Painful Kiss Pre Release Reviews

  Robin George Painfull Kiss CD Cover  

Painful Kiss by Robin George and Dangerous Music

Hidden in his Andalucian studio, Robin George has a treasure chest full of amazing goodies in the form on unreleased material.

Robin in recent times has been very active and releases have come thick and fast, and once again Robin has put together a very strong release called "Painful Kiss". While some of these songs have been released before in different guises, what we are treated to here is a mixture of new songs, and very different versions and mixes of songs we already know in addition to some brand new tracks.

Production again follows Robin’s normal style of having a clean, yet spatial balance with plenty of intricate things going on underneath the surface. Painful Kiss has been mixed by Klaus Bohlmann, who was responsible for mixing Broke Heart Blues, by the late Pete Haycock and Robin, which is receiving high critical acclaim from music biz, journalists and fans alike.

Painful Kiss is the title track and a wise choice. It is a difficult song to describe as its style is different from anything I have heard before. It has undertones in places that sound like a snake charmer’s melody, played out on guitar. There are several guitar breaks showing Robin’s dexterity, pardon the pun, but the song is painfully catchy and closes with that mystical guitar break, taking me to somewhere in Persia.

Next up is a new track Lonesome Daze; a catchy song with hints of Hendrix blended in between the melody and a very powerful chorus, with very intricate harmonies; the sort you walk around humming all day

Catarina comes next and rocks with a heavy guitar riff chugging through the track, forming a great backbone for a very pretty song. Robin really does know how to write catchy tunes! For those in the know, Robin was inspired when writing this song by the rhythmic sounds of the Andalusian bird song heard from his studio terrace and Robin is joined on this by Mel Collins with his sax solo influenced by the aforementioned avian sounds.

Pride starts with a great rhythm guitar break and then you’re straight into the song, which after a few verses again sees Robin firing off his guitar. , he really does know how to write a good middle eight, followed by more of the same fast moving verses, before letting you jump off and catch your breath before the next track.

 Cocoon, is one of those clever songs that draws you in; henpecking your brain into submission, and has some very clever lyrics

The Rubicon is apparently something you shouldn't cross, however I would cross the road to listen to this track! Dynamically very different and very much a rocking boogie song that will surely get those toes tapping 

American Way introduces itself with a drum sound that reminds me of an American Cavalry band. American Way is a perfect pop song, with great slide guitar and lots of cowboys. All that’s missing is the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

Bluesong is a stripped  down, in your face Blues Song. God, I would have loved to hear the late great BB King do this! Just thinking about it makes my eyes water. A great song.

Love Power and Peace is one of those song you never tire of; is full of Passion, diversity and again a catchy tune, as is Robin’s trademark.

World is a very well-crafted song, punctuated by some varied guitar parts and lyrically the sister of Love Power and Peace

 Heaven is the land of milk and honey stuff that you can't get enough of, and has some really heartfelt lyrics. It is a good choice to start bringing the CD to a natural conclusion

Oxygen has a much different feel especially the first verse which sounds like a man with a guitar singing a love song to a woman in front of him; very personal and meaningful. There are some great harmonies that shouldn't be missed on this track.

Roger Stephens Rock/Pop Reviews USA


Phil Lynott, Robert Plant, Glenn Hughes, David Byron, Roy Wood, Noddy Holder, John Wetton and Pete Way could easily be a list of possible nominees for the rock n’ roll hall of fame. However what connects these legendary artists is that guitarist and singer Robin George has collaborated, recorded, or written songs with each and every one. By anyone’s standards, it’s an immensely impressive CV.

Robin's journey through music reads like a "boy's own" tale. Humble beginnings paying his dues to prove his capabilities as a musician to his peers (and his dad), leading to him recording his first single, 'Too Late’, as Robin George’s Life, with drummer Dave Holland, bassist Pino Palladino, who subsequently toured with The Who, and Daniel Boone, way back in 1980. An introduction from Daniel to ex-Uriah Heep man David Byron not only saw the pair forge a strong partnership and lasting friendship, but also catapulted Robin into a wider sphere of notice. Touring with Roy Wood of Wizzard and engineering and recording with Slade's Noddy Holder came next, before the opportunity arose to work with Tony Clarkin and subsequently tour with Tony's band Magnum, as they promoted their ‘The Eleventh Hour' release.

