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N. H. Foster "Crazy Diamond" (UK)

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Get It While You Can
Get It While You Can
Price: £10.39

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Freight Train Rolling, 11 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Get It While You Can (Audio CD)
Rosco Levee and Southern Slide – Get It While You Can
Before you press play sit back, strap yourself in and pin back your ears. Why? Because this band come at you like a freight train straight from the off and don’t let go across the albums 11 tracks.
This is mighty fine Southern Blues/Rock boogie mined from the deep wells of ………. Kent! Wherever Rosco and his compadres hail from they are drenched in the DNA and vibe of the deep southern states of the USA, and they have an innate ability to take the blue print and stamp it with their own contemporary interpretation. All tracks being original compositions.
Some Angels Fall throws down a huge marker, bursting from the speakers on a clipped fractured riff and low down rhythm section groove. Gambling Man steams in next a riotous romp of a tune splicing together some razor sharp honky tonk keys a pinned looping riff and a swagger of a groove.
You hit track 4 before the band even start to slow the pace to draw breath. Back to the Banks opens with a tasty melodic bright lead motif from Levee, urged on by the subtle but strong keys of Lee Wilson. And just when you think you have it worked out, in comes the brass section with some urgent flurries and another staccato clipped Levee riff. A real slow burner of a song that has a real groove going on and showcases the band’s influences and talents. Levee takes top billing with a superb demo of the art of slide guitar juxtapositioned with some sublime acoustic flourishes.
Whiskey Blues Goodnight is a real album highlight, an epic tune featuring some absolutely stunning slide work from Levee, I can picture the slide glass blitzing up and down the frets, underpinned by a pulsing rhythm section and urgent Hammond hooks. Wrap that up with a hooky chorus, stomping chord runs and you have a real winner here. No wonder Blues magazine recently had it on their cover mount CD!
The band are not just about foot to the floor stompers as evidenced on When the Band Starts to Play. A deft melody of keys, drum and bass sets the tone and soon you are enveloped with some vocal harmonies and another slice of raw bruising slide from Levee. The closest to a ballad on the album.
When I first heard Redemption Calls my face just broke in to a huge grin and I hit replay. This for me is the album’s ‘killer cut,’ it is awesome. This is one for the Cowboys out there a ‘four minute spaghetti western,’ if ever I have heard one. Levee narrates a way out west tale of the life of a bad ass Cowboy as he sits astride a searching lead break and gently pulsing rhythms. This is a widescreen panoramic masterpiece that just shouts out to be the soundtrack to Eastwood’s or Tarantino’s next Western movie. Get on the case Rosco.
Look Out Moses has that Western vibe too, another tale of trials and tribulations of the downtrodden draped over a wide fat riff. And then in to smooth Southern Belle, off the gas a little as the percussion guides the band through a metronomic groove that Levee splinters with a series of electric slide and acoustic lead breaks. More brass and harmonies and great way to bow out of a great album.
On the evidence of this album Rosco Levee and Southern Slide deserve their place alongside the other contemporary Southern Rockers out their causing a tear up, namely Skinny Molly, Cadillac Three and Blackberry Smoke.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2014 1:50 PM BST


