Album review: BIG COUNTRY – Out Beyond The River, The Compulsion Years Anthology

BIG COUNTRY – Out Beyond The River

Cherry Red [Release date 25.09.20]

The late great Stuart Adamson and his band, Big Country, made an indelible musical mark on UK popular culture. Their history is well documented.

This anthology focuses on a very narrow, but hugely fertile period of time for the band… 1993 to 1994, the years they were signed to the EMI offshoot label, Compulsion Records.

The boxset comprises of:

CD1 : Remastered version of “The Buffalo Skinners” (the 2005 expanded edition)

CD2 : Bonus tracks, B sides and rarities

CD3 : Buffalo Skinner demos

CD4 & 5 : Remastered “Live Without The Aid Of A Safety Net” (live album 1993, recorded at Barrowlands [RIP] Glasgow)

DVD : Video recording of Barrowlands’ gig

“The Buffalo Skinners” (1993) saw Big Country regain some of the momentum they had lost in the years since “The Crossing” (1983) and “Steeltown” (1984). Both albums had taken the UK and the USA by storm. But that was then.

Ten years later, what once were cutting edge guitar sounds had become passe and were now jettisoned, and the vacated space filled to the max by declamatory choruses, thumping chordwork and the searing torch songs for which the band were known.

Adamson may have recalibrated The Big Country template over the years, but never forgot his roots. The traditional musical themes and motifs of his adopted home country still course through the veins of this very personal album.

Lyrically, the aggressively infectious ‘Alone’, ‘Seven Waves’ and ‘The One I Love’, reflect adamson’s troubled personal life, each filled with fiery, emotional lyrics that all but set fire to the page. And as you would expect, he continues to rail against “the man”, targetting fake religions (Long Way Home) and bloodsucking corporations (Working Man), amongst others. It’s almost as if Adamson is reaching out to his “hero”, Neil Young, aiming to claim the same level of American iconography in his own material. It’s high tension stuff, and might have benefitted from a drop in intensity from time to time.

Long time fans will love the CD2 and CD3 content, poring over what was and what might have been. It’s always a joy for a paid up afficionado to follow the threads of a recording, from demo beginnings to finished article. The dark notes and the abrasive guitars in the “monitor mixes” of ‘Ships’ and ‘We’re Not In Kansas Anymore’, are an auditory delight. And while the finished versions are not what you would term ‘highly polished’, some of the raw and powerful metaphorical screams of defiance, apparent in the basic mixes, have unfortunately been pushed below the surface.

In the same year, Big Country performed live on stage at the legendary Barrowlands in Glasgow. The band wasn’t big in Scotland, it was huge. Live, the majesty and passion of the band’s music give their sound a sense of freedom, liberation. And the audience responds in a frenzy of enthusiasm. Noisy waves of appreciation ripple through the crowd, dying to a respectful sigh when the band launch into an unbroken, 9 song sequence of acoustic guitar based songs.

Of those, the picks have to be ‘Harvest Home’ and ‘The Storm’, two standouts from the debut that survived a long gestation to make it finally onto the band’s magnum opus. A word too for the covers of Young’s ‘Rockin In The Free World’ and Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tracks Of My Tears’. Clearly two songs that, for different reasons, resonated with Adamson.

The whole gig in its entirety is spread out over CDs 3 and 4. And adding a (slightly truncated) DVD version turns the gig into a truly immersive experience. Hats off to Cherry Red.

Tragically, Adamson’s death in 2001 confirmed that the meaning, message and musicality of his work would perhaps no longer reach as many people.

Hopefully this boxset will help to put that right.

Review by Brian McGowan


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Book review: On track…MIKE OLDFIELD (Every album, every song) – Ryan Yard

On track…MIKE OLDFIELD (Every album, every song) – Ryan Yard

Sonicbond Publishing [Publication date 18.09.20]

As Ryan Ward suggests in this survey of Mike Oldfield’s music, his calling card Tubular Bells – in 1973 – defined him and was never surpassed.  He was only 20.  Those of a certain age will remember that at some time they owned a copy of this album.

There’s not much background given to Oldfield’s apprenticeship with sister Sally (‘The Sallyangie’) or his stint with Kevin Ayers as a member of The Whole World, the story jumps in with the magnum opus.

In truth the following albums were patchy and some disappointing.  ‘Hergest Ridge’ for example failed to live up to expectations in 1974 although ‘Ommadawn’ and ‘Incantations’ were critically well received.  All are documented meticulously here.

