The best Ken Hensley album that Uriah Heep fans don't listen to, but remember by heart

    Today we take a look at the legendary musician Ken Hensley's best album. How did his first «solo» album come to be and what is the meaning of the record? Let's take a look!

    All about the album «Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf»: creation history, tracks, success

    It is not uncommon for musicians who have been playing in a band for a long time to want to start solo activities. Some of them dare to appear before the public separate from the legendary band by a musician, and some still remain in the role of a member of the band.

    Today we will talk about the British multi-instrumentalist Kene Hensley and his first the musician recorded his solo album as a member of the legendary Uriah Heep.

    Recording process

    Ken Hensley in the 1970s
    Ken Hensley in the 1970s

    As Hensley himself admitted, the solo record included unreleased on two recently released Uriah Heep albums of songs. At the time, the musician was experiencing great creative riseSo «Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf» was destined to appear.

    Although Ken mostly wrote only for his group, in which one of his tasks was to create lyrics, he didn't mean to to leave well-written material "gathering dust on the table.

    Uriah Heep on tour
    Uriah Heep on tour

    Plate gradually appeared in London from 1971 to 1972, when Hensley worked at Landsdown Studios. In view of his participation in Uriah Heep he could not devote enough time for recording, so the songs on the album were recorded leisurely, when it was free time. The record was released in 1973, and in addition to Ken, his colleagues Gary Thain and Lee Kerslake worked on it.

    Uriah Heep
    Uriah Heep

    Although Ken's reputation was due to his talent and his participation in an iconic rock culture band, the album was received differently. Some people thought it was too Uriah Heep, and some noted on the record autonomy musician's style. The fact that the record seemed too similar to the works of the «Heep» is partly due to the work of not only one member of the band on the album.

    List of tracks

    Hensley and Byron on Stage
    Hensley and Byron on Stage

    Total on the record is 10 songsThe main motif of the whole album is the motif of the Hensley's inner state and his thoughts. The main motif of the whole album becomes loveThe hero's feelings, for the most part, are not very positive.

    «When Evening Comes»

    This blues-inspired composition itself prompted by the listener to sad thoughts. The hero talks about his memoirswhich comes to him as evening falls. This is the song that marks minor the mood of the whole album.

    «From Time to Time»"

    A calm and measured, but no less sad song Of separation with the beloved continues the love theme of the previous composition. The hero tells the listener his historyHow he fell in love with a beautiful woman, but one day she left him. A light guitar melody flows between the lines of Hensley's lyrics, making the song mesmerizing and compelling. believe every word of the singer.

    «A King Without A Throne»

    Not so sad anymore, but more fabulous a composition that tells the story of a king who is unlike any other. He wanders the earth, thinking about life and looking at the world not from the height of his position, but from the perspective of all those who should have been under him. Rather, Hensley skillfully seals in the metaphors of the text with his philosophical thoughts about life.


    Here, Ken pours out his feelings in the most end He sings with tears about how much pain it was survive the loss of love. It is as if the hero blames himself for what he is experiencing, and in spite of Light The motif of the ballad, however, slips into the longing and pain reflected in the repeated words «shame».

    «Proud Words»

    Quite a rock 'n' roll song, which in the background of all the other lyrics of the album sounds life-affirmingwithout a hint of sadness. The rhythm section helps the listener to feel how convincingly the phrase «Stand up and fight». It's probably one of the most cheerful Hensley compositions from this record.


    Another Ken song, imbued with longing and metaphorical portraits. However, this composition conceals more than just a ballad sound: if from the first notes a calmness is expected, then at a certain moment the track changes The melody has its own direction, which will change more than once in the course of the development of the tune. Reflections on fate, seasoned with the steadily changing direction of the track, create and metaphor about the volatility of life, and the pleasant dissonance.

    «Black Hearted Lady»

    In this composition, the hero talks about his disappointment A certain lady with a black heart. He realizes he is deceived and rejected, but this is not like pure sadness: rather, he coming to terms with with the emotions this mysterious and stale girl gave him.

    «Go Down»

    A song in which Ken acted not as a participant in a failed relationship, but their witness. It tells the story of a couple who could not keep their love, and Hensley acted as the Sagewho says that love is not easy at all, and that it can both inspire and hurt.

    «Cold Autumn Sunday»

    Again, the theme of the album returned to the hero's loss of the composition to his beloved. Here again, Hensley uses a great deal of imagery to convey the atmosphere loneliness and abandonment: Just what the hero is experiencing. It is not for nothing that the song has this title, for it reflects the state in which the whole world was in when love left the narrator's life.

    «The Last Time»

    A song that feels like hope and light. In it, the hero promises that after he has managed to see the whole world, he has returned home, and now the forever. The calm melody of the composition and Hensley's lulling vocals help you believe this promise.

    A little about the main gem of «Rain»

    Ken Hensley at the peak of his career
    Ken Hensley at the peak of his career

    Perhaps the most interesting song from this album is the fourth «Rain». What is noteworthy here is that this composition has already been released on the Uriah Heep album «The Magician’s Birthday» and was performed by David Byron. Although releasing a track with his performance for Ken was to subscribe to eternal comparisons to David's vocals, the keyboardist done this. Few listeners appreciated his performance, but the track still became iconic.

    In this version of the song, Hensley gave free rein to his idea of making the song emotionally different from Byron's. Ken insisted on vigorous The song's completion, which his colleagues disagreed with. By performing the track in his own way, Hensley showed how much execution can affect the emotional content of the song.

    Ken Hensley - how his name has become a household name in Russia

    Ken Hensley after leaving Uriah Heep
    Ken Hensley after leaving Uriah Heep

    Since the 2000s, Ken Hensley has been a dear guest in Russia. Despite the way Russian youth loved hard rock, the musician did not give a tour in Russia until 2004. That all changed when the renowned musician came to Moscow to work on a new record, which he recorded with Russian musicians. The ex-member of Uriah Heep was surprised by the good preparation of the Russian guys, and also noted that everything went on top notch.

    Hensley is interviewed after his concert in Moscow
    Hensley is interviewed after his concert in Moscow

    From that point on, Ken often In 2009 he was invited to a youth educational forum, and a year later the musician performed in several Russian cities as part of a small tour. In the fall of 2010, Hensley gave another concert in the capital.

    Ken is very warm spoke about Moscow and Russia, and frequently visited Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. The musician mentioned his love in a song «I Wanna Go Back» from the album Trouble in 2013. From 2014 to 2018 he gave several more concerts in different cities of Russia.

    Hensley on stage in recent years
    Hensley on stage in recent years

    Fans who have long been familiar with Hensley's work were very glad such an interest of the musician in Russian fans. After the singer's numerous visits to Russia, his fan base replenished new listeners.

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