I Will Build You a House
I Will Build You a House
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Career Beckons, 4 Feb. 2014
On the evidence of the sheer quality of this five track EP the career of Goldie Reed is surely destined to move to another level and see her move in to the spotlight within both the contemporary Country and Blues movements. It is no surprise after listening to this offering that both genres have embraced this 26 year old British talent.
Yes it is an EP of 5 tracks clocking in at just over 16 minutes but there are so many subtle textures and layers, that to this listener for one, it seems like a full album of at least twice its actual length. You aural senses will be enveloped in a swathe of lyrics, vocals and musicality that is an absolute joy to behold.
The first that strikes you is that all 5 tracks are original and varied compositions, having been penned by Reed herself and strings virtuoso, Pau Rippengal. Then the depth and level of maturity of these two youngsters hits home as the quality of the writing, song arrangements and sheer high level of musicianship washes over you on first listen. Credit also to producer Peter Bennie, intelligent enough to deliver sparse arrangements, devoid of technical enhancements. When the music is this good there is no need to embellish it, a real case of where less is more and letting the music speak for itself.
Goldie Reed has a wonderful voice that is at times rich and really quite powerful and at others so delicate as to appear almost vulnerable. And in Paul Rippengal a massive talent with a Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo in hand, combined with an innate ability to surround Reed’s vocal delivery with the perfect accompaniment.
All of this and more is apparent across the aforementioned 5 tracks. It would be easy for me to describe each track, such is the quality but not wanting to take away the element of surprise I have chosen a little appetiser from the full menu. Of the tracks 3 are definite upbeat, up-tempo numbers that will lift your spirits and put a big smile on your face and 2 are just sumptuous ballads that will draw you right in.
Up-tempo ‘Nobody’ is bright, strident and a real slice of modern Americana, built on a foundation of undulating double bass and some dextrous finger picking playing from Rippengal on Guitar and Mandolin. Put the two together and the result is a pulsing melody of subtle gear shifts and Reed delivers an almost quirky and nuanced vocal that dovetails perfectly with the melody. The lyrics hint at the character and attraction of a ‘rough diamond,’ that Reed brings to life perfectly.
To close the EP, the title track, ‘I will Build You A House’ a beautiful song where the layers and textures described above are all apparent throughout, it is simply gorgeous. A story of true love and the lengths one person will go to protect and keep safe a lifelong love. Goldie captures the essence of the words with a haunting and impassioned vocal delivery that nestles in your head. All the while Rippengal weaves in and out of Reed’s singing with some wonderfully delicate acoustic Guitar and Banjo flurries. The percussion is pitch perfect too adding another layer to a song that slips away like velvet.
I simply love this EP, capturing the massive talents of an emerging star still in the fledgling stage of her career but surely 2014 will see Reed flourish and spread her wings. It certainly does whet the appetite for delivery of her second full album, whenever that may be?


High Hopes
High Hopes
Price: £4.56

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Hopes - High Results, 15 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: High Hopes (Audio CD)
Hot on the heels of 2012's exceptional Wrecking Ball, High Hopes, Springsteen's sixth album in eight years continues the very rich vein of form that has illuminated this phase of the great man's career

The album evokes feelings of joy and sadness as once again we are treated to the sublime but departed musical talents of Danny Federici and of course the larger than life right hand man Clarence. on 8 of the 12 tracks Springsteen is joined by the brilliant and malevolent talent that is Tom Morello. A man with so much more talent than his stint in speed metal band Rage Against the Machine afforded him.

In putting the album together Springsteen has mined the massive vault that contains unreleased and uncorked songs belonging to others, a rarity and live show staples from down the years. The result a stream of golden nuggets that some artists could not match in a complete career.

Springsteen and Morello are clearly kindred spirits and dovetail together perfectly throughout the album, Their vocals are the perfect foil for one another, on one level rough and edgy but always melodic and soulful. Guitar wise, similarities too, opting for taut clipped lead breaks and not stretched solos. Morello is the more aggressive player a trait that adds extra depth and power to the sound.

For life long fans this is a chance to journey back through the masters touch points of a long and stellar career. Title track and album opener High Hopes can best be described as a 'head worm. The melody and folky hooks will get in to your head and have you guessing where the tune is going next.

The brooding menacing Harry's Place is Springsteen at his most aggressive, punchy rhythms, grinding guitars and brutal bold but sparse lyrics. A throwback to Murder Incorporated.

Following quickly on is a simply stunning and majestic update of the haunting 41 Shots, titled here as American Skin, a classic and a narration of good gone bad.

I swear the percussive intro of Down in the Whole will have you reaching for your copy of I'm on Fire, it is every inch that songs sequel. Played with passion and pathos.

I am totally in thrall to the reworked and amped version of the glorious Ghost of Tom Joad, this is seven minutes of musical majesty. Booming crunching guitars laid over a solid rhythm and Springsteen and Morello delivering the impassioned vocal the story deserves. Gut wrenching in its raw beauty.

