earMUSIC [Release date 31.08.18]
55 years on from the band’s formation, in March this year over the course of five days in a studio in Hamburg, Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan joined forces with his original band the Javelins, namely Gordon Fairminer (lead guitar), Tony Tacon (rhythm guitar), Tony Whitfield (bass) and Keith Roach (drums). Ian Gillan has been influenced by rhythm and blues, American soul and skiffle, so he must have had a great time recording these songs that he played back in the day and were an influence on him becoming a singer. Even back in his Gillan days they did a few rock ‘n’ roll classics like ‘Trouble’ and ‘New Orleans’.
The Contours’ ‘Do You Love Me’ starts the album off in style, getting those old feet tapping away. The songs on here are based on the set list Ian Gillan and the Javelins would have been performing back in 1963.
Don Airey adds some rip-roaring piano to the Jerry Lewis classic ’High School Confidential’, and Airey lets fly again on ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Music’, excellent stuff. On ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ they add a little more guitar twang to the proceedings, steering away from the Drifters version of this song.
The love of blues comes though loud and clear on Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightnin’. Considering none of the Javelins took up being a musician full time after the band split-up, they play throughout the album with a superb level of musicianship – have a listen to the intro on ‘What I’d Say’.
Songs like ‘Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)’ and ‘Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)’ benefit from adding horns and these add a swing to the proceedings. The sound is crisp and polished throughout, no modern trickery only the instruments and microphones were allowed into the recording studio.
Ian Gillan and the Javelins obviously had a great time recording these songs as it comes through on the upbeat nature of the whole album. You don’t have to be born in the 1950′s 0r 1960′s to enjoy this album, one full of great songs and wonderful performances. Perfect to put a smile on your face and a beat in your stride. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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 2 August 2020.
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