Album review: JOHN VERITY – Passion


Vavoom Records [Release date 14.02.20]

“A summary of my influences” is how John Verity describes his latest album in what is his 50th year as a solo artist.  We saw John at Giants of Rock in January and were impressed not least with an overflowing merch stall reflecting great industry over those five decades and indeed more recently.

Of course many will recall that for a time Verity was in a later line-up of Argent after Russ Ballard had gone and then formed Phoenix whom many considered to be Argent-lite.

He produced Saxon’s debut album in 1979 and two years later joined pop rockers Charlie co-producing their fifth album (ironically band founder Terry Thomas went on to produce several big names in the late 1980s/early 1990s including Bad Company and Foreigner) Verity has beaten a solo trail ever since.

‘Passion’ is a fair stock take of John’s music in 2020.  ‘Higher’ recalls Ritchie Kotzen (‘Fooled Again’) but is a neat enough opener followed by another great rocker ‘Wise Up’ with a topical lyric and a groove that reminds of Michael Schenker (a la ‘Armed And Ready’).

‘Sand In My Pocket’ has a hint of Bad Company mixed with the Isley Brothers (‘That Lady’).  ‘Broken Heart’ slows things down with a late night soulful groove punctuated by tasteful guitar. This was another song that impressed at Giants Of Rock.

‘Big Stick’  and ‘Bad Boy’ are conventional rockers whilst ‘Red Devil’ pays tribute to Ginger Baker and is caste in sixties power trio mode a la ‘Politician’.  The album closes with an attractive instrumental ‘The Open Road’.

Yes, the influences are here loud and clear, it’s a little derivative, but characterised throughout by great playing and musical sensibility.  Verity’s previous album was ‘Blue To My Soul’ in 2017 and ‘Passion’ is a great update for fans, re-stating his credentials as one of rock’s real national treasures.  ****

Review by David Randall

2020 tour dates

February 23rd Pizza Express, Soho, London (album launch)
Saturday March 14th Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster.
Sunday March 15th Dumfries Blues/Rock & Roll weekend festival @ Cairndale Hotel, Scotland.
Friday March 20th District Blues Club, Pontypridd, Wales.
Saturday 21st March Looe Blues Rhythm & Rock Festival, Cornwall.
Friday March 27th Bourne Music Club, Sittingbourne Kent.
Tuesday March 31st Tuesday Night Music Club, Coulsdon, Surrey.
Saturday April 18th Tapestry Arts, Bradford.
Friday April 24th The Northcourt Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Friday May 1st, The Platform at Morecambe Lancs., – special double-header with The Mentulls.
Saturday May 2nd Backstage @ The Green, Kinross, Scotland.
Sunday May 3rd Private Event North Yorkshire.
Sunday May 16th Bear Club, Luton, Beds.
Friday June 5th London Rocks Festival 100 Club, Oxford Street London – with Xander and The Peace Pirates, & Groundhogs.
Tuesday June 9th Bletchley Blues.
Saturday July 4th Georgian Theatre, Stockton on Tees.
Saturday July 11th Begfest, Bedfordshire.
Saturday August 8th Barleylands, Billericay – early show 2pm.
Sunday August 9th Buxton Blues Festival.
Thursday August 20th Tring Blues Bar.
Friday September 18th Corn Exchange St Ives Cambs/ The Old Riverport Jazz and Blues Festival.
Friday October 2nd Borders Blues Club, Innerleithen, Scotland.
Saturday October 3rd Kirkmichael Hall, Parkgate, Dumfries.
Friday October 16th Greystones, Sheffield.
Thursday 22nd October Mama Liz’s Voodoo Lounge, Stamford.

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

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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 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.

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