This one’s been a bit tricky to get hold of, though Philip’s signing to a major label like Warner has seen it re-issued. Biggest surprise is that it’s actually 20 years old! Even as barely 20 years old, Philip Sayce was giving it large on the Toronto Blues Club scene, which is where the live track, Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Ultrasound). even then showing the barnstorming style coming through. As for the rest of the album, the opening songs Grey City Storm & Morning Star (re-appears on the later Peace Machine album)are originals, co-written by Sayce, though by standards today, the production is raw/rough, but show the promise of what was to come.
It’s the next three tracks, each covers that really nail Sayce’s Blues credentials if anyone thinks he’s just another shredder. First of the trio is a Hendrix style cover of Bessie Smith’s Backwater Blues, Paul Butterfield’s You Can Run But You Can’t Hide gets an energetic working over, but then things go acoustic and Philip opens up his voice on the traditional spiritual Were You There, which also includes a restrained but haunting lap steel solo.
Four of the remaining 5 track (including the live) are again Sayce originals, the exception being a cover of an early ZZ Top number, Brown Sugar, giving it some fire, but not disguising it’s origins.
The album does suffer from mixed production as well as “the group” switching between Joel Sacks & Al Cross (bass & drums) then Eric Lyons & Jorn Andersen, however, it stands well as a debut and shows the genesis of one of the most exciting Blues/Rock guitarists around today. (And let’s face it, not long after this, he got the gig with Jeff Healey…)
I have his newer album and this first CD from Sayce is incredibly good. Raw blues rock, excellent songs throughout, I really love it (actually more than the latest album but it might grow on me). This guy is a very talented guitar player and singer, and he deserves to make is as big as others in the genre. Must have blues rock.