Album review: UNRULY CHILD- Big Blue World

Release Date 09.08.19

UNRULY CHILD- Big Blue World

The reunion of Unruly Child’s classic line up with original singer Marcie Free,  which began with 2010’s excellent ‘Worlds Collide’,  has stood the test of time with its fourth album since then. Two years ago, try as i might, I just could not get into the west coast flavoured ‘Can’t Go Home’, so I approached this album with a degree of trepidation.

The opener ‘Living in Someone Else’s Dream’ is certainly a throwback to a more traditional AOR sound, combining hooks similar to those that graced the Signal album with a couple of Toto-isms and Marcie in great voice.   But ‘All Over the World’ has a less conventional song structure and her vocals are more buried in the mix.

Despite some more up tempo moments in ‘Down and Dirty’ and ‘Dirty Little Girl’, the overall vibe is again mellow. That is not to say there isn’t much to appreciate.

‘Breaking the Chains’ gradually builds from its acoustic beginnings with a great sense of dynamics and ‘Are these Words Enough’ and ‘Will We Give Up Today’ boast arrangements lovingly crafted by guitarist Bruce Gowdy and keyboardist Guy Allison, the remaining core of the band, producers and co-songwriters with only the odd other writing credit.

 ‘The Harder They Will Fall’ (oddly introduced by an excerpt of Churchill’s ‘we shall fight’ speech nearly 35 years after Iron Maiden famously used it) boasts an extravagant mid-song synth solo  and it is possible to envisage Guy with a huge grin on his face playing it. In contrast ‘Beneath a Steady Rain’ is a piano-led ballad harking back to early seventies singer-songwriter territory.

 While I’m not totally sold on the more considered direction they have taken and would have preferred more up-tempo rockers in the mould of the opening song and closer ‘The Hard Way’ ,it is still a step in the right direction that bears repeated listening to appreciate the subtleties within.

*** 3/4

Review by Andy Nathan


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: ALLAN CLARKE Resurgence

ALLAN CLARKE - Resurgence

BMG [Release date 20.09.19]

Former Hollies singer Allan Clarke returns with his first new album in 29 years after he had seemingly retired from music back in 1990. However, his son Toby set him on the road to recording this album by suggesting his dad used GarageBand and that’s exactly what he did to record ‘Resurgence’. It is a bit of a family affair with another of his children Sam playing guitar on a few songs and his wife Jeni produced the sculpture that adorns the album cover.

Allan Clarke has a rich, bluesy vocal perfect for emotionally charged songs like ‘You Broke My Heart’ (one you could imagine Chris Farlowe having a go at) and the country single ‘Journey Of Regret’. One things for sure after many years penning hits he has lost none of the magic required to write a memorable tune, be it ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ or the good time rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Heart Of Stone’. The latter could either be about a failed relationship or possibly a pop at some of his former band mates?

Hollies fans will enjoy ‘Long Cool Woman’s Back In Town’, a sequel to that band’s 1972 hit ‘Long Cool Woman (In A Long Black Dress)’. Also the rockiest song on here, featuring a chunky guitar riff and bursts of harmonica from Clarke.

Certainly a surprising comeback given Clarke’s lack of recording activity of late, however ‘Resurgence’ is a decent set of tunes and fans will be pleased by this album, plus the news there could be new music from Clarke and fellow Hollies founder member Graham Nash at some point in the future. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Quick plays: BRUCE COCKBURN, LOUIEN

BRUCE COCKBURN - Crowing Ignites

BRUCE COCKBURN Crowing Ignites True North Records [Release date 20.09.19]

‘Crowing Ignites’ is Bruce Cockburn’s 34th and his second all instrumental album, which differs from his previous instrumental album in that the compositions on here are brand new.

The music covers a variety of styles from the easy jazz shuffle on ‘The Mt. Lefory Waltz’, featuring Ron Miles on cornet, through to jaunty ‘Sweetness And Light’. There is a lovely bit of blues on ‘The Groan’, complete with hand claps to give it that old time blues feel.

Cockburn’s guitar playing is wonderful to listen to for a non-muso like myself, listening to say ‘Angels In The Half Light’ you can’t help but be impressed at the swiftness of the playing and clarity of the sound.

This new collection of instrumental works will certainly please his fan base and provide a showcase for budding acoustic guitarists. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

LOUIEN - None Of My Words

LOUIEN None Of My Words Jansen Records [Release date 20.09.19]

Norwegian singer songwriter Louien is also a member of Silver Lining and this solo album is a personal one, based on her feelings after the death of her father four years ago.

Listening to this one name kept coming back to mind, that of the classic era Joni Mitchell. Maybe not vocally but the way the voice takes centre stage and the instruments are then built up around this. Take for instance ‘The Fool’, a dreamy vocal beefed up with a choral like backing.

A deeply personal album and one that won’t be for all, however Louien can be proud of what she has recorded and it will provide a soothing musical balm for some. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Gig review: BERNIE MARSDEN/Kris Barras Band/Hollowstar, Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

When you spend most of the year planning a festival on top of the mountain, the come down from a successful year must be a hard, so what do you do?

Start doing indoor shows, it is what you started doing many years ago, so get one of the best venues in Cardiff, get a headliner who you know has a great connection with South Wales over the last few years, get him to play a classic Whitesnake album in its entirety, then add two of the best young British acts  to support the show.

This is exactly what the organisers of The Steelhouse Festival did this year.

What originally was called a Steelhouse Away Day, soon became dubbed Berniefest – if you have been anywhere near the mountain over the last couple of years, you would understand why. The Whitesnake legend has become just as big a part of Steelhouse folklore as the family that volunteer every year to put it all together.

HOLLOWSTAR - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

Hollowstar are gifted the chance to open up this special night, with their reputation rising at an alarming rate, with almost an appearance at every smaller indoor festival every week it seems, they are well rehearsed and polished enough to deliver a first rate set.

Joe Bonson up front has a unique voice, with that tone very much alike to Danny Bowes. Thankfully he has now dumped the cowboy hat, not least tonight because it is a sweat box of epic proportions, not that it hinders any of the band in using the the stage they are given to the full opportunity.

HOLLOWSTAR - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

Guitarists Phil and Tom are impressive musically as well as visually, with every pose in their repertoire thrown and, for me, a photographers’ dream. The songs stand on their own, with a good few down the front here just for these boys singing along to every word.

My one gripe, which I have had for a while now, is the sometimes preacher like sermon regarding the need for men to talk about depression etc, it seems everywhere in the news lately and yes anything that can bring attention to it should be applauded. However it brings the set to an abrupt stop for a few minutes before a back story regarding the next song.

Now I maybe in the minority but when I go to a gig I would like to forget about the stresses of daily life for a little while and lose myself in the music, so I  personally would prefer to squeeze another song in and leave the patter to interviews and the like. Judging by the response tonight, though, it didn’t take anything away from a fantastic set.

KRIS BARRAS - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

Another guy whose star is on the ascendant is Kris Barras, seemingly arriving from nowhere a few years ago and since then has just upped his game with every release and every subsequent tour that follows.

On the day that Kris and the band release their new album Light It Up, what better way to celebrate it than with a roof lifting performance. If anybody thought that Barras was going to turn up and roll over quietly they were mistaken.

KRIS BARRAS - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

He captivated the room with some blistering playing along with some stunning vocals, plus – as a one-time cage fighter – he can handle himself apparently. Almost makes you sick doesn’t it?

Selfishly, they are one of those bands you don’t want to get too big because the arenas may beckon.  But the sweatpit of the Tramshed was the perfect home for now.

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

Tonight was all about one thing, Bernie Marsden taking us back to the glory days of Whitesnake, before the eyeliner and hair spray , when all they wore on stage  was a pair of dirty jeans  and a T-shirt.

Playing Ready and Willing in its entirety, of course, Bernie needed a band to accomplish this and he gathered some of the best talent on offer to do it justice: Up front on vocals was The Voice of Welsh rock, Nev Macdonald. He has sang with Bernie on the Snake material a few times and if something isn’t broke then don’t  fix it.  I don’t think anyone could do this material better than Nev, not even Cov now.

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

Alongside Nev, and a perfect foil for Bernie, is Mr Moonlighter himself Jim Kirkpatrick from FM plus Hand Of Dimes Guys Dino Stephenson and Mark Maybry filling in on  drums and bass.

To play the early Snake songs it would have been sacrilege not to replicate the wonderful sound of Jon Lord and Huw Weston did a sterling job, and not to forget the backing singers Caroline and Alexandra who added the depth to the classic sound from that era.

This being the third date and the biggest one on the small tour, any creases had been ironed out by tonight and it ran just like a well oiled machine. No overlong intros, just walk on stage and straight in to ‘Fool For Your Loving’, the way it is meant to sound, no complicated over indulgent solo a la Steve Vai, just playing the song as everyone remembered it originally.  This happened throughout the set with every song.