Oldfield fashioned a more pop approach in the 1980s, reflected in several Top 20 singles and with Maggie Reilly the resident vocalist.  A more organic seventies style was progressively updated with heavy use of synthesizers, a process begun in 1980 with the album QE2.

Oldfield has embraced modern musical trends, not least electronic dance and world music, but – since the early 1990s – he has also mercilessly rechanneled his best known work.  ‘Tubular Bells II’ (1992) and ‘III’ (1998) maintained the brand along with ‘Tubular Bells 2003′ in which he completely recorded the original album.  There has even been talk of a fourth re-visit using analogue equipment, an approach complementing the more organic ‘Return to Ommadawn’ his last studio album in 2017 .

In his introduction, Yard bemoans the sporadic recording activity with the musician “seemingly content in his island paradise, working at a relaxed speed”.  We can picture Oldfield basking in the Bahamas sunshine, peeling grapes, and contemplating his next royalty cheque.

This has to be one of the best accounts in the “On track..” series in terms of musical appreciation.  Ryan Yard is a professional music teacher and theoretician and therefore adds a more in-depth analysis than unusual.  And, in this respect, he also kindly adds a glossary of musical terms.  His account will therefore appeal to the musician as well as the casual reader.  He also adds in the bonus tracks and various collaborations.

Mike Oldfield’s output over the years may seem diverse and demanding, but Yard is an indefatigable guide throughout.  ****

Review by David Randall

On track… The Who
On track…10cc
On track…Dream Theater
On track…Gentle Giant
On track…Hawkwind (and more review links)


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: TRIPLE J TRIO – Better Days

Triple J Trio - Better Days

Self release [Release date 20.03.20]

Triple J Trio is a powerhouse British rock-into-blues and boogie outfit, powered by the formidable rhythm section of Jeff Rich (Quo/Stretch/Climax Blues Band etc) and The Beat’s bassist Andy Pearson.

They are joined by the explosive Jamie Godfrey on guitar and vocals who helps channel the band’s power into melodic hard rocking blues.

Godfrey is an old-school rock vocalist who on the opening Quo inspired title track adds lashing of guitar to match his husky vocals.

It’s a high-octane opener that sets the standard for the rest of a hard-hitting album which occasionally dips into blues, but never loses sight of the intensity required to rock hard.

In fact, they open with a brace of rockers, of which the tremolo intro to the raucous shuffle ‘So Far So Good’ goes for the throat.

The booming intro could be Walter Trout at his best, while the song owes much to Jimmy Witherspoon’s ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’, until Godfrey’s venomous jagged edged solo rips into the heart of it.

The album is built on the drum tight (pun intended) rhythm section of Rich and Pearson who build the grooves from the ground upwards, shuffle when they need to and always provide the sheer drive to ignite Godfrey’s fuse.

Not everything works quite as well as. For while the mid-paced blues of ‘I Know Your Name’ opens like a muscular Jack Bruce piece, the guitar solo strangely doesn’t quite deliver the tension breaking resolution you might expect.

Then there’s the acoustic-into-electric and flint-edged ‘Red Flag’, which sounds much more impressive on its own than when part of the album as a whole.

The mid-number acoustic drop-down and a swift return to full velocity rock provides the dynamic counterweight to Godfreys tendency to attack his vocal in the same manner on a succession of songs.

His phrasing is much more imaginative on a change of pace as he leans into the melodic soulful ballad ‘Better Late Than Never,’ while on the buzz-tone dirgy Woman Like You’ his high register vocal comes close to Sabbath era Ozzy Osbourne.

‘Better Days’ works hard to find different ways to rock hard. The album is probably a couple of great songs short of the full set, but there’s enough full throttle rocking here to keep hard rock and rocking blues fans happy.

For example, the bristling rhythm section powers its way through ‘I Bleed The Same Blood As The Blues’, as Godfrey glues the track together with some raucous slide and a chanted hook that will surely lead to some dance floor fist pumping in ordinary times.

Godfrey also evokes Peter Green twice, making the best use of the space offered him on the slow blues ‘I Smell A Rat,’ on which he adds some tremolo sounding emotive guitar lines and an impassioned vocal to great effect.

But he waits until the end of the album to finally unveil a direct connection with Green on Fleetwood Mac’s buoyant shuffle ‘Stop Messin’ Round’ which features a fine vocal and some piecing guitar lines.

