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A Master At Work
on 10 September 2012
'The Ringmaster General' is a wholly apt title for Dave Stewart's new
album. Ever the master organiser, this collection of eleven new numbers
finds him stage-centre whipping up a delicious mix or rock, blues, R&B
and country. His collaborators serve him well. There is an easy grace
in Mr Stewart's melodies and arrangements which bare witness to his many
fruitful years in the business and an elegance, self-assurance and economy
of purpose which has no need or room for artifice or brash self-indulgence.
Whether in the rip-roaring soulful clatter of opening number 'I Got Love',
featuring a gutsy performance from Joss Stone (clearly enjoying every moment!);
'Drowning In The Blues', a gorgeously tender duet with Alison Kraus; the ribald
stomp and howl of 'Story Of Success' or the whirlwind of chords and licks and
fruity backing vocals of 'Girl In A Catsuit' (a real stormer!), he is never
less that totally in charge of his materials. A happy man and a consummate
craftsman.'You Took My Love', however, delivers the recording's finest moment.
It is a beautiful composition full of understated emotion and sporting a warmly
assured vocal turn and classy guitar solo to rank with the very best of his work.
'The Ringmaster General' is an unimpeachable career high if ever there was one.