The band were content enough to let Bernie take the bulk of the limelight tonight not only with the between songs banter but more importantly with his playing, having lost none of his ability to connect emotionally during the likes of ‘Blindman’. It also showcased the talent of Nev Macdonald, who fuelled the song with emotion and soul.

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

And having Jim Kirkpatrick on stage with him, no slouch on the guitar either, only made Bernie up his game with the piece de resistance when they both donned double neck Gibsons for ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry No More’, in fact the same guitar that Bernie played on the cover of Live In The Heart Of The City.

With no going off stage just to be called on again – with Bernie joking that there are a lot of stairs backstage and he is nearing 70 -  they played a mix of classic Snake tunes giving the chance for the Steelhouse Choir to show off their own voices singing back ‘Ain’t No Love…,’ definitely a goosebump moment, before saluting a magnificent full house  with ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’ and ‘Here I Go Again’ ( with the Hobo and no drifter) .

There are gigs you never want to end, tonight was one of them, every pair of hands applauded what can only be described as a masterclass, not just from Mr Marsden and his band but from his special guests.

Also, this was every bit a nostalgic throwback for many tonight hearing these songs played as lovingly as the originals. It was also a tip of the hat to the new breed of guitar hero ready to take their place.  Step up Kris Barras.

Bernie Marsden setlist 1. Fool For Your Loving 2. Sweet Talker 3.Ready An’ Willing 4. Carry Your Load 5.Blindman 6. Ain’t Gonna Cry No More 7.Love Man 8.Black And Blue 9.She’s A Woman  10. Come On 11. Ain’t No Love In the Heart Of The City 12. Trouble 13. Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues 13. Here I Go Again

Review and photos by Darren Griffiths

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: AMY SPEACE – Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne

AMY SPEACE – Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne

Proper Music [Release date 06.09.19]

Amy Speace is a “former Shakespearean-trained actor”, the ultimate objective of most actors is the pursuit of truth and her new album, ‘Me And The Ghost of Charlemagne’, is nothing if not truthful. From the outset Speace brings layers of candour and introspection, starting with a sparse ballad – accompanied solely by Danny Mitchell on piano; “And I’m out here on my own, trying to keep this thing on track”.

Neilson Hubbard’s production is subtle and unobtrusive; this isn’t faint praise as Speace’s vocal has a purity and yearning quality that requires the listener’s attention. ‘Grace of God’ is a plaintive story of perseverance and not suffering alone. Honky tonk guitar and backing harmonies from Kira Small, Lo Carter and Marcia Wilder mesh beautifully.

Elsewhere, Speace essays the role of perennial outsider in ‘Pretty Girls’; “Does it feel much different in their world? I wish I could have been a pretty girl”. This electric folk number is a cute fable about the folly of youth and the grass always being greener, calling to mind Barbara Dickson in its stark, haunting quality.

Speace is not afraid to pull her punches, and on ‘Standing Rock Standing Here’, in true Dylan-fashion, thinly veiled commentary on the current political climate creeps in as she swipes at “a stockholder President”.

The last track, ‘Kindness’ brings a pleasant circular quality to the album, as the simplicity of the solitary piano accompaniment returns. There’s an endearing uncertainty to Speace’s voice as she sings “may you know kindness and may kindness know you”, almost as if she’s trying to convince herself more than anyone else.

‘Me And The Ghost of Charlemagne’ always feels genuine, occasionally one wishes for a little propulsion amongst the wistfulness, but ultimately the album is an example of exquisite storytelling and expressive vocals. ***

Review by Phillip Beamon


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: 4TH LABYRINTH – Better

Facebook [Release date 04.10.19]

4th Labryrinth, winner of best band in Cambridge and with one of the most impressive records for playing live in the area and futher afield, known for brilliant stagecraft from Marcel Kunkel with his sharp wit, German accent, top hat and shiny jackets backed with some of Cambridge’s best musicians in Tom Winch (drums), Andy Cross (guitars), Lachlan Golder (guitars) and the rainbow-braided whirlwind Claudia McKenzie who always causes a frenzy in festival photo pits from togs trying to catch images of her trademark hair!

So we arrive at album number two following 2015′ s more poppy ‘Quattro Stagioni’, ‘Better’ I dare say is the perfect name; ‘Quattro Stagioni’ was a fine collection a 4/5 if I was reviewing today.

‘Better’ just edges it with its harder, more prog direction, not that anything is as indulgent as standard old prog nothing is over done or over played, everything balances very nicely thank you. The swirling Hammond organ is very Jon Lord in the right places everything ebbs and flows, light and shade, guitars either crunch or chime, the bass and drumming are exceptional. 4th Labryrinth have crafted an album to match the love and reputation they have from their live performances.

Sit down, turn the lights off, put on down decent headphones and pour a glass of wine, listen and enjoy! From the atmospheric intro, through the Purple-like ‘This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and the moody ‘Darkness Calling’ it’s bit in the past, a bit in the present and a lot of talent squeezed into 37 minutes. ****1/2

Review by Martin Porter


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Gig review: DAN BAIRD AND HOMEMADE SIN, JASON AND THE SCORCHERS, KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 6 September 2019

Package tours are an increasingly common feature of the gig scene, but it’s rare for one with three bands to have equal billing for each. The fact that Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Jason and the Scorchers and the Kentucky Headhunters were all being given a generous hour each was one reason why this gig was a must see. Another was that they occupied a position on the musical spectrum that was complementary, albeit with a few differences of approach.

And finally, on a personal level, while Dan Baird and band tour every year (albeit in smaller venues) and until recently those shows were a fixture on my gig calendar, the other two have a much less frequent presence in the UK. Both have appeared at Ramblin Man a few years back, but this was my first opportunity to see them.

The Kentucky Headhunters were first up and their greying hair and wizened features- exemplified by drummer Fred Young’s extraordinary flowing side whiskers- were a reminder that shamefully I had never heard of them until the family connection with Black Stone Cherry, and I am sure others were in the same boat.

I had been led to believe they were a mixture of southern rock and country but in fact they were far bluiesier than I expected. The vocals were shared between rhythm guitarist Richard Young and bassist Greg Phelps  but it was the latter’s that I found the more convincing, melodic but with a pleasant trademark southern twang, notably on  ‘Chitlin Time’ and the heavier southern rock of ‘Wishing Well’ which was a particular highlight for me.

The star of the show however was the crouching figure of lead guitarist Greg Martin. He delivered some tasteful solos on his Les Paul: however it was his slide guitar playing which was at the heart of their best moments,  notably when they played a couple of blues songs- ‘Stumblin’ and a cover of ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’  in tribute to Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson who they had worked with.

More great slide work on ‘Walking With The Wolf’, as well as on a further cover of ‘Spirit In The Sky’, contributed to me increasingly thinking George Thorogood and the Destroyers were the Headhunters closest reference point.

There were too many covers for my liking, ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ being another but ‘The Ballad of Davey Crockett’ was particularly fun as was ‘Dumas Walker’ (which sounded like the more appropriate ‘among the swampers’ to me!).

Indeed an encore sounded naggingly familiar which I briefly thought was either ‘People Get Ready or ‘The Weight’ but was in fact an original, ‘Crazy Jim’ its almost gospelly feel was out of sync with the good time rock n roll that had gone before  and the gravelly tones of Richard really suited the song.

I was equally unfamiliar with Jason and the Scorchers material, other than the occasional song guitarist Warner E Hodges had played in his other job in Homemade Sin, though vaguely aware they were one of the acts Kerrang! , in one of its more broad minded phases, had championed when I first got into rock.

The eponymous Jason Ringenberg made a spectacular opening impact on ‘Lost Highway’ – in his cowboy hat and western shirt, his harmonica playing and crazy-legged dancing called to mind a Nashville version of Lee Brilleaux. He was also a sharp-witted storyteller between the songs.

Songs that date back to the early eighties such as ‘Help There’s A Fire’ and ‘Harvest Moon ‘ got a good reception while after he strapped on an acoustic guitar, the Steve Earle co-written ’Bible And A Gun’  had a more REM-ified influence.

Perhaps the reason the band failed to make it big initially was that in those days there were more barriers between country, rock n roll, punk and heavier rock. In the current climate it would have been easy to see their fusion of genres nestling alongside Blackberry Smoke and the Cadillac 3.

There was an impressive diversity – their cover of Dylan’s ‘Absolutely Sweet Marie’ came over as perfect pop-punk, and gave way to an out and out country song in Still Tide’  followed by  ‘Better Than This’, sung by Warner and a straight ahead hard rocker. Another from Halcyon Times in ‘Moonshine Guy’ reflected the collaborating efforts of the WIldhearts, themselves apparently influenced originally by the band.

They closed with ‘Broken Whiskey Glass’ and I craned over from the balcony to see some enthusiastic pushing and shoving in the pit and several people were dancing to an extended version of the energetic, punky ‘White Lies’ which appears to be their signature song.