Frankie Fell in Love lifts the mood and transports you back to the glory days circa late 1970s with The Boss delivering one of his classic narration of ordinary American folk living an ordinary life. The lyrics and uplifting tempo are however signposts to better things. Joyous.

Album closers The Wall and Dream Baby Dream are simply stunningly beautiful arrangements, the kind of taut searing ballads that are synonymous with Springsteen. Spine tingling beauties to close an exceptional album.

It is a testimony to this man's quality of material that he has never found a place for these terrific songs on earlier releases.

The Boss shows no signs of taking his foot off the gas and for that we should be grateful.


Dirt On My Tongue
Dirt On My Tongue
Price: £14.59

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harman in perfect harmony, 19 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
Jo Harman's star has been in the ascendency for some time now, with the release of her debut album it should soar in to the stratosphere. This is an album of unparalleled quality, beauty and power and I have heard nothing to better it this year.
Jo Harman has a truly spellbinding voice that captures your attention and does not let it go. The range of her vocal is quite astonishing and throughout the eleven tracks on the album Harman demonstrates the full range of her voice, delivering with power, the softness and lightness of a feather and always with conviction.
Please don't run away with the idea that this is a one woman show however, as the tight band that surround Harman are never less than superb and clear masters of their craft.
Categorising Harman and this album as Blues is way too simplistic and does Jo and her band members a huge disservice, Dirt On My Tongue has clear Blues splashes but equally there is soul, gospel and balladry that rival the best. Mike Davis's production is crystal clear but not clinical and provides the space for Harman's vocals to flourish and the band to also shine through. At points, played on good Hi-Fi you can almost hear Jo's breath and you can certainly hear Davis's fingers wrapping round the fret board.
So the eleven excellently crafted and positioned songs. The first thing that strikes you as you sit back and let it wash over you is that this must have taken a lot out of Harman to write and record because the brave lady lays her heart and soul totally bare. The songs and lyrics tell of deep love, love lost, fighting for survival and the loss of a parent.
Album opener I Shall Not Be Moved is a statement from the start a gospel tinged ballad that literally stops you dead in your tracks and demands your attention
This Is My Amnesty nestling at track three is surely destined to be become a live set list favourite. It is simply a beautiful arrangement built on a pleading soulful vocal from Harman. Lifted to great heights by intuitive acoustic and coursing slide guitar from Mr Davis. The lyrics are heart rending and my interpretation is that Harman is trying to reach out and save a deeply personal relationship.
Following swiftly on in Heartstring, this is a clear gear change, built on a choppy jangling riff from Davis, a velvet rich vocal from Harman underpinned with glorious vocal harmonies. The track builds in musical and lyrical power resulting in a crescendo of dizzyingly high notes from Harman.
No let up as next rack I Don't Live Here Anymore displays its colours in the form of an uplifting country tinged tune, generated by some superb acoustic guitar shot through with searing classic Country and Western slide. Once more Harman stands astride the musical arrangements with a pin sharp vocal.
If you have seen Jo Harman live you will have definitely the heard the next track; Sweet Man Moses. You can do nothing but stop whatever you are doing and listen to the intensely personal wrought lyrics in which Harman sings of the tragic loss of her father and the clear support given to her sibling brother. The emotion is so raw it is palpable and the lyrics will resonate with anyone that has lost a parent and helped and been helped by a brother or sister. Praise here must also go to the man on the keys, Mr Steve Watts who comes down to Harman's level and wraps her in his beautiful piano runs. Glorious!
Nothing this far prepares you for Underneath the River, as I listened to it for the first time a huge grin spread across my face. Harman lets the rock chick surface in all its glory here delivering an aggressive clipped vocal and she is for once, vying for supremacy with Mike Davis who lays down some serious licks and full on riffs. Whilst the tight rhythm section give the melody a metronomic groove. I just know this will become a live favourite.
The pace slows again on Fragile, a totally apt title where it is evident Harman is putting her emotional vulnerabilities out there for all to witness. Harman's voice displays fragility itself here, not a weakness, a genuine fragility apparent when something comes straight from the heart. Just listen to the poignant narrative from the lyrics.
On penultimate track Better Woman the pace quickens and we are treated to perhaps the most contemporary song on the album. An initial country style hue gives way to a rock out as Davis stomps on proceedings with some really tasty clipped riffs and in the mid-section, a monstrous demonstration of slide. What does this do to Harman, it simply allows her to give full vent to the frightening power of her voice as she rises over the crescendo of six string power to rail and wail. To give full texture, the backing vocals are perfect. Love this track!
Album closer What You Did For Me takes us out where we came in 50 minutes ago. Another revelation of the pain of a relationship break up, whilst holding the hope of reconciliation. This lady has the ability to put ordinary folk's thoughts in to words. Once more the band knows how to pitch their accompaniment at the right level. Davis delivers an echo tinged melody and another stunning piece of slide playing that almost sounds like Harman's tears. Whilst Watts add soft textures with his wonderfully dextrous playing.
53 minutes and it is over and all you want to do is press repeat.
I cannot praise this album too highly, it is a must have. As a listener, not a musician this whole album touches my soul in a way that I cannot recall happening before.
All I can do is thank Jo and her wonderful band and..... press that replay button again.


