Album review: JIM KIRKPATRICK – Ballad of a Prodigal Son

JIM KIRKPATRICK – Ballad of a Prodigal Son

US One Records [Release date 04.09.20]

Whilst fellow FM member and vocalist Steve Overland channels his soul influences more on his solo outings, guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick goes down a blues path and to great effect. Mind you, Jim Kirkpatrick has a busy schedule outside of FM playing solo and with Bernie Marsden (who co-wrote ‘Always On The Road’ on this album) and Chris Bevington. Guests include current and former FM keyboards players, Jem Davis and Didge Digital respectively, along with Neil Murray and the aforementioned Chris Bevington.

Plenty of blues rock action to be had on here, from the raucous opening title track through to ’61 & 49’, the latter allows Jem Davis to shine on the keys. Jim Kirkpatrick is certainly a talented chap, not only on the guitar, of which there are many fine solos to enjoy, but singing wise as he has a melodious vocal that makes these blues based songs appeal the FM fans, some of whom may not be overly keen on dipping their toes in the musical waters of the blues.

A Whitesnake feel on the slower ‘Ain’t Goin’ Down Alone’, whilst ‘Be Hard With It’ is the first of two songs on the album to feature former FM keyboards player Didge Digital. He also plays the theremin on this song!

Loving the instrumental ‘Blue Horizon Boulevard’, full of gloriously upbeat playing including slide and harmonica. Shades of the Allman Brothers on this one.

One cover on here, Status Quo’s ‘Gravy Train’, which features Quo bassist John ‘Rhino’ Edwards. A rocking version of said song that is suitably Quo like.

One song that deviates from the blues path of the rest of the album is the Thea Gilmore co-write ‘Brave New World’. Hints of prog rock, even a Pink Floyd vibe and it features some of the album’s most spectacular solos.

Jim Kirkpatrick may not release solo albums that often (this one comes fourteen years after his last one), but when he does they are well worth a listen. A satisfying mix of blues and rock, with a little bit of soul thrown in for good measure. Pretty darn essential. ****

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 30 August 2020.

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