There’s also the funky ‘Nutbush City Limits ’ style intro of ‘Man Feeling Bad’ which doesn’t quite light the fuse, though the vocal does sound a little like Faces era Rod Stewart.

‘Better Days’ is a solid 2nd album from the JT Trio and given a free reign of gigs the songs will surely develop organically.

As it is, fans will have to do the work by buying the record, and giving it a good airing, safe in the knowledge that there’s a first class, hard rocking British power trio waiting in the wings to rock hard with the best of them. ***½ 

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



EP review: GALLOWS CIRCUS – II

GALLOWS CIRCUS - EP II

Facebook [Release date 25.09.20]

Kent based Gallows Circus are a relatively new band, having formed in 2016. The line-up consist of vocalist Ian Day, bassist Richard Tunbridge, guitarist Ben Attwood and drummer Steve Kitchener.

Six songs on the EP, although ‘Hell’s Whiskey’ appears twice with a radio edit version added. This song is a belter, from the chugging riff through to the vocal harmonies, the band have hit pay dirt here. The stomping blues rocker ‘Medicine Man’ is surely another single to be lifted off the EP. Memorable chorus and made for airplay/playlists.

Despite doubtless appeaking to the new wave of classic rock crowd, Gallows Circus have a bit of grunge and even 90’s rockers Reef about them when listening to ‘Bring Your Crucifix’ and ‘Who Cares’. Whereas ‘Hunt You Down’ takes a Tesla/the Answer route – little bit acoustic, little bit southern and a whole lot of good.

Gallows Circus have the tunes, now we just need a chance for them to strut their stuff live. In the meantime grab your copy of ‘II’, you are in for a treat. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: FORNDOM – Fapir

FORNDOM – Fapir

Nordvis Produktion [Release date 03.04.20]

A new genre has been created: Viking Chill-out and Forndom is the King. Skillfully mixing the best of Icelandic bands like Sigur Ros along with traditional Scandinavian folk, this Swedish artist brings a stunning world of artic landscapes to life. The album’s seven tracks soar with incandescent beauty whilst interweaving ancient dark mystery amid the lush sounds.

‘Jakten’ opens the album with a huge and powerful drama, drums are beaten, choirs drone and keys and violin dance over the top to mesmerizing effect. You’re instantly transported to a land with one foot in the ancient and another in the modern, a twilight zone that wraps you in mist and folklore as you are swept over wintry fields and through dense forests.

The journey continues in ‘Yggdrasil’, more primal percussion opens up vistas and campfires, freezing cold nights through to blindingly white snow, the sun warming your face as you trudge ever onwards. Utterly hypnotic, it builds and builds until you find yourself hopelessly lost in its depths and so it goes.

From the orchestral ‘Muninn’ and into the dangerous and unspeakably gorgeous ‘Hel, jag vet mig vantar’ each track is an epic that can both sooth and excite in equal portion, capturing both the heart and the imagination.

By the time final track ‘Hemkomst’ fades your world will have changed, you’ll feel the freshest of air fill your lungs and your eyes full of tears at the wonder of the Northern Lights, transported there purely by the act of slipping on a pair of headphones as you put the album. Absolutely stunning in any language, ‘Fapir’ is brooding, magical and beautiful and one of the best things you’ll hear this or any other year. *****

Review by Paul Monkhouse


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: STONE FOUNDATION – Is Love Enough?

STONE FOUNDATION – Is Love Enough?

100 Percent Records [Release date 11.09.20]

Ever since Stone Foundation’s 2005 bow ‘Small Town Soul’, the band’s ethos has been collaboration. With their new album ‘Is Love Enough?’ this approach spills over into the thematic content of the record too.

Sonically sitting somewhere between Incognito and Soul II Soul, opener ‘Freedom Starts!’ is a plea for harmony and building bridges through music. Inspirational lyrics like “freedom starts with happiness” or “if the music takes you there, it’s alright” could seem trite in less capable hands but fortunately founders Neil Jones and Neil Sheasby are capable of producing authentic-sounding soul.

‘Changes’ is a creeping slow number, that evidences an awareness of their soul history – calling to mind Bootsy Collins’ ‘I’d Rather Be With You’ or it’s more recent copycat ‘Redbone’ by Childish Gambino. With layered backing vocals, high pitched synthesizers and an opulent horn breakdown, the end product is class all the way. The Funkadelic comparisons later return on the penultimate number, ’83: This is Our Time’.

