When Peter Frampton released Frampton Comes Alive during 1976, he could not have realized that it was like entering, to date, a 40 year marriage; “to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, till death do us part. It was the biggest selling album of the year and remains one of the signature live albums of its era. It also was a height he could never reach again.
During the second half of his career, Frampton continued to released albums of well-received, if not overwhelmingly commercially successful, music. Three of those albums were re-released last year; Premonition (1986), When All The Pieces Fit (1989), and the subject of this review Now (2003).
Unlike a number of his post Frampton Comes Alive albums, Now finds Frampton not fitting into the musical trends of the day but just creating music on his own terms.
It is an album by a mature musician who is in control. He has always been an excellent guitarist but now that brilliance is more understated. It is also the album that marked the beginning of his extended relationship with Gordon Kennedy. They had written two songs together for the Almost Famous film, which led to their co-writing 8 of the 11 tracks on Now.
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a seven-minute tribute to George Harrison who had passed away several months before. He does not overwhelm the song but rather seduces it.
Now is an album that allows Frampton to explore new territory. If you have lost track of him over the years, this is a good way to become reacquainted.