Veteran country-rock stalwart Albert Lee has hooked up with his UK-based band Hogan’s Heroes to release a collection of classy covers and decent new material.
Whilst there’s an easy listening feel to much of the arrangement and production, that’s not to say this isn’t a relevant album. Lee still has a wonderful touch and lovely feel for a vibe, as amply demonstrated on the majority of tracks here. For instance, he manages to breathe new life into country standard ‘My Window Faces The South’ with deft and stylish playing.
The Heroes are no mugs either. Hogan’s pedal steel and dobro decorate many of the tracks, like Rodney Crowell’s well judged ‘A Song For Life’ and the entertaining cover of Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)’. The band manage to create their own stamp whilst maintaining a healthy respect for the originals. ‘The Everley’s ‘No One Can Make My Sunshine Smile’ and Glen Campbell’s haunting ‘A Better Place’ are examples.
It’s not all inventive covers though. Gavin Povey (keyboards/vocals) and Brian Hodgson (bass/vocals) contribute the five new tracks, three of which are very solid country/rock ‘n’ roll formulas. ‘Oh Marie’ rips along on the back of some excellent Dave Edmunds-guested rhythm guitar. ‘Showdown’ is a good track and ‘You Know You Just Might’ has more that gorgeous, fluid Albert Lee guitar purity.
I’m not sure ‘When Elvis Broke The News’ is of quite the same quality and a couple of the eclectic choices of covers grate a little, for instance where ‘We’re Dreaming As One’ is a bit cheesy. But these are not deal breakers in an album that contains substantial 14 tracks.
Even at 70, Albert Lee still has plenty of what it takes.
Review by Dave Atkinson
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GOODBYE JUNE Switchblade Heart (Earache)
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