I was delighted my curiosity had got the better of me as this was an outstanding set and only 35 years late I had made a new discovery in the Scorchers.

There was then one of the shortest changeovers in history before Dan Baird and Homemade Sin closed the evening though Warner was given a couple extra minutes recuperation time as the set began with Dan, rake thin and face obscured by a top hat and curtain of hair, playing the old Georgia Satellites song ‘Another Chance’ before the rest of the band kicked in- featuring a fellow Satellite alumnus in Mauro Magellan whose energetic drumming is always a delight to watch.

Regular watchers of Homemade Sin will know that few bands are better at capturing the spirit of modern day rock n roll and settling into a driving, supercharged but infectious groove. Tonight was no exception and even when songs like ‘Little Darling’ became lengthy jams it was done in such a tight way, devoid of flab, that it never became boring, while Warner’s punchy, aggressive guitar playing fits the style perfectly.

However where I thought they fell down was that too many songs sounded the same- not helped by the fact that old Dan solo favourites like ‘I Love You Period’ and ‘Julie and Lucky’ were unexpectedly absent. 30 years on, the Georgia Satellites songs may form a lesser part of the set than they used to but they still stand out- in this case the gig lifting with ‘All Over But The Crying’ and a ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ that inevitably got people singing along and punching the air, together with a lengthy ‘Mon Cheri ‘later on.

The set was far shorter than a usual Homemade Sin marathon and therefore it was s surprise when Dan said we were already two songs away from the finish- the rather more subdued, almost country ish ‘Adilyda’ giving way to the old Satellites favourite ‘Railroad Steel’, turning into one of those jams they do so well with the band improvising through never ending twists and turns.

Different people will have different opinions but on this occasion I felt the Scorchers shaded the honours. Nevertheless all three bands gave 100% with big smiles on their faces, and no-one could complain at a value for money evening of good time music. It should happen more often.

Review and photos by Andy Nathan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: SHOW OF HANDS – Battlefield Dance Floor

SHOW OF HANDS - Battlefield Dance Floor

Hands On Music [Release date 27.09.19]

Show Of Hands – Steve Knightley and Phil Beer – have been making music since 1987, going on to become one of the biggest folk bands around today (they have sold out the Royal Albert in London on five occasions to date). On this album they welcome back long time third member Miranda Sykes (double bass, vocals) and new member, percussionist Cormac Byrne.

‘Lost’ is a moving tale of masculine despair in the maritime world. One of a few songs on here to benefit from the keyboards playing of Matt Clifford (he’s worked with the Rolling Stones amongst others).

The title track is a rousing drinking based song, looking at how the soldiers and generals made merry on the eve of battle. Musically it sees Morris mixed with Bhangra, thanks to the band working with Johnny Kalsi and the Dohl Foundation.

This partnership really comes into its own ‘Mother Tongue’, one of a growing canon of songs taking Brexit as their subject matter. The singing of Shahid Khan and percussion programming of Johnny Kalsi add a little bit of extra magic to the tradtional folk music.

Elsewhere there is a lovely cover of Richard Shindell’s road song ‘Next Best Western’, Phil Beer’s guitar playing adds a mellow blues/country feel to the song. ‘First We Take Manhattan’, originally written by Leonard Cohen about spies and the Cold War, still rings true, particularly in the light of the incident at Salisbury.

Little bit of fun and light relief on ‘Dreckley’, a tale where the pull of Cornish life could wreck a Lodon based relationship. The backing vocals are aided by the Bridge Hill Shanty Men who pop up on a couple of other songs on the album.

One of the folk albums of the year and more importantly an album with cross-over appeal that should see Show Of Hands win over a whole host of new fans. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Gig review: BLUES CARAVAN 2019 (Ina Forsman, Ally Venable, Katarina Pejak), The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

Friday 13th may have seemed more than ominous to the girls in the Blues Caravan with a six hour journey from Scotland taking fourteen hours.  But that didn’t seem to quell their enthusiasm for the South Midlands stop on a short series of dates promoted by German blues/rock label Ruf Records.

The tour is an annual event in Europe and the 2019 excursion follows last year’s jaunt with Bernard Allison, Mike Zito and Vanja Sky.  We’ve had ‘Girls With Guitars’.  This was ‘Chicks with Chutzpah’.

It’s a great showcase for label artists and in some cases a first showing for them in the UK. The Pershore gig typified today’s music scene: An appreciative, if spartan, crowd and lack of radio airplay or wider media attention for deserving – and relevant – musicianship.

Katarina Pejak - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

Once the initial group collaboration was out of the way, we had an individual showcase before a regrouping at the end.  First off, Serbian-born, Belgrade domiciled, Katarina Pejak weaved her singer songwriting magic, accompanying herself on keyboards and highlighting tracks from her new album ‘Roads That Cross’.  She cites Tom Waits and Norah Jones amongst her influences.

Although she didn’t play it tonight, on the latest release Katarina has revived a sometimes overlooked Joni Mitchell song ‘Sex Kills’ giving it her own twist.  Chatting to her post-gig, as with the other girls tonight, she’s an engaging and warm personality who told me she lived for seven years in the States including studying at the famed Berklee School of Music.

Katarina Pejak - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

If you cricked your eye you may have even been convinced she is the new Carole King of jazz/blues.  She rallied with an excellent song from the new album ‘Chasing Summer’ which seemed rather appropriate and a bit poignant on an early autumn day when we can but reflect on the previous season.  It demonstrated that a few more highly accessible tracks like this – and ‘Moonlight Rider’ – may shift Katarina into the headlights.

Ally Venable - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

We’ve been enjoying Ally Venable‘s album ‘Texas Honey’ since release, a regular on our radio station playlist, produced by Mike Zito and her third offering.  Again, an engaging personality who told me this was her first visit to the UK and notwithstanding that traffic delay enjoying every minute.  She made her first album when she was 15 (a mere five summers ago!) rooted in Texas blues with Stevie Ray Vaughan a perhaps obvious and major influence.

The current album though is more rocky, hinting at crossover potential for those with an ear for a catchy tune and an eye for a foxy delivery.  Songs like ‘Broken’ and ‘Texas Honey’ contrasted with the bluesier and slower stuff like ‘Backwater Blues’ (although it does get going) and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Lenny’ which – to be honest – almost detracted, whilst ‘One Sided Misunderstanding’ was conspicuous by its absence.  But there speaks a hardened rocker.

Ally Venable - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

We’ll hopefully see Ally again on tour in the UK early next year and with a follow-up album due later.  With the female blues/rock space dominated by the likes of Joanne Shaw Taylor, Ally has the look and chops to appeal to a much wider (and hopefully younger) audience assuming she moves further from her blues roots.

Ina Forsman - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

Our final lady in the reimagined Teutonic Triumvirate was the Finnish singer songwriter Ina Forsman.  The moment Ina opened the show with the other girls it was evident she has a superb contemporary pop/R&B voice and an infectious,  theatrical delivery.  This is more than reflected on the current album ‘Been Meaning To Tell You’ which was highlighted tonight with songs like ‘Miss Mistreated’, and ‘Genius’.

When she gets down to the real rhythm and blues groove (‘Why You Gotta Be That Way’) it is quite wonderful, ably abetted by her fellow ‘chicks’  plus the redoubtable Roger Inniss (bass) and Elijah Owings on drums.

Ina Forsman - BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

The Caravan rolled to a rousing finish with Merle Travis’ ‘Sixteen Tons’ which included the words ‘we owe our soul to the company store’.  I’m sure this wasn’t a veiled reference to their label boss Thomas Ruf and that he’ll facilitate further appearances in the UK.

In summary, this was a super night out that should be more widely trumpeted,  a well-run venue by a spirited promoter, and hopefully with the effect of punters investigating the various artists’ back catalogue.  You could start by purchasing the Blues Caravan 2019 live CD/DVD due October.

Friday 13th? Definitely unlucky for some who missed this gig.

Review and photos by David Randall

With thanks to Mutley/Iron Road
Ansgar Liebhart/Ruf Records
Setlist: Part 1: Ensemble: They Say I’m Different (Betty Davis)
Katarina Pejak: She’s Coming After You/Turtle Blues/Old Pain/Moonlight Rider/Chasing Summer
Ally Venable: Texas Honey/Broken/Devil Son/ Backwater Blues/Lenny
Part 2: Ina Forsman: Why You Gotta Be That Way/All Good/Genius/Chains/Miss Mistreated/Figure
Ensemble: Love Like A Man (Bonnie Raitt), Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis) House Is Rockin’ (Stevie Ray Vaughan)

BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

Album review (Ally Venable)
Album review (Ina Forsman)


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: RALPH McTELL – Hill Of Beans

RALPH McTELL - Hill Of Beans

Leola Music [Release date 20.09.19]

‘Hill Of Beans’ is Ralph McTell’s first album of originals since 2010’s ‘Down The Road’. This album also sees McTell reunited with producer Tony Visconti, who worked on his earlier albums.