Paul Weller’s guest appearance ‘Deeper Love’ has of course garnered the most column inches, with its showbiz lead vocals. The song fits nicely into the husky, blue-eyed soul niche Weller has been cultivating for the last decade plus.

The album was recorded at Weller’s Black Barn Studios and his involvement only elevates an already quality album. Again the “come together” theme is in play as the band chant “we know you’re strong enough, to give somebody love”.

The guest appearances continue with Durand Jones taking lead duties on ‘Hold on To Love’, a pleasant mid-tempo number that could be an Amy Winehouse outtake, while Laville brings a disco groove to ‘The Light In Us’, delivering a gorgeous, silky vocal.

The title track is slinky funk with crisp drums and a luxurious woodwind section. A highpoint in the already strong collection is the anthem-like, ‘Learn to Love Again’ replete with sing-along chorus and church organ.

Every soul album worth its salt needs to throwdown and ‘Af-Ri-Ka’ is a foot stomper in the vein of ‘Sugar Lee’ by Donny Hathaway, all showboating musicians and chants.

If there is criticism to be made of the album, it’s that at 17 tracks ‘Is Love Enough’ is not a slender collection however the package is nicely pulled together by several interludes pondering the main theme of love, including an appearance by a Time Lord himself – Peter Capladi, reciting words by Vincent van Gogh. ‘Is Love Enough?’ is a confident collection, completely assured in what it’s doing; delivering polished, A-grade soul. ****

Review by Phillip Beamon


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: IAN DURY – Hit Me! The Best Of

IAN DURY - Hit Me! The Best Of

BMG [Release date 16.10.20] 3-CD

Reasons To Be Cheerful? Well we certainly need some of those and who better than to supply a cheery soundtrack to covid-crocked  times than the cheeky chappy from Harrow.  Ian Dury may have died in 2000 but his recorded legacy still sounds relevant two decades later.

BMG have acquired the rights to most of this legacy and Hit Me!.. is their first salvo.  I assume the back catalogue will be reissued in time.

This 3-CD set brings together a mix of his earlier work with Kilburn And The High Roads (7 tracks) but as you would expect majors on the Blockheads.  This kicked in with the single ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll’ in 1977, a non-album track, followed by the album ‘New Boots & Panties’.

Dury made two albums with Kilburn And The High Roads who briefly existed 1974-5 and presaged the punk movement a few years later.

With the Blockheads, more “new wave” than punk, Dury was able to graft his music-hall inspired delivery to an increasingly funky backbeat.  His fellow musicians included Chaz Jankel (keyboards), Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Charley Charles (drums) with John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher on guitars and Davey Payne on saxophone.

New Boots & Panties is something of a classic album and is included in its entirety.  The follow-up Do It Yourself (8 out of 10 tracks featured) took the funky blueprint a step further with songs such as ‘Inbetweenies’ and ‘Dance Of The Screamers’.

Whilst it could be argued that those first two albums are all you need to own from Dury’s output, this anthology signposts the easily overlooked later period cherry picking the standouts.  Dury made several more albums with and without the Blockheads but with varying degrees of commercial success.

This latest compilation is not comprehensive, presumably rights weren’t secured to the two Polydor albums in the 1980s and the album ‘Apples’ (1989) is not featured save for a demo version of ‘England’s Glory’ (an old Kilburns song).

Dury made two albums in the 1990s and ‘Mr Love Pants’ (1997) yields three tracks. As the decade progressed Dury – already stricken by a childhood polio – was diagnosed with cancer and he died in March 2000.

“Hit Me!..” is useful in that it brings together the Blockheads singles which were not included on any studio album release such as ‘What A Waste’, ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ and of course ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful Pt.3′ (here in it’s 12″ version).  The latter is also available for the first time digitally.

For those wanting light relief during a pandemic they could do no better than seek out classic Dury tracks like ‘Billericay Dickie’, ‘Clevor Trever’ and ‘Plaistow Patricia’.  At his best, Dury was a gifted tunesmith and this compilation is a very acceptable introduction.

