Tag Archives: karen warbis

129. KAREN WARBIS ‘Step Back To The Sixties’

(Pic: K.Warbis)

(Pic: K.Warbis)

Singer Karen Warbis is the wife of guitarist Steve Forward – a name featured on my website twice rercently. She is a multi-skilled lady, being a vocal coach; guitar tutor; sound engineer; and beauty specialist – yet still found time to record her own 60s covers album! I met her at one of her husband’s gigs recently (see my review #127), and she handed me a copy of Step Back To The Sixties and I said I’d review it for her.

It is a collection of ten well known Pop/Soul hits from that most remarkable of musical decades; mostly originally recorded by female vocalists from across both sides of the pond. Tracks include ‘Downtown’; California Dreamin’; ‘My Guy’ etc. And its very good. Karen’s voice is very clear and pleasant to hear. I quite enjoyed listening to it… even my Missus liked it; and that’s a hard test to pass indeed!

The CD comes in a standard Jewel Case but with very little info on the cover, so I don’t know anything about the musicians on the recording. Everyone involved has done a splendid job though. The album is available from Karen’s website. PTMQ

128. STEVE FORWARD ‘Time Traveller’ (2016)

(Pic: S.Forward)

(Pic: S.Forward)

At his One Floyd show recently, I obtained a copy of Steve Forward’s own instrumental album Time Traveller. (See my review #127). It had been recommended to me by the same dos amigos: Rock aficionado Stuart Walsh and Kingsreach keys man Jimmy Tee Rets.

I’ve always liked instrumentals, but they can be tricky buggers to deal with. The trick is to keep the listeners’ interest… otherwise they can get boring. I’m happy to report though, that this album is far from that. I found it to be great driving music, and had it playing in my car incessantly for a while, so I really got to know it.

There are twelve tracks covering a variety of Rock styles, all penned by Steve; who has no doubt played everything on every one. It is actually very inventive; demonstrating Steve’s undoubted guitar and writing skills. I enjoyed it a lot. If you want comparisons and/or influences, then Satriani, Vai and Whitehorn spring to mind; but its all good original material. My favourites are ‘The Machines’; ‘Journey’s End’; and the Rush-esque ‘Lost In Time’. With no lyrics there is plenty of scope for inventive titles conjured up or suggested by the feel of the track: ‘The Vortex’; ‘Doors Of Light’; ‘Scream At the Sky’ for example.

The CD comes in a standard Jewel Case with a simple but effective design on the front, but has very little info on the sleeve; and not even a word printed on the plain white disc (so a marker pen would come in handy if you buy a copy!) but no real problem. Its a big thumbs up from The Quill anyway. PTMQ

127. STEVE FORWARD’s ‘ONE FLOYD’ SHOW at GPCA, Harlow, Essex. Friday 16th September, 2016.

(Pic: S.Forward)

(Pic: S.Forward)

Being as I was a teenager in the ’70s, I appreciate word-of-mouth recommendations  (that’s how we found out about new music in those days!) I am also always keen to check out something different if possible. So I was interested when at a Steve Hackett gig some while ago, I bumped into Rock aficionado Stuart Walsh; and Jimmy ‘Tee Rets’ (Keys player of Prog-Metal band Kingsreach), who both highly recommended that I should see and hear guitarist Steve Forward‘s ‘One Floyd’ show. But how can one man recreate the sound of the mighty Pink Floyd alone? I got the opportunity to find out at this gig at the GPCA.

The GPCA (Great Parndon Community Association) is on Abercrombie Way, Harlow, Essex. I didn’t know much about it, having never been there before, but it seems a very good venue. It serves the local community in a number of ways – not least as music venue. It has a function room (where the gig was booked) with its own bar; and a separate lounge area.

I arrived quite early, met up with Stuart and got a beer. The music room was moodily lit, and dry-ice atmospherically floated by – appropriate, I thought. I also met and chatted with the knowledgeable Pat Grimwood (Steve’s roadie); and Steve’s wife Karen Warbis, who runs the merch desk. She gave me Steve’s Dark Side tribute album, along with his Time Traveller (a collection of his own instrumental compositions, also highly recommended by Stuart and Jimmy – and to be reviewed by myself soon). Karen is also a singer herself and has recorded a covers album entitled Step Back To The Sixties (which I also intend to review).

My regular readers will be aware of my good friend Rambo who I invited along; and he arrived with his gf Nina, another old friend of mine. He is a great Floyd fan and has seen more than a few tribute acts before – as well as the masters themselves many times. Who better then, to make an appraisal of One Floyd? All set then…

(Pic: S.Forward)

(Pic: S.Forward)

Mr. Forward climbed on stage, Strat in hand, and began with a spell-binding cover of the entire PF classic Dark Side Of The Moon. And as near to authentic as you are likely to get with any other Floyd tribute band – except that Steve does it all alone! I was particularly impressed with his solo on ‘Money’. In fact Rambo’s opinion was that it was ‘…equal or better than a certain Mr Gilmour – and I have seen him on enough occasions to be able to say this’. Enough said!  I do not know who provided the pre-recorded female vocals, but whoever it was did a fine job on ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ for sure. This part of the show ended then to great – and well deserved applause. The show continued then with a superb cover of the haunting ‘Echoes’ from Meddle. before a short break.

Part Two consisted of large chunks of The Wall and Wish You Were Here. Beginning with ‘In The Flesh’, Steve got through all the well-known classics; and was particularly impressive soloing on ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’; and ‘Comfortably Numb’. He gave us brilliant renditions of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 1)’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ too – the latter initiating a sing-along by the audience, of course. Great sax on ‘Shine On’. Lengthy applause from the small but enthusiastic audience showed the appreciation that we had for this remarkable event.

The sheer amount of planning and preparation that Steve has put into his One Floyd show is phenomenal. He plays guitar and sings live, but has pre-recorded everything else, and controls it all from a lap top on stage. At all times he seemed to be firmly in control. There is also the necessary circular video screen above stage, which showed authentic PF videos with up-dated adaptions as necessary. (such as the inclusion of footage of Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un during ‘Brain Damage’!).  Sequenced lighting too – including strobe and lasers – was very impressive; and all pre-planned and honed to perfection. It was impossible to find fault. In fact the only glitch in the proceedings was totally outside Steve’s control, when the venue’s Bandit alarm went off at the beginning of ‘In The Flesh’; necessitating a restart of the number. (Had it gone off at the beginning of ‘Time’ he may well have got away with it for obvious reasons!)

My only (very minor) complaint was that Steve himself was barely visible on stage due to the lighting. Yes I know it was all about the show, but I thought he deserved more prominence; especially when singing and soloing. But all in all this is a brilliant show that deserves far more exposure in my opinion; and I recommend it highly to any Floyd fan. Steve not only does ‘One Floyd’, but also apparently performs a Classic Rock set on occasions, as well as his own instrumental material. PTMQ