Another link to the past is the guest appearance on backing vocals by Mary Hopkin Jessica Lee Morgan, whose mother is Mary Hopkin, an artist McTell and Visconti (who was married to Hopkin at the time) have worked with in the past. Another notable guest is Danny Thomson on double bass.

It is an album that mixes personal tales from his family like ‘Brighton Belle’, a song about the wartime exploits of his grandfather and father. Then there are gently humorous songs, ‘Close Shave’ and ‘Oxbow Lake’ – where geography and love make for a novel lyrical combination – which features an instrument not overly used the recorder, played by Tony Visconti.

One of the unexpected treats is the gospel infused ‘Sometimes I Wish I Could Pray’, another example of how well McTell and Visconti work together. The choir, production and McTell’s vocals are all spot on. Not far behind is the album’s title track, just McTell’s singing and a piano, producing a stirring, memorable music and lyrics.

Ralph McTell still has wonderful tales to share with us in his songs and Tony Visconti’s production gives the music a warm and rich sound. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

September 26th 2019 Kendall Brewery Arts Centre
September 27th 2019 Newark Palace Theatre
September 28th 2019 Bromsgrove The Artrix
September 29th 2019 Tring Court Theatre
September 30th 2019 Runcorn The Brindley
October 4th 2019 Ennis The Glor
October 5th 2019 Dublin The Helix
October 6th 2019 Cork The Everyman
October 10th 2019 Berwick The Maltings
October 11th 2019 Musselburgh The Brunton Theatre
October 12th 2019 Stockton The Arc
October 13th 2019 Pocklington Pocklington Arts Centre
October 14th 2019 Leeds City of Varieties
October 17th 2019 Milton Keynes The Stables
October 18th 2019 Southwold Southwold Arts Centre
October 19th 2019 Holt Auden Theatre
October 20th 2019 Stamford Stamford Corn Exchange
December 13th 2019 London Royal Festival Hall (75th birthday concert)


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: SWIM DEEP – Emerald Classics

SWIM DEEP - Emerald Classics

[Release date 04.10.19]

Swim Deep formed in 2011 and their first two albums made the UK album charts. However, last year they were sat at a crossroads in their local pub – The Emerald, from which the album takes its name – wondering if it was all worth it.

After the release of their second album ‘Mothers’, and having played Glastonbury and gone out on tour with the 1975, they very nearly fell apart at the seams leading to a couple of members departing. Austin Williams (vocals, guitar, synths, piano), James Balmont (keys, keytar, synths, vocals) and Cavan McCarthy (bass, synths, keys, vocals) were joined by guitarist Robbie Wood and drummer Thomas “Tomaski” Fiquet.

The album’s lead single ‘To Feel Good’ takes part of the 1991 Rozalla hit single ‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’, adding a full gospel choir – the Margate Social Singing Choir. An upbeat melody which tells the story of Austin’s real-life experiences of signing on and how made a choice to become a musician. Swim Deep channel so many influences, be it a little bit of the Pet Shop Boys on ‘World I Share’ or 80s electro hit makers OMD and Ultravox on ‘0121 Desire’.

‘Sail Away, Say Goodbye’ has a massively catchy chorus, with plenty of synths and the melodic vocals of Austin. It has number one written all over it, if only enough people got to hear it and stream it. For a proper synth wig out check out ‘Drag Queens In Soho’ – could almost be prog!

There is a strong 90’s indie pop feel to ‘Top Of The Pops’ – like Pulp jamming with Ride and the Divine Comedy. Pure pop bliss and another hit in the making if only it gets exposure.

Music that can’t help but make you feel good and adds to a growing list of essential pop albums for 2019, along with the Divine Comedy and My Life Story. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Gig review: FISH – Craigiehill Fest, Perth, 31 August 2019

Craigie Hill Fest is held annually in the carpark of Craigiehill Golf Course on the outskirts of Perth. I must say it hadn’t featured on my gig radar prior to this year and they have an eclectic mix of musical styles on throughout the day. This year though they drafted in Fish as the headline act so we headed to Perth for an evening of top prog.

Prior to Fish we were entertained with a few choice SKA classics by local band The Rude Boys. The band reformed in 2018 after a 35 year hiatus with five original members including Stuart Campbell-Clark and Eddie Jordan. Playing a set of originals and a selection of SKA staples the band went down a storm with the crowd. Grown men were dancing far too enthusiastically for their own good and there were no doubt a few aching joints the following day.

Tracks like ‘Suzanne Beware Of The Devil’ and the excellent if slightly strange ‘Long Shot Kick Da Bucket’ had the crowd singing and dancing along although the dancing may have been more an attempt to keep warm as the evening turned rather cold rather quickly. This was an entertaining set by a band of excellent musicians who were obviously enjoying their return to the stage.

By the time The Rude Boys left the stage the evening schedule was running well behind time and Fish came on stage 15 minutes prior to the set curfew time! Luckily a couple of extensions were rapidly arranged but the set was still truncated which was a shame. However band and crowd made the most of the time allotted and as the guys kicked off with ‘Big Wedge’ voices were raised as everyone sang along.

Fish was in good voice, although for the first couple of numbers the sound mix put backing vocalist Doris Brendal’s mic to the fore despite numerous attempts to get it right during the soundcheck. Things soon settled down though and the band got into their stride with ‘Brother 52’ complete with some great guitar work from John Mitchell who has been drafted in to cover the summer dates for Robin Boult.

As the evening chill set in things were brought up to date as the guys kicked into newer track ‘Man With A Stick’. This was followed by an excellent version of ‘Just Good Friends’ complete with dual vocals from Doris Brendal which sounded great. Time though was marching on and one eye was on the set list and the other on the clock as the reset curfew loomed so the between song chat was kept to a minimum although it wouldn’t be a Fish gig without a bit of banter every now and again.

‘Feast Of Consequences’ went down well with the crowd whilst ‘Credo’ gave everyone the opportunity to warm up their vocal chords which at that point were the only things that were warm!

‘Pipeline’ gave John Mitchell a chance to cut loose with his ‘Who moment’ as Fish called it on the intro and he played up a storm throughout as did Foss Paterson on the keyboards, no doubt thankful that his set up issues prior to the gig were long forgotten. By this time the curfew was looming large and unfortunately the set had to be curtailed (no time for ‘Vigil’ which was a real shame).

There was time for one more though and as Fish said, it’s funny how songs he wrote 20 odd years ago are now more relevant than ever as the guys launched into ‘Internal Exile’. Again the crowd were in good voice and hands were clapped and feet were stomped as the song reached the climax, although this may have been more to get the circulation moving again in the rapidly numbing feet!

This wasn’t a perfect set due to the timing and technical issues but Fish and the band soldiered on and ended the night on a high. With his new album scheduled for release in 2020 and a tour booked to coincide Fish is as busy as ever. However, if his predictions on the effect of touring in Europe post Brexit come to fruition then, like tonight’s set, things may come to a premature end and his ‘Internal Exile’ may come sooner rather than later!

Review and Photos by Dave Wilson


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: DAN McCAFFERTY – Last Testament

DAN McCAFFERTY - Last Testament

Ear Music/Edel [Release date 18.10.19]

After Dan’s retirement from Nazareth, the legendary Scottish hard rockers he’d co-founded in the late 60s, due to ill health, I really wasn’t sure if this would ever happen. Dan had fronted a band with hits including ‘Bad Bad Boy’ and ‘Broken Down Angel’ to their name (as well as covers of ‘This Flight Tonight’ and ‘Love Hurts’), and when he retired he’d been suffering from COPD and had been unable to complete a couple of shows. Nazareth always were a hard touring band, and Dan found continuing that lifestyle untenable.

While Nazareth continue with vocalist Carl Sentence (replacing the underrated Linton Osborne), Dan has returned to the studio, and what a lovely album this is. It is one fans will need to approach with an open mind as it is, clearly from the opening track ‘You And Me’, a personal and heartfelt album. The vocals initially are soft, honest, almost fragile (as they are in places in other tracks), before the vocal power picks up. It’s a very Scottish sounding track too.

‘Why’ follows, an honest croak in the whiskey soaked vocals, and it’s a mature and mellow track. Elements of Sting’s post Police output. The opening bars to ‘Looking Back’ reminiscent to ‘Hotel California’, but the emphasis is on Dan’s vocals. The piano and mix of acoustic and electric guitars on the album, typified here, are augmented by strings and a big, warm production. When both vocals and music ramp up, you can feel the passion.

‘Tell Me’ opens gently, and sees someone opening their heart in a very moving fashion, almost a tear jerker. The song builds well and by the end Dan’s trademark range and power will have grabbed you by both ears. ‘I Can’t Find The One’, the accordion giving both a French and Scottish feel, sees Dan sound how we all know and love; power and gravel in full flow.