For deeper investigation the series of Edsel reissues in 2015 with copious, informed, liner notes, lyrics and bonus tracks beckon, although we assume BMG will do their best to maximise the latest bout of recycling. ***1/2

Review by David Randall

Album review (2015 reissues)


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: BILLY WALTON – Dark Hour

Billy Walton - Dark Hour

Harmonized Records [Release date 04.09.20]

‘Dark Hour’ is a ground-breaking album for the Billy Walton Band. It kicks like a mule but also searches for soulful subtly.

‘Dark Hour’ also finds a meaningful role for the band’s horn section, beyond pumping out bar band boogie in Asbury Park.

The arrangements are ambitious and there’s always enough headroom to allow the whole of the extended combo to flourish.

From the related doomy song titles to the dense production and Walton’s own gnawing guitar work, it’s a big band project with a taut sound that eschews some of their good time feel for a more focused intensity.

It’s also a coherent set of songs that ultimately flows into the ‘People Talking’ instrumental outro – complete with Walton ad-libs – which feels like the perfect resolution to 12 tracks that initially adhere to the ‘Dark Hour’ theme, but eventually reach for the light in an exhilarating manner.

They approach the songs in a conceptual and organic way, with each track being part of a greater whole

The soulful ballad ‘Long Way Down’ for example, acts as a dynamic counter-balance to the previous denser tracks, as Walton brings a little extra steel into his solo.

There’s also meticulous attention to the sequencing, which is full of contrast and yet related songs. So having delivered a 5-star soul ballad they suddenly rock out on the feverish ‘Goldmine’. The latter is driven by high octane riffs, internal rhymes and a bombastic rhythm section, as Walton raps out his lyrics with real venom and indulges himself in some fine vibrato guitar playing.

The bristling arrangement is stretched to bursting point with booming horns on a hard driving stomp with a soulful centre, which probably mirrors their Philly recording environment.

‘Dark Hour’ is easily the band’s most ambitious album to date, in terms of material and a big production which provides Walton with new outlets for his incendiary guitar work.

A change of band members seems to have given the band a leaner edge. The opening brace of tracks may not be a template for the album as whole, but they lever us into a tight, harder edged direction that permeates the album as whole.

So while the brusquely counted in opener ‘Think Of Me’ is full of gnawing wah-wah guitar work and a rapid fire hook, and ‘Long Slow Descent’ is built on a power chord intro with a sweeping organ and a notable buzz-tone guitar, they are effectively sonic hors d’oeuvre’s for the bands more familiar funky fare.

The mid-paced funk and radio friendly ‘Can’t Love No More’ finds Walton in a more restrained vocal mode as he lets the song breathe.

Significantly, Eric Safka’s Hammond takes the first solo as they head into Robert Cray territory, before a defining Walton guitar break on one of the high points of the album.

And it’s the challenging way the album twist and turns through musical contrasts and big arrangements that makes it arguably the bands most interesting album so far.

‘You Don’t Need Me’ is illuminated by an ambitious production that incorporates a quiet-to-loud dynamic, crashing chords and a punchy hook, before unexpectedly leading us into a dirgy prog rock sounding guitar break.

Much like ‘Long Slow Decent’, the music appears to evoke the meaning of the song title. Walton’s screaming guitar lines burst out of the gloom before suddenly giving way to a echoey pedestrian piano coda which provides an ambivalent ending.

The taut production changes again on the clever electro-into-funk intro of ‘Confusion’, which is another album highlight. It’s a hip shuffling piece with a crisp undertow, funky keys and a fine vocal by William Paris, once again framed by nuanced horns.

The songs builds up a subtle tension with distant controlled feedback and volume swells. It’s punctuated by repeated horn lines and a return to the hook on a glorious track that somehow doesn’t have a guitar solo.

The resulting void is filled by the gospel tinged ‘Free World’ which is vehicle for one of Billy’s best vocals.

And if the album palpably gathers momentum on the big horn arrangement of ‘Funky Fever’, then the band belatedly lights the fuse with two unexpected covers.

The focus returns squarely to Walton’s own guitar playing on a rip-roaring cover of Gary Moore’s ‘Cold Day In Hell’, on which the horns are imperious. He further illustrates his versatility on the big toned version of Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’.

He brings welcome clarity to the latter track which is stripped of its original grungy feel. He transforms it into an uplifting piece on which his guitar soars, before a gentle decent into a sonorous horn-led outro, in an imaginative reworking of the Young classic.

