Michael Schenker Portfolio 1987

msportfolio After having finally found a CD version of one of my favourite vinyls on Amazon, I thought is was worth a quick review. Released in the year Michael Schenker in some sense reinvented himself with the McAuley Schenker Group’s “Perfect Timing” album (showcasing the talents of new vocalist Robin McAuley, who would remain with Michael until well into the 90s) this album to me was an interesting, but effective, choice of tracks to sum up his career so far. The new commercial sound and support slot with Whitesnake’s UK tour might have been seen as a cynical attempt to try and cash in, but was in fact a natural progression for the misunderstood guitar hero whose music had already spanned over 15 years through two stints in the Scorpions bookending the 70s, an acclaimed period with UFO in between, solo albums with his own Michael Schenker Group, and rumours of turning down requests from both the Rolling Stones and Deep Purple.

The unusual thing about this compilation is that usually such albums will be almost exclusively UFO, or concentrate on MSG tracks with a spattering of obvious UFO songs, this does neither. It does include the obligatory tracks such as Doctor Doctor and Lights Out, but also included are other less played offerings such as Arbory Hill and Ulcer to help showcase his wide range of technique.  The common thread throughout are the emotion filled riffs and solos, no fast runs up and down the fretboard to show off practiced technique, but always measured offerings full of feeling and innate talent and always in sympathy with the vocals, never shown more than in UFO with the distinctive outpourings from Phil Mogg and with the more rock style of Gary Barden in MSG, throughout his career two artists who have proved perfect songwirting partners.

Track Listing:

Side 1 I’m A Loser UFO  No Heavy Petting 1976
Reasons Love UFO  No Heavy Petting 1976
Doctor Doctor UFO  Phenomenon 1974
Rock Bottom UFO  Phenomenon 1974
Side 2 Too Hot To Handle UFO  Lights Out 1977
Ready To Rock MSG  MSG 1981
Only You Can Rock Me UFO  Obsession 1978
Lights Out UFO  Obsession 1978
Arbory Hill UFO  Obsession 1978
Side 3 Armed And Ready MSG  The Michael Schenker Group 1980
Love Drive Scorpions  Love Drive 1979
Attack Of The Mad Axeman MSG  MSG 1981
Assault Attack MSG  Assault Attack 1982
Side 4 Ulcer MSG  Assault Attack 1982
Searching For A Reason MSG  Assault Attack 1982
Rock My Nights Away MSG  Built To Destroy 1983
Captain Nemo MSG  Built To Destroy 1983
Rock Will Never Die (Live) MSG  Rock Will Never Die 1984

Further listening:

Other than getting hold of the albums above that the songs are originally from, for early UFO material you can’t go wrong with the live “Strangers In The Night” from (1979). In more recent history Michael brefly rejoined UFO in a classic line-up reunion, the first fruit of that being the amazing Walk On Water (1995). Since then he has been active in several reincarnations of MSG as well as some solo instrumental albums and collaborations withother musicians (for example, Heavy Hitters (2005). A new album is due out this September (Temple of Rock) again with a stella line-up and an introduction by William Shatner!

More information on albums from 70’s to late 90s can be found at my UFO and Michael Schenker website.

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Dave

Mathematician at the University of Warwick in the UK with research interests in equivariant bifurcation theory and applications, especially in modelling of insect locomotion. Teaching interests include online learning and innovative teaching methods. Also in a past life has been involved in summer school courses, and online material, for Gifted and Talented. He has been active on the Internet since 1995, initially though his UFO and Michael Schenker website, but now through a multitude of projects.

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