Guest musicians including Richie Hayward from Little Feat, Dean Parks from Steely Dan, Mark Brezecki from Big Country and Midge Ure from Ultravox adorn this original 1992 release of Howard Jones’ elaborate and artistic In The Running.
Release date: 30th April 2021
Label: Cherry Red Records
Format: 3CD/1 DVD digipak
Howard Jones has a national and international reputation, with 6 Top 10 hits in the UK over a span of three years in the 80’s and 15 Top 40 hits worldwide yet In The Running, the focus of this re-release, mysteriously never even charted in the UK.
Admittedly my tastes were elsewhere in the 80’s, but there was an instant appeal to me listening to the re-mastered version now. His songs may not have portrayed the seedier side of rock and roll but all the songs, whether it be on requited, hopeful of love , personal or global issues they have a clear message.
Sadly he never got the media praise he deserved but this was not a worry to him, and why should it be when surely he was fully aware of his talents and abilities, who needs to be bothered about views of the unknowledgeable pen pushers or keyboard tappers these days.
Speaking of keyboards, Jones’ work on this album highlights his writing with more piano melodies than relying on synthesised sounds. The breezy, funky brassy IGY (What A Beautiful World) is celebratory in title and music and represents the perceptive frame of mind expressed on the album. A yearning to be released from gloom begins the album, Lift Me Up sets off the optimistic mood and is probably what appealed to me as the whole album does just that as we are all craving for better times.
All the songs are superbly constructed. There may be songs of loss ( Fallin Away), the need for guidance (Show Me) and the slower-paced Voices Are Back all express that. In my mind, and sadly for me this is a retrospective view, these songs stand up alongside Jackson Browne at his best and I’m full of dismay that this album didn’t get the acclaim it deserves, especially Tears To Tell and the catchy and anthemic Two Souls. I can even imagine the gorgeous melodic One Last Try being given the Brian Wilson treatment.
Although there may be some remorseful lyrics and the music invariably melodious uplifting , enchanting and breezy, the songs are by no means sugary or trite.I would have enjoyed this album as a stand-alone remastered release but the package is full of value for a shade under £25.
What Is Love? is a song that obviously springs to mind and on the other discs we are given a healthy earful of different versions and mixes including :
A fully illustrated 16-page booklet containing a brand new sleevenote and track by track annotation about In The Running by Howard Jones as told to acclaimed writer Anil Prasad. An expanded selection of previously unreleased studio versions, edits, instrumentals, live versions and remixes plus newly remastered tracks. A DVD containing a brand new interview with Howard Jones from October 2020 discussing creating the In The Running album, a Track By Track Commentary, TV appearances as well as Promotional Videos.
He is rightly proud of this project when it was first recorded , learning from his colleagues as much as giving too . He proved to recording companies and the listener that he still had a lot to offer in the midst of emerging artists and changes in the music industry so much gratitude goes to Cherry Red for bravely releasing this album and thank you to Howard Jones for opening my eyes to his music and hopefully the proposed appearance on the Let’s Rock UK tour and European tour goes ahead.