Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers

(Cherry Red Records – 2021)

This is the late, original, former member of Uriah Heep's final album who we sadly lost November last year.

 

It's a record that sees the poems of Vladimir Emilin, a Russian fan of his (from Barnaul to be exact),

who Ken met by complete chance at Alicante Airport in 2018 became something rather special. To put a long story short, Vladimir sent Ken two poems via e-mail that the maestro went to work on. Vladimir was so happy happy with the result that the wanted Ken to create a full album from his verse that Ken agreed to do.

 

Over a two year period, the most adaptable out of 160 were set to music with local musicians used throughout with Tommy Lopez at the helm. Overseeing and making the daunting task come into fruition. Tommy went beyond the beyond especially during the pandemic, who also also adds Drums/Keyboards/Strings/Percussion too where need. The album sees Ken on lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano & Hammond organ not to mention taking care of the production elements too.

 

Notable highlights of 'My Book Of Answers' include the opening rocker 'Lost (My Guardian)' with the George Harrison like guitar solo; the following powerful, declaring, future plans of 'Right Here, Right Now' with cracking orchestra keyboards & soaring guitar-work or the excellent but sad 'Light The Fire In My Heart'.

 

Then there's the lovely ballad in 'Stand' with supreme female vocal backing harmonies that sees some high end male vocals at the end too or the epic 'Suddenly' with a mesmerising opening atmospheric guitar solo that segues into the main part of this marvellous number. 'The Darkest Hour' is an enchanting number indeed and comes in it's original form and as a CD bonus acoustic track on piano – a marvellous addition. It's very much worth mentioning that videos were made for each song on the album at the request of Vladimir and an illustrated lyric book will be out later in the year.

 

The said book will contain Vladimir's original poems, notes from Ken showing the transformation development of each poem to what became the finished each song on the album with 5 illustrations by Alisia Vaselieva for each one too that Mr. Hensley said will be a “...deluxe hard-back package – a collector's item”.

 

The whole finished collaboration began very much as a “divine accident” as Ken himself puts it. I'd personally say that 'My Book Of Answers' is a most truly heartfelt work of art that he can be proud of leaving us with. All his friends, fans, members of bands he has been a part of over the years will dearly love this and need to hear it undoubtedly.

 

RIP Ken Hensley – Many thanks for your emotional and at times life-changing songs! As they say, the music will live on. Rock on wherever you are Mate!

10/10

 

By Glenn Milligan