RICHARD TREECE - Dream Arena East

For those who don't know, Richard Treece was one of the mainstays of 70's country-rockers Help Yourself, playing both bass and guitar on their albums. Although he was a competent bassist, it was as a guitarist that he shone, and the track 'The All Electric Fur Trapper' on Help Yourself's second album 'Strange Affair' is his piece de resistance. This album is a collection of demos recorded on his new four-track machine in the early 90's, which might well have evolved into songs for his later bands like The Archers or Green Ray. As it turned out that did not happen, but rather than let them rot away in his loft they have been rescued and issued as works in progress by Nigel Cross. Although they are quite rough and ready (most noticeable on the wavery guitar of 'Carnipreamble') and were never meant for public consumption, there is much to enjoy on here, and Treece's guitar playing has lost none of its sparkle. 'The Great Whale Hunt' is a perfect example of his fluid lines, and David Johns' guesting on rhythm guitar adds to the melancholy feel. 'Backward Rap', on the other hand, is Treece the rocker with a track that would have slotted perfectly onto a Green Ray album. 'Thin Ice' is another guitar tour de force, but even though Treece has double-tracked many of these tunes you can't help feeling somewhere near the second half of the CD that it would have been nice to overdub a rhythm section on a couple of them to give them a bit more depth. 'Look To The Skies' is one of the better tracks purely because the rhythm guitar acts as a bass and provides a backdrop for the solos. This CD certainly shows that Treece is still a brilliant guitarist, but I just wonder if I will play this quite as much as his last band album with Green Ray.