‘Dark Hour’ is easily the Billy Walton band’s finest hour. Despite the title, it’s far from being all doom and gloom.  It strikes the perfect balance between strong songs, a killer band and the impetus to find a fresh context for the former gunslinger for hire Billy Walton, as he impressively moves centre stage in his own right. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: JACKIE MCAULEY– The Cherryvale Files

Jackie McAulay - The Cherryvale Files

Red Button Records [Release date 21.02.20]

‘The Cherryvale’ Files is Jackie McAuley’s first album for about 4 years and though it’s an introspective aggregation of songs rather than a full-blown album, it’s been worth the wait.

The former Them, Belfast Gypsies Trader Horne Poormouth member and solo artist turned author, has too often subsumed his own abilities to other projects in which he was a sideman.

‘The Cherryvale Files’ aims to redress the balance with strong songs and inspired playing. However, a lack of dynamics in the sequencing means that by the time of the soulful blues of ‘Troubles Gone’, the album almost wilts a little as everything is similarly paced.

And that’s a shame, as ‘Troubles Gone’ plays to his strengths as a fine balladeer and intuitive songwriter. The song is also coloured by layered organ and a slide guitar part injects an extra emotional pulse.

It’s good to listen to this track on its own to enjoy the sumptuous arrangement which polishes McAuley’s song craft, whereas when heard in the middle of a similarly paced set of songs it loses something of its impact.

Taken as a whole, The Cherryvale Files’ sounds like a set of very promising demo’s in search of a full-blown arrangement and a fuller production.

Frustratingly you could also say the same thing about some of Jackie’s previous albums, where his songs are consistently good, but weren’t always given the full benefit of a sympathetic production.

As it is, he draws on a rootsy, down-home, blues tradition and is seemingly inspired by songwriters such as Randy Newman, as he weaves stories of the past, present and simply imagined.

The opening ‘Out In The Wild West’ finds him at his very best. He frames his story with an acoustic-into-electric arrangement that enhances an undulating melody and delicate percussion to flow into the catchy chorus.

A mix of Spanish guitar and an overall lightness of touch makes it a great opening track

The following ‘Sailing On The Radio Waves’ drips with nostalgia in a glance back to the days of an evocative love song on the radio. Stylistically it reminds me of the late Leon Redbone.

He’s almost gets sentimental on another album highlight, ‘Men Of Arranmore’. It’s a beautiful acoustic ballad with pipes or flute and a singalong hook. Co-penned with his brother Brendan, it’s so good that it easily stands comparison with several other well-known songs about the Donegal island.

His stripped-down approach embraces a lovely acoustic wash on ‘Long Whistle Blowing’. The nuanced harmonies are given a country feel by Pierre Luigi Cioci’s mid-number fiddle break and another engaging story-telling narrative.

The clean sounding electric guitar tone on the percussive ‘Take You Home’ provides some welcome sonic contrast, as a mix of sonorous harp and his own clarity of diction makes for a resonating love song.

‘The Cherryvale Files’ has an organic feel, born of a busy working musician who makes the best of the potential his band members offer him.

He revels in an inspired streak, but deep into the album a brace of songs about American characters are solid, yet feel slightly out of step with what’s gone before.

‘The Brooklyn Cannonball’ is about ‘20’s World bantamweight champion Eddie Martin and sounds like a distant relative Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’ (from his ‘Desire’ album).

The 20-year-old ‘Robert Stroud’s Reprieve’ – a song about the “Birdman of Alcatraz” -    features some essential mandolin and another sing-along hook with rich harmonies.

Both songs serve to remind us that ‘The Cherryvale Files’ is a loosely gathered set of songs rather than an album written to order. As such they should be seen as an extension of his song writing versatility rather than primarily tapping into his same creative streak that makes the first half of the album so good.

And there you have it. ‘The Cherryvale Files’ is a welcome addition to McAuley’s sporadic discography. It suggests he’s still a creative force with a crossover style that spans Celtic folk, blues, country and Americana.

The fact that his music is instantly recognizable tells you all you need to know about a singer-songwriter who in the 55th year of his pro career continues to set a standard many would be happy to emulate.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: ERROL LINTON – No Entry

ERROL LINTON – No Entry

Bra$$dog Records [Release date 02.10.20]

Normally our blues maestro Pete Feenstra would be waxing lyrical I am sure on this release, however I like a little traditional blues now and then, something Errol Linton is steeped in. Errol has releases five albums previously, gained plaudits from the likes of Joe Bonamassa (who appeared onstage with Errol and his band in January this year) and championed by Cerys Mattews on her blues show.