There’s an acoustic and Celtic feel to many of the tracks, and good to see the bagpipes in full flow on the rocker ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’. There’s a hint of punk rock’n’roll in there too. ‘My Baby’ is short and sweet, and blast. Some heavy soul in an up tempo rocker. Then in contrast ‘Refugee’, with its piano and cello, is much more thought provoking.

At nearly 7 minutes, ‘Mafia’ is a real musical and lyrical journey; changes of mood and energy make for a captivating listen. Some lovely layered backing vocals, this is something I would have loved Nazareth to have done. A bit more progressive.

There’s a couple of tracks here you could see Dan performing as duo in a bar, vocals and either piano or accordion, smoky atmosphere, glass of whiskey, while others have a much bigger production.

Fourteen tracks that close with the rough rocker ‘Bring It On Back’, which nod to the last album or two Dan did with Nazareth.

Then the album closes with an acoustic version of ‘You And Me’. A really nice touch.

As Dan told me, he didn’t to do Son Of Nazareth, it’s a genuine solo album, it’s heartfelt, and both have to be applauded. Emotional, there’s a lot of feeling and feelings here, both musically and lyrically. In fact as many as there are gripping vocal melodies. Just listen to the take on Nazareth’s Sunshine for proof. A thoroughly good listen, beginning to end. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

Joe asked Dan a few questions about the album, possible return to live action and his connection to an ex member of Wham!…

Hi Dan. How are you?.

Dan – Not bad, not bad. How about you? It’s been a long time.

Good thank you. I’ve just been enjoying the new album.

Dan – Oh good.

How did the album come about?

Dan – I met some great musicians from the Czech Republic and got a lot of inspiration. I wrote a lot with Karel Marik, whose an internationally renowned accordion player.

Some of the tracks seem very personal?

Dan – Yes, yes indeed. It was supposed to be, it’s not a solo album otherwise. I wanted it to be different, not do a Son Of Nazareth.

The track Mafia stood out for me? Almost progressive.

Dan – It is a good track – got a lot in there, it took on a life of its own while we were recording it.

Will you be returning to the stage any time soon?

Dan – I would love to. Lots I would love to do. Maybe a variety show kind of thing with other artists. My fans have been great it’s nice to give back.

Do you miss the touring?

Dan – Yes of course I do. It’s what we do.

So when you had to retire from Nazareth, it must have been heart breaking?

Dan – Yes very much so. It was very sad. But it had got to the stage where I would disappoint fans, disappoint the band, and disappoint myself, so I had to make that decision.

You’ve left one hell of a legacy.

Dan – I like to think so, thank you.

Do you have another album in you?

Dan – I would like to think so, but I want to focus on this album. Of course, I would like to go on, there is more in me.

Do you have much unreleased in the archive?

Dan No. We used all that we had, which is why there’s the acoustic version of ‘You And Me’. We had more left over in the early days.

So what did you make of the Nazareth box set that came out last year?

Dan – As it goes, pretty good. They did a good job, it’s what the fans wanted.

Joe What sessions have you done that would surprise fans?

Dan I don’t think so – I think they know about them all.

Didn’t you sing backing vocals on the Andrew Ridgely (ex-Wham!) solo album?

Dan – Ha ha yes I did. They were a lovely bunch. I thought I sounded good on that too.

How do you feel about Nazareth continuing without you?

Dan – It’s cool, I wanted them to go on, keep the legacy going.

What is your best or most outstanding memory from the last 50 years in music?

Dan- Too many, I can’t choose. We’ve been very lucky. Maybe the first US headline tour, but no I can’t say one.

Any regrets?

Dan – I try not to look back in anger.

I asked Zal Cleminson that question and he said his autograph, in reference to the bad record deals he’d gotten into.

Dan – (laughs) Yes sounds about right for us all.

How’s your health been?

Dan – I have ups and downs, I’ve been through a lot.

Any message for your fans?

Dan – Thank you. I’ve no complaints. It’s all about the fans. They’re amazing.


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: IAN GILLAN with The DON AIREY BAND and ORCHESTRA – Contractual Obligation #3 Live In St Petersburg

IAN GILLAN with The DON AIREY BAND and ORCHESTRA - Contractual Obligation #3 Live In St Petersburg

Edel/Ear Music [Release date 26.07.19]

Singer Ian Gillan, best known for fronting rock legends Deep Purple, took this solo project on the road during a break in the Purple schedule, and recorded some live sets in November 2016. Featuring a band and orchestra fronted by Purple pianist Don Airey (who replaced founder member Jon Lord in the early 2000s), this is a mix of material that GRTR has also looked at in the review of ‘Contractual Obligation #2′.

The three releases, recorded in Moscow, Warsaw and St Petersburg respectively, were all released exclusively on different formats; #1 on blu-ray, #2 on 2CD and #3 here as a triple LP.

The first thing to strike you is the packaging, which I love; it’s a solid heavy feel, and the gatefold features some sleeve notes and band info.

The track list is the same on all three, with some minor differences in performances and banter. Guitarist Simon McBride (who had recently replaced Micky Moody in Snakecharmer) does a fine job, it’s quite a different arrangement from the harder sounding original on Gillan’s ‘Toolbox’ solo album. There’s a nice mix of Deep Purple tracks, some I wish Purple would play, and some they should drop. Lazy gets a good lengthy workout and sits nicely next to ‘Rapture Of The Deep’.

‘Hang Me Out To Dry’ and ‘No More Cane On The Brazos’ are excellent tracks, and I’ve always loved ‘Difficult To Cure’ (this was the first song Don Airey jammed with Blackmore when he joined Rainbow).

There’s also some fine work by bassist Laurence Cottle (ex-Black Sabbath) and drummer Jon Finnigan.

If you just get one of the three, you’re getting a damn fine set and not missing too much on the audio front. But I would recommend this 3LP set because the look and feel is just fantastic. *****

Review by Joe Geesin

Album review (Live In Warsaw)


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: ELOY – The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre (Part II)

ELOY - The Vision, the Sword and the Pyre (Part II)

Artist Station Records [Release date 27.09.19]

German prog legends return with their new album two years after Part I of this 2 part concept (this with Joan of Arc as the central character). Part one featured fantastic reviews, and rightfully so. Few do concept albums as well as Eloy, and this isn’t the first time they’ve split a concept over two albums; 1981’s Planets and the following year’s Time To Turn are two of Eloy’s finest.

The band’s leader, frontman, guitarist and founder member Frank Bornemann has been working on this project in his own studio for a good year or two and it’s well worth the wait.

Here he is joined by bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol, keyboardists Hannes Folberth and Michael Gerlach, and drummer Kristof Hinz.

Eloy have kept their prog sound updated throughout the years, they’re still a classic progressive rock band, but they’ve travelled far since their 70s Floyd, Purple, Heep and Yes sounds.

Bornemann’s interest in the history of this Middle Ages legend and legacy started in the 90s and Frank has worked with the Center Jeanne d’Arc in Orléans to ensure the accuracy and level of detail in the story. The story is also complete, which is why it’s told over the two albums, as Frank didn’t want to edit it in any way.

Opener ‘An Instant Relief Still The War Rages On’ kicks off with a choir over a hypnotic rhythm which builds as the whole band comes in. There’s a strong interplay with guitar and keyboards, which follows in many tracks.

‘Between Hopes Doubts Fear And Uncertainty’ is a shorter track, which gives more lyrically than musically. Some nice guitar work though.

At over 5 minutes, ‘Patay’ is a real musical stand-out, with nods to both the 70s and 80s, with some ethereal touches. ‘Joy’ proves than the band can rock with the best of them, and throughout the album, while the guitar frequently stands out, much is heavy keyboard oriented. The use of choir is typical and classic Eloy, whether like ‘Time To Turn or Ra’, the music is augmented perfectly.

The tracks that feature the guitar more prominently do so with aplomb; check out the crunchy riff on ‘Armistice Or War’. Then there’s ‘Tormenting Imprisonment’, suitably moody, atmospheric. Great use of strings.

The album finishes in similar fashion to ‘Ra’ (itself a concept album) with ‘Eternity’. Lovely track, one you have to just stop and listen to.

As a concept and production this is quite the rock opera and classic Eloy all over. You do really need both parts to appreciate the concept and enjoy the themes, well worth getting. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: WHITESNAKE – Slip Of The Tongue

WHITESNAKE - Slip Of The Tongue

Rhino (2LP) [Release date 04.10.19]

After the success (and continued line-up shake-ups) of 1987’s Whitesnake album, which when eight times Platinum in the US alone, former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale took the band’s look and direction a stage further for 1989’s Slip Of The Tongue. I was at university when this album came out, and it’s hard to believe it’s 30 years old now.

