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Rod Argent

It was clear after the demise of his namesake band ARGENT (and, of course, his “Time Of The Season” with The ZOMBIES), keyboard kingpin Rod wanted to expand his musical horizons and unrealised potential. Overshadowed by the likes of other classically-induced wizards such as RICK WAKEMAN, KEITH EMERSON and TONY BANKS, the St. Albans-born songwriter and seasoned session man approached his work from a different prospective. Having composed a classical ditty or two in ‘77/’78 (one for the World Cup in Argentina hit the Top 20), the eclectic ARGENT worked alongside the likes of The WHO, GARY MOORE, The HOLLIES, old mucker COLIN BLUNSTONE and even jazzateers Cleo Laine & Johnny Dankworth.
Rod’s jazzy debut album, MOVING HOME (1978) {*4}, was unceremoniously buried under the mire of the burgeoning new wave scene, its attendant 45, `Light Fantastic’, sinking ever further. Collaborative work with jazz composer/saxophonist Barbara Thompson (wife of Jon Hiseman) on GHOSTS (1982) {*4} was worthy of better results, but he’d chosen a route not associated with a man of his rock stature; SHADOWSHOW (1983) {*4} was their second effort.
Further new-age combinations alongside Robert Howes developed through three sets, the latter RESCUE (1989) {*4} a TV series soundtrack. 1988’s RED HOUSE {*6} – named after his studio in Chiswick – was much more in line with rock-fusion, tying him with fellow producer (of TANITA TIKARAM) Peter Van Hooke and others such as guitarist Clem Clempson. The Van Hooke-Argent team went on to work with the likes of NANCI GRIFFITH, Joshua Kadison and Jules Shear, while there was the odd musical roots resurrection with COLIN BLUNSTONE, and in turn, The ZOMBIES. But one can’t help think that ROD ARGENT had so much else to give his loyal rock disciples – seems a pity.
© MC Strong/MCS Oct2012

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