His band are top notch, featuring the Specials current drummer Kenrick Rowe, pianist Petar Zivkovic, bassist Lance Rose and guitarist Adam Blake. The album has already had a digital release to get the songs out there, with a CD and vinyl release now scheduled.

‘No Entry Blues’ and ‘Fools For Love’ give the album a flying start. Errol’s harmonica weaves in and out of the guitar. Some seriously good playing by Adam Blake on these songs, and indeed throughout the whole album.

It is not all blues though, as the instrumental ‘Speak Easy’ adds a nice, easy reggae/ska beat, again the guitar playing of Adam Blake is superb. More of that easy on the ear reggae on ‘Howlin’ For My Darlin’, which allows Errol’s vocals to take centre stage.

It is a great listen from start to finish, with some truly astounding playing and the band bounce musically off each other with ease.

If like me, you only occasionally dip your toes into the blues pool then dive on in with this fine album from Errol Linton and his band. The blues tradition is alive and well, and here’s hoping Errol and his band can get back to playing live soon. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Single reviews: CONSTANT FOLLOWER, ARCADIAN TEMPLE

CONSTANT FOLLOWER - Set Aside Some Time

CONSTANT FOLLOWER – Set Aside Some Time

Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll stumble across a band that will truly make your heart swell and your life better. Constant Follower are one such band. Changing greys to multi coloured pastel hues and setting off fireworks in your synapses, the absolutely gorgeous ‘Set Some Time Aside’ is the aural equivalent of a warm bath in an idyllic country cottage, peace washing over you. Both simple in its approach yet intriguingly multi-layered you can’t be anything but charmed by its other-worldly patina that speaks of gentler times whilst tugging at the very soul of modern life with its message of much needed rest and introspection.

Like your favourite malt whisky, this is something to be savored as it envelops you in its loving arms. Sublime. *****

YouTube

ARCADIAN TEMPLE – Arcadian Temple

This is big. Huge, spacey and ambitious NWOBHM that has elements of prog, packing a hefty punch. The project is a joint venture between Alex Perry of Mythra and Trebuchet’s Dave Gilbert, the two men bringing their years of experience into their most monumental piece of work yet. Sure, it has some of the slightly raw edges of the DIY ethic of that classic early 80’s era but that just adds an authenticity to it all and the duo have pushed themselves hard into creating this epic. A work that has the scale of Diamond Head’s ‘Canterbury’ with a better production, this is certainly something that will be cherished by many who have one foot in those halcyon days and another planted firmly in the present. ***

YouTube

Review by Paul Monkhouse


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: SLADE – Come On Feel The Hitz: The Best Of Slade

SLADE - Come On Feel The Hitz

BMG [Release date 25.09.20]

You have to love Slade – one of Britain’s finest hit makers during the 70s and were strongly associated with the glam rock and hard rock scenes. But with a unique frontman (and one of the most powerful and recognisable voices in rock), solid song writing and genuine talent, and a keen ear for the catchy, there’s a lot to this band.

Formed in the late 60s, Slade ruled the 70s and in their original guise kept going until the late 80s. This album, 43 tracks over 2 CDs, is not only good value, but contains most of what you need to know about the band. Cum On Feel The Noize, Coz I Luv You, Gudbuy T’Jane, Radio Wall Of Sound and the perennial Merry Xmas Everybody are all here, but what adds and really makes it worth buying is the material from the late 70s, where Slade became more experimental.

Aside some decent hard rock, tracks like 1976’s Let’s Call It Quits could be a rock’n’roll power ballad. And I have to admit I was unfamiliar with 1977’s Burning In The Heat Of Love, but know the song very well through the 1984 Girlschool version. Then at the turn of the 80s and the big Slade comeback, and 1981’s Knuckle Sandwich Nancy typical of the hard Slade put out at the time.

Then there’s 1984’s Run Run Away, a track I grew up with at school – and proof that even when Slade weren’t glamming it up there was always an anthemic feel. Crunchy riffs, a rolling rhythm and the unmistakeable Noddy Holder up front, what’s not to love?

