JADE WARRIOR – Last Autumn’s Dream

As mentioned before, their debut album was hard one to follow and so I skipped their second effort ‘Released’ and went straight for their magnum opus ‘Last Autumn’s Dream’. Widely regarded as their best album, it expanded on the spirituality of their first two, and with the addition of Duhig’s brother Dave on guitar it gave the band a chance to concentrate on the songwriting without trying to build every song around a guitar solo. ‘A Winter’s Tale’ is a good example of this, opening the album with a gentle ballad, with Duhig’s guitar just adding the fills and not overpowering the song. ‘Snake’ harks back to the first album, with a riff-heavy song and some fine guitar and flute. ‘Dark River’ is more of a mood piece, taken from a ballet composed by the band about a vanquished warrior, and comprises subdued drumming and abstract flute. ‘Joanne’ is a hard rocker which erupts into a searing guitar solo, and ‘Obedience’ is an extract from another of their dance pieces played solely on guitar. ‘Morning Hymn’ is another song like ‘A Winter’s Tale’ – a haunting ballad featuring just acoustic guitar and flute, which leads into ‘May Queen’, an Indian sounding piece with some distinctly Western guitar. ‘The Demon Trucker’ has the honour of being the band’s only single release, and you can hear why. It is one of their most normal songs – fairly bouncy, catchy chorus, radio friendly, but not really what the band were about, and people trying their albums on the strength of it may well have been dumbfounded at what they heard. ‘Lady Of The Lake’ is more typical of their material, and is another lovely ballad, while ‘Borne On The Solar Wind’ ends the album with an evocative guitar instrumental. Both of these albums are out on CD, although neither has bonus tracks, but they are still well worth hearing as examples of early 70’s guitar rock, and Duhig’s work on their first album really does have to be heard to be believed.