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(Also known as ‘Journey to the Inside of the Sun’ and ‘Play it Loud’)



"Vertigo collector's rate Clear Blue Sky as one of the label's finest achievements"
Record Collector / 'Progressive Rock'

"In the right time and at the right place and with the right kids, such a
formula might catalyze a Clear Blue Sky, and on this record, thank you God, that’s just what it did. CBS (weird...) play a powerful, muscular brand of tight-as-hell progressive hard rock, with pure and strong vocals, dynamic and demanding compositions and explosive, deranged guitar perambulations. Some classical quotations even get thrown in to the mix. If I were to compare these guys to anybody, it would probably be May Blitz, Raw Material, T2...that sort of sophisticated machismo trip so prevalent at the time. Brilliant record!!"

"Patrick Campbell-Lyons was responsible for producing some of Vertigo's most fascinating releases. Among them was the debut album from Clear Blue Sky, which in my own estimation rates as the label's finest work. The band was a three piece from Acton, who were only 18 years old when the album was issued in 1971. Their album is now very collectable, and they are easily the match of any of their contemporaries."
Barry Winton/Record Collector/'The Vertigo Label'

"Black Sabbath's Vertigo stable mates Clear Blue Sky released a brilliant
debut album in 1970 with the opening song 'Sweet Leaf'. This nine and a half minute rendition of crushing riffs bears no resemblance to the track from 'M.O.R', but the album is a killer from start to finish and is well worth hunting for!"
Pete Sarfas / The Black Sabbath Appreciation Society

"an album of immense importance - a view which many other collectors
share... only 18 years of age, this did not stop them from playing with a
great depth of feeling, as this classic record clearly shows."
Barry Winton / Record Collector - 'Collecting Vertigo LP's'

“Listening to this spectacularly ignored 1970 offering with the benefit of hindsight; one could say that Clear Blue Sky was either visionary geniuses, or lucky amateurs who picked a good day to rent the studio. Barely out of high school, this guitar-driven (with the odd flute or organ) power trio delivers an inventive set of neo-prog psychedelic blues-metal “

 Customer review/



"...The group's legendary status will be more than enough to maintain an interest in this archive find."
Record Collector - Nov 1990

"Clear Blue Sky play with a passion that is both forceful and flawless.
Head in the clouds stuff for sure, but sheer heaven for the devoted."
Edwin Pouncey

"We love Clear Blue Sky from 20 years ago as one of the greatest band's ever!"
Massimo/Black Widow Records, Italy
The point of demarcation for Clear Blue Sky is the fine guitar work of John Simms which we get a real taste of here with some heavy riffs….A very good album with a nice vibe all the way thru.
‘My All Time Favourite Prog Recordings’




"A powerful mix of fusion-flecked psychy progressive rock that reaches galactic proportions."
Edwin Pouncey

"...The first album is very good, but 'Cosmic Crusader' is brilliant."
Algirdas Jasinskas

“The first track is gorgeous: stress on the keyboards (note! It is actually guitar-synth!), female vocals, rumbling bass parts.  The band seems to play progressive rock.  But with the second song, Clear Blue Sky remind us that they are a great heavy rock combo”

Jacques Toni/Acid Dragon

"I can't claim to have approached this album with an unbiased ear, but as a
devotee of the band's earlier work, my expectations were that much higher. I
wasn't disappointed for a second"
Oz Hardwick / Astro Zombie

"Old rock bands never really die and 1996 brought us the return of Clear
Blue Sky in big style. John was an ace guitarist in 1970 and he still is in
1996. His extensive acrobatics on the old faithful six-string work well
(especially on the title track)..."
Crohinga Well

"If you are looking for an album that you can fully absorb into, then you
need look no further than Clear Blue Sky's 'Cosmic Crusader'. Just close
your eyes, press play and drift into another world for the next 50 minutes
of pure magic... wonderful guitar - really rocks - great guitar - work - great punchy bass - an album that grabs your attention from start to finish, and shows a lot of versatility within the music on the album from dreamy thought provoking to blues orientated and some heavier melodic tracks. Highly recommended!!"
Derek Daniel / Stormbringer

"An engagingly eclectic offering here. The name made me think space rock,
while the opening track moved through enough changes to keep me guessing
what this band was really all about.
Psychedelic-blues-space-garage might cover most of the bases, but that still doesn't nail it down entirely. John Simms rough hewn guitar has the
anachronistic ambiance of a vintage 1966 garage rocker, while the
song writing, especially on 'Every Living Thing' and 'Highway of Fire', is trippily psychedelic. Vocals by the gorgeous Maxine suit the music well
adding a slightly folk-ish counterbalance. Is it progressive? One would have to conclude so, judging by the freewheeling approach to genre cross-pollination happening here. Really, this brand of Nouveau psyche- with its raw rock crunch, spacey atmospheres and folk-y trimmings - is kind of hip. Well worth checking out!"
Bill Knispel/Progression magazine, USA

