on 9 September 2010
Every so often, something lands in your lap quite by accident. That's the story with Play Yard Blues. I'd not even heard about it's release, let alone heard any of the tracks before, but I stuck it in my CD player and pressed play. What I heard was nothing short of astounding. Having been acquainted with Europe's brand of rock, this was something at the other end of the scale. This album is both ballsy and bluesy, and still maintains a hard rock edge. John's guitar work is nothing short of brilliant. There a couple of tracks on here that really stand out for me though, one is the cover of Mountain's Travel In The Dark, and the opening track Let It Shine is the perfect introduction to the album, setting you up nicely for what's to come. Ending with a nice relaxing instrumental track, the title track from the album is a great idea, and it just completes the journey.
If you're in the market for some hard rocking blues guitar, you could do a whole lot worse than pick up this album. If you're looking for something with some fantastic musicianship however, you couldn't do a lot better. Give it a listen, you won't be sorry.
I might be doing the ex-Europe guitarist a disservice by comparing this to the latest "supergroup" offering, but if you want retro early seventies style blues/rock, brought bang up to date then this is your boy. A fine singer, excellent guitarist and no mean song-writer this is a super collection of powerful chunky music with a couple of ballads thrown in for good measure. This guy deserves to be more famous than he is.
on 31 October 2010
Norum left the band Europe quite early on and his early solo efforts combined Europe's pop rock with hard blues rock. This veers (happily) towards the latter, with a heavier solid feel and quite astonishing fretwork. He plays beautifully and this album is his finest by a long way. If you've not come across him as a solo artist, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that he's up there with the likes of Vai, Satriani and Bonamassa.
on 24 April 2014
I know very little about Europe.Back in the 80's I dismissed them as being part of the awful Bon Jovi/lightweight hair metal brigade, that I mostly loathed.I knew little of John Norum,other than he played on the Final Countdown album,but left the band prior to the tour.I believe he was also in Dokken too.Anyway, I only got into Europe recently,& I'm really only interested in the last two fantastic albums 'Last look at Eden' & 'Bag of Bones'(at the moment anyway) both of which are more blues tinged, with a feel like the great bands of the 70's had,& not the multi-layered,woah yeah,big production stuff,of the 80's -90's.Anyway,to this album; originally released in 2010,If you love great songs,great riffs/hooks/chorus' with a blues(ish),heavy rock feel,you must own this album.Norum's voice is very good(Leif Sundin sings on fierce rocker Born Again & the awesome Got my eyes on you) ,his guitar playing full of melody & tone.He can tear it up;he can hold it back.If you love the sound of a Gibson/wah-wah through a Marshall set-up,this album is a must for for you! Some of you maybe put off by the word 'BLUES' in the title,& for a long time that would put me off too,as I automatically think of pioneering players like BB King/Albert Collins/Albert King/Muddy Waters ETC.Legendary players no doubt,but not my bag,as yet. Anyhow,John's playing here is more in the Michael Schenker/Brian Robertson/ even Gary Moore vein & keeping with the Lizzy theme there's a fabulous cover of 'It's only Money'.Class.Loads of highlights on this album,my fav at the minute is 'Over & Done',top stuff.For fan's of the great 70's heavy rock bands & blues based heavy rock guitarists.
on 22 January 2014
I originally bought this CD for my wife as she is a major Europe fan and had requested it for her birthday. I thought I would give it a play and was absolutely stunned by the raw and stunning guitar work.
I've seen Europe live in concert several times over the last 20 years and can say this is the closest in sound to John Norum's excellent live guitar work (especially on the last few tours). In an era of bland and polished production on albums it is refreshing to hear a raw and rough sound, which is how rock music should be played.
Give this album a try folks - you won't be disappointed.