There are several editions available including a multi disc CD that features Coverdale’s track commentary only previously available on the promo only LP “Wagging Tongue version”. Nice. Here we get a lovely package over 2LPs with some bonus tracks and a nice gatefold sleeve. The vinyl has a solid heavy feel and it sounds pretty bloody good too. So we’re off to a great start.

As a stand alone album, this is a fantastic set, but was always in danger of living in the shadow of 1987. The image if a highlight fuelled perm with drawn-in cheeks seems a prerequisite for the line-up of Coverdale, guitarists Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg, bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge. The sound had more in common with an over polished Led Zeppelin than Whitesnake’s own blues roots, and it divided fans, the Stateside success drawing in more new fans than it lost.

Although credited, Vandenberg (who, like Vivian Campbell, came in to replace Sykes when the band went American) does not play on the album due to surgery on a hand injury, so Steve Vai was brought in to complete all the guitar parts (Vandenberg did co-write several sons).

The 5 minute title track opens and is a classic slice of big hair rock/metal, giving MTV a blast, the album also features more balladic tracks like ‘Sailing Ships’. Although crunchy at times, Vai’s guitar is fluid, and while the flamboyancy is a pleasure to listen to, it doesn’t necessarily suit the music. The rhythm section is solid enough, driving the songs along well. It’s what this kind of music required, but lacks the feel and melody of the original Paice/Murray era.

‘Now You’re Gone’ and ‘The Deeper The Love’ are fine tracks, and Don Airey’s keyboards add a nice touch. Classic radio material.

Additional work was recorded by keyboard player David Rosenthal and backing vocalist (and former Deep Purple bandmate Glenn Hughes), but much of this didn’t make the final cut.

The change in the band’s sound is highlighted on the reworking of ‘Fool For Your Loving’. A great listen, better if you don’t know the original.

While it is a good album, and successful too, as I said it’ll forever be in 1987’s shadow, and in the big picture it’s not Whitesnake’s best. But definitely worth celebrating this release does that well. The wonderful and essential packaging bolsters the score. On this double LP the original album is spread to two and a half sides, and there are 7 bonus b-sides and remixes.

To paraphrase Dame Coverdale: “Here’s a reissue for ya”. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: WEAPON UK – Ghosts Of War

WEAPON UK - Ghosts Of War

Pure Steel Records [Release date 27.09.19]

Weapon first came onto the scene back in 1980 during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal boom. The current line-up sees original duo – vocalist Danny Hynes and guitarist Jeff Summers – joined by drummer Darren Lee and bassist Tony Forsythe.

The title track opener sets their musical stall out nicely, pelting metal riffs backed by a pounding rhythm section and one of the many top notch solos from Jeff Summers. Touch of a Sabbath riff here and there and guest vocalist Clare Cunningham (ex-Thundermother) adds a further bit of class to the proceedings.

Weapon UK mix it up though as ‘Queen Of The Ride’ has a cheeky blues riff, bit like prime time Gillan. They even manage to get in a stirring ballad ‘Redman’, a chance for Danny Hynes to shine. His vocals remind me of Alice Cooper at times particularly on ‘All I Need’, not a bad comparison I am sure! Nice bit of guitar picking before it leads into a fully-fledged solo.

If you want a good old headbanger look no further than ‘Sea Of Hope’ or ‘Hell On Earth’, on each song the guitars and rhythm section fit each other perfectly. Weapon UK pay tribute to the excitement of the NWOBHM era in ’79 Revisited’ and listen out for the Radio 1 Rock Show jingle.

Weapon UK will certainly appeal to fans of classic rock as they have a metal sound, but are good on the melodies and lift themselves from the pub metal sound of many NWOBHM bands (sorry but to these ears many of the bands linked to that era didn’t find success for good reason!).

Two bonus songs, a rip roaring run through ‘Set The Stage Alight’ and Clare Cunningham returns on the Celtic themed ‘G.O.W’ Reprise’.

‘Ghosts Of War’ is a perfect album for those after a dose of classy metal/hard rock that has the NWoBHM vibe but adds a modern sheen. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: BAKER GURVITZ ARMY – On The Road Again

BAKER GURVITZ ARMY - On The Road Again

The Store For Music [Release date 20.09.19]

Baker Gurvitz Army formed out of sixties trio The Gun who had a hit with ‘Race With The Devil’ and then morphed into Three Man Army.  Their original drummer Tony Newman jumped ship in 1974 and joined David Bowie’s band and this live recording showcases the legendary Ginger Baker whom the band had met at London’s  Speakeasy venue.

Sadly this release is as much about commemorating their manager Bill Fehilly (also managed Nazareth and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) who died in a plane crash in 1979.  This incident ultimately scuppered Baker Gurvitz Army.

Recorded at The New Victoria Theatre, London in 1975 the album is well recorded  and mainly features tracks from their second album ‘Elysian Encounter’ and with a version of Hendrix’s ‘Freedom’ and one of the bonus tracks ‘Hearts On Fire’ a portent of the band’s third album.  Sharks frontman Mr Snips is the vocalist.  Buyers should be aware that there is another live album, recorded in Derby that same year, with a similar setlist.

As ever with The Store For Music the packaging is minimalist, with the one sheet insert almost an afterthought.  However, this album has not been available before and should be sought out by lovers of well fashioned gutsy hard rock with jazzy/prog touches notwithstanding the ubiquitous eight-minute drum solo and perhaps inevitable ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’.  ****

Review by David Randall


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Gig review: STONEDEAF FESTIVAL – Newark Showground, 24 August 2019

Stonedeaf - 24 August 2019

Bank holiday weekends have their good and bad points. On the good side you get a long weekend to do whatever takes your fancy, hopefully in fantastic weather and with great musical accompaniment. On the bad side however,  you get crowded roads and railway engineering works galore which makes getting anywhere a potential nightmare.

Hence the reason that I arrived a lot later than planned at Newark Showgound after having to take to the country roads to avoid a gridlocked A1, not fun. By the time I finally arrived the first two acts of the day had been and gone, still, at least the sun was shining and luckily our intrepid photographer Darren Griffiths had left Wales in the middle of the night to arrive in plenty of time to take in all the proceedings.

This was the second Stonedeaf festival and, following the success of last year and the subsequent positive reviews, the crowd had swelled somewhat this year. Having said that the arena never felt crowded and there was plenty of room for everyone to stretch out, catch some late summer sunshine and listen to some excellent rock.

Darren writes - This year’s winners in the Stonedeaf poll to open the event were Samarkind. The Dublin based quartet may have been slightly taken aback by how many people were gathered to watch them in the blazing sunshine and they took a song or two to break from the ‘rabbit in the headlight’ effect to get into their groove. Once they did though there was no stopping them.

Samarkind - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

Vocalist David Paul Byrne, with a voice that mixed various 70′s singers in his range, got into his stride with all the swagger of a young Robert Plant. Having not heard Samarkind before today I was not familiar with their music. While sometimes I felt it needed a bit more energy in their set to open a festival, the crowd gave them a great reception. ‘Skinny Rivers’ and ‘Fire and Blood’, which included a verse of Heaven and Hell , being the stand out songs.

If, as I thought, a little bit more energy to open the festival was needed, then the ragamuffins from Australia, Massive, delivered in spades. They are like the bastard children of Airbourne in their songs and even their attitude.

Brad Marr on vocals and guitar may be small in stature but huge in presence . Massive would probably agree that sometimes it was a little sloppy, but Rock n Roll isn’t supposed to be perfect, and Massive are the epitome of the words ‘Rock N Roll’. Paint it by numbers anthems one after another that instantly increase the energy of the crowd tenfold with more coming towards the front to find out who is causing this racket.

Massive - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

I saw Massive a few weeks back in a small dingy club in South Wales and left pretty early, unimpressed, they totally transformed my perception of them here and I enjoyed their set. They even got up a few random audience members to play inflatable guitars and dance badly on stage during ‘Dancefloor’, also including a great cover of ‘If You Want Blood’ by fellow aussies AC/DC. Massive are what you want at any rock festival, brash, raucous and loud and they enjoyed it just as much as the crowd.

Dave writes - After a quick recce around the festival site and taking mental notes of what food stands we would be frequenting later, we settled down for the arrival of The Amorettes. This was my first encounter with the band since the departure of the rhythm section which left front woman Gill on her own. She has since teamed up with the band Tequila Mockingbird who provide the backing for Gill whilst she provides vocals for them, a real rock collective in action!

The Amorettes - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

Kicking things off with ‘Born To Break’ it quickly became apparent that the change in personnel has had little impact on the band. Gill’s vocal, not the strongest at times, was a bit lost in the mix and overall the sound was strangely quiet from my vantage point. They belted out the crowd favourites including ‘Let The Neighbours Call The Cops’ and ‘You’ve Still Got Rock N Roll’ and got a good reaction.