"Record collecting did not start only for the music. It is more than for
the music. Clear Blue Sky's albums conclude a bit more than music. It is the feeling within that not many artists have proved themselves to be as talented. John Simms undoubted talent of composing the great tunes and fitting them into the right lyrics has proved itself to be head and shoulders above many other hard rock acts of the '70's, and if the record buyers and the press could not have understood it then, then they may get it now with the CD reissues and the new album. 'Cosmic Crusader' is amazing. First of all, it shows that 'art-rock' has not yet died, and that rock is still very much alive. Alive and kicking! Who the hell is Oasis?"

Matt GE / Yotvata, Israel

"It all sneaks in rather subtly on 'Earth the Rock' with the new guys
setting the scene, some very '70's synthscapes from Adam Lewis and a fine
bass groove from Kraznet Montpelier, with original drummer Ken White laying
down a solid, understated rhythm. Almost without you noticing, in comes main man John Simms to show what psychedelic rock guitar's all about. Clear Blue Sky welcome back! The icing on the cake, however, is smoothly applied during the patchouli-soaked blues of the second track, 'The Age of Dinosaurs', where we discover not the slightest change in the amazingly youthful vocals of John Simms. To pick highlights is a little pointless, as this is all quality stuff, but perhaps 'Picture Puzzle' is the standout, with some lovely acoustic guitar overlaid with beautifully warm fuzz lead, and a perfectly simple chorus which neatly blends John & Maxine's vocals. Then again, maybe the expansive, wah-wah drenched title track has the edge. Or perhaps...whatever, in 1970 Clear Blue Sky helped to invent the genre of British psychedelic heavy prog, and in 1996 it's nice to have John Simms and
his merry band of Cosmic Crusaders to show any young would-be contenders how it should be done."

Oz Hardwick / Astro Zombie



"I'm frying my baked brains listening to Dave Ball (of Bedlam fame) slash and
burn the fret board...he's on par with John Simms from Clear Blue Sky. I'm honestly in shock, to discover such fantastic guitar players in the world, in terms of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, so it astounds me when I hear something like this. It's so fresh and vital that it will remain forever a classic. For those who enjoy Toad, Tear Gas, Dust, Socrates, Clapton etc, really MONSTER GUITAR PLAYING, check out.... Clear Blue Sky's ''OUT OF THE BLUE-LIVE & UNRELEASED''. You'll be amazed!"
N. Jacovides, USA

"Fans of Gravy Train, Heep, and even Barclay James Harvest can invest with confidence."
Michael Heatley / Classic Rock magazine

"...Out of The Blue is a collection of early tracks recorded way back in 1968/9 and four live takes of material from their debut album. They are a power trio and are incredibly heavy which is surprising given the age of the material. The sound is built heavily around the guitar of John Simms who also provides vocals. Some of his soloing and riff work is quite outstanding and must have been incredibly advanced for the time. Think of a combination of The Yardbirds, Ten Years After and Led Zeppelin and you will have some idea of their sound. Mark Sheather and Ken White, bass and drums respectively, hold it all together and provide the platform for Simms to strut his stuff. 
Old it may be but it still blows away the cobwebs! 'Mirror of the Stars' is their latest release and whilst they are still essentially a very heavy band they have taken on board many other influences. John Simms is still the powerhouse on guitar and vocals with Ken White again on drums. Ted Landon now provides the bass. The guitar
is, once again, the main instrument and Simms really is an overlooked guitar heavyweight. If you enjoy fine solo work within a melodic and ever changing framework then this really is a must buy album. The opening title track sets the benchmark for what is about to follow with 'Marari (For Your Love)', just about being the track of the album. This is a great example of thinking man's rock music and is highly recommended."
Terry Craven / Wondrous Stories - The Classic Rock Society

