Peter Banks: ‘Instinct’

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This superb, but alarmingly underrated guitarist had a really fine pedigree. First coming to notice in the mid sixties in a wonderful flower-power band call Syn, with a certain Chris Squires on bass, they were then joined by vocalist Jon Anderson and became the marvelously monikered Mabel Greer’s Toy Shop. Finding this a bit of a mouthful, and with the addition of Tony Kaye on keyboards and Bill Bruford on drums, they transformed once more and found instant international acclaim as Yes.

Two wonderful albums followed, “Yes” and “Time and a Word” but at this point Peter Banks was booted out due to his ambitions of entertaining an audience rather than trying to educate them. It was after a performance at the Marquee that Mott became a fan, always wanting to have fun and being up to having entertainment thrust in his general direction. Watch “Dear Father” from 1970 on You Tube to get the full might of early Yes. Even to this day, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, and Trevor Rabin have made a career out of copying Bank’s trademark guitar licks.

Peter Banks went on to form Flash, who released 3 respectable albums (once described as “Yes music played by Thunder and Lightning”), before being swamped by bad management and punk rock. After spending the Eighties mainly in session work and looking for suitable musicians to work with, Banks went solo in the Nineties with this enchanting album “Instinct”.

From the first rippling guitar chords of opening cut “No Place Like Home” to the final bell “Never The Same”, which closes the album, your ears are held in thrall by this maestro of the six-string. Although an instrumental album it always holds your attention by its diversity and humour, but you will have to listen to the music to get that. Satriani, Vai, and co would give their eye teeth to put out such a fine collection of fretwork and tunes.

The two central passages include track 4, “Sticky Wickets”, played on a midi guitar synthesizer, which starts out funky and then turns itself inside out to reach a shattering climax. Then, before you have time to push the repeat button Banks is off again with track 5 (“Short Comings”), totally excessive and not at all jazzy, with a relentless four in the bar.  It’s like the night of a thousand guitars with Peter Banks the fastest guitar slinger in town.

The final track is “Never The Same”, a moving tribute to Banks’s late mother. Never has such a beautiful piece of music been played on the electric guitar.

If you hear this music like me I’m sure you will be mystified why Peter Banks did not become an international star.

The album cover and the inside sleeve notes are worth the price of the CD alone, so you cannot lose. Dogs have superb instinct so trust this dog’s instinct and add this to your collection, you won’t regret it – 5 stars.

Other CD’s by Peter Banks include: “Self Contained”, “Reduction”, “Two Sides of Peter Banks”, and “Can I Play You Something”.

Peter Banks. (Photo/Wikepedia)
Peter Banks. (Photo/Wikepedia)

Tracks List:

No Place Like Home

All Points South

Fogbound

Sticky Wicket

Short Comings

Code Blue

Angels

Animal Mundi

Swamp Report

Instinctive Behavior

Dominating Factor

Never The Same

Note: Written by Mott The Dog of Jameson’s, The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.