Dirt on My Tongue -Digi-
Dirt on My Tongue -Digi-
Price: £18.15

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harman and Band in Perfect Harmony, 28 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jo Harman’s star has been in the ascendency for some time now, with the release of her debut album it should soar in to the stratosphere. This is an album of unparalleled quality, beauty and power and I have heard nothing to better it this year.
Jo Harman has a truly spellbinding voice that captures your attention and does not let it go. The range of her vocal is quite astonishing and throughout the eleven tracks on the album Harman demonstrates the full range of her voice, delivering with power, the softness and lightness of a feather and always with conviction.
Please don’t run away with the idea that this is a one woman show however, as the tight band that surround Harman are never less than superb and clear masters of their craft.
Categorising Harman and this album as Blues is way too simplistic and does Jo and her band members a huge disservice, Dirt On My Tongue has clear Blues splashes but equally there is soul, gospel and balladry that rival the best. Mike Davis’s production is crystal clear but not clinical and provides the space for Harman’s vocals to flourish and the band to also shine through. At points, played on good Hi-Fi you can almost hear Jo’s breath and you can certainly hear Davis’s fingers wrapping round the fret board.
So the eleven excellently crafted and positioned songs. The first thing that strikes you as you sit back and let it wash over you is that this must have taken a lot out of Harman to write and record because the brave lady lays her heart and soul totally bare. The songs and lyrics tell of deep love, love lost, fighting for survival and the loss of a parent.
Album opener I Shall Not Be Moved is a statement from the start a gospel tinged ballad that literally stops you dead in your tracks and demands your attention
This Is My Amnesty nestling at track three is surely destined to be become a live set list favourite. It is simply a beautiful arrangement built on a pleading soulful vocal from Harman. Lifted to great heights by intuitive acoustic and coursing slide guitar from Mr Davis. The lyrics are heart rending and my interpretation is that Harman is trying to reach out and save a deeply personal relationship.
Following swiftly on in Heartstring, this is a clear gear change, built on a choppy jangling riff from Davis, a velvet rich vocal from Harman underpinned with glorious vocal harmonies. The track builds in musical and lyrical power resulting in a crescendo of dizzyingly high notes from Harman.
No let up as next rack I Don’t Live Here Anymore displays its colours in the form of an uplifting country tinged tune, generated by some superb acoustic guitar shot through with searing classic Country and Western slide. Once more Harman stands astride the musical arrangements with a pin sharp vocal.
If you have seen Jo Harman live you will have definitely the heard the next track; Sweet Man Moses. You can do nothing but stop whatever you are doing and listen to the intensely personal wrought lyrics in which Harman sings of the tragic loss of her father and the clear support given to her sibling brother. The emotion is so raw it is palpable and the lyrics will resonate with anyone that has lost a parent and helped and been helped by a brother or sister. Praise here must also go to the man on the keys, Mr Steve Watts who comes down to Harman’s level and wraps her in his beautiful piano runs. Glorious!
Nothing this far prepares you for Underneath the River, as I listened to it for the first time a huge grin spread across my face. Harman lets the rock chick surface in all its glory here delivering an aggressive clipped vocal and she is for once, vying for supremacy with Mike Davis who lays down some serious licks and full on riffs. Whilst the tight rhythm section give the melody a metronomic groove. I just know this will become a live favourite.
The pace slows again on Fragile, a totally apt title where it is evident Harman is putting her emotional vulnerabilities out there for all to witness. Harman’s voice displays fragility itself here, not a weakness, a genuine fragility apparent when something comes straight from the heart. Just listen to the poignant narrative from the lyrics.
On penultimate track Better Woman the pace quickens and we are treated to perhaps the most contemporary song on the album. An initial country style hue gives way to a rock out as Davis stomps on proceedings with some really tasty clipped riffs and in the mid-section, a monstrous demonstration of slide. What does this do to Harman, it simply allows her to give full vent to the frightening power of her voice as she rises over the crescendo of six string power to rail and wail. To give full texture, the backing vocals are perfect. Love this track!
Album closer What You Did For Me takes us out where we came in 50 minutes ago. Another revelation of the pain of a relationship break up, whilst holding the hope of reconciliation. This lady has the ability to put ordinary folk’s thoughts in to words. Once more the band knows how to pitch their accompaniment at the right level. Davis delivers an echo tinged melody and another stunning piece of slide playing that almost sounds like Harman’s tears. Whilst Watts add soft textures with his wonderfully dextrous playing.
53 minutes and it is over and all you want to do is press repeat.
I cannot praise this album too highly, it is a must have. As a listener, not a musician this whole album touches my soul in a way that I cannot recall happening before.
All I can do is thank Jo and her wonderful band and….. press that replay button again.


