Book Of Love
(Silver Sonic)


As great as the song writing team of Rod Argent and Chris White was in both the Zombies and a few years later by 1970 in Argent, it was the presence of Russ Ballard that added so much to the band’s stamina and presence during the classic Argent era. After he left Argent after 1973’s In Deep—the highlight being his amazing powerhouse vocal on “God Gave Rock And Roll To You”—Ballard stepped out with his self-titled first album in 1974 and he’s been going strong since. After the breakup, the great Argent line up with Rod, Russ and the future Kinks rhythm section of Rod Henrit and Jim Rodford was sorely missed by fans who put them up on a pedestal with prog-rock legends like Yes and Caravan. One of the most amazing shows I ever witnessed was the In Deep era Argent lineup backed on the bill by Yes offshoot band, Flash. I also had the unique chance to sit with Russ in a booth at My Father’s Place after an Argent concert at that famous club back when Argent visited Long Island. With a slew of his great original songs, Ballard’s torch song rock repertoire was a huge influence on pop and rock fans in that crucial early ‘70s era. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard him for years so a chance to review his 2007 album Book Of Love came as a fantastic and welcome surprise. Though older and seasoned in 2008, Ballard takes advantage of his unparalleled song writing skills throughout the Book Of Love album. Needless to say, Ballard was one of the great U.K. singer-songwriters who was also a brilliant guitarist. A sidebar but a valid point to mention on his guitar legacy is Ballard’s early instrumental, a fantastic driving instrumental rock track of his called “The Lost City” was one of the highlights on the now classic 1965 Shadows Lp on EMI, Sound Of The Shadows. Always worth the ears of Argent fans, Hank and the Shadows fans and more, Ballard’s unique ability to merge guitar driven progressive rock and pop influences continues moving in the right direction with the classic rock vibe of Book Of Love.


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