Album Review: Fastway – Fastway (1983) / All Fired Up (1984)

Fastway (1983)
I was never a Motorhead fan, and nor am I ever likely to be, so I never really had any great expectations for this album despite all the hype at the time. And those of us that were around then remember just how much of it there was.

Fastway were almost being billed as a second rate supergroup in the making with their initial line up of Fast Eddie Clarke and Pete Way ……. hence the name !! Way may not have lasted long but they kept the name anyway.

Quite what die-hard Motorhead fans made of the album I don’t know but it is very hard to imagine Lemmy singing many of these songs. Someone, I can’t recall who, it may even have been me, once wrote that Motorhead wrote their songs by throwing all the instruments down a staircase and then copying the resulting sound as fastly as possible. Well that certainly isn’t the case here as there is plenty of melody throughout the album.

Unknown singer Dave King was a complete out and out Robert Plant wannabe, albeit with the look of Lena Zavaroni. He’s competent enough and puts in a good performance it just lacks any great originality.

That’s the biggest problem with the whole album really, it sounds like a poor Led Zeppelin tribute band recording their own songs. Clarke is exposed as a second division guitarist, at best, without the power of the Motorhead sound but he must surely be given credit for not forming a clone of Lemmy’s crew and having a go at something a little more palateable.

The opening two tracks, Easy Livin’ and Feel Me Touch Me set the standard and in truth the album never gets any better than those two cuts. After a while the material begins to just merge into one and there is little light and shade. Lyrically and musically it is very much run of the mill NWOBHM fodder.

So all in all then a funny type of album. A lot better than I initially expected but ultimately a little disappointing after the promise of the first two tracks.

All Fired Up (1984)
I seem to be in a minority group that actually prefers this second album from Fastway to their self titled debut.
As with the debut album it is very much Led Zeppelin tribute in the style of NWOBHM. ‘Misunderstood’ is one of the better tracks but is so Zeppelinesque I’m surprised Percy and the crew didn’t sue. ‘Non Stop Love’ is similarly Zep like but posseses a completely stupid lyric and an over the top Plant impression from vocalist King. The penchant for poor lyrics is highlighted again on ‘Telephone’.

Opening cut and title track ‘All Fired Up’ steals from the Rainbow track ‘Death Alley Driver’ but that aside is a decent enough start. ‘Tell Me’ is a good  boogie and ‘Hung Up On Love’ is very reminiscent of Whitesnake (or given the Zep sound should that be Coverdale Page !) both melody wise and lyrically.

The other main highlight on the album is ‘The Stranger’ during which King manages to do a good impression of Robert Plant, David Coverdale and Dave Byron all at the same time.

As with the first album the main problem is that vocalist Dave King is far too busy trying to sound like other people, mostly Plant, that he never really develops any style of his own and it is easy to tire of him. Why listen to an impersonator when the original is to hand. Also the limitations of Clarke as a rock guitarist are cruelly exposed by the material.

© Martin Leedham. First published on RYM August 2008

About Martin Leedham

Music critic, Horse Racing Tipster, Hapless Dreamer, Defender of the Underdog
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