‘Out of the Blue’ is uniformly excellent with the studio numbers so strong that one marvels at how such a young band could produce music as mature as this in 1969 and how it could have taken so long for it to see the light of day. The third cut ‘Spooky’ is every bit as good as much of contemporaries The Groundhogs’ catalogue (Not in any way a spurious comparison when you listen to it- for Pete Cruickshank and Ken Pustelnik substitute Sheather and White) and also reminded me of the original Irish band Skid Row featuring Gary Moore. That gives you an indication of how good the guitar playing is. The lengthy fourth song ‘Kill You Lie’ has Taste written all over it and a nice ‘Not Fade Away’ rhythm to remind us of the band’s roots as ‘Jug Blues’. The next one up, ‘Veil of the Vixen’, a rip roaring track is at 7 minutes nearly as long and has similarities to Taste in the way Rory Gallagher would mimic his guitar lines with his voice on the all time classic ‘On The Boards’ LP while, backtracking for a moment, the opener ‘Man of Stone’ demonstrates once again the brilliance of Simms’ guitar fills leading to a very full sound and compensating for the lack of keyboards (although there is some piano on ‘Man Dream’) ‘Taxman’ uses a straightforward riff that ACDC would be proud of and Clear blue Sky embellish this in a way that ACDC never could. (No personal bias here as ‘Highway to Hell’ remains one of my favourite listens despite its obvious derivations!) The concluding studio track ‘Joanna’ sounds like a Heavy Metal version of ‘The In Crowd’ if you can imagine that! Ceaselessly inventive and ingenuous, CBS never lose track of their roots!
Phil Jackson/Zeitgeist

” his (John Simms’) solos on "Out of the Blue" are simply outstanding with their positive 'wildness'.
Each of the three band members worked on this album to sweat his guts out and their long and highly diverse arrangements are the most ungovernable I ever heard. On the first two or three songs vocals appear just in the very beginning and then only the instruments travel the length and the breath of the compositions with all the conceivable and even inconceivable arrangements, jams, crossing solos of guitar, bass and drums, all simultaneously. The overall sound of the album is incredibly heavy and harsh for 1968. There is lots of heaviness and psychedelics throughout the album,  Maybe, I've got such an impression just because these tracks were recorded live, and, perhaps, their studio versions sound radically differently - I just don't know. Though, I won't be surprised if the band's official debut album consists of only these four songs since on "Out of the Blue" they sound about the same 36 minutes as an original studio album.
It's a great feeling to know that there was (is!) another one, the third truly progressive album following the first two genial Pink Floyd albums, with the first marking the birth of Progressive Rock in June 1967, being "hidden" from us up to now, by the way. "Out of the Blue" is not just one of the most revolutionary works in the history of Rock Music, this is also a real progressive killer and (I dare say) the very first Progressive Hard Rock album (in other words the first pre-Prog Metal album), whose elements are obvious among all the other ingredients of mostly truly progressive styles and genres. More. Seven original "Out of the Blue" tracks that Clear Blue Sky had recorded almost two years before the Hawkwind guys were just in work on their debut album are actually the very first full-length work of this exact style. If you still aren't sure that Hawkwind's debut album is far from what we call Space Rock, especially with regard to Hawkwind itself - I'm sorry to remind you about this axiom once again. So the star of real psychedelically progressive Space Rock had risen at least three years before Hawkwind began to perform the very kind of music Clear Blue Sky played on their real debut album in 1968. You don't have to believe me this time (though, I hope so) - anyone who like Hawkwind can just compare the albums of the band's most successful period to "Out of the Blue" and even to Clear Blue Sky's debut official album of the same 1970 because I know that Hawkwind released their first brain-child only by the end of that year. My thoughts by no means reflect my chilled attitude to Hawkwind, as I really like this band very much. I just think that the truth is the only thing to triumph always All in all, Clear Blue Sky created their own, highly original and innovative, potent mixture of Psychedelics and Progressive Hard Rock, which
later will be called Space Rock, far back in 1968, i.e. earlier than any other band or performer of the same style."

Vitaly Meshikov / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

 ''The governors of space-rock''
Mark Newman / Never Say Die Radio



"A stunning and electrifying album, their heavyweight rock style now
multi-layered with facets of psych, blues, space and garage, projecting
boundaries ever further."

Hi-Note Music

"With 'Hello Earth' the band turn acoustic, and what a great effect this has on the overall feel of the album. The group still manage a powerful grip on their music in this mode and John Simms shows what a great guitar player he is, ably belting out another great guitar solo style with that running guitar that characterised bands such as Judas Priest during their early days... All in all, this album marks a welcome return to the musical scene by Clear Blue Sky. Apart from their classic debut album, this is the only album that really leans towards a progressive rock style. The album should appeal to all those who like space-rock and/or appreciate good guitar work. Hopefully, we do not have to wait for the next Anniversary for another Clear Blue Sky album."
Nigel Camilleri / Dutch Progressive Rock Pages, Holland

