John Wetton: Caught In The Crossfire (1980)

John released his first solo album in between U.K. and Asia, and Caught In The Crossfire both looks back to the one and looks forward to the other. The leadoff track is actually something of a red herring, as John tries his hand at the music of The Police (and what singing bass player didn’t want to be Sting in 1980?). The rest of the album picks up where U.K. left off and prefigures the more commercial sound of Asia. “When Will You Realize?,” “Paper Talk,” “Get What You Want” and the haunting “Cold Is The Night” would all fit that description. “Baby Come Back” and “Woman” (one of two brilliant ballads on this album) could even be seen as Asia Beta. If you’re looking for traces of Roxy Music or Uriah Heep, you may find them on “Caught In The Crossfire” and “Get Away.” Mano a mano, Wetton clearly outmaneuvers Greg Lake in the solo debut department. After years of playing in other people’s bands and contributing lyrics to other people’s songs, Wetton emerges as a singular force capable of writing (and playing) everything. The support he receives here is minimal: drums (Simon Kirke), sax (Malcolm Duncan) and a rare bit of moonlighting from Tull guitarist Martin Barre, who catches fire on “Paper Talk.” Wetton’s long-awaited debut should have charted better, but it’s unclear how much EG Records promoted it. Also, U.K. didn’t leave particularly long coattails to ride on; subsequent copies of Caught In The Crossfire added a sticker that called attention to the Wetton-Asia connection, and likely caught more eyes as a result. If you’re a fan of U.K. or Asia or simply a Wetton watcher over years, this one is definitely worth a shot.

Original LP Version
A1. Turn On The Radio (3:47)
A2. Baby Come Back (3:24)
A3. When Will You Realize? (4:34)
A4. Cold Is The Night (5:22)
A5. Paper Talk (4:00)
B1. Get Away (4:30)
B2. Caught In The Crossfire (5:03)
B3. Get What You Want (John Wetton/Peter Sinfield) (3:18)
B4. I’ll Be There (3:33)
B5. Woman (4:33)

All songs written by John Wetton unless noted.

Expanded CD Bonus Tracks
11. Every Inch of the Way (John Wetton/Curt Cuomo)
12. Out of the Blue (John Wetton/Bob Marlette/Tom Whitlock)

The Players
John Wetton (voices, lead guitars, basses, keyboards), Simon Kirke (drums) with Martin Barre (lead guitars on A2/A3/A5/B5), Malcolm Duncan (saxophone on B2/B4), Phil Manzanera (B2). Produced by John Wetton and John Punter; engineered by Richard Mason, Martin Moss, John Punter, Nigel Walker.

The Plastic
Released on elpee and cassette in 1980 in the UK, the US and Canada (EG Records, EGLP/EGMC-107), France and the Netherlands (Polydor, 2302 103) and Japan (Polydor, 28MM 0010); different regions feature different cover. Re-issued on compact disc in 1991 (EG Records, EGCD-47) and in 1992 (Caroline, 1588). Re-released on compact disc on September 14, 1999 in the US (Renaissance, RMED00116) with a different cover. Re-issued on expanded compact disc in Japan (Avalon, MICP-10162) with two bonus tracks.

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