GLENN HUGHES
Return Of Crystal Karma
SPV Records
Birch Hill, Old Bridge, NJ

Glenn Hughes, the voice of rock, is revered by millions world-wide. So much so that he is known by his legions as the God of Voice. The trademark doesn’t escape Glenn Hughes, the singer, as he bellows out from center stage “God loves you, God loves you.”

Hughes, who constantly refers to himself in the third person, sat down briefly before his Birch Hill performance to give us added insight. “Everything is really good right now,” says Hughes. “I’ve been sober ten years and for Glenn Hughes it’s a turning around of a life style. I think the most important thing for me now is knowing where I’ve been and where I’m going.

“Where I am right now in my life is a really good place – a spiritual place and I don’t want to stray from that. I have a great knowledge of my past that, I guess, I needed to know. I know not to take that road again. When you see me perform hopefully you’ll appreciate someone who has walked through the fire and been humbled by it.”

Hughes started his illustrious career as a member of Trapeze, a power trio that thundered through the early Seventies. He later was added to the Deep Purple line up just in time to record Burn, one of the best albums to come out of 1974. Hughes later left Purple to pursue a solo career and teamed with Pat Thrall (ex-Pat Travers Band) to cut Hughes And Thrall, yet another landmark recording. He drifted in the mid to late Eighties recording as a guest vocalist with Gary Moore and Black Sabbath. A studio project simply titled Phenomenon reunited Hughes with Thrall and again gave the musician a significant push. He has since done over a dozen solo records and gathered praise from peers and fans alike.

“The story of Glenn Hughes is filled with friends that I’ve lost because of the ‘left path’ they’ve taken,” continues Hughes. “I was on that road and I could very well have ended up like they did. Luckily I came back.” Hughes credits his survival to a higher power, one that he reveres as turning his life around and showing him a clear path. Hence the title of his current CD, Return Of Crystal Karma.

Rumor had it Hughes was going to cancel his brief North American tour. But the night he was to show at Birch Hill, it was a definite go. Billed as a power trio of Hughes (vo, b) Brian Tichy (d) and George Nastos (g) – there was absolutely no place to hide. Appropriately Stormbringer rang in the opening of the set quickly moving to Muscle And Blood, Might Just Take Your Life and Gone. The guitar kept it tough in all the right spots while Hughes’ vocals caressed and penetrated song after song. Exceptional moments were First Step Of Love, Gettin’ Tighter and You Keep On Moving. The funk kicked in with You Kill Me, Coast To Coast and Way Back To The Bone. Then it was time for the mighty Medusa only to be matched by a ripping version of Burn.

Said Mark Voger of the Asbury Press after the show, “I now understand the funk side of Hughes. You really don’t get it until you see him live. It’s an experience and an understanding all at once.”