Robin's solo debut album, 'Dangerous Music', arrived in 1985 and not only did it spawn a hit single in the instantly recognisable 'Heartline', but unsurprisingly it also featured a stellar cast list; Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott the pick of the bunch. In fact so impressed by Robin was Lynott, that along with drummer Brian Downey, the young guitarist was asked to become a member of a reforming Thin Lizzy. Something only the tragic, untimely death of the much missed Irishman prevented. Instead Robin became Notorious, forming a band of that name with Diamond Head's Sean Harris, the 'Radio Silence' album a seriously underrated collection of hard hitting rock. Before long Glenn Hughes came calling to ask Robin to write and record songs for a new album. Unfortunately those sessions remain officially unreleased, although the pair did contribute the excellent track 'Haunted' to the Highlander 2 soundtrack alongside ‘Here We Go’ by Notorious. As if that wasn't enough, Robin was then asked to write and record with Led Zeppelin's legendary frontman Robert Plant, 'Red For Danger' by the pair being one of the genuine highlights of Plant's 'Sixty-Six To Timbuktu' album.

A partnership with another ex-Diamond Head man, Nick Tart, brought the band Life back into being, the excellent 1997 'Cocoon' album which Angel Air re-released to great acclaim back in 2010, the fruits of their labours. Although Robin’s hardest hitting band saw him put Damage Control into operation, UFO bassist Pete Way, AC/DC and Uriah Heep drummer Chris Slade and Quireboys frontman Spike recording a 2007 self titled release, which was followed two years later by ‘Raw’, Robin this time taking on the vocals to great effect. More recently Robin released the 2012 album ‘You’ with Vix of Fuzzbox fame, where musically the pair’s eclectic backgrounds come together in a hugely honest and authentic manner. The results are quite wonderful.

Amazingly as all this was happening, Robin has continued to release eclectically exciting solo albums, ‘Dangerous Music II' amongst the best releases he's been involved with. While the stunning 'LovePower & Peace' project saw him bring together a huge array of talent, for an album that not only celebrates his wide and varied songwriting, but which also achieved its goal of raising money for three separate charities along the way. From the many who contributed to that album Robin continued to work with long time co-conspirator and ex-Climax Blues Band guitarist Pete Haycock. Alongside LovePower Band members Charlie Morgan (ex Elton John) Jacqui Williams (ex Sister Sledge), and Charley Charlesworth, the band Climax Blues was born. Sadly, showing just how cruel life can be, Haycock passed away before the album 'Broke Heart Blues' could be released, however with the full blessing of Pete's family, Robin completed the album to give his friend a more than fitting send off.

Which brings us to Dangerous Music, the band which takes its name from Robin's first full solo release and which along with Charlesworth and Morgan finds the singer and guitarist going right back to his power trio roots. ‘Painful Kiss’, the band’s debut release, is an album where Robin is both looking back and forward. Back to a collection of the tracks he has recorded with some of the most talented musicians you could hope to hear, yet forward by presenting them in the way he always imagined they would sound. ‘Painful Kiss’ is Robin George, a musician who made his name with technical pop-rock and cemented his reputation through a string of hard rock alliances, baring his soul and revealing his blues heart. As Robin himself says of this wonderful collection, "Painful Kiss means a lot to me. These are my versions of my songs which have been covered by many artists… I asked myself, why not let people hear my rockier versions that made them want to record the songs in the first place?" The results proving across the twelve tracks presented here that it was a question well worth asking, and more importantly, well worth answering. Therefore it’s no surprise that ‘Painful Kiss’ is a revealing, honest album positively dripping with passion, authenticity and as Robin explains, where many of the songs have an interesting history…

"‘Pride’ was written in the 80s when the hugely respected Ruby Turner sang it so well," he begins. "However for the ’LovePower & Peace’ album it was re-recorded with Pete Thompson of the Robin Trower Band on drums and Fred Skidmore from Life on clavinet. It was reviewed at the time as a possible missing Motown track." Here the song features the distinctive and always stunning guitar work of the much missed Haycock, his unmistakable touch also to be found on scintillating versions of ‘LovePower & Peace’ and ‘The Rubicon’. Not to be outdone however, Mel Collins (King Crimson/Dire Straits/Climax Blues) also makes an integral appearance on ‘Painful Kiss’, his masterful sax contribution on ‘Catarina’ an illustration of class and poise few can match.

