In 1976, I doubt there was a harder and tighter rock band in operation than UFO, Leo Lyons returns for the production duties and I’d have to say he does a much better job here than the predecessor ‘Force It’.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: No Heavy Petting
SERIAL: CHR 1103
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Phil Mogg – vocals * Michael Schenker – guitars * Pete Way – bass * Andy Parker – drums * Danny Peyronel – keyboards, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Natural Thing * 02 I’m A Loser * 03 Can You Roll Her * 04 Belladonna * 05 Reasons Love * 06 Highway Lady * 07 On With The Action * 08 A Fool In Love * 09 Martian Landscape
WEBLINKS: Site Link
1976 was a year of consolidation for UFO. Now a five piece, this was the album which featured the one-off studio appearance of Danny Peyronel, who at the time was prominently involved with the Heavy Metal Kids the two bands frequently crossing paths on the live circuit.
Now firmly entrenched in the hard rock circus of the day, the band’s sound was becoming harder and more focused with every release. However, with the addition of a fulltime keyboardist in Peyronel – as a means to fill out their sound, it was inevitable that UFO would add spit and polish to the chrome and steel provided by the rest of the band.
In 1976, I doubt there was a harder and tighter rock band in operation than UFO. Leo Lyons returns for the production duties and I’d have to say he does a much better job here than the predecessor ‘Force It’.
Two UFO favourites adorn the opening duo of songs for this album. ‘Natural Thing’ and ‘I’m A Loser’, both blistering versions, and easy to see which direction the band were prepared to take. Loads of keyboard tapping dominate the up-tempo fury of ‘Can You Roll Her’, and if my ears weren’t deceiving me, this has a certain Deep Purple vibe about it, though Schenker lifts it up a notch or five, something that Richie Blackmore could only dream about.
This song along with the beautiful ballad ‘Belladonna’ were released as one of a pair of singles for the Japanese market by Chrysalis. Good choices I reckon. Schenker is the force majeure for ‘Reasons Love’, solid riffs abound, this is no lightweight affair that’s for sure. ‘Highway Lady’ is another keyboard tapping/guitar keeps pace workout, while ‘On With The Action’ slows things down considerably, Michael’s guitarwork similar to German Uli Jon Roth during his Scorpions era.
It’s hard to ignore Foghat‘s ‘Fool For The City’ similarity to ‘A Fool In Love’, the chorus sounds like a rip-off to me, though the song was a co-write by Frankie Miller and Free bassist Andy Fraser, so it’s no fault of UFO.. lol!
Perhaps a return to the space rock era of their earlier albums, ‘Martian Landscape’ is a drifting meandering excursion which hardly breaks a sweat, the twinkly starlight keyboards mixes well with the predominant acoustic guitars on offer, though Schenker does colour it up slightly with some lead guitar solos.
Peyronel was a reasonable songwriter, and he provided four co-writes on the album. Ironically, it was this situation which caused Danny to lose his place in the band. Because this album wasn’t as successful as the prior two Chrysalis albums, management needed a scapegoat.
Being the new boy on the block, and with four co-writes, this was seen as the reason for the relative failure, though we know now with the benefit of hindsight that it wasn’t the case at all. Despite all this, the band was moving on, they recruited rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond who would make his debut on 1977’s classic ‘Lights Out’.
For me personally, I rate this ahead of ‘Force It’ and ‘Phenomenon’ purely because of the hard rock quotient contained within, though I think the band’s following albums are probably better overall. Still, you can’t go wrong with any of their albums during this period. Now available as a 2008 reissue with bumper liner notes courtesy of Mark Blake.
That reissue also contains five bonus tracks: ‘All Or Nothing’, a cover track of a Small Faces tune, ‘French Kisses’, ‘Have You Seen Me Lately Joan’ a track written by Frankie Miller, ‘Do It If You Can’ and ‘All The Strings’ written by the hard-done by Danny Peyronel.
I’m A Loser