as studio sessions with Robert Plant are examples. The Drums Are Back Sessions is another sample of his personal tapes. It is described on the release’s insert as having been “recorded at Monnow Valley & Fleece studios in the U.K. 1992” and “taken from the original DAT master tapes that belonged to Cozy Powell.” Reproductions of the two ampex cassette tapes and their respective card inserts with handwritten entries appears to evidence the source of what’s contained on the two discs in this release.
The recording quality is perfect, with the drums very much up front and very much like the rest of Powell’s catalog. The music here is unremarkable, however, and a bit poppy to a flaw with synthesizers and cheesy songs like “Unchain My Heart” and “Lonely Nights.” Nothing remotely approaching “Stargazer,” “A Light in the Black” or “I Want More” is evident in these songs, but the energy was positive and fans of Powell’s playing will probably love this release. It comes packaged with attractive inserts and the discs are appropriately finished in black, much like the leather and studs Powell usually wore.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)