Album review: MAGGIE E ROGERS – No Going Back

Maggie E Rogers - No Going Back

Self release [Release date 09.03.21]

 

Maggie E Rogers’ ‘No Going Back’ is both a pleasant surprise and absolute delight.

It’s a surprise simply because it’s a vast improvement on her previous album in terms of material, performance, and above all confidence.

While her debut album was impressive in terms of original material, it suffered slightly from being too circumspect.

It’s delightful too, because of the refreshing lyrical integrity, delivered over tight arrangements and fine playing. The songs have folky antecedents, jazzy edges, an occasional bluesy groove and strident electric guitar bursts from Damien Nolan  that amplify the lyrical feel and add to its musical heft.

‘No Going Back’ is coherent journey from the cool funky groove and bluesy tinged opener ‘Undercover’, to the closing folky duet ‘Time Together’, which finds Maggie paired with Chris Rogers on the perfect ending to an album built on strong songs, intuitive playing and emotive singing.

‘Undercover’ is also the first of several relationship songs glued together with poignant words: “always live on the edge of shadows and lies, you look over your shoulder, your heart to disguise.”

The 10 tracks feature half a dozen co-writes with M.D. Mike King. It’s almost a concept album, in as much as the retrospective title track sets the template for a number of narratives that move from the insightful to the wistful and are always delivered with genuine emotion.

At her best, Rogers reaches for a universal theme, as on the non relationship song ‘Quirky Little Town’, which benefits from Roger Inniss’s lilting bass and Mike King’s funky electric piano.

It’s probably about the London suburb in which she lives, but it’s applicable to a lot of folks who can surely relate to her words; “here I have space to breath.”

Indeed, when she then applies some further imagery like a painter’s brush stroke, her lyrical connection makes the song even more memorable: “The voices in the high street, the trains that come and go, this is my past and present, the history of life I know.”

The emotional depth of her lyrics also benefits from a clarity of diction and intuitive phrasing. This brings real presence to bear on songs such as ‘Troubled Soul’, a sultry jazzy arrangement full of deft brushed strokes, after hours sax and gently voiced piano.

Similarly on ‘Ain’t No Rest For Me’, her vocal evokes the restlessness of her lyrics on a song full of “guilt and pain.”

And yet in spite of the meditative mood it’s an uplifting track with evocative night time lyrics:  “I wish I was a night owl, there’d be lots of fun….so much to be done.”

‘No Going Back’ is a lyrically driven and layered album that reveals more with each play.

‘Terms & Conditions’ for example, is a love song with a well worked metaphor and a good example of her intricate songcraft.

The title track is short, sharp and to the point. The dirt-toned electric guitar bursts are the prefect counter-weight to the clarity of her timbre and features a lyric that best sums up the mission statement of the album as a whole: “Tonight I shared my writing and shared songs from my heart.”

The electric piano and bass combination of Mike King and Roger Inniss further underpin a song that thematically maps out the contours of the album’s subject matter.

The title track anchors the album at the midway point, while ‘The Time Has Come’ is wistful tale about flying the nest. Mike King’s lovely piano provides perfect foil for Maggie’s confident vocal which hits a top register note at the 1 minute 22 mark.

Mirco Altenbach’s sultry sax brings a different colour to the album, as on the jazzy influenced ‘Troubled Soul’, which features one of Maggie best vocals. He also subtly accompanies pianist King on the echo laden intro to ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On Love’, on which the repeated hook lingers.

‘Trying To Reach The Light’ also has a late night jazzy feel with understated brush strokes and King’s delightful piano trills which perfectly fit the aspirational love song:  “Give your hand until I’m ready, Ready to breathe and let go.”

The intricate arrangements all contribute to an essential flow. It makes for a musically interesting album that subtly leads us to the afore mentioned duet with Chris Rogers.

‘Time Together’ is an unexpected acoustic folky piece interwoven with deft harmony vocals over delicate acoustic guitar. It’s well written, excellently played and the perfect end to a well thought out album.

‘No Going Back’ is a proud independent release with plenty to say and much good music to impart.

***½ 

Review by Pete Feenstra

 


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: WAYSTED – Vices

Rock Candy Records [Release date 12.02.21]

In 1983, after an enduring love affair with UFO, a brief flirtation with Ozzy, and a frustrated liaison with Fastway, bass player extraordinaire Pete Way founded Waysted. Around him, he assembled a shit hot band… Fin Muir on vocals, Paul Raymond (UFO) on keyboards, Ronnie Kayfield on guitar, and Frank Noon on drums.

The band’s debut, Vices, has now been reissued by Rock Candy Records, in remastered form (with 6 bonus tracks). And it’s a blast.

Paralleling the rise of Glamrock and Hair Metal, it was an album that tried to bridge the gap between the honest hard rock of the seventies and the burgeoning bandana rock of the early eighties, accidently creating sleaze rock in the process. It roams the cellars and basements of the down’n’dirty denizens of subterranean rock’n'roll, feeling its way through smoky, sweaty rooms, howling and wailing in among the cranked up electric guitars and thudding drums. Mick Glossop’s unpolished production lets the raw, unadulterated hard rock do the talking. Kayfield is clearly the driving force, pushing the music along with simple, spare riffs or embellishing it with clanging guitar motifs and wiry axe work. The first three tracks, the strutting ‘Love Loaded’, the dark and downbeat ‘Women In Chains’ and the jangling, pacy ‘Sleazy’ are the picks. That said, ’Night Of The Wolf’, full of smouldering atmospherics and NWOBHM energy, and ’Right From The Start’, a bluesy, Faces like manifestation of post seventies hard rock, aren’t far behind.

Half a dozen remixes, done at Maison Rouge Studios, giving the songs much more of a seventies’ hard rock feel, have been added to the original album as bonus tracks, and are a genuine ‘find‘, worth hearing in their own right. Surprisingly, given its provenance and critical acclaim, Vices failed to gain traction in Europe or the US. Listen and wonder. ****

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: LYNYRD SKYNYRD – Nothing Comes Easy

Cherry Red Records (5CD Boxset) [Release date 26.02.21]

Arguably, it’s only when your roots run as deep and as wide as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s that you achieve the kind of longevity that sees you still running hard today, 48 years, 15 studio albums and 6 Record labels after your 1973 debut.

Most will know that in 1977, after only 5 albums, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Jim Gaines died in a plane crash. So this cherry picked clutch of later life albums comes from the post ’87 reformation band, when Johnny Van Zant stepped into his late brother’s shoes. And we are so familiar with the Skynyrd sound that’s it’s easy to forget it came from the band’s quite natural fusion of downhome country, cowboy blues and seventies guitar rock.

The album Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 honours that rich heritage.

Legendary producer Tom Dowd gets the best out of this new line up, effectively telling us – here is a band still with strength and purpose, with nothing to lose but maybe something to prove. Wisely, they brought in a couple of Nashville songsmiths to add an external perspective. Both Todd Cerney and Robert White Johnson were successful country rock writers. Their contributions to ‘Pure And Simple’, ‘I’ve seen Enough’, and ‘Smokestack Lightning’ all fed into the band’s Southern rock aesthetic. Longtime fans breathed a sigh of relief. Rock fans new to the band were ready to investigate further.

The follow up, the emotively titled The Last Rebel (1993) could have been so named to appeal to the ‘South Will Rise Again’ elements in their fanbase. But that notion was simply a cultural carry over from the band’s beginnings. Still, it struck a chord. The music may not have reached the heights of their indisputable seventies’ commercial peak, but the title track, ‘The Last Rebel’, and ‘Born To Run’ written by Johnny and Donnie Van Zant are up there. As well as the originals, both come as special edits and acoustic version bonus tracks on this CD.

Jump to 2009, and Gods & Guns. Guest appearances by John 5 and Rob Zombie may have raised a few eyebrows, but producer Bob Marlette gets the absolute best out of them. The John 5/Marlette/ Ricky Medlocke/Van Zant ‘Southern Ways’ is as good as anything from the past. The all band-written affair ‘Still Unbroken’, would have stood out on any of the seventies’ recordings. They helped propel the album into the US Billboard Top Twenty. Their highest charting album since 1977.

