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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2014
Jack Bruce returns to the fray with a challenging and superb album. His early solo work set the bar incredibly high. Harmony Row is one of the finest of all rock albums, with Songs for a Tailor and Out of the Storm not far behind. His more recent work received less aclaim and had fewer listeners, yet More Jack than God and Monkjack, for example, repay multiple listens and contain outstanding songs. Silver Rails comes after a gap of ten years during which Bruce has toured with his Big Blues Band and Spectrum Road, and released music with Robin Trower. Still, since Jack has had his health troubles his followers may have wondered whether more new songs would come.

The new songs are moving, they have something to say, sung from experience, and they make us feel it, there is superb musicianship and great musical variety. There is a progression from early reflective songs that consider love, addiction and mortality, (Candlight, Reach for the Night and Fields of Forever) to later songs showing compassion for victims of corporate political greed, military industrial terror, and deindustrialisation (Rusty Lady, Industrial Child, Drone). Hope seems to lie in the spaces where the human spirit persists away from power (Hidden Cities). The finest moments do not simply recreate familiar idioms but explore and surprise with their invention. The final songs - reworked Keep It Down and No Surrender rock out to speak of unquenched spirit after difficult and unpredicted life journeys.

Jack's voice sounds that of an older man, but remains, although at moments frail, unique and beautiful, an enduring instrument used with great skill to evoke passions. His piano on Industrial Child and Don't Look Now is a delight. His bass remains that of a master. The musicians such as his blues band colleagues Frank Tontoh, and Tony Remy, jazz drenched Spectrum Road partners John Medeski and Cindy Blackman Santana, illustrious guitarists Robin Trower and Bernie Marsden, and family members including Malcolm Bruce all rise to the challenge of music that takes strikingly diverse paths, songs starting in familiar genres (jazz, folk, rock, calypso/ska, blues) but twisting inventively and imaginatively away from the well-trodden track to evoke imaginative freedom. It is moving that Jack has included all his family on the record, a serious creative work. The lyrics from Pete Brown, in particular, are accessible and poetic, their reflective narratives complementing the music perfectly. Jack has cited David Bowie's The Next Day as an inspiration. Silver Rails deserves at least such acclaim. Here is a great artist whose many musical achievements deserve a wider audience. This record leaves us wanting more.
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on 5 July 2016
Have not listened to it yet but if it's Jack Bruce it will be good.
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on 19 December 2014
This offering from the ex Bass player of Cream is I think going to end up a classic. It's my car companion and has been since I received it. I watched a TV program about Jack Bruce and I must say I was taken by the vocals and bass lines. unfortunately I only really came to the mans gift after his death. If like cream its for you give it a go you wont be disappointed.
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on 10 April 2014
This in my view is an exceptional album. Obviously this is only my opinion, but there isn't a bad track on the album. It's almost as if it is a continuation of Songs For A Tailor, the album he made back in 1969. It has the same style and feel. The production is superb and quite frankly I can't fault this album in any way.

It isn't like his last jazz album at all, but it does have some of the musicians from that album on this one. This is much more rock than jazz. It's a truley great album.
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on 28 March 2014
Well to put it clear, I am one of that hardcore fans who like to like and dislike honestlly - result is I was unabled to make comments on the facebook of JB due to probably persisitent creative comments> Bottomline there are so many things still in the vaults hidden - a real pity. Recently I got sounboard bootleg Live in Hyda Park 1971 with Chris Spedding, Graham Bond, John Marshall and Art Themen. Well you could get better live recordings of the group in 1971 like 3 cd BBC live or Live at Test etc however I was blown away listening hard to the damned soundboard - Third degree (guess not available at that time), One word (Lifetime), Professor Wife Detector (Escalator over the hill) - unbelievable. Ok now we have the silver rails. 2 years ago Jack recorded Spectrum road and it was fantastic however his voice deteriorated by age (still love it). I am particularly pleased with hidden places and other slow pianos plus Drone, 2 last songs are not filler - rerecording them with new musicians is a real treat. Jack well done. Besides 30m DVD making of fantastic and to the point presenting all contributors. God bless.
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on 27 March 2014
No doubt Jack Bruce is best known as the vocalist and bassist in Cream. But his strongest time was perhaps in the first half of the 70s. Producing an unsurpassed trilogy of strong solo-albums ("Songs For A Tailor", "Harmony Row", "Out Of The Storm") and playing on groundbreaking albums like Carla Bley's "Escalator Over The Hill" and "Turn It Over" (Tony William's Lifetime).

