Click Here To Purchase King Of Thieves / The best of Peter Daltrey

Musician: Peter Daltry

Audio CD 

Label: Global Recording Artists



Back in the 1960s, Peter Daltry was a main motor in the British psychedelic band Kaleidoscope, a band that suffered some confusion with a West Coast group of the same name. But the principal body of Daltry’s work is on 18 solo albums, and this new collection is largely a sampling from the most recent 8 releases. As a result, King of Thieves is an astonishing range of musical settings and styles, musicianship of a very high order indeed, and song-writing that offers often ironic lyrics to evocative melodies.      

King of Thieves is the work of a musician who hasn’t toured in 39 years, so the bulk of his multi-faceted material was produced in his home studio.  Some of the albums represented here were billed under his own name, others as collaborations with New Orleans based singer-songwriter, Damien Youth. Still others, containing Daltry’s more experimental productions, have been issued under the nom de plume Link Bekka.  Youth has proven to be a capable partner, as in “Essa,” an instrumental demonstration of the American’s acoustic guitar virtuosity.   In the same vein, we hear the simple folk of Daltry, Youth and others on songs like “Angels on a Hill” (where life wears “black and blue”), “Child of Weather” (with strong nods to Donovan), and “Winter Song,” one of the melodies reminding listeners Daltry lives only 18 miles from Stonehenge.  Likewise, the Celtic-flavored “The Girl” and “Country Dance” are also in the British “roots” tradition, these tunes supported with a full band. One track, “Magda Brewer in the Rain,” in which the singer “broke the window with my dreaming,” is another beautiful ballad, this time performed only on a piano.

Daltry admits weather imagery is a theme of his work—claiming that’s because he’s British. Meteorology figures in both song lyrics and the soundscapes on several tracks, Daltry adding nature sounds for dramatic effect. For example, his 2009 Link Bekka collaboration with saxophonist Derek G Head was called Jacks Town, a tribute to Beat poet Jack Kerouac. ”Lowell,” named after Kerouac’s hometown, is spoken word poetry

Accompanied only by rain sounds. We hear strong winds blowing leading into “Wild Roses,” Daltry’s contribution to a yet unreleased Sky Saxon (The Seeds” tribute. On this track, the howling winds build into pure psychedelia evoking Daltry’s musical roots.

There are more complexly produced selections like the ornate “I Want to Live in America.” Well, America, Amsterdam and Jerusalem—Daltry is a man who wants to live forever and apparently everywhere. Equally as layered is the symphonic instrumental, “Rhinefield,” set around a beautiful flute solo, and the Moody Blues-esque “A Linden Tree in Chelsea.” One set-piece for the collection is “Tambourine Days,” a personal look back to the ‘60s with achingly soulful singing and pop guitar work.   Perhaps the most obvious blast from the past is the grand finale, “In the Room of Percussion.” It’s a reworking of a Kaleidoscope rocker with lyrics that run counter to the triumphant tone—“My God, the spiders are everywhere!”

Hearing these tracks for the first time, I admit wondering—where have I been all this time? I’ve been missing some significant music and feel grateful Daltry took the time to assemble this overview of his recent releases. I suspect anyone who listens to this sampler will find themselves wanting more. They won’t be disappointed—after all, this is the second volume of Daltry’s best work.  We all have a lot of catching up to do.

Wes Britton’s audio interview with Peter Daltry for “Dave White Presents” is now posted at:

Click Here To Purchase King Of Thieves / The best of Peter Daltrey