It comes with a 6 track Gods & Guns bonus CD, effectively CD 4 of the boxset, the highlights of which are the three live tracks recorded at the Freedom Hall in Lousiville, Kentucky. Finishing with the post 9/11, everyman patriotism of ‘Red, White And Blue’; the moving tribute to JJ Cale, ‘Call Me The Breeze’, and the churning complexity of perennial classic ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is an almost incomparable way to close out any gig. To quote an overused cliché (aren’t they all), these three on their own almost make buying the boxset an obligation.

Last Of A Dying Breed (2012) sees the band putting a heavy handed emphasis on the hard rock component of their classic sound. It may not fit with every hardcore fan’s memory of past greatness, but it was a brave and commercially astute move. This was their “we’re not in the seventies anymore” album.

The anthemic ‘Nothing Comes Easy’, one of the album’s standouts, is of course where this collection takes its name.

John 5 and Audley (Black Crowes/Cry Of love) Freed, along with Bob Marlette (who again produced) made a considerable songwriting contribution. ‘Ready To Fly’ and ‘Something to Live For’ both push the band (if somewhat reluctantly) into the moment. The title track, again helped along by a couple of outside writers, is a peach. On its own it takes you, emotionally, from the band’s beginnings to where they were then. And it’s quite some 4 minute journey.

Another half a dozen bonus tracks (and they are genuine bonus material) round out this fifth and final disc. ****

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Quick plays: LYLE WORKMAN, CAMERON GRAVES

LYLE WORKMAN - Uncommon Measures

LYLE WORKMAN Uncommon Measures (Blue Canoe Records)
Digital [Release date 19.02.21] Physical [Release date 16.04.21]

Workman has recorded or toured with any number of well-known artists (Bryan Adams, Norah Jones among them), composed film scores,  and has understandably found little time to get his own solo thing sorted.  When he does it’s widescreen scale with a full orchestra against which he pitches his fusion guitar.

It’s like listening to the closing credits of a Hollywood blockbuster and the orchestral arrangements come from John Ashton Thomas who has scored for the Marvel franchise.

In fact the orchestra is not just in support but very much “in the mix” which gives this album a unique quality.  Workman’s approach is entirely complementary to “the big picture”.  Imagine a souped-up ‘Classical Gas’ vibe updated for the millennium.

Amongst the highlights the jaunty ‘All The Colors Of the World’ and the driving ‘Noble Savage’ whilst the longest piece ‘Arc Of Life’ is a real musical  journey full of twists and turns.

‘Imaginary World’ conjures up Al Di Meola in terms of fusion fluidity with a rock slant whilst ‘Unsung Hero’ temporarily subjugates the orchestra for peppy brass and straight-ahead funk with a great sax solo from Ron Dziubia.  ‘Labyrinth Of Love’ and ‘Rise And Shine’ are both attractive compositions underlining Workman’s melodic approach throughout.

Four years in the making, a 63 piece orchestra, and some jazz/rock session stalwarts .  A combination that gives great promise and, on the evidence, one that surely delivers.  ****

Review by David Randall

CAMERON GRAVES Seven  (Artistry/Mack Avenue Music Group)
[Release date 19.02.21]

This album confirms what many think about jazz fusion.  It can be up it’s own backside.  Now, Cameron Graves has fashioned his own off-shoot “thrash jazz” inspired by his liking for metal and bands like Pantera and Meshuggah.  However, it will still have non-believers shouting “where’s the tune?”.  And it’s definitely not metal as we know it.

Graves also plumbs the rich jazz fusion heritage of the seventies which aligns him with bands such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever or Ian Carr’s Nucleus if you want to be closer to home.

He’s an accomplished pianist who has worked with Stanley Clarke more recently but was also a member of the West Coast Get Down outfit and this album features that band’s saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

The album’s two openers are about as accessible as you are going to get, along with Graves’ solo piece ‘Fairytales’.  After that, it’s all crashing drums and serious jazz noodling.  Not surprising that Graves has scored soundtrack music, most of this is intense and dramatic.  Most tracks are of three or four minute duration, perhaps unusual for a jazzer.  But still not for the faint hearted.  ***

Review by David Randall


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: SOUNDS INCARCERATED – Unswitchable Hits Vol 1

SOUNDS INCARCERATED – Unswitchable Hits Vol 1

Fool’s Paradise Records

Hot on the heels of The Galileo 7’s “Decayed” release, Allan Crockford and Viv Bonsels (aka Sounds Incarcerated) from the band unleash a series of recordings originally created for Mister Unswitchable’s semi-regular online themed cover version events. These were a continuation of a handful of pre-lockdown open-mic nights, and gave many local Medway musicians a chance to record some unexpected (and sometimes out of character) songs, with accompanying videos, to entertain themselves and each other. All have been remixed and mastered specially for this release.

As with “Decayed”, it’s a very eclectic mix of songs which works well as a collection and demonstrates the band’s wide range of influences. From the punk era are versions of Buzzcocks’ ‘What Do I Get?’ and ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ by The Adverts, both sung by Allan. The Stranglers are represented by ‘Nice In Nice’, an underrated track from their more commercial sounding era – and a real album highlight, with a terrific vocal by Viv.

There are two Robyn Hitchcock songs – ‘Winchester’ (originally from the “Element of Light” album) and the Soft Boys’ ‘Queen Of Eyes’, the latter given a hypnotic feel thanks to Viv’s dreamy vocal. Fellow Soft Boy Kimberley Rew is represented by the jangling ‘Going Down To Liverpool’, a storming track originally recorded when he was in Katrina & The Waves (and also covered by The Bangles).

There are two songs originally recorded by XTC’s psychedelic alter-ego band The Dukes Of Stratosphear, ‘Your Gold Dress’ and a lovely take on ‘Vanishing Girl’. There are also a couple of quirky TV show themes, ‘Lightning Tree’ (the rustic folk style theme from Follyfoot) and ‘Windy’ (an Association track, used as the theme for ‘Today’ aka the infamous “Bill Grundy Show”).

Rounding things off are John Denver’s ‘Sunshine On My Shoulders’, Lesley Gore’s ‘She’s A Fool’, a bonkers and somewhat unsettling Kraftwerk-style version of The Beatles’ ‘Love Me Do’, and a killer take on Haircut 100’s mighty ‘Favourite Shirt (Boy Meets Girl).

Overall, this is a rewarding listen and the accompanying videos are well worth checking out too. ****

Review by Jim Henderson


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: BONFIRE – Roots

AFM Records [Release date 26.02.21]

Bonfire‘s continued popularity and success confounds critics, of the genre at least, if not the band. And you could hardly describe each new album as a reinvention. They have constantly returned to their home territory – melodic hard rock – in the creation of fresh recordings. That of course is down to the influence and leadership of mainman/songwriter/guitarist, and only remaining original, Hans Ziller.

When multi octave vocalist Alexx Stahl came on board in 2016, Ziller grabbed the chance to recalibrate, to inch his way toward a more expansive sound. And so 2018′s Temple Of Lies twists and turns through AOR, Melodic Hard Rock and Metal.

2020′s Fistful Of Fire again was much more adventurous, with finely turned instrumental pieces unconventionally mixed in with the muscled up version of the band’s more traditional material.

This new double CD album, Roots, has an even more interesting blueprint, though it may not seem so at first glance. But by putting a fresh, “almost unplugged” spin on some “old” material, then splicing some innovative touches into the arrangements (plus the addition of 5 new tracks), the band can deservedly claim to have moved into relatively new territory. It’s also fair to say that Bonfire’s music has a solid sonic core, which means you can pretty well hang anything on it and it will sound good.

Indeed, across 24 tracks and 104 minutes of music, the quality holds up.

Conventional wisdom has it that the true test of a great song is how it sounds stripped down, so it’s always something of a risk. But on Roots, never has an unplugged sound filled the air so completely. The sonorous sounds of a Hammond organ and the sweet strum of an acoustic guitar are pretty much all that Stahl’s expressive vocals need. ‘When An Old Man Cries’ and ‘Without You’ are sung by a voice haunted by real life experience.

‘American Nights’ is a tip of the hat to the music’s original influences and the rough and tumble of ‘Ready For Reaction’ is now propelled by some urgent finger pickin’ and keyboard drive.