Several tracks from 1971, and there’s a good spread over the years, closing with 1991’s Radio Wall Of Sound, a commercial rocker that was more a Jim Lea solo song (Noddy sang backing vocals), and that was the beginning of the end for the band. Amongst the plethora of hit collections around, this has a better spread and is therefore a better and more complete intro to their full career. In that 20 year slot, chemistry riffs and hits that should be a part of everyone’s record collection. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: KAT RIGGINS – Cry Out

Kat Riggins - Cry Out

Gulf Coast Records [Release date 14.08.20]

‘Cry Out’ is a high energy album full of heartfelt lyrics, stylistic diversity and booming arrangements that gives Kat Riggins the best possible context for her gritty and soulful vocals.

The album’s arts work almost suggest she is having an outer wordly experience, a visual metaphor perhaps for the way she moves us with her blues.

In fact, ‘Cry Out’ explores rock, blues, boogie, soul, gospel and r&b with hints of southern rock, which all perfectly complement her passionate vocal style and meaningful narratives.

She’s a fiery singer who frequently attacks her songs with the kind of gusto that gives the album its dynamic quality.

Signing with Gulf Coast records is a very significant move, both in terms of raising her profile and working with the guitar playing producer Mike Zito, who consistently pushes her into giving her very best performance on a coherent set of songs.

‘Cry Out’ is the perfect a head on meeting of Zito’s tonal variety – his rock into blues crossover style is the perfect foil for Riggins’s versatility – and her natural ability to get inside the songs and wring out the very last drop of emotion and meaning.

The opening track ‘Son Of A Gun’ is an absolute gem and ignites the album as a whole.  It’s powered by a ripping Zito guitar figure and topped by a potent hook that broaches southern rock and delivers stinging sexual politics: “My daddy kicks like a rifle, and he told me to do the same, said don’t take no disrespect or lip and calling out your name. God help those who help themselves and this I understand, I worked twice has hard to be half as much and to be treated as I am.”

The title track is a mellifluous blues with a pounding beat, poignant lyrics and vibrant interwoven guitar and harp playing from Zito and guest Johnny Sansone.

It’s a very good example the high production standards which are all too often missing on blues related albums.

That said, there’s plenty of spark here to match the production polish and Riggins’s energetic approach.

On the hard driving ‘Catching Up’ she steps out of her comfort zone her to nail a hard rock performance on a pounding track that makes the most of the band’s line-up.

Her lyrics provide the key to the album as a whole.  She delivers a mix of personal relationship songs, social commentary and occasional moments of self-affirmation on which she happily rocks out.

On ‘Can You See Me Now’ for example, she attacks the song with relish as the booming arrangement evokes the song’s narrative, leaving Zito to add edgy guitar to match her lyrical integrity.

There’s also some further unexpected raunch on the heavy-duty stomp of ‘Wicked Tongue’, which she fills with real vitriol as another special guest Albert Castiglia solo’s with wild abandon and a barbwire tone.

She further reveals herself on ‘Truth’, a song with a straight forward search for honesty that taps into the album’s core message, which she so convincingly universalises on the title track.

She also dig deep for the moving gospel of ‘Heavy’ to which Zito adds nuanced slide support, before its rounded off with children bv’s, as if to emphasise the fact she’s singing about the future.

There’s a lovely flow to the album, while the arrangements perfectly complement her lyrical acumen, as she balances passion, honesty and a soulful delivery to leave her unique mark.

Apart from the familiar theme of ‘No Sale’ and the acappella link of ‘Hand In Hand’, there’s no room for clichés here. Refreshingly, the guitar parts always serve the song while still delivering stinging intensity.

There are also some telling horn arrangements, particularly when the band shifts gear on the shuffle-beat rhythm and organ driven ‘On Its Way’, as a jumping horn section, gives way to a wailing sax break.

There’s also some punchy horns on the tightly wound funk of ‘Meet Your Maker’, another song with a meaningful message. And she finally rounds things off with the elemental feel of ‘The Storm’, on which her feral vocal is beautifully framed by Zito’s echoey squalls.

‘Cry Out’ demands repeated listening if only for the perfect balance of lyrical substance and inspired playing. This album is a real step up for Kat Riggins. Previously known for being a blues campaigner, ‘Cry Out’ pushes her to the forefront of the very genre she so passionately champions. ****½

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: TRAPEZE – The Box Sets

TRAPEZE - Medusa

Cherry Red (Release date 18/09/20)

The talented trio at the core of Trapeze, Mel Galley, Glenn Hughes and Dave Holland, progressively elevated the band’s unique brand of hard/funk rock, constantly overhauling their own template during that lineup’s short lifespan (1970-