LUCERO Among the Ghosts

LUCERO Among the Ghosts Thirty Tigers [Release date 03.08.18]

Alt rock/country outfit Lucero have been going for twenty years and Among The Ghosts is their ninth studio album, co-produced by Matt Ross-Spang, who has produced the Drive-By Truckers amongst others. Like the Drive-By Truckers, Lucero share a love of classic storytelling of everyday life. Vocalist Ben Nichols has the perfect, world weary vocal for songs such as the reflective ‘Always Been You’, which features a lovely piano played by Rick Steff.

‘To My Dearest Wife’ is based on letters sent by soldiers to their loved ones in the American Civil War. Ben Nichols again nails it with his impressive and passionate vocal, with a subtle guitar from Brian Venable and a suitable military drumbeat from Roy Berry. A song Lynyrd Skynyrd would be proud to have penned I am sure.

Lucero may have flown under the musical radar of many, including me, however they are a ‘must hear’ for any fan of alt rock/country. Impressive songs and lyrics, an album that will stand the test of time. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


ORIONS BELTE Mint Jansen [Release date 17.08.18]

At Get Ready To ROCK! we embrace a broad musical church and a good job as Orions Belte describe their musical influences as including Nigerian 70′s rock, postcards from the French Riviera and Monza track Formula One races. Mmm so nothing too mainstream then chaps…

‘Mint’ is a mainly instrumental affair from the talented duo Oyvind Blomstrom and Chris Holm, where they create psychedelic soundscapes with a touch of twang courtesy of Blomstrom’s pedal steel playing. A track like ‘Picturephone Blues’ sounds like one of those obscure 60′s songs beloved by Quentin Tarantino for his movie soundtracks.

Not for everyone, definitely a niche release, cosmic music for the younger generation. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

FRED MIKA Withdrawal Symptoms

FRED MIKA Withdrawal Symptoms Rock Company [Release date 18.05.18]

Fred Mika is a Brazilian drummer who plays in the band Sunroad and ‘Withdrawal Symptoms’ is his solo album that is a thirty three year celebration of his drumming. Andre Adonis is his other main musical companion handling guitars, bass and keyboards.

Singer wise there are a number of guests including Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch fame, who appears on the album’s only highlight the rocking refrains of ‘Wired In’. Elsewhere it is slim pickings, mainly hard rock by numbers, bar the acoustic ‘First Day Without You’ that has a good vocal and nifty acoustic guitar playing.

Fred Mika is a good drummer, his solo album just lacks a decent set of songs and nothing on here makes you really want to play it again. **1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

JOHN BUTLER The Loyal Serpant

JOHN BUTLER The Loyal Serpent (2LP) Palo Santo Records [Release date 03.08.18]

Issued on vinyl for the first time, this 1997 solo album by the Diesel Park West guitarist/vocalist gets reassembled for the new generation, remastered, and expanded with 3 bonus tracks to boot.

There’s a melodic 80s feel to the sound, as shown with opener ‘Wings Of The Morning’. There are other throwbacks including 60′s surf and mod (a hint of Kinks and Beach Boys to Boulevard), while there’s the alternative rock of the 90′s with which the band and artist became associated; an overriding jangliness across the whole album. There’s even a hint of alternative country to Bag Of Bones.

‘All My Honey’ beefs things up somewhat, and while ‘When It All Becomes Available’ has a big production sound, there’s a little disjointedness to the feel.  The three period bonus tracks fit in nicely too.

Some fine guitar work and strong vocals, but the alternative sound is very much of its time. That said there’s enough here to enjoy and appeal to the wider audience. I understand it’s a lot gem of the genre so get an expanded edition (nicely packaged in a double LP and gatefold sleeve, especially with the vinyl resurgence) is more than welcome. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 May 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

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