Arguably though, an emphatically emotional ‘Your Love Is Heaven To Me’ and the sublime ‘Love Don’t Lie’ are the picks, if only because there is an honest earthiness to them that’s not prevalent in most examples of the genre. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: LESZEK CICHONSKI AND FRIENDS – Thanks Jimi Symphonic

Pete Feenstra chatted to Leszek Cichonski for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, including the background to his album, world record-breaking and the Hendrix festivals.  First broadcast 21 February 2021.

Ledzek Cichonski And Friends - Thanks Jimi Symphonic

Luna Music [Release date 26.06.2o]

From the guitar and orchestral intro of ‘Foxy Lady’ – complete with Jorgos Skolias’s brusque idiosyncratic vocal –  through to the succinct radio edit of the title track,  this is a consistently well played album on which the orchestra is at heart of a project rather than on the periphery of a rock band.

‘Thanks Jimi Symphonic’ takes a while to hit its stride mainly because of a few awkward vocal phrasings, but it’s an album that delights with its adventurous spirit, innovative arrangements and the intuitive feel of guitarist and Hendrix disciple Leszek Cichonski.

Cichonski is a revered figure on the Polish rock scene, known for steering the award winning ‘Thanks Jimi Festival’ for 18 years as well as his educational work. And ‘Thanks Jimi Symphonic’ is surely his most ambitious undertaking.

Let it be said at the outset then, that Leszek Cichonski And Friends ‘Thanks Jimi Symphonic’ is one of the best orchestral and rock band albums of recent times.

Far too often on projects like this, the divide between the orchestral disciplined interpretation of the written part and a band’s natural inclination to improvise is a step too far.

Happily, the NFM Worclaw Philharmonic under the watchful eye of conductor Jerry Kosek warm to their task, amplifying melodies and emphasising intensity, but always leaving sufficient space for guitarist/arranger Cichonski to anchor the project with some intuitive solos.

The two musical genres meld perfectly on a live work out of ‘Hey Joe (Bolero intro)’.

The military shuffle drum, plucked strings and guitar opening of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ subtly evolves into a superb full blown arrangement, with enough space for Cichonski’s stinging attack.

And while ‘Hey Joe’ has become the song that helped Cichonski launch his record breaking ‘Thanks Jimi Festival’ to international acclaim, the significant thing here is the song’s journey from Tim Rose’s folky interpretation via Hendrix psychedelic masterpiece to this stirring symphonic rendition.

If Hendrix’s music and interpretive skills were ground breaking, then this imaginative version for band and orchestra proves the music to be durable.

The strings are magnificent too on ‘Little Wing’, while vocalist Skolias enjoys his best moments when slipping into some jazzy scat variations which sound like Focus’s Thijs Van Leer.

There’s also room for Robert Jarmuzek’s funky electric piano before an unexpected tempo change that finds the ensemble successfully reaching for an extra level of intensity, topped by Leszek’s magisterial solo.

There’s some judicious sequencing too, at the heart of an album that flows effortlessly to cross the dividing line between rock band and orchestra.

That said, I can’t help but feeling that there is a missed opportunity to top and tail the album with Cichonski’s own splendid composition ‘Thanks Jimi’, 3 versions of which book-end the album.

Even the title of ‘Thanks Jimi Intro (Hendrix medley)’ sounds like a natural opening track. It’s a magnificent orchestrated instrumental featuring an evocative sculpted guitar wah-wah which should have acted as an opening motif for the project as a whole.

As it is, you could view the top-heavy 3 song album resolution as being a musical exclamation point underscoring all 10 tracks.

No matter, the album opens confidently with the staccato strings of ‘Foxy Lady’ on which the brusque baritone of Jorgas Skolias takes some getting used to.

He’s actually better at scat singing than straight forward phrasing and while he has a good range, his accent sometimes detracts from the musical sweep that carries the album forward.

Refreshingly the first guitar solo on the album is short, sharp, succinct and is delivered with a warm tone and lightness of touch before the guitar and orchestra briefly engage in a call and response break before returning to the chorus.

The project’s signature song ‘Hey Joe‘ (Bolero intro’) follows and has been the conduit in Leszek Cichonski’s award winning ‘Thanks Jimi’ Festival gaining international recognition.

And while Skolias’s struggles with his clarity of diction, he attacks the song with a real vitality to match the uplifting orchestral feel.

It’s said that Hendrix always dreamt of collaboration such as this. And whether he did or not, he would surely enjoy a quiet smile on hearing the melodic orchestral sweep and Cichonski’s interpretive solo leading to a belated ‘Star Spangled Banner’ riff.

And just when you think it can’t get any better, up pops former Storyville vocalist Malford Milligan with a gritty reading of ‘If 6 Was 9’ – even if he does seems a bit unsure of how to tackle the brief Hendrix rap either side of some feverish strings and a percussive undertow.

The NFM Philharmonic adds a couple of Nelson Riddle style lines before Cichonski fills the void with a fluid solo full of intensity and poise. A subsequent drop-down features Tomasz Grabowy’s bass solo and a brief guitar interplay between Cichonski and fellow guitarist Lukasz Krywicki with strong orchestral support.

They say if you ever get lost in a piece follow the drummer, and here Wojciech Bulinki is a rock, as he drives the ensemble forward impressively.

Milligan is authoritative in his phrasing on ‘Fire’, though again he appears a bit more circumspect on Jimi’s rapped asides.

If ever there was a question about what an album like this should leave out, then ‘Thanks Jimi Symphonic’ offers the effective response by breathing fresh life into innovative arrangements of a Hendrix’s familiar back catalogue.

Cichonski is also at the centre of a sumptuous blues adaptation of ‘Voodoo Child’, providing both an intuitive vocal and shimmering guitar on a brooding number that percolates and subtly builds. He slips into an exquisite conversational tasty toned solo full of delicate touch and tone and plenty of space,  while the strings fatten the melody.

It’s on this track that the project moves beyond the ambitious to the inspirational.

‘Purple Haze’ is given complete overhaul on the intro, with the song’s repeated salient riff being allowed to hover and float Dave Gilmour style above the orchestra.

The palpable tinge of echo reverb on the guitar might well be the hall’s natural acoustics, before the orchestra and guitar pound out the riff either side of Milligan’s gutsy world weary vocal.

And so the album concludes with 3 versions of Cichonski’s self penned title track, which include a superb instrumental medley and Malford Milligan’s very best vocal on the album.

It’s a quite beautiful tune with an evocative guitar tone. The penultimate version features Milligan’s gutsy vocal phrasing, tic-toc percussion, sonorous horns, sympathetic strings and colourful lyrical imagery, as it builds to the celebratory ‘Thanks Jimi’ hook: “Thanks Jimi and the world was not the same.”

The final radio edit re-states the project theme and makes the kind of emotional connection that is never too far from a heartfelt album played with love, affection, eloquence and musical excellence. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Feature: Collectible Collections – MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND – 40th Anniversary Box Set

Pete Feenstra chats to Manfred Mann for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on Tuesday 23 February, 19:00 GMT

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND - 40th Anniversary Box Set

Creature Music (2011)

The rather large parcel dropped off at GRTR! Towers was like Christmas come early and turned out to be this substantial box set. All too often in these hardened times, reviewers have to make do with edited promos or a smaller version of a larger edition. It’s very frustrating. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive this box and at least we can do the review justice.

I’ve always been interested in Manfred Mann’s Earth Band although I’ve never collected their albums. This box set, celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary, is really all that is needed as it scoops up all their official releases and adds a couple of bonus CDs.

Add in an illustrated and informative booklet, a little book of Manfred’s ‘thoughts’ and a poster and you have a very comprehensive package. But perhaps the biggest shock is that this box contains 18 official releases, from 1971′s self-titled debut to 2004′s ’2006′. I never thought they were so productive.

The band still go out on the road albeit with a frequently updated configuration and this is marked by one of the bonus discs, recorded live in Ersingen, Norway in July 2011. The mainstays are Manfred and his trusty lieutenant Mick Rogers on guitar.