Sammy Hagar & Friends
Sammy Hagar & Friends
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £6.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Party Time, 13 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sammy Hagar & Friends (Audio CD)
The Red Rocker reveals there is another primary colour in his musical make-up and that colour is Blue. Sammy Hagar and friends is a hugely enjoyable collection of songs featuring a group of eclectic and esteemed guests from Taj Mahal to Kid Rock.

The album mixes a number of styles from straight ahead rock through Blues to soul and gospel and for the most part the results and very positive with a few absolute standouts.

The album gets off to a flying start with Hagar joined by Blues Maestro Taj Mahal on a laid back, easy on the ear Blues romp with the two deep rich vocals combining perfectly. Hagar's take on the Depeche Mode staple Personal Jesus will no doubt polarise opinion, with most comparisons being drawn with the Johnny Cask cover. Me, I love it. Hagar takes it from a synth drenched sound to one with some jagged cutting licks from the always excellent Neil Schon. The Gospel phrased vocal adds deep texture.

The album really hits top gear in the middle section with Knockdown Dragout delivering a piledriving riff throughout and Hagar and Kid Rock matching it with aggressive vocals. Bob Seger's Ramblin Gamblin Man follows on with a 70s southern boogie groove, fast licks and pounding drums and excellent backing vocals. The stakes are raised even higher with an absolute trademark Hagar rocker in the shape of Bad on Fords and Chevrolets. This is real pedal to the floor stuff. Superfast dual riffing and scintillating solos between Hagar and Vic Johnson jumping all over some rock solid drum and bass runs. This is real top down, shades on and hit the road stuff, brilliant.

Before the almost apocalyptic album closers we are treated to some real soulful sounds from Sammy and Toby Keith covering Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Closely followed by some stunning pedal steel guitar on All We Need is an Island.

Going Down is much loved and much covered but this is a classic version, possibly the heaviest version you will ever hear. Hagar is joined again by Neil Schon and the pair combine to deliver real six string pyrotechnics. Jackhammer riffs and monstrous solos giving the song a live in the studio sound.

Rounding the whole lot off in real style is a live version of the seminal Montrose classic Space Station NO:5 a fitting tribute to Ronnie. Hagar is joined by Chickenfoot buddy Joe Satriani and it is clear these two now have a telepathy as they slug it out throwing lead breaks and shard like solos at each other. It reminds you just what a monstrous metal band Montrose were!