‘Cocoon’ on the other hand as Robin remembers has an even older heritage. "That song was co-written with Pat Hannon when we were teenagers. For ‘LovePower & Peace’ I asked Sean Harris of Diamond Head/Notorious to sing the song. Somehow when I sent it to him he didnt receive the lead vocal melody, so he re-wrote the tune and added a new verse, giving the song a new existence all these years later. I wanted to use it in Pats memory. He was a great singer and writer but never got a break, so that was his first release… I wish he was here to enjoy both Sean’s take on the song and this new version".

One of the most celebrated songs on ‘Painful Kiss’ is ‘American Way’. A track Robin recorded in 1990 with ex-Deep Purple, Trapeze and Black Sabbath man Glenn Hughes, alongside Hughes’s Trapeze band-mates Mel Galley (Whitesnake), Geoff Downes (Asia) and Dave Holland (Judas Priest) Before going on to be recorded by Robin and Nick Tart (Diamond Head) for the ‘Cocoon’ album with the band Life in 1997. "The first time I met Glenn was when he came to a gig that we were doing in Dingwalls club in London," Robin remembers. "He came backstage afterwards and we got on well. Later his record company asked me to produce and write songs for one of Glenn’s albums. We recorded Glenns vocals at my house, he sang in the kitchen, and his performances still sounds excellent to this day! The album was bootlegged a few years back but the songs from that session have never been officially released, which is a real shame."

The song ‘LovePower & Peace’ will also be one fans of Robin’s music are well acquainted with, Ruby Turner first recording the song in the 80s, before Robin reinvigorated it for the ‘LovePower & Peace’ album. "Over the years I've been fortunate enough to work with many of the best musicians and singers in the industry," Robin says with justifiable pride. "It occurred to me that one song I wrote some years ago, ‘LovePower & Peace, had been recorded or played live by many of those talents". The song became the centre-piece of the album of the same name and featuring a lengthy cast-list offered a completely new slant on how it sounds. Here however Robin has stripped it right back to its core and while this version still features backing vocals from Ruby Turner, Jacquie Williams, Robin’s daughter Charlie George and Vix Fuzzbox, having Robin’s voice front and centre for this celebration of the love, power and peace at the heart of every woman, brings new poignancy to a simply stunning song.

Eagle eyed Robin George aficionados will have doubtless spotted that many of the tracks on ‘Painful Kiss’ also come from the extensive collection of demos and sessions Robin has recorded over the years. However rather than simply covering old ground Robin sees these new recordings as a chance to set the record straight. "Being honest," he says, "that really is part of the reason I wanted to record these new versions in the first place", and along with three breathtaking new songs especially created for this album and a stunning mix by award winning sound engineer Klaus Bohlmann, there’s no denying that Robin and Dangerous Music have well and truly accomplished the mission that they set out to achieve. This is one ‘Painful Kiss’ you’ll want to experience again and again.

Steven Reid Sea of Tranquility

Robin George’s Painful Kiss album is a triumph of lyrical perfection and musical mastery: the crowning glory of a lifetime’s work. Get ready to be transported to a wild world of suffering and joy, darkness and light, love and loss, good and evil. It’s an intense journey and you’ll be hooked until the final track when you’ll be left panting for more Dangerous Music.

This album is pure rock, yet so much more, showcasing the power trio that is Dangerous Music. Robin powers through these songs which epitomise his incredible vocal range and virtuoso guitar. Combine that with the talents of the inimitable Charlie Morgan on drums and add Charley Charlesworth’s melodic, throbbing bass and the result is a rock work of art.

The hypnotic title track, Painful Kiss, is the ultimate love song with lyrics that explore the duality of love: ‘an anarchist’ and ‘an angel’s kiss’ and music that defies and surpasses definition. The innovative combination of Robin’s trademark rock guitars and Eastern influences is mesmerising and, luckily for us, this merging of styles permeates the album.

Fiona Bond  Rock Fanzine Journalist