The Amorettes - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

However for me the band haven’t really moved on, even with the major line up change, in the last few years. They appear to be a perennial support band destined to pad out festival bills unless Gill and the new crew can up their game. They finished the set with, aptly, ‘Everything I learned (I Learned From Rock N Roll), perhaps a bit more revision is in order?

Perhaps they could have a chat with Diamond Head main man Brian Tatler, a man who has been rocking hard and heavy for about 100 years (possibly!). Here is a man who has been there, seen it, done it and sold the t-shirts. He also knows how to please a Newark crowd in the blazing sunshine.

The guys hit the stage and launched into ‘Borrowed Time’, old school rock at it’s very best, which got the fists pumping in the sun. The sound was still a bit on the quiet side but the mix was better with the vocals of Rasmus Bom Andersen cutting through. ‘Bones’ and ‘Lightening To The Nations’ followed keeping the old school vibe going which went down well with the ageing rockers in the crowd, and yes I do include myself in that description!

Diamond Head - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

The band aren’t all about nostalgia though and released a cracking new album ‘Coffin Train’ earlier in the year. They played three tracks from this and all were greeted with the same enthusiasm as the more familiar back catalogue numbers.

However, for better or worse, it was the Metallica endorsed tracks which got the biggest response. ‘Helpless’ was as fast and frantic as ever whilst ‘Am I Evil’ tried it’s best to be brooding in the mid-afternoon sunshine. ‘Am I Evil’ also provided the soundtrack to a fly past by a World War Two Dakota which was very impressive.

Geoff Tate - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

Another man who has been treading the boards for many years is Geoff Tate, both as a solo artist and as frontman for the mighty Queensryche, a band I always felt I should like more than I do.  Geoff has a very talented band to back him up and they are more than capable of recreating Queensryche’s more technical passages.

Kicking things off with ‘Empire’ the band showed they were more than up to the task. Tate sang his heart out but the sound was still a bit on the quiet side so it was hard to pick out at times, although the crowd down the front were loving every minute.

The Queensryche classics were all in place with ‘Walk In The Shadows’ and ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ up next. The biggest cheers were reserved for the final trio of tracks though with ‘Silent Lucidity’, ‘Jet City Woman’ and the rocking ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ rounding off the set. Geoff and the guys may not have been my particular cup of tea (that was supplied later by Phil at Motley Brew) but they went down a storm in the afternoon sunshine , who am I to argue?

Next to grace the sun-kissed stage was someone who is no stranger, in anyone’s eyes, to a festival bill. Toby Jepson and his latest band, Wayward Sons, have been a constant on the touring circuit since their inception and have graced many a festival which showed as they masterfully controlled the crowd from the off.  ‘Alive’ was an apt opener as it finally brought to life the PA system which ramped up significantly as the set continued which was good to hear (pun intended!).

Toby is a seasoned frontman with a great voice to match. The guys ploughed on with ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ before blasting into ‘Killing Time’ which is exactly what the band had to do as they managed to blow the onstage electrics! Power was quickly restored (more great work from the Stonedeaf team) and the band rocked on completely unaffected by the enforced hiatus. The highlights were numerous throughout the set with the likes of ‘Ghost’ and ‘Crush’ keeping the crowd dancing in the blistering sun.

Wayward Sons - Stonedeaf -  24 August 2019

There was also room in the set for tracks from the band’s forthcoming album ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’ including the lead track ‘The Jokes On You’ which had been gaining radio play prior to the album release.

Guitarist Sam Wood excelled throughout, the guy certainly knows his way around a fret board and he played up a storm as the set climaxed with ‘Until The End’. This was a great set by a band who improve every time I see them. With the release of the new album hopefully it will take them to the next level and further up the next festival bill.

Another band more than capable of entertaining a festival crowd are Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons. What we needed at this point was some hard and fast rock to stop everyone from wilting in the heat and Phil and the guys were just what the doctor ordered. ‘Big Mouth’ got things off to a loud and proud start. Vocalist Neil Starr may not have the gruff vocals of Lemmy (who has..?) but he doesn’t try to emulate the great man. Instead he blasts out the vocals with passion and on the Motorhead tracks scattered throughout the set he does the tracks justice.

Phil Campbell - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

‘Step Into The Fire’ was followed by the first of the Motorhead tracks, namely ‘Rock Out’ which had the crowd bouncing along. The set was a crowd pleasing mix of the old and new with ‘Born To Raise Hell’ following ‘Freak Show’. Campbell’s guitar work with Motorhead was always first rate and here he was on fire complete with a wry smile on his face, he is not one to take himself too seriously!

A quick blast of ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S’ had the Stonedeaf massive in a frenzy, but it was the double of ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘Ace Of Spades’ that really took things to boiling point. ‘High Rule’ then brought, what was for me, the set of the day to an end. Rock out indeed!

It had been a couple of years since I last saw Inglorious live and due to many internal wranglings the band who took to the Stonedeaf stage bore very little resemblance to the one I was faced with back then. The frontman position though had not changed with Nathan James still larger than life and prowling the edge of the stage. The band master in Whitesnake-like classic rock with James living out his Coverdale fantasies, he even yelled ’Ere’s A song For Ya’ at one point.

Inglorious - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

However I remained unmoved by the set and try as they might I just couldn’t get into the tracks aired. James has a huge voice but it sounded a bit strained and forced at times as if he was trying a bit too hard. The band played well throughout, especially 20 year old guitar maestro  Danny Dela Cruz who impressed on the Alanis Morissette cover ‘Uninvited’.

There were some high spots during the set including opener ‘Where Are You Now’ and ‘Ride To Nowhere’ but for me they were few although judging by the crowd’s reaction elsewhere I was in the minority so what do I know? I did question the band’s billing when they were announced and I’m still unconvinced they deserved their lofty spot.

Glenn Hughes - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

That only left one man to bring things to a close and Glenn Hughes entered the stage with all the presence of the Seventies rock icon he is. Things started to unravel fairly quickly though with a few sound and mic issues that set the tone for the set. Glenn has a marmite vocal you either love or hate and I am of the latter persuasion, however Classic Purple is always good to hear even with the odd tortured vocal.

Glenn Hughes - Stonedeaf -  24 August 2019

‘Stormbringer’ opened proceedings with the aforementioned technical glitches and was followed by ‘Might Just Take Your Life’. The band played well and recreated the classics with a certain panache however the extended passages accompanied by Glenn’s wailings soon got too much for me and by the time ‘Mistreated’ was in mid flow I decided it was time to hit the road. Reading the comments on social media in the following days it was apparent that Glenn split the crowd but that’s rock n roll for you!

Glenn Hughes - Stonedeaf, 24 August 2019

Stonedeaf proved to be superb once again. You could argue that the line up wasn’t quite as strong as 2018 but the fact that the Stonedeaf team had once again amassed a top line up was a credit to all. The day wasn’t perfect however the rise in numbers was always going to test the set up and I am sure that next year Stonedeaf will be back bigger and better than ever.

But that is not going to happen as this was the second and last Stonedeaf! Due to naming issues Stonedeaf is to rise again in 2020 as the Stonedead festival  but I would take a punt on it being another fantastic day of rock and metal with the PA turned up and the blistering sun turned down a notch!

Review by Dave Wilson
Photos (and review where cited) by Darren Griffiths


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND – Brighter Days

This interview with Robert Randolph was first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 1 September 2019.  Robert discusses the new album with Pete Feenstra (32:23)

Robert Randolph - Brighter Days

Provogue Records   [Release date: 23.08.2019]

Robert Randolph is a man on a mission. Since crossing over from his church background into the rock-blues arena, he’s been a breath of fresh air with his pedal steel tone colours.

His gospel infused energy and a willingness to jam and explore crossover musical genres helps forge his own contemporary roots-rock style, routed in soulful antecedents.

‘Brighter Days’ extends his accessibility on an album that unashamedly heads for the mainstream.

He’s a risk taker, a hip shaker, a deal breaker, a groove maker and he’s got the chops, the band, the songs, the natural versatility and spirit to make something new and interesting.

Randolph’s music is the result of what happens when you cross the integrity and musical excitement of his gospel background into the rock-blues world, except that this album is also drenched in soul, funk and blues and dig deeps for its grooves, uplifting hooks and scintillating playing.

It’s all there on the opening ‘Baptize Me’, which ostensibly leans on his musical past, but finds him firing off a volley of piercing riffs over a booming groove.

‘Second Hand Man’ is more of the same and could be Sly Stone, on a mean funky outing that opens with the hypnotic chorus, as his pedal steel subtly mirrors his vocal phrasing.

‘Have Mercy’ is a beautifully shaped timeless soulful piece on which his notes arc and sparkle, before gently coming to rest on a soulful duet with Danyel Morgan’s nuanced bass-led ending.

Randolph can go up, down and sideways, as befits a musician who has played with Buddy Guy, Santana and Clapton to name but a few.

He’s at his best on the stripped down and aptly titled ‘Simple Man, a beautiful ballad on which his subtle tone colours match his tremulous vocal phrasing on an aching soulful outing.

And if the album sometimes sounds just a little too mixed back, ‘Simple Man’ lets the song do all the work. It gently rises on the back of a chorus full of feel and presence.

The key to the whole project’s success is the way producer Dave Cobb places the emphasis on the quality of the song, the importance of the voices and the overall spiritual vibe.

Also, it’s significant that while his solo career has taken off, Randolph has kept faith with his Family Band. The result is intuitively felt music played by a road tested band that balances its natural jamming instincts within disciplined song writing.

Randolph is also a generous band leader giving his sister Lenesha Randolph the lead on ‘Cry Over Me’, while he’s in his element on the gospel tinged ‘I Need You’, a song with a nod back to his past and one that you could imagine Stevie Wonder tackling.

‘I’m Living Off The Love You Give’ is an impressive slice of contemporary soul which could easily be Tedeschi Trucks. It’s no coincidence that this album fits perfectly into the roots rock template that is currently holding sway in the Billboard blues chart. The thing that sets Randolph apart from his contemporaries though, is his evocative tone colours which on this track ventures into a Celtic feel.

Robert Randolph has enjoyed an interesting rise to fame, from the church to the rock blues via the obligatory Experience Hendrix tour. He’s settled on a soulful bent, punctuated by explosive playing, great songs and catchy hooks, as on the insistent riffing and harmonies of ‘Cut ‘Em Loose’, another Sly Stone influenced track full of arresting slide lines.

He rounds things off with a gospel and rock and roll coupling on ‘Don’t Fight It’ and the hard driving ‘Strange Train’, complete with a dirt sounding tone that fits in nicely with the choral vocals.

The emphasis on the latter track is on the whole ensemble from the bouncing rhythm section through to the call and response vocals. His busy slide playing comes to the fore on a drop-down which unexpectedly slips into a funky groove and stokes the fire all over again. It’s an exhilarating extended finish that perfectly mirrors the essence of a jam band.

They leave just enough space to let the song breathe, sparkle and capture the celebratory feel that lies of the heart of an enjoyable album, better still, it’s  fired by so much natural energy and the sheer joy of playing great music.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



Album review: UNRULY CHILD- Big Blue World

UNRULY CHILD- Big Blue World

Release Date 09.08.19 The reunion of Unruly Child’s classic line up with original singer Marcie Free,  which began with 2010’s excellent ‘Worlds Collide’,  has stood the test of time with its fourth album since then. Two years ago, try as … Continue reading

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Album review: ALLAN CLARKE Resurgence

ALLAN CLARKE - Resurgence

BMG [Release date 20.09.19] Former Hollies singer Allan Clarke returns with his first new album in 29 years after he had seemingly retired from music back in 1990. However, his son Toby set him on the road to recording this … Continue reading

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Quick plays: BRUCE COCKBURN, LOUIEN

BRUCE COCKBURN - Crowing Ignites

BRUCE COCKBURN Crowing Ignites True North Records [Release date 20.09.19] ‘Crowing Ignites’ is Bruce Cockburn’s 34th and his second all instrumental album, which differs from his previous instrumental album in that the compositions on here are brand new. The music … Continue reading

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Gig review: BERNIE MARSDEN/Kris Barras Band/Hollowstar, Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

BERNIE MARSDEN - Tramshed, Cardiff, 13 September 2019

When you spend most of the year planning a festival on top of the mountain, the come down from a successful year must be a hard, so what do you do? Start doing indoor shows, it is what you started … Continue reading

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Album review: AMY SPEACE – Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne

AMY SPEACE – Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne

Proper Music [Release date 06.09.19] Amy Speace is a “former Shakespearean-trained actor”, the ultimate objective of most actors is the pursuit of truth and her new album, ‘Me And The Ghost of Charlemagne’, is nothing if not truthful. From the … Continue reading

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Album review: 4TH LABYRINTH – Better

Facebook [Release date 04.10.19] 4th Labryrinth, winner of best band in Cambridge and with one of the most impressive records for playing live in the area and futher afield, known for brilliant stagecraft from Marcel Kunkel with his sharp wit, … Continue reading

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Gig review: DAN BAIRD AND HOMEMADE SIN, JASON AND THE SCORCHERS, KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 6 September 2019

Package tours are an increasingly common feature of the gig scene, but it’s rare for one with three bands to have equal billing for each. The fact that Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Jason and the Scorchers and the Kentucky … Continue reading

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Album review: SHOW OF HANDS – Battlefield Dance Floor

SHOW OF HANDS - Battlefield Dance Floor

Hands On Music [Release date 27.09.19] Show Of Hands – Steve Knightley and Phil Beer – have been making music since 1987, going on to become one of the biggest folk bands around today (they have sold out the Royal … Continue reading

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Gig review: BLUES CARAVAN 2019 (Ina Forsman, Ally Venable, Katarina Pejak), The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

BLUES CARAVAN 2019 - The Iron Road, Pershore, 13 September 2019

Friday 13th may have seemed more than ominous to the girls in the Blues Caravan with a six hour journey from Scotland taking fourteen hours.  But that didn’t seem to quell their enthusiasm for the South Midlands stop on a … Continue reading

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Album review: RALPH McTELL – Hill Of Beans

RALPH McTELL - Hill Of Beans

Leola Music [Release date 20.09.19] ‘Hill Of Beans’ is Ralph McTell’s first album of originals since 2010’s ‘Down The Road’. This album also sees McTell reunited with producer Tony Visconti, who worked on his earlier albums. Another link to the … Continue reading

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Album review: SWIM DEEP – Emerald Classics

SWIM DEEP - Emerald Classics

[Release date 04.10.19] Swim Deep formed in 2011 and their first two albums made the UK album charts. However, last year they were sat at a crossroads in their local pub – The Emerald, from which the album takes its … Continue reading

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Gig review: FISH – Craigiehill Fest, Perth, 31 August 2019

Craigie Hill Fest is held annually in the carpark of Craigiehill Golf Course on the outskirts of Perth. I must say it hadn’t featured on my gig radar prior to this year and they have an eclectic mix of musical styles on throughout … Continue reading

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Album review: DAN McCAFFERTY – Last Testament

DAN McCAFFERTY - Last Testament

Ear Music/Edel [Release date 18.10.19] After Dan’s retirement from Nazareth, the legendary Scottish hard rockers he’d co-founded in the late 60s, due to ill health, I really wasn’t sure if this would ever happen. Dan had fronted a band with … Continue reading

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Album review: IAN GILLAN with The DON AIREY BAND and ORCHESTRA – Contractual Obligation #3 Live In St Petersburg

IAN GILLAN with The DON AIREY BAND and ORCHESTRA - Contractual Obligation #3 Live In St Petersburg

Edel/Ear Music [Release date 26.07.19] Singer Ian Gillan, best known for fronting rock legends Deep Purple, took this solo project on the road during a break in the Purple schedule, and recorded some live sets in November 2016. Featuring a … Continue reading

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Album review: ELOY – The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre (Part II)

ELOY - The Vision, the Sword and the Pyre (Part II)

Artist Station Records [Release date 27.09.19] German prog legends return with their new album two years after Part I of this 2 part concept (this with Joan of Arc as the central character). Part one featured fantastic reviews, and rightfully … Continue reading

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Album review: WHITESNAKE – Slip Of The Tongue

WHITESNAKE - Slip Of The Tongue

Rhino (2LP) [Release date 04.10.19] After the success (and continued line-up shake-ups) of 1987’s Whitesnake album, which when eight times Platinum in the US alone, former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale took the band’s look and direction a stage further … Continue reading

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Album review: WEAPON UK – Ghosts Of War

WEAPON UK - Ghosts Of War

Pure Steel Records [Release date 27.09.19] Weapon first came onto the scene back in 1980 during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal boom. The current line-up sees original duo – vocalist Danny Hynes and guitarist Jeff Summers – joined … Continue reading

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Album review: BAKER GURVITZ ARMY – On The Road Again

BAKER GURVITZ ARMY - On The Road Again

The Store For Music [Release date 20.09.19] Baker Gurvitz Army formed out of sixties trio The Gun who had a hit with ‘Race With The Devil’ and then morphed into Three Man Army.  Their original drummer Tony Newman jumped ship … Continue reading

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Gig review: STONEDEAF FESTIVAL – Newark Showground, 24 August 2019

Stonedeaf - 24 August 2019

Bank holiday weekends have their good and bad points. On the good side you get a long weekend to do whatever takes your fancy, hopefully in fantastic weather and with great musical accompaniment. On the bad side however,  you get … Continue reading

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Album review: ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND – Brighter Days

Robert Randolph - Brighter Days

This interview with Robert Randolph was first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 1 September 2019.  Robert discusses the new album with Pete Feenstra (32:23) Provogue Records   [Release date: 23.08.2019] Robert Randolph is a man on a … Continue reading

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