John Young - Live at the Classic Rock Society 2003 (Heritage Records)
review by Dave Cable

Track Listing

1. Significance
2. When I was Young
3. Just One Day
4. All Grown Up
5. Underside
6. Unknown Soldier
7. Childhoods End
8. Open Skies
9. Kings



John Young is a name that may be unfamiliar to some, but if truth be known this classically trained keyboardist/vocalist has worked with some of the top bands and artists in the rock scene over the years. A man who has worked with prestigious groups such as Qango (alongside Carl Palmer of legendary group Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Greenslade, The Scorpions and Bonnie Tyler. He has also performed with progressive super group Asia, temporarily replacing Geoff Downes on Keyboards.

He already has a variety of solo-orientated recordings available, mainly in the progressive rock vein, although he has ventured into the realm of library/production music. With his newly formed ensemble, aptly titled the John Young Band he continues to push forward the boundaries of progressive rock music, managing to refrain slightly from the over-the-top pomp that is occasionally associated with the genre.

The band comprises of the following musicians: John Young -keyboards and lead vocals, John Jowitt - bass guitars and vocals (IQ), Robin Boult - guitars (Fish) and Dave Stewart ˆ drums and vocals (Camel).

So, back to the album itself. Well I have to be honest I am always wary when I hear about a live album release. There is always the question of sound quality and, in some cases, the music is never quite as good as the studio recording. Well, people with this mindset will be in for a shock! The quality is phenomenal throughout and all the tracks are superb!

So, this live set kicks off with the calming, serene Significance‚, comprising a simple melody with powerful and thought-provoking lyrics. You could be forgiven for thinking this piece was composed and recorded by the great Don Henley from some long-lost solo album!

The next track ups the tempo slightly. The memorable When I was Young‚, continues in the melodic rock vein and enjoyment is enhanced at around the mid-way mark by means of a great synth solo courtesy of John Young himself.

Just One Day‚ starts off in a mysterious mood with a suitably eerie low synth drone, then as the track moves onwards and upwards we find ourselves in the midst of a fantastic guitar solo worthy of any of the axe masters!!

All Grown Up follows much in the same vein as track 2 and is certainly just as effective as any of the pieces on the album.

Underside, the fifth track, is a piece laden with simple percussive elements and acoustic guitar overlay.

Unknown Soldier is a complete change of scene, beginning with a laid back techno/chill out style beat which eventually evolves into power rock heaven.

The next track, Childhoods End‚ is simply stunning! This piece is worth the price of the cd alone. At just under 8 minutes it has all the elements of the best that progressive music has to offer. With the might and wealth of synth and guitar solos throughout, this 8 minute memorable masterpiece demands repeated listens! Very similar in style and production to Keith Emerson at his very best!

Open Skies is another classic, combining an effective bass sequencer and acoustic drum line! I couldn't help noticing this piece was uncannily reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, and similarly effective and powerful.

To finish, the encore, Kings, ends the album on a high (energy) note! An instrumental gem of a track that again has the JYB quality splattered all over it! This is a most suitable closing point for the album.

In summary I can't recommend this album highly enough! Fans of Keith Emerson/E. L. P., Rick Wakeman/Yes and Peter Gabriel will love this one! This is progressive rock music of the highest calibre,. and the JYB certainly prove to be a fusion of significance!

Visit John Young online at

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