The icing on the cake though is ‘Mirror of the Stars’ showing just how this band has matured with age to take on a wider range of influences. In fact on tracks like ‘Vexdre’ and ‘Hello Earth’ CBS sound like Rush firing on all cylinders! Despite the predominant influence being the late great Rory Gallagher (especially his Taste days) there are also shades of Steve Hillage and a mystical ‘eastern’ feel on the opening title track. I hope John Simms will forgive me when I say his vocals reminded me of an excellent hybrid of Geddy Lee and Noddy Holder! There is such an ‘embarrassment of riches’ here- enough to fill a double LP in ‘the old days’- that it’s difficult to single out individual tracks but a mention must go to ‘Marari (For Your Love)’, an unforgettable 6 minute plus song with great echo guitar effects and ‘Timelords Speak’, a brooding number with some great power chords at the beginning. In fact, titles like this and ‘Stargaze 777’ (Also the prismatic cover depicting an alignment of pyramids with stars, an example of sacred geometry perhaps?) give a strong indication of the science fiction theme running through the album. All the music was written by Simms and backing vocalist Maxine Marten (with additional backing vocals by Lee Limerick) and the line-up is completed by Adam Lewis on keyboards on 3 tracks and a rhythm section of Ted Landon and Ken White.
‘Mirror of the Stars’ will appeal to lovers of heavy rock and space rock alike and has the word ‘classic’ written all over it. My advice to you is to buy both these releases without delay…You won’t regret it!

Phil Jackson / Zeitgeist

"...there's much to admire too. The musicianship is very good, with drummer Ken White, bassist Ted Landon, Maxine Marten on backing vocals and percussion, Adam Lewis on keyboards on a couple of tracks, as are Lee Limerick's additional backing vocals, coming across very well. On this outing though, it is the guitar work of John Simms that stands out, not surprisingly as he wrote, or co-wrote all the material."
Bernard Law / Classic Rock Society, UK

"Eclectic Earwig Reviews sees many, many CDs come its way for review. The really big surprise recently was CLEAR BLUE Sky’s newest release; MIRROR OF THE STARS!! The in-your-face, guitar work by John Simms is superb, tight chops abound, song compositions are strong, engaging, a myriad of multi-faceted, and ever-evolving excursions into spaced-rock, psychedelic-boogie jams with strong vocals and harmonies, (sounding very Geddy Lee). Expect strong synths, great guitar effects/ guitar-synth and a generally fun ride all the way through. This is axe-driven and very well-done progressive, psych, trippy rock. Imagine Rush meets Steve Hillage meets Blue Oyster Cult meets Darryl Dobson and add a dash of Gongish-Ozrics 'weird-soup spice' for atmosphere. Good job CBS! Strongly recommended, progressive rock music.
John W. Patterson, Editor of Eclectic Earwig Reviews

This psych rock band have done and seen it
“This psych rock band have done and seen it all with a musical pedigree stretching back to the heydays of the 70s.”


"...a two CD compilation of some of the most memorable releases brought to
us by the Vertigo label."

Record Mart & Buyer/August 1998

"Magic moments do occur.....the soaringly impressive sound of Clear Blue Sky,
a band for which Winton holds special affection."

Edwin Pouncey 

Trevor Knight VERTIGO: "CLASSICS & RARITIES- Volume 1"

"Perhaps though, the album's charm lies in its nostalgic reverence for
acts such as May Blitz, Clear Blue Sky, Colosseum, Freedom and Gracious."

Q Magazine

"It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to some of the very finest British progressive rock"
Barry Winton UK’s premier rock/blues writer

"...a sample of the label's best, most sought after material... progressive
rock will explode in the face of contemporary music sooner or later"

Record Collector's album of the month.



“Crème de la crème….including bands that started it all…. such as Clear Blue Sky”

Barry Winton

"To sum up, Clear Blue Sky are musicians and singers of the highest order, who have just about done everything. I expected the group to sound very dated, with music that would only appeal to the older generation. But the opposite is true, the group have a refreshingly different sound which I think would appeal to most people. The evening was best summed up by the young emerging band 'Flyby Karma', who proclaimed Clear Blue Sky as both 'amazing' and 'stunning' and an 'evening of brilliant entertainment'. I couldn't agree more!"

Trevor Knightsmith/Back to Bone/Rock journalist


“Clear Blue Sky are legendary….they are simply superb”

Lucien Pablo/Sharp Edge



”Clear Blue Sky blast through the hi-fi with sheer brute power and you realise why they were such great innovators at the time. We have a lot to thank them for….Genius!”

Marcus Levine/SoundSearch

This is a small selection of reviews received over the years.  Clear Blue Sky wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to listen to and comment on their music. Thanks also to all the radio stations, shows and presenters who have featured Clear Blue Sky.


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