Through the years, the band have always attracted good singers and the present incumbent is Robert Hart who has sung with Bad Company. Previously the great Chris Thompson was the frontman, taking over vocal duties from Mick Rogers in 1976. He returned briefly for the last studio album.

Many will know the band through their hit singles. Especially the cover of ‘Blinded By Light’ and the lesser hit ‘Joybringer’ (included here on the mop-up disc of alternate takes and singles called ‘Leftovers’).

But there was much more to the band than that, and don’t even think about Manfred Mann’s earlier incarnation with Paul Jones, although ‘The Mighty Quinn’ does get an airing on the live discs (‘Budapest’ and ‘Mann Alive’).

The core albums to immerse yourself in are ‘Messin’, ‘Solar Fire’ (1973) and ‘The Roaring Silence’ (1976).

The Earth Band were essentially a gritty rock band (grittier live) who straddled prog and who sometimes bring to mind Wishbone Ash and sometimes Argent, not least in the Hammond keyboard flavours. If they had a ‘weakness’ it was their penchant for cover versions which tended to loom larger than their own material. Never more so than on 1986′s ‘Criminal Tango’.

So from the early albums we get Dylan covers ‘Please Mrs Henry’, ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ and ‘Father Of Day, Father of Night’ and that Springsteen song ‘Blinded By The Light’ which – like Hendrix ‘All ‘Along The Watchtower’ – is considered a definitive cover. But the band also put their own twist on classical themes. 1987′s ‘Masque’ was a realisation of an idea to re-arrange Holst The Planets.

‘Somewhere In Africa’ (1983) and ‘Plains Music’ (1991 – featuring a trimmed down Earth Band with Noel McCalla on vocals and Barbara Thompson on sax) were inspired by Manfred Mann’s South African homeland. Normal service was resumed for the follow-up ‘Soft Vengeance’ released in 1996, although this was distinctly AOR-slick sounding, a bit Mike & The Mechanics-ish.

Arguably, the band were best in the live situation allowing them to stretch out instrumentally although the warts and all set released in 2009 (‘Bootleg Series Vols 1-5) doesn’t really do this full justice as a result of inconsistent recording quality and repetition, although that is remedied here by the inclusion of the more recent Norwegian gig.

Although there is a whole disc of ‘Leftovers’ interestingly this excludes the bonus tracks that appeared on the late-1990s reissues. So the repackaged studio albums (in large card sleeves) merely replicate the original track listing. For completism collectors are also directed towards the 4-CD set released in 2008 ‘Odds & Sods: Mis-takes and Out-takes’.

Overall, though, this is a wonderful collection and it gives a proper and much-needed perspective for the band and all that is missing is a button badge and facsimile ticket.  *****

Review by David Randall

First published in 2011.

2020 Vision - Rock. Reviewed. Revisited.

Thumbs UpNice packaging, Manfred post-1971 output all in one place.

 Thumbs DownMissing album liner note detail, credits etc.


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: MAXIMO PARK – Nature Always Wins

MAXIMO PARK – Nature Always Wins

PIAS, Prolifica [Release date 26.02.21]

Maximo Park have been around since 2001, now releasing their seventh album ‘Nature Always Wins’. Although I had heard of Maximo Park I had not heard much by them and that I have swiftly rectified after listening to this simply wonderful album.

But first a little background to the album, one of many recorded during lockdown and now seeing the light of day. As frontman Paul Smith notes “I’m so happy we were able to make this album during lockdown, as it’s been a challenging time for everyone. After almost 4 years since Risk To Exist, we wanted to explore new musical territory (for us) without sacrificing our trademark melodic twists and heartfelt lyrics.” The album title hints at the themes contained within with a nod to the famous Nature vs Nurture debate.

Produced by Atlanta-based Grammy-winning producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), the album was recorded remotely across Newcastle, Liverpool and Atlanta.

Maximo Park know how to get you out of your chair and bouncing around, just put on ‘All Of Me’ (loving the synth riff on this one) or ‘I Don’t Know What I Am Doing’, what a tune! This is how you do accessible indie pop rock. A song that is made for playing live.

‘Ardour’ gets the musical adrenaline pumping too, with a guest female vocalist, and another possible future single. The hypnotic drum beat and guitar riff on ‘My Baby Sleeps’ is another winner folks! Bit of an 80’s electro retro feel on ‘Meeting Up’. That is the beauty of this album in that it can often sound familiar yet has a new twist on it from the band.

Topical album too, as ‘Why Must A Building Burn’ asks the questions about the Grenfell tragedy in a measured way, similar to ‘The Fire’ by Jamie Freeman, and seeing their merch guy perish at the Bataclan terrorist attack. The relentless expansion of towns coupled with the closure of community hubs like libraries forms the basis of ‘Child Of The Flatlands’, which comes back to the album’s title, ‘nature always wins’.

I rarely award five stars as that album has to be pretty damn fine, all killer no filler as the saying goes. That is true of ‘Nature Always Wins’, a thought provoking and enjoyable album packed full of memorable melodies. Fantastic. *****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix

AFM Records [Release date 26.02.21]

Evergrey, led by the formidably talented writer/producer/guitarist/vocalist, Tom Englund, are now on their 12th album.

Escape Of The Phoenix once again revisits the band’s idea of adult contemporary metal. It’s a dark, sinewy sound, braced by ground shaking rhythms and devouring riffs, laced with memorable guitarwork and sturdy vocal melodies. It creates its own narrow musical boundaries and exploits every square metre to the full.

For Englund, a unique, informed worldview is the wellspring from which truly original music flows. On … Phoenix, his lyrical themes have moved on from the “Ocean” trilogy. However, the album generally confirms that we’re still living at the dark end of the street – a shadowy wasteland, populated by the disillusioned and disenfranchised. The title track itself, ‘Escape Of The Phoenix’ denies us any thought of cleansing and renewal… when end of days comes, that’s it, the end. These thoughts and notions often turn inward. Song titles like ‘Leaden Sun’, ‘August Mourns’ and ‘In Absence of Sun’ are always going to give up a huge clue concerning content and mood. So far, no surprises.

But the music, oh, the music. ‘Forever Outsider’ and ‘You From You’ are full of progrock complexity and dissonant instrumental voices, topped off with towering hooks and vertiginous choruses. ‘Dandelion Cypher’ and ‘Eternal Nocturnal’ go barrelling down the road, steamrollering everything in their path, crashing and clanging, but always in control, creating gaps, spaces between the noise. The sharp edged words and the tortured vocals appear in these spaces like rockets escaping gravitational pull.

So we have a complex series of songs, frequently epic but never overblown. And as always – ‘Run’ and ‘Stories’ show this best – this extraordinary guitarist mainlines his spine tingling axe solos into the rarefied blood of classic melodic metal, or maybe it’s Prog Metal, or maybe Power Metal. One of those, or all of them.

James LaBrie guests on the booming, full blown Progmetal of ‘The Beholder’. It falters a little toward the end, dragging its feet to the finishing line. But it’s the only misstep on an album otherwise brimful of surefooted, grown up metal.

Worth noting that a major European tour is planned for later this year, including 8 UK dates (inc Glasgow Cathouse!). ****

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: JOSEPH WILLIAMS – Denizen Tenant

JOSEPH WILLIAMS – Denizen Tenant

The Players Club/Mascot Records [Release date 26.02.21]

Toto’s Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams both release solo albums on the same date and label, with both artists including a few cover versions on their respective albums. Joining Joseph Williams on his solo album are various musicians with a Toto connection – David Paich, Simon Phillips, Lenny Castro, Nathan East, Leland Sklar, Jeff Babko, oh and Steve Lukather. Legendary session guitarist Mike Landau also guests, along with Joseph’s daughter Hannah Ruick.

Joseph Williams doesn’t stray far from the Toto and West Coast AOR sound you’d expect, but then when you have such an emotive and soulful voice, why change musical style radically? ‘Liberty Man’ is a wonderful song, evoking the classic Toto albums ‘Fahrenheit’ and ‘The Seventh One’. Things take a jazzier slant on the title track and ‘Black Dahlia’ – loving the keys (played by David Paich) and guitar on this one.