Since those golden days Jack has certainly continued making music of the highest calliber without quite reaching the same heights. So it's nice to be able to say that here at 70 he has made a strong musical statement, despite some serious health problems due to a near fatal liver transplantant in 2003.

Jack has always been a restless soul and a true multitasking musician. Not only a groundbreaking bass virtuoso but also an excellent keyboardplayer. And having one of the finest voices in contemporary music. A searching musical mind mastering almost all genres from avantgarde to heavy rock. True to form with "Silver Rails" he has made yet another diverse outing, helped by friends like Uli Jon Roth, Robin Trower, Cindy Blackman Santana, John Medeski a.m.o.. Although the backbone of the album is the musicians from his Big Blues Band like Tony Remy on guitar and drummer Frank Tontoh. We also find Jack reunited with long time partner lyricist Pete Brown who has delivered yet another set of poignant words. An album consisting of 8 new tracks of ususal high standard plus two 'oldies': "Keep It Down" ("Out Of The Storm") and "No Surrender" ("A Question Of Time").

Despite being only 30 min.s long the bonus DVD - directed by Jack's daughter Kyla Bruce - gives a rather in-deep portrait of the proceedings. With short interview clips with many of the collaborators and also paints a nice picture of Jack the free spirit. Containing some interesting 'facts'. like "Rusty Lady" is about Margaret Thatcher ("Winston in drag without the cigar") and that the bass-drum track "Drone" was inspired by the band Om.

How time will judge this album compared to the masterworks of his younger days who knows? But he certainly shows - like recent releases by Paul McCartney, David Crosby,John McLaughlin- that there indeed is still life and creativity beyond the 70.
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on 21 April 2014
Well, Jack Bruce did it again. Another new record that doesn't sound like anything he's done before, yet instantly recognizable as "pure Jack". While describing the character in his music is difficult, one can certainly mention the easy to recognize elements: the killer bass lines, the perfect vocal overdubs, the strange chords and the occasional odd time signature, everything galvanized in amazing compositions, sometimes too simple at first, but start growing on you after a few listens.

Who the hell on earth can start a record with a reggae, following it with a piano ballad, then a pop song with a catchy chorus and then a heavy metal piece with Uli Jon Roth on guitar, lyrics by Kip Hanrahan and four girls doing backing vocals?

The only things I am not that crazy about are the two songs revisited. While the new "Keep it Down" provides a nice contrast to the original almost hysterical "Lost Weekend" (should I say semester?) version, "No Surrender" sounds like an above average cover band. I'd finish the album with a solo piano piece, but that's the way the banana splits.

And last but not least, Pete Brown is shining again with amazing lyrics.

This is great and honest music. Hope Jack will stop looking at the Fields of Forever, get rolling instead and make another album fast.
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on 23 December 2014
The last album and a worthy one to bow out with. This is full of really strong music and it is a family affair.Jack may be gone but his music will certainly live on.
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on 1 April 2014
On line reviews have called this Jack's best ever album. Not true, as Record Collector recently stated, Harmony Row is THE peerless 70s album. But this is far far better than we have any right to expect after 50 groundbreaking years and sits right alongside his magnificent 12 solo albums written with Pete Brown. And there's the clue - he's writing with Pete Brown again after a ten year estrangement. Their partnership just pushes things onto another level.

Definitely an album of two halves. The first 5 tracks are piano based songs with tremendous horn arrangements, that talk of visions of mortality. In many ways a musically superior continuation of Pete Brown's recent (excellent) solo album Pearls of Wisdom & Road of Cobras. The last 5 songs revisit (in style) Cream, Harmony Row and his 80s electronic experiments on Automatic & Somethin Els, and in the case of No Surrender & Keep It Down rework earlier classics.

Another gem to add to Songs for a Tailor, Harmony Row, Out of the Storm. How's Tricks, Jet Set Jewel, I've always Wanted to do This, Automatic, Somethin Els, A Question of Time, MonkJack, Shadows in the Air & More Jack than God. Get them all and marvel at Britains greatest ever bassist, singer & songwriter.
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on 29 March 2014
Jack Bruce has spent a lifetime producing fantastic music on record and especially live. This is a memorable album featuring some incredible musicians both young and old. A few months ago we had another "veteran", David Bowie, coming up with a gem. Silver Rails is even better.
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