Wind Of Change

Peter Frampton

A&M, 1972

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When Peter Frampton left Humble Pie in 1971, there had to be some people who thought he was absolutely crazy. After all, Humble Pie was on the verge of hitting the plateau of their success (at least in terms of the United States), but Frampton's heart seemed to be less into the boogie-rock that Humble Pie was noted for, and more for following his own varied musical path.

Wind Of Change, his 1972 debut, might not have lit the charts on fire, but it turns out to be a fairly solid effort, even if it doesn't light the speakers up with Frampton's blazing guitar work.

Let's get one thing out in the open here...if you buy this disc expecting to hear a studio version of Frampton Comes Alive, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Yes, the seeds for that superstardom are very much here, but they're veiled in more subdued performances (with the occasional rocker thrown in for good measure). If anything, this is Frampton declaring that he was a songwriter to be reckoned with – and if he happened to throw some tasty guitar work into the mix as well, all the better.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Likewise, you'll probably feel let down if you don't hear 120-decibel rock blaring out of your speakers from the first track. In fact, most of the work here has more of an acoustic feel (though electric guitars are very much present as well, even in some of the softer numbers), but it is in these songs where Frampton's power is felt even more.

Take the island vibe that the opening number, “Fig Tree Bay,” lays out for the listener's eye. While the music doesn't have a Caribbean feel to it, the laid-back style of playing is almost reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett at times, and puts the listener in a more relaxed frame of mind, almost as if they're walking the island with Frampton. Likewise, songs such as “Oh For Another Day,” “The Lodger” (which is probably the best song on this disc) and “Hard” introduce Frampton without needing to have him peel off solo after solo on the Les Paul. Honestly, it's a refreshing change.

This isn't to say that Frampton doesn't know how to rock as well. I can't say I was enthused about another cover of a Rolling Stones song, and “Jumping Jack Flash” doesn't really break any new ground, but it does show Frampton's willingness to cut loose a bit. Likewise, “It's A Plain Shame” takes on a whole new light in a studio setting (seeing the first most people knew of this song was on Frampton Comes Alive). This setting doesn't always work to his benefit, though – “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side),” to me, doesn't work nearly as well in an electric setting as it did stripped down on the live disc. But, then, that's just my preference.

The sad thing is that Wind Of Change has remained hidden in Frampton's discography, as has most of his studio work, save for I'm In You (which benefitted as being the follow-up to Frampton Comes Alive, so there was much hope riding on that album). In truth, Frampton's first solo effort is remarkably good, and awaits rediscovery by the kids digging through their parents' old record collections.

Go ahead and give it a spin. Wind Of Change turns out to be a surprisingly good breath of fresh air.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2017 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M, and is used for informational purposes only.