The current pandemic provides the basis for ‘The Dream’ and one of the album’s instant highlights. From the backing vocals through to the chorus, a song that deserves to be played on radio and be a hit…maybe in an alternate universe, one where the flying cars and house on Mars mentioned in the lyric exist too. Again the musicianship is top class with another sublime guitar solo (Mr Lukather I presume?).

There are two covers on this album. First up a stunning version of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Don’t Give Up’, where his daughter Hannah takes on the Kate Bush role, tough act to follow but she pulls it off and adds her own spin to the song. The Beatles’ ‘If I Fell’ is a chance to let the vocals take centre stage. One for the headphones to get the full effect of the singing.

Those who love well-crafted West Coast AOR with the odd jazz tinge will find much to enjoy on here. Joseph Williams is on fine form and clearly enjoyed working with the musicians who contributed to this album, making this a real treat to listen to. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: TOMMY BOLIN – Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

TOMMY BOLIN - Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

Cleopatra Records [Release date 12.02.21]

As Dave Thompson’s notes make clear, based on a recent interview with Tommy Bolin’s brother Johnnie, the latest “lost sessions” have been something of a holy grail amongst fans.

After Bolin’s premature death in December 1976 he’d left over 60 tape reel boxes and over the years some of that material has appeared, notably as “Tommy Bolin Archives” in 1996 and 1998.

But fans wanted to know whether anything remained from the ‘Private Eyes’ sessions. They understood that, unusually, this album was composed in the studio and therefore there were no demos or pre-recordings.  This is not exactly true, as several solo demos appeared on the archival Naked Volume II set in 2002.

Fast forward to 2020 and a tape reel emerges which revealed demos and alternate takes for songs that would appear on ‘Private Eyes,’ presumably studio session outtakes.

The second solo album was recorded in June 1976 and released in September that year.  It was more song-based and less varied than its predecessor ‘Teaser’ and Bolin used a different set of musicians rather than seasoned sessioners, notwithstanding Carmine Appice on drums.

Of the twelve tracks there are three versions of ‘Gypsy Soul’ and two instrumental takes on ‘Someday Will Bring Our Love Home’ whilst ‘Tommy’s Instrumental’ is a previously unheard jam with Norma Jean Bell (ex- Frank Zappa) on sax.

This album can only be of major interest to hardened Bolin fans, and for completism, they are mainly alternate versions and work in progress.  The tape quality is not exactly high definition but in the main this is an intriguing curio.  It can only reiterate Bolin’s talent that was snuffed out too young.  He didn’t even make the 27 Club.  ***

Review by David Randall


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: STEVE LUKATHER – I Found The Sun Again

STEVE LUKATHER - I Found The Sun Again

Mascot [Release date 26.02.21]

We are being spoilt.  Neal Schon’s album slipped out before Christmas and is one of his best.  The earliest indication of Luke’s forthcoming album was a Lockdown video ‘Run To Me’.  It was entertaining if not exactly startling.  And maybe the all-star cast (including Ringo Starr) detracted somewhat.

The opener ‘Along For The Ride’ bounces along with those Toto-esque flourishes we have come to know and love, whilst ‘Serpent Soul’ displays a bluesier edge.  The instrumental ‘Journey Through’ is a very fine slice of jazz fusion and the title track is another of those presumably autobiographical paeans to his loved one.  Overall the album is jazzier and more laid back than previous outings.

There are a few covers in the form of the 10 minute ‘The Low Heeled Spark Of High Heeled Boys’, Joe Walsh’s ‘Welcome To The Club’ and Robin Trower’s ‘Bridge Of Sighs’.  But that means there’s only five originals out of eight (25 minutes in terms of playing time) and I assume real fans would expect more.  Compare this to Schon’s 15 track offering.

On the latest, Luke has emphasised the highly organic nature of the proceedings, with tracks completed in two takes maximum, minimal overdubs, and the aim for a more natural, almost old-fashioned approach. Keith Freeman produces and there is stellar assistance from the likes of Greg Bissonette and Toto bandmates David Paich and Joseph Williams.  I have to say it’s nice to hear that organic keyboard sound.

Back in 2010 Lukather’s album ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ was a real gem with some really killer tracks.   Reviewing ‘Transition’ (2012) I wrote “It’s a quality album for sure, but it only emphasises just how good (and varied) was its predecessor”.

‘I Found The Sun Again’ is another well played, even effortless, album.   We expect great playing but not really the economy in terms of original material. But maybe less is more.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Book review: On track…UFO (Every Album, Every Song) by Richard James

On track...UFO (Every Album, Every Song) by Richard James

Sonicbond Publishing [Release date 26.02.21]

It was a sad day when UFO announced their ‘Last Orders’ tour in 2018, even sadder when a couple of weeks after the UK leg long-standing keyboard/guitar player Paul Raymond died of a heart attack.  And then, in 2020, Paul Chapman and Pete Way passed away. It sort of underscored the end of an era.

James emphasises that the band should have got more recogniiton, suggesting they were never quite in the first division, compared to say bands like Led Zeppelin or Sabbath.  In this respect they were not unlike Uriah Heep and, in similar fashion, they were sometimes inconsistent.  Differing line-ups and bust-ups didn’t help matters.

At their hard rocking best UFO were one of the best, although to be honest the 1978 live album ‘Strangers In The Night’ defined their live setlists for four decades.

James traces the albums from tentative beginnings in 1970, with guitarist Mick Bolton getting an early drubbing from the author.  It was only with ‘Phenomenon’ (in 1974 and with Michael Schenker) that the band found their true mettle including soon-to-be hardy perennials ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Rock Bottom’ whilst the following ‘Force It’ yielded ‘Shoot Shoot’.

1977′s ‘Lights Out’ is regarded as one of the band’s best but soon after a combination of touring, personal pressures and drug abuse took their toll.  The band’s USP Schenker left, although he returned to make the excellent ‘Obsession’.

It is perhaps no surprise that Schenker’s next return to the band – in 1995 – marked another of UFO’s finest offerings although often overlooked, ‘Walk On Water’.  Thankfully James recognises this album’s merits.

The 1980s was marked by four albums featuring Paul Chapman on guitar (ex-Lone Star) and during this period Neil Carter replaced Paul Raymond on keyboards.

The band weren’t able to sustain the success of the previous decade and James describes ‘Mechanix’ (1982) as “uninspiring”.  With the band struggling in all aspects – including musically and production-wise – bassist Pete Way became another casualty.  He left to form Waysted.  Soon after – with Phil Mogg in bad health – they annouced a farewell tour in 1983.

The band returned to the fray in 1984 with ‘Misdemeanour’ but it foresook UFO’s gritty hard rock style for heavy use of synthesisers and seemed pointed more towards the U.S. AOR market along with its successor ‘Ain’t Misbehavin”.

As the band entered the 1990s normal service was to some extent resumed with ‘High Stakes And  Dangerous Men’ now with Laurence Archer on guitar and Clive Edwards on drums but with Pete Way back in the fold.

It was only when Vinnie Moore joined in 2003 that the band would enter a period of sustained stability.  I think James is particularly harsh on the latter day UFO albums, ‘The Visitor’ and ‘A Conspiracy Of Stars’.  Looking back, GRTR! rated both highly.

Richard James’ summary of “every album, every song’ is the usual subjective critique and there’s little if any obvious use of even secondary sources.  As with similar tomes, you are not going to agree with every opinion.  At their best many of these volumes might start a fight in the pub.

It’s a shame too, as with nearly all these titles, there is a lack of band/associates input.  I am sure the producer Ron Nevison could have been tracked down to answer James’ own queries in the section on ‘Strangers’ and would have provided further insight to studio work.  As ever, a frustrating missed opportunity combined with – for some – excessive subjectivity.  ***

Review by David Randall

Search UFO at GRTR!


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: ELECTRIC BLUES MATES – Electric Blues Mates

Electric Blues Mates

Timezone [Release date 18.12.20]

Given the recent number of lockdown and remotely recorded albums, ‘Electric Blues Mates’ is by no means a unique project.  But when it comes down to the spirit of cooperation, focus, intensity and sheer exuberance, this album delivers impressively.

An international roster of rock-blues and roots artists take us on a journey that encompasses rock-blues, melodic rock, swamp blues, Americana into Tex-Mex, soul, Latino influences and always the spirit of the blues.