If you do elect to buy the album, do buy the deluxe edition as you get a DVD thrown in but best of all is the packaging, triple gatefold, some great pictures and hugely interesting sleevenotes.

Why would Hagar worry about Van Halen anymore, he is having the last laugh.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2013 6:24 PM BST


Bad News
Bad News
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Graffiti Rock the Planet, 12 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Bad News (MP3 Download)
Bad News may be the title of Planet Graffiti's new album but for any lover of contemporary Blues Rock this is Good News. This is a very impressive debut from the Portsmouth based power trio.
Planet Graffiti are made up of husband and wife rhythm section with Rupert Peters on bass and Donna on drums, then there is vocalist and brilliant lead guitarist Brent Hutchinson bringing it all together.
The album comprises ten tracks and demonstrates this band is no one trick Pony. There is a vibrant mix of styles from out and out Blues to funky soulful grooves and a smattering of straight ahead rock.
Quick out of the blocks is opener `I Don't Need Ya Baby,' definitely at the rockier end of the band's sound, heavy duty bass lines and driving drums and Hutchinson laying down some aggressive lead breaks.
The Rock in Blues Rock makes another appearance on the indie rock inspired `Bleeding Out', for me this is one of the standout tracks on the album. It is raw, etched with heavy hooks and lead breaks and Hutchinson delivers a vocal that has a brooding echo going on, before he tops it off with another searing solo.
Funky grooves punctuate Bad Advice, short sharp licks and some deft keys from the band's guest.
The Blues influences are all there and amongst them more standout tracks. None better than the instrumental `Stevie,' this just has to be a tribute to Mr SRV and a fitting one at that! No vocals maybe but the band are in perfect harmony here. The bass and drum rhythm is subtle and dovetails brilliantly with Hutchinson's leadruns. However, it is the solos that lift the song to another level. You get the wonderful combination of one solo that is haunting and loaded with dextrous licks and then a second that is fiery, distorted and embellished with some incredible sustained notes. This is a guitar fan's delight and then some.
The final two cuts also allow the band to show that their true colour really is Blue, Trash Can Blues and Snoodle Boogie are joyous Blues romps, both driven on by some heavy duty drum runs, powerful bass lines and more six string wizardry from Hutchinson. The band manage to combine tempos from across the sonic range never allowing the listener to second guess where the sound is going next.
Mention must also be made of the lilting ballad `Fix Me,' clearly a tale of broken love with a pleading vocal and subtle rhythm and then the stupendous fretbaord skills of Hutchinson. Much of the song is carried along on a wave of acoustic beauty with an almost classical sound emerging from Hutchinson. Then as the song builds to a climax another treat in the form of a heart wrenching solo.
The production is clean but gives an impression of being cut as a band performing, not three individual musicians laying down their tracks.
By any standards this is an impressive album; from a band that is seeking to carve out a place for themselves in this vibrant genre of music this is hugely impressive.
If you are a fan of the modern Blues Rock movement add Planet Graffiti to your list, buy this album and catch them love in a town near you and soon!


Fight For My Soul [Limited Edition]
Fight For My Soul [Limited Edition]
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 year Itch - well and truly scratched, 7 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Seven years between albums is a long time and Lang's reasons for staying away are well documented. Has it been worth the wait? In my opinion the answer is a resounding 'yes.' Fight For My Soul is a mighty fine album from a mighty fine artist. On the evidence of this, Lang has matured as a person and as a musician.

The result is a sprawling aural landscape of music that flows in and out of many genres, from Blues to rock, to pop, to soul and funk. Blues officiandos may be disappointed but if you can cast aside the prejudice this album is richly rewarding. There really is something for all here! If you are going to indulge, go the whole way and get the Deluxe Edition the bonus tracks are that for sure.

