Product no.: RUF 1209




Release Date


November 2014


Release Notes


To play a new Colosseum album is to step into the unknown. Anything could happen. All bets are off. While less questing bands are content to issue fading photocopies of their best-selling work, latest album Time On Our Side is the sound of old friends embarking on new adventures. “We never try to recreate the past,” says drummer Jon Hiseman, who co-founded the pioneering British group in 1968. “So the music has changed again, and anyone hoping for Son of Valentyne is in for a shock. Having said that, I think Colosseum sounds like no other band. This unlikely collection of writers and performers seems to have a ‘Colosseum’ effect on the music…”

            Released on Ruf Records in November 2014, Time On Our Side walks a creative tightrope, stretching the genre-blurring band’s palette while always showing their inimitable thumbprint. The jiving jump-blues of “City Of Love”. The shape-shifting jazz of “Dick’s Licks”. The stacked harmonies of “You Just Don’t Get It”. The melancholy ache of “New Day”. It feels like Colosseum, even if it doesn’t always sound like them. Hiseman cites the original mission-statement as “rocky, jazzy rhythms, vocals with intelligent words, improvised solos” – but in truth, there’s not a pigeonhole in the world that can contain them.

            Eleven years have passed since Tomorrow’s Blues: a lifetime in rock ‘n’ roll. Time On Our Side may have been a pleasure to record, at Hiseman’s own Temple Music Studio in Surrey, yet its completion marks the end of a period of some uncertainty. “We started it in 2010 by meeting in the studio and playing through demos that had been written by the bandmembers,” the drummer remembers. “But after 2010, the future of Colosseum was always going to be decided by whether Barbara would be able to tour again…”

            Of course, multi-instrumentalist Barbara Thompson is a vital part of the Colosseum story. She and Hiseman met in 1964, then married in 1967, and during the band’s first run, she played – albeit uncredited – on the first three albums. Colosseum split in 1971, and Thompson led her own outfit, yet she remained a close ally, and when the reunited band lost original saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith in 2004, she stepped up. “Dick was a great admirer of Barbara,” recalls Hiseman, “and she was the obvious choice. He was a rough, tough masculine player who took no prisoners. Barbara tells a softer, more feminine story and we get more girls in the audience. No complaints!”

            Undoubtedly, Thompson’s sax lines are the fairydust on the new material, from “Safe As Houses” to “The Way You Waved Goodbye”. Yet there were times, says Hiseman, when the band feared her involvement might not be possible: “Her Parkinson’s progresses, and the medication becomes less effective, so she stops playing, then a new medication arrives and she picks up where she left off. This has happened three times now – and recording this album was stopped in 2012 because it looked as if she would never play again. When a new Swedish miracle drug arrived twelve months ago, we decided to go for it, maybe one last time: finish the album and tour again.”

            The completion alone of Time On Our Side, then, is a towering achievement. That this new album is so dazzlingly successful is testament to the enduring genius of one of Britain’s most inventive lineups. Almost a half-century after Colosseum’s formation, this is unmistakably the sound of a band with gas still in the tank and endless lightbulbs popping over their heads. “I know that when we get together we all feel like we are coming home,” says Hiseman. “This album was easy to make and it just feels right…”




1      Safe As Houses

2      Blues To Music

3      The Way You Waved Goodbye

4      Dick’s Licks

5      City Of Love

6      Nowhere To Be Found

7      You Just Don’t Get It

8      New Day

9      Anno Domini

10     Morning Story

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