Better still, there’s a ‘can do spirit’ which gives the album an organic feel, as guest musician cover each other’s material, while they top and tail the album with a Freddie King opener and a jammed out Smoky Robinson bookend.

‘Electric Blues Mates’ is also the result of the impassioned driving force that is Electric Blues Bash agency boss Martin Scheschonka.

He clearly has the contacts and focus to drive the project to its fruition.

The 11 track compilation features Danny Giles’s DGB, the Malone Sibun band, Will Wilde’s Band, JT Lauritsen And The Buckshot Hunters and Rev. Rusty And The Case, with special guests Jimmy Carpenter and Mike Zito on a roots rock project with a bluesy heart.

Given the featured artists appear several times and contribute covers of each other songs, it’s probably best to review the album in chronological order.

The thoughtful sequencing also teases out the dynamics of an old school compilation album shot through with a contemporary feel and recording values.

Danny Giles features on 3 cuts, and his passionate vocal leads the EBB Allstars on the opening Freddie King track ‘Ain’t That I Don’t Love You’, which even includes former King keyboardist Lewis Stephens.

Giles’s vocal is overlaid by Rusty Stone’s vocal retort, before a stinging guitar solo is rounded off by Jimmy Carpenter’s soulful sax.

It’s a rough and ready intro to an album full of remotely recorded frisson.

Vocalist Marcus Malone’s imperious performance on his own co-written ‘Jealous Kind’ dominates both the track and the album.  He attacks the song with a real swagger while Innes Sibun provides the perfect foil on slide and sinewy solo.

The aptly named Reverend Rusty And The Case – aka German swamp rocker Rusty Stone – delivers a lived-in, growled vocal on ‘Old Enough’, a track with featuring portentous tom toms and a dirt sounding guitar tone.  It makes for a noirish, swampy blues feel that could be early Redbone.

Will Wilde then attacks a cover of The DGB’s ‘Hold On’ with real gusto. He sounds uncannily like Giles, a testament to his own growing vocal prowess.

Guitarist Steve Brook adds a tremulous guitar solo, meaning it’s not until just over the 2 min mark that Will breaks through the tension with his signature harp and some scat singing on a fiery rocker.

Danny Giles returns with a Latino tinged, percussive instrumental called ‘Corazon Gitano!’ (‘Gypsy Heart’).

Both Giles and percussionist Pat Garvey blow away the cobwebs of lockdown, as Danny finds a luscious fatter tone on a funky number that jumps right out the speakers.

Will Wilde again provides startling contrast with the grungy, dirt-toned rocker ‘Low Down Dirty’. The music evokes the song title on an unrelenting, riff-driven guitar piece with another fiery vocal on a stop-time chorus. His subsequent harp break is surprisingly mixed back.

The success of ‘Electric Blues Mates’ is in no small part due to the sense of flow, which is further illustrated by the return of Reverend Rusty with a cover of the current Malone Sibun title track’ Come Together’.

It’s a more relaxed reading than the original. Rusty’s vocal draws you into the song and gives it a sense of familiarity, while he colours the track with some low-down slide.

Malone Sibun return the favour as they cover Stone’s ‘Born For The Blues’, on an outstanding track that plays to the vocal and guitar duo’s strengths.

They explore a down-home bluesy feel with a punchy chorus underpinned by Chris Nugent’s percussive drive. Sibun’s mellifluous solo matches Malone’s perfect vocal on an album highlight.

It’s back to the powerhouse DGB on Will Wilde’s ‘Paranoia’. There’s plenty of bluster, but also subtle dynamics that finally erupt on Giles’s tension breaking solo at the 2.44 mark, while the rhythm section pushes him to the limit.

It’s also a good example of the way the various artists still manage to find spark, despite recording in makeshift surroundings.

Norway’s JT Lauritsen & Buckshot Hunters soulful ‘Sweet On Me’ again brings notable contrast to good effect.

It’s a laidback piece of accordion-led, soulful Tex-Mex into Americana, albeit there’s no mention of the instrument in the credits, so maybe it’s a keyboard.

The track is glued together by Mike Zito on rhythm guitar and topped JT’s soulful vocal, which is given by the perfect finale by Jimmy’s beautifully crafted sax solo.

The EBB Allstars led by Pat McGarvey percussion finally jams out on Smokey Robinson’s ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’.

Malone, Sibun and Wilde are joined by Garvey – who enjoys a vibrant mid-number work-out –  and the rhythm section of bassist Rolf Dieter-Schnapka and drummer Alf Schneider on an Isaac Hayes style funky groove with a Latino feel.

Everything bursts into life with Will’s harp break over Sibun’s feverish rhythm, topped by Malone’s velvet phrasing.

Sibun adds a final uplifting cinematic riff on a celebratory finish to a fine lockdown album that is the triumph of music over circumstance. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: VARIOUS – Oh! You Pretty Things Glam Queens And Street Urchins

Cherry Red [Release date 26.02.21]

Oh! You Pretty Things is a 3 disc, 66 track Glam (and more) boxfest, which disappointingly, despite its title, doesn’t feature the late David Bowie song. And ironically, nothing from Hermans Hermits, who turned it into a faceless pop hit in 1971.
But we do have The Pretty Things (Joey), and let’s face it, everybody else is here. Headline bands who surfed the glam wave on the back of great songwriting and musicianship. Bands like Roxy Music (Pyjamarama), Slade (Take Me Bak), Sparks (Barbecutie), ELO (Ma Ma Belle), Ian Hunter (Once Bitten…), Sweet (Six Teens), Thin Lizzy (Little Darling), Mott (Saturday Gigs), and many many more who flew above the radar, and many who flew below. And some who barely got off the ground, but found their way into the hearts of open minded pop and rock fans, during a turbulent time in the evolution of pop culture.
Who could forget ‘Up In The Air’ and ‘Space Ace’, respectively by Bearded Lady and Brett Smiley. Well, I’m sure many could, and have. And yet they hustled up a sizeable core fanbase that indicated a youthful desire for groundbreaking music, even if sometimes it didn’t have staying power. In many ways, the transitory nature of the beast.

The collection is as much about the prevailing pop culture of the time as the music, and includes proto punk giants Iggy and The Stooges, as well as Lou Reed, who, er… transformed his alternative rock beginnings into a sound that was massively influential in Glam Rock circles (thanks to Mick Ronson). And The New York Dolls, who are often described as a band who emerged from the early NY punk scene, while others claim their brand of Glam Rock reinvigorated the US East Coast music scene. You pays your money etc etc.

In no way is this collection confined to the great and the good. Good stuff circled the culture, often moving through the periphery of popularity, without making it to the centre, but attracting teens who wanted to leave the latent flower power and psychedelia of the sixties behind. Curved Air, The Heavy Metal Kids, SAHB, Blackfoot Sue, they all had their moment in the sun, their 15 minutes (which gets a nod from Bowie on Dana Gillespie’s cover of ‘Andy Warhol’). And of course, The Pink Fairies, whose 1973 single, ‘Street Urchin’ helped give this expertly curated collection its name.

As well as the 3 discs, the clamshell contains a 40 page booklet of stories and photos that bring the music of the era alive, acknowledging its long lasting artistic worth, and telling us just why it continues to resonate today. ****

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Quick plays: IVY GOLD, BLACK PISTOL FIRE

IVY GOLD - Six Dusty Winds

IVY GOLD Six Dusty Winds A1 Records/Golden Ivy Records [Release date 12.03.21]

Ivy Gold is built around singer Manou and guitarist Sebastian Eder (Avalon). Rounding out Ivy Gold are drummer Tal Bergman (Joe Bonamassa, Billy Idol, Rod Stewart, Simple Minds, Rock Candy Funk Party & many more), bassist Kevin Moore and keyboard player Anders Olinder (Glenn Hughes, Peter Gabriel, Amy Winehouse, Elliott Randall). A pretty impressive musical CV between them all with many years of experience, both in the studio and performing live.

The title track is the stand out, a beguiling mix of blues with a little gospel on the chorus. Very impressive, as is ‘Believe’ where Anders Olinder plays a bit of tasty Hammond. Indeed, you can’t fault the musicianship on the album, each musician seems to slot seamlessly into each other’s musical parts.