Each time I listen I peel off more layers of the sound, the vocals and the lyrics and compare Lang to artists as diverse as John Mayer and Prince. The production is pin sharp, crystal clear and gives the band space in which to work, resulting in a rich full sound that deserves to be heard on good kit. Lang's guitar playing is never short of brilliant, his vocal is very strong and he has surrounded himself with fine musicians from a mega tight rhythm section through to wonderful backing vocals and superb strings.

Blew Up The House opens the album and delivers a statement of intent, fiery riffs and real gravelly vocal, it is well backed up with follow on track Breakin' In, a real funky groove driven on by a pulsating rhythm.

What You're Looking For is a killer of a song, scratchy riffing, clipped fuzzy soloing, taut vocals resulting in probably the clearest Blues cut on the album.

The Truth is the first of a number of beautiful ballads where Lang gives rein to some stunning acoustic interplay and finger picking, building to a gut wrenching haunting solo where he really does wring out the notes. Flowing through the track are some lovely piano runs and Lang's vocal just lifts the whole piece.

Get ready for a shock with The River, this is where the Blues collides with Motown! Funky metronomic grooves from the outset and some classic Motown style backing vocals before Lang rips up the script with a raucous shredding solo.

Seasons is a wonderful surprise, if the PR bunch are on their game this must be a Christmas release that should go to No1. This is a return to the Christmas songs of yesteryear. Evocative lyrics set the scene and the music pulls you in to thinking of the season, putting up the decs and sitting by an open fire. Beautiful song.

I'll Always Be is another top notch ballad where Lang delivers another taut vocal but introduces some superb strings to add texture before he steps back in with another searing but clipped solo. Perfect way to close the main album.

And then the two bonus acoustic tracks, quite simply stunning, cut live and combining the smooth with the rough, where Lang lays his soul bare with some clearly personal lyrics. The acoustic playing is wonderful almost as powerful as the plugged in sound.

Some will love, some may scoff but nobody can accuse Lang of playing it safe. Fortune should favour the brave!


Made Up Mind
Made Up Mind
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marital Harmony, 25 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Made Up Mind (Audio CD)
The Tedeschi Trucks Band. Rarely these days is the word 'Band' used correctly. However, The Tedeschi Trucks Band is 100% apt for this collection of 11 wonderful musicians. Of course we have guitars to savour but added to the mix are wonderful vocals, a broad selection of keys, a percussion section that covers all bases, a wonderful horn section and real classy backing vocals.

The result is a truly joyous album of eleven stellar tracks and you just get the sense that the band had a real blast recording the album, having fun but also knowing they were in the throes of delivering something exceptional. This is a real cornucopia of sounds and styles, Blues, soul, gospel, country and some funky grooves.

Tedeschi and Trucks are the focal point of the band and Tedeschi's vocals just get better and better, the lady is so expressive, so good at her phrasing and able to rise and fall within the dynamics of the songs. Trucks delivers a fretboard masterclass, laying down some incredible rhythms, majestic solos and some inspiring slide work. It must be said however, whilst it might be easy for Trucks to dominate every track, hoe doesn't, he is restrained and very much a part of the band. That only tells part of the story as the rest of the band get the chance to prove just how good they are. The percussion is faultless throughout, providing the base for Trucks to trade on. Equally the keys are delivered in a manner that dovetails perfectly with Trucks. Horns have a spontaneous feel and the backing vocals wrap themselves around Tedeschi.

So to the 11 brilliant songs. The title track Made up Mind sets the pace with a pulsating rhythm, clipped riffing and an opening salvo from Trucks.

Track 4, Misunderstood is a stunner, a real melting pot of soulful grooves, aside a funky riff and powerful horns. The result is a bright and spacious track that you will instantly love.

Part of Me maintains the soulful sound with Tedeschi really to the fore, a low down husky lead vocal, some great harmonies that are redolent of the Motown sound! Just to complete the mix, Trucks lays down some razor sharp riffs and some funked up rhythm playing.

Whiskey Legs will satisfy any Blues lover with its chugging guitar and ample reverb, the rhythm section delivering some massive grooves. This is Blues fusion of the highest order.

All That I need is a lovely surprise, a track with a radio friendly hook that will seep into your conscious. Not that any mainstream radio station will have the nous to pick up such a quality song.

