Album review: BRIAN TARQUIN & HEAVY FRIENDS – Guitars For Wounded Warriors

BRIAN TARQUIN & HEAVY FRIENDS - Guitars For Wounded Warriors

Purple Pyramid Records/Cleopatra [Release date 22.09.14]

Brian Tarquin is a prolific producer/musician who in recent years has specialised in above-par tribute albums, such as those to Jeff Beck and Led Zep.  This time he pays tribute to the ‘brave men and women who have fought for the USA thru the years’, and with song titles such as ‘Baghdad’ and ‘Escape Kabul’.

I am not so sure about using war as a theme especially when it’s not specifically historical and unfortunately when it’s still very much part of the world stage.  Do we really want to be reminded of it when relaxing in front of our CD player?

That aside,  Tarquin – as ever – has done well to bring together a variety of name guitarists, ‘Taliban Terror’ even features the combined talents of Bumblefoot and Reb Beach.  If there is a criticism, and I’ve probably missed the plot here, the album is very guitar-centric, there is no respite and little keyboards which would have offered welcome variety.  Similarly, it’s all very one-paced with only Hal Lindes slowing things down on the mid-tempo ‘Sand & Blood’ and Steve Morse on ‘Freedom’.

Listeners will have their own favourite players and therefore want to check out the contributions from Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) and Gary Hoey who have two songs each.  Also showcased are Billy Sheehan and Chuck Loeb,  and the lesser known The Flyin’ Ryan Brothers, Alex De Rosso, and Lindes all of whom Tarquin has worked with before.

Tarquin is evidently a generous taskmaster and is seemingly content to take a back seat, contributing rhythm guitar, unobtrusive leads, production and writing on all tracks but letting his guests take centre stage.  War themes aside, this is a robust set of tunes that will appeal to guitar junkies, lovers of tuneful instrumental hard rock, and fans of the individual artists.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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