Those who like a little bit of blues guitar, Sebastian Elder gets his chance to shine on ‘Suspicion’, and again on ‘Without You’. The latter song is one of those slow burner blues numbers perfect for a late night listen.

Manou is like a female Glenn Hughes possessing both soul and power when singing. An assured debut from Ivy Gold who will be well worth seeing live once gigs come back again. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

BLACK PISTOL FIRE Look Alive

BLACK PISTOL FIRE Look Alive Black Hill Records [Release date 19.02.21]

Black Pistol Fire comprise vocalist/guitarist Kevin McKeown and drummer/bass synth player Eric Owen, who have spent almost a decade building a dedicated fan base. If the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and the Black Keys float your musical boat then sail on…

For a duo they certainly make plenty of noise, albeit with a handful of guests (four in total). Musically they have the modern vibe of Shinedown on ‘Wildfire’, a touch of dance rock on ‘Never Enough’ (shades of long lost Brit band Hard-Fi on this one) and a lovely bit of guitar twang on ‘Black Halo’, allowing the duo’s love of rock n roll to shine through.

Not bad at all, plenty of variety to enjoy and an album certain to see Black Pistol Fire’s stock rise even higher. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: SCARDUST – Strangers

SCARDUST - Strangers

M-Theory Audio [Release date 30.11.20]

Progressive Rock’s most famous unknown band, Scardust, released their second album, Strangers, to widespread critical acclaim in November last year. It was an unauspicious time to be releasing new product. Consequently, the label has “re-released” the album this month, clearly hoping to build commercial success on the back of an uninterrupted series of glowing reviews.

The sheer breadth and width of the music and lyrics – written by vocalist Noa Gruman and unofficial member, Orr Didi – pushes “progrock” beyond conventional boundaries. This is a “Tales of the Estranged” album, where events unfold as told by each side of the “Strangers’” story, with each chapter painted from a musical palette filled with classical colours and hard rock textures.

Guitars, bass, keys, a string quartet and a spectral choir take us worryingly close to symphonic sensory overload at times, but Gruman’s soaring vocals act as our guide … follow me and you’ll be just fine. As concepts go, this one has stamina.

Melodies come and go, some hit you between the eyes, others orbit in ever decreasing circles, negotiating slick (sometimes dizzying) time changes, eventually to crashland in your subconscious.

To pick a standout track from an album of standout tracks is impossible, but . . .

‘Break The Ice’ and ‘Addicted’ are sweet triumphs of invention and a lot of daring. We’ve heard these ingredients before, well used by Progrock bands, but not assembled in exactly this manner. These arrangements push the word ‘inventive’ to breaking point. And at times, in parts, songs like ‘Tantibus 2′ and ‘Under’ recall ELP in content and execution.

There isn’t a dull moment, and there are some truly great ones. And the fact that several tracks, like ‘Concrete Cages’ and ‘Over’, take time to reveal themselves is no accident – the effort required to get there is part of the payoff.

At a point in time when superlatives have been devalued by overuse, it’s no exaggeration to say that Strangers, the album is immense – an extraordinarily rich, intoxicating, complex mix of progressive rock styles and sources. If this one doesn’t do it, nothing will. ****1/2

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: NINEBARROW – A Pocket Full Of Acorns

NINEBARROW – A Pocket Full Of Acorns

www.ninebarrow.co.uk [Release date 05.03.21]

Ninebarrow – the duo of Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere – were planning to carry on their impressive and relentless series of gigs up and down the country last year. Of course the pandemic put paid to that, but then Ninebarrow are inventive chaps performing a series of high quality streamed gigs, producing a series of walking guides around their native Dorset and releasing the delightful charity single ‘The Hour of the Blackbird’, that featured two choirs. It just shows that you can adapt your music to the times we live in, albeit performing live in front of an audience is a big miss for musicians and fans alike.

Ninebarrow are joined by their band again – Lee Mackenzie (cello), John Parker (percussion) and John Parker (double bass), with Mark Tucker again producing as he did on 2018’s ‘The Waters & The Wild’.

Opener ‘Come January’ perfectly encapsulates Ninebarrow’s sound, an original composition that highlights the way Jon and Jay’s vocals complement each other.

The great thing about folk music is that is can recall the past, be it by reinterpreting folk standards or basing new songs on the past, and comment on the present day, as ‘Under the Fence’ does. This song is based on the duo watching a documentary on one of the refugee camps in Calais. Thought provoking, subtly done and even though a new song, it owes some of its creation to an older song, ‘Cold, Haily, Windy Night’.

The full band sound can be heard on ‘Cry Unity’ – Ninebarrow at their rockiest! The percussion and double bass give this song that extra ‘oomph’ and certainly one for future live sets.

The current popularity of sea shanties should see extra interest in ‘Farewell Shanty’. With Ninebarrow you keep coming back to their vocal prowess and that is ably illustrated on this shanty.

Ninebarrow are adept at giving their own musical spin on folk standards, none more so than on ‘Hey John Barleycorn’. A jaunty number, again one that will become a firm live favourite. John Barleycorn is a personification of the barley crop and he lays down his life each harvest to make…beer!

‘Sailors All’ completes the album in a gentle but memorable way, where the duo’s sublime vocals take centre stage backed by the piano playing of Jon.

The album comes with a wonderfully illustrated and laid out lyric booklet, giving not only the lyrics but the stories behind each song. It really is little touches like this that set this band apart from many of their contempories.

Ninebarrow keep on going from strength to strength and this album is likely to be seen as their best to date, no mean feat given the strength of their previous three albums. A folk album of the year, and indeed any year. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review : KREEK – Kreek

KREEK - Kreek

Frontiers [Release date 12.02.21]

Debut album from Kreek, a new band built around ex Bigfoot vocalist, Antony Ellis. It’s produced by Night By Night & Passion vocalist/guitarist, Dan Rosall.

It’s surprising that this one got past Frontiers generally on-the-ball quality control team. Maybe they were isolating somewhere. Or maybe it’s just that the first 4 tracks were rushed to meet a label deadline.

That aside, what’s most directly striking is Ellis’s vocal resemblance to Steve Augeri and Danny Vaughn. He fits neatly between the two in singing style and vocal timbre. Is that a good thing? Well, its familiarity will gain an immediate audience, but perhaps its lack of originality will deter the discerning listener.

On those first 4 tracks his voice is full of kinetic energy but little direction. In places the vocal harmonies are off and it doesn’t help that the songs sound incomplete, half formed, in need of a major makeover.

Then we get to ‘One Voice’. It seems totally different – band, producer, arranger, songwriter. All of the above. Who knows, maybe the song’s narrative, tackling the thorny subjects of guilt and resolve, raised their game. It finds an immediate groove and locks in tight. It has drive and purpose. Its densely packed harmony vocals have a Siagon Kick, and Nick Clark’s razoring solo axework in the middle section neatly twins up on an oriental vibe. It’s a compelling piece.

‘Man On My Shoulder’ and ‘Stand Together’ continue in that vein. Both lighter in dramatic weight perhaps, but both are lyrically and musically strong, and are happy to dish out bruising, ironclad rock’n'roll, with not too little charm, and a degree of originality.

They up the ante even more with the last 3 tracks.

‘Get Up’ is where Ellis sounds best, belting out well written, meat and 2 veg hard rock, with a tantalising hint of glam and metal glinting in the chorus. It’s tense, taut and unshowy. By keeping a tight rein on the sweaty, smouldering ‘Down’n'Dirty’, they make the same statement, keeping a firm grip of the escalating emotions, as the heat builds and the steam rises.

Inevitably, they close with a ballad (we were getting worried there), the very ungentlemanly titled “Girl, You’re On Your Own’. It’s a bluesy piece in the vein of Aerosmith or Tesla, powerful and commercial, and Ellis delivers with chest beating conviction. A closer worth waiting for. ***

Review by Brian McGowan


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

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.


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

Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ALESTI Voices
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights

ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter



Album review: DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION – Halcyon Hymns

dba halcyon 150x150

Cherry Red [Release date 05.2.21] Fourth album from DBA, the fruitful poprock collaboration between Geoff (Asia/Yes) Downes and uber songwriter/producer, Chris (Guetta/Aguilera) Braide. Halcyon Hymns is their living-in-the-lockdown album, and as the title more than subtly suggests, it’s a recording … Continue reading

Album Review : WALTER EGAN – Fascination

WalterEgan150

Red Steel Music [Release date 05.02.21] Westcoast/Americana/AOR wizard, Walter Egan is back, with a smoothed out rock’n’roll love story, Fascination, just 2 years after his Burritos’ album, Sound As Ever, created a few fresh waves. Imbued with bygone vibes, it … Continue reading

Album Review: EXPLORERS CLUB – Rarities Vol 1

Gold Star Recordings [Release date 05.02.21] Explorers Club dropped two acclaimed new albums last year (To Sing And Be Born Again/Explorers Club).  We reviewed both. In their own way they proved that Sixties Pop is timeless. Jason Brewer, the band’s … Continue reading

Album review: VARIOUS – Oh! You Pretty Things Glam Queens And Street Urchins

oh you pretty things

Cherry Red [Release date 26.02.21] Oh! You Pretty Things is a 3 disc, 66 track Glam (and more) boxfest, which disappointingly, despite its title, doesn’t feature the late David Bowie song. And ironically, nothing from Hermans Hermits, who turned it … Continue reading

Album review: EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix

Evergrey-Phoenix

AFM Records [Release date 26.02.21] Evergrey, led by the formidably talented writer/producer/guitarist/vocalist, Tom Englund, are now on their 12th album. Escape Of The Phoenix once again revisits the band’s idea of adult contemporary metal. It’s a dark, sinewy sound, braced … Continue reading

Album review: BONFIRE – Roots

bonfire roots400

AFM Records [Release date 26.02.21] Bonfire‘s continued popularity and success confounds critics, of the genre at least, if not the band. And you could hardly describe each new album as a reinvention. They have constantly returned to their home territory … Continue reading

Album review: LYNYRD SKYNYRD – Nothing Comes Easy

lynyrd_skynyrd_5cd

Cherry Red Records (5CD Boxset) [Release date 26.02.21] Arguably, it’s only when your roots run as deep and as wide as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s that you achieve the kind of longevity that sees you still running hard today, 48 years, 15 … Continue reading

Album review: WAYSTED – Vices

waysted vices600

Rock Candy Records [Release date 12.02.21] In 1983, after an enduring love affair with UFO, a brief flirtation with Ozzy, and a frustrated liaison with Fastway, bass player extraordinaire Pete Way founded Waysted. Around him, he assembled a shit hot … Continue reading

Album review: MAGGIE E ROGERS – No Going Back

Maggie E Rogers - No Going Back

Self release [Release date 09.03.21]   Maggie E Rogers’ ‘No Going Back’ is both a pleasant surprise and absolute delight. It’s a surprise simply because it’s a vast improvement on her previous album in terms of material, performance, and above … Continue reading

Quick plays: LYLE WORKMAN, CAMERON GRAVES

LYLE WORKMAN - Uncommon Measures

LYLE WORKMAN Uncommon Measures (Blue Canoe Records) Digital [Release date 19.02.21] Physical [Release date 16.04.21] Workman has recorded or toured with any number of well-known artists (Bryan Adams, Norah Jones among them), composed film scores,  and has understandably found little … Continue reading

Album review: SOUNDS INCARCERATED – Unswitchable Hits Vol 1

SOUNDS INCARCERATED – Unswitchable Hits Vol 1

Fool’s Paradise Records Hot on the heels of The Galileo 7’s “Decayed” release, Allan Crockford and Viv Bonsels (aka Sounds Incarcerated) from the band unleash a series of recordings originally created for Mister Unswitchable’s semi-regular online themed cover version events. … Continue reading

Album review: LESZEK CICHONSKI AND FRIENDS – Thanks Jimi Symphonic

Ledzek Cichonski And Friends - Thanks Jimi Symphonic

Pete Feenstra chatted to Leszek Cichonski for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, including the background to his album, world record-breaking and the Hendrix festivals.  First broadcast 21 February 2021. Luna Music [Release date 26.06.2o] From the guitar and orchestral intro … Continue reading

Album review: MAXIMO PARK – Nature Always Wins

MAXIMO PARK – Nature Always Wins

PIAS, Prolifica [Release date 26.02.21] Maximo Park have been around since 2001, now releasing their seventh album ‘Nature Always Wins’. Although I had heard of Maximo Park I had not heard much by them and that I have swiftly rectified … Continue reading

Album review: JOSEPH WILLIAMS – Denizen Tenant

JOSEPH WILLIAMS – Denizen Tenant

The Players Club/Mascot Records [Release date 26.02.21] Toto’s Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams both release solo albums on the same date and label, with both artists including a few cover versions on their respective albums. Joining Joseph Williams on his … Continue reading

Album review: TOMMY BOLIN – Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

TOMMY BOLIN - Shake The Devil The Lost Sessions

Cleopatra Records [Release date 12.02.21] As Dave Thompson’s notes make clear, based on a recent interview with Tommy Bolin’s brother Johnnie, the latest “lost sessions” have been something of a holy grail amongst fans. After Bolin’s premature death in December … Continue reading

Album review: STEVE LUKATHER – I Found The Sun Again

STEVE LUKATHER - I Found The Sun Again

Mascot [Release date 26.02.21] We are being spoilt.  Neal Schon’s album slipped out before Christmas and is one of his best.  The earliest indication of Luke’s forthcoming album was a Lockdown video ‘Run To Me’.  It was entertaining if not … Continue reading

Book review: On track…UFO (Every Album, Every Song) by Richard James

On track...UFO (Every Album, Every Song) by Richard James

Sonicbond Publishing [Release date 26.02.21] It was a sad day when UFO announced their ‘Last Orders’ tour in 2018, even sadder when a couple of weeks after the UK leg long-standing keyboard/guitar player Paul Raymond died of a heart attack.  … Continue reading

Album review: ELECTRIC BLUES MATES – Electric Blues Mates

Electric Blues Mates

Timezone [Release date 18.12.20] Given the recent number of lockdown and remotely recorded albums, ‘Electric Blues Mates’ is by no means a unique project.  But when it comes down to the spirit of cooperation, focus, intensity and sheer exuberance, this … Continue reading

Quick plays: IVY GOLD, BLACK PISTOL FIRE

IVY GOLD - Six Dusty Winds

IVY GOLD Six Dusty Winds A1 Records/Golden Ivy Records [Release date 12.03.21] Ivy Gold is built around singer Manou and guitarist Sebastian Eder (Avalon). Rounding out Ivy Gold are drummer Tal Bergman (Joe Bonamassa, Billy Idol, Rod Stewart, Simple Minds, … Continue reading

Album review: SCARDUST – Strangers

SCARDUST - Strangers

M-Theory Audio [Release date 30.11.20] Progressive Rock’s most famous unknown band, Scardust, released their second album, Strangers, to widespread critical acclaim in November last year. It was an unauspicious time to be releasing new product. Consequently, the label has “re-released” … Continue reading

Album review: NINEBARROW – A Pocket Full Of Acorns

NINEBARROW – A Pocket Full Of Acorns

www.ninebarrow.co.uk [Release date 05.03.21] Ninebarrow – the duo of Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere – were planning to carry on their impressive and relentless series of gigs up and down the country last year. Of course the pandemic put paid … Continue reading

Album review : KREEK – Kreek

KREEK - Kreek

Frontiers [Release date 12.02.21] Debut album from Kreek, a new band built around ex Bigfoot vocalist, Antony Ellis. It’s produced by Night By Night & Passion vocalist/guitarist, Dan Rosall. It’s surprising that this one got past Frontiers generally on-the-ball quality … Continue reading

Album review: JOHN PAUL KEITH – The Rhythm of the City

JOHN PAUL KEITH - The Rhythm of the City

Wild Honey Records [Release date 19.02.21] The over-riding descriptor of John Paul Keith’s fifth solo album is, “Vintage”. With twelve years’ experience as part of the Memphis music scene, plugging away as a session player and live act, there is … Continue reading