For me the absolute standout of the album comes in the shape of penultimate track, the very aptly titled 'The Storm.' This is a truly magnificent song, it has real power and emotion in equal measure. It has a dense rhythmic opening with some fuzzed up licks. The keys come in and along with the percussion lay down slabs of sound. If Tedeschi awesome vocal is pleading how can one describe the solo of Trucks, it is simply stunning. This is real seek and destroy fretwork. Trucks seems to be trading killer blows with himself. 6 minutes and 30 seconds of sheer bliss.

The set closer 'Calling Out to you' brings the pace right down with some seering and beautiful acoustic slide work from the master and Tedeschi going out on a real high with another emotive vocal.

If there is real justice, when the Blues awards are dished out at the end of the year. The Tedeschi Truks Band and their magnificent album Made Up Mind must be right in the mix.

You will not hear better this year!!


Bliss Avenue
Bliss Avenue
Price: £11.06

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natural Progressions, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Bliss Avenue (Audio CD)
There is an immediate clue to the direction of Dana Fuch's 3rd album, Bliss Avenue from the cover shots. Gone are the close ups of the luscious flowing locks, replaced by an atmospheric but dark cover, all stripped bricks and concrete floors.

On the 12 exceptionally fine original tracks Fuchs shows that her vocal has undergone something of a transformation as she has switched from the sultry siren on Proud to Beg to something of a tequila soaked mistress. If you are looking for comparators think Beth Hart, or if seeking a longer lineage, Melissa Etheridge at her powerful best. Fuchs is that good.

The lady is surrounded by musicians of the highest calibre, trusted guitarist Jim Diamond impresses hugely again with the quality and breadth of his playing. Of equal stature is the all round keyboard skills displayed by Glenn Patscha. The rhythm section are perfectly in sync and it is all rounded off by superb backing singers.

So to the music, a real cornucopia of styles all moulded round a strong Bluesy feel, there are elements of country, a sprinkling of gospel and beautiful balladry.

Opening tile track lays down a real marker for the ensuing 11 songs, this one tears out of the speakers and grabs you instantly as Fuchs delivers a brash gravelly vocal that jumps all over Diamond's riff soaked melody. No let up in the pace on following track How Did Things Get This Way as it roars along on greased rails, all heavy Bluesy licks and a low down rhythm and hot key runs.

First gear shift comes with Handful Too Many,this is alt country with a sparkling twang of a guitar sound and dense keys wrapped around the Fuchs vocal that weaves a great story. Another gear shift on Livin' on Sunday, this is where the gospel hue surfaces and what a joyous romp it is too. Great lyrics and wonderful backing vocals lending to the vibe and as you would want, totally apt handclaps. You will be singing this one for sure.

Track 5, So Hard to Move, the first of the simply beautiful ballads and a song where Fuchs opens up her inner thoughts with a searing vocal delivery and narrative that deals with the recent loss of her brother. The melody created by the brilliant keys and subtle Diamond chord runs and clipped solo lift this to the highest of levels.

Pace and quality never slacken off with more country vibes and another super ballad Baby Loves the Life. Then just when you think this album cannot get any better it does just that. The closing three tracks are superb in their own way but put together they encapsulate pretty much everything Dana Fuchs and her accomplished band are all about.

Keep on Waling is a true muscular Blues rock out, aggressive clipped chords from Diamond and a pulsating backline rhythm.. Penultimate track, Vagabond Wind has an equally Bluesy feel but is much more of a slowburner, an infectious tune with guitar and keys providing a great platform for Fuchs to stride it with another raw evocative vocal. Then album closer Long Gone Game takes us out where Bliss Avenue came in, a real gem of a song with pace changes, a real groove and another flawless solo from Diamond.

Blissful album from a prodigiously talented singer, lyricist and musician. Surely this will take Fuchs to the next level. And with the likes of Diamond and Patascha embellishing everything with great splashes of colour from vibrant to light shades the lady cannot go wrong!

The album is so accessible, I have written this review after just two listens, such is its power to reach out and pull you in!


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