Album review: ROD CLEMENTS – Stamping Ground

ROD CLEMENTS – Stamping Ground

Singsong Music [Release date 28.08.20]

To mark the 20th anniversary of Lindisfarne founder member Rod Clements’s solo album “Stamping Ground”, Singsong Music are making it available again on digital platforms.

The album is entirely self-penned (or co-written) and begins with the laidback mellow vibe of the title track, on which Rod Clements plays dobro and sings in a hushed and relaxed tone.

‘Whisky Highway’ starts in a similar vein with just vocal & acoustic guitar, but grows into a blistering tour de force rocker when the electric guitars (Rod, Dave Hull-Denholm and Nigel Stonier) kick in, backed by a solid rhythm section. This track really packs a punch as does the rollicking ‘Whole Lifestyle Thing’, a real feature of which is Rod’s exuberant electric slide guitar playing.

He picks the dobro back up for the slow blues groove of ‘Blue Interior’ which is perfectly suited to his voice. There’s an impressive coupling in the middle of the album; the haunting and evocative acoustic number ‘Charity Main’, and the equally atmospheric ‘Roads Of East Northumberland’ which features Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes.

Ian Thomson’s bass is high in the mix and drives along the funky blues of ‘Black Rain’, which has Rod on electric guitar, harmonica from Fraser Spiers, the Hammond organ of Steve Millington and Paul Burgess on drums. Rod is accompanied on vocals in an effective way by Thea Gilmore, who also duets on the gentle ballad ‘We Have To Talk’.

The melodic ‘One More Night With You’ has a Bob Dylan feel and is notable for an assured vocal and more lovely dobro from Rod, some great vocal harmonies, Nigel on harmonium, and inventive acoustic picking and strumming by Rod and Dave.

The acoustic ‘Cowboy In The Rain’ was written about Gene Clark of The Byrds, so it’s quite apt that noted Byrds freak Sid Griffin (Long Ryders / Coal Porters) appears on autoharp & shaker. The bluesy closer ‘Old Blue Goose’ celebrates the life & times of Oscar Woods and contains more terrific slide.

“Stamping Ground” is varied in style, nicely sequenced, and a fine effort well worthy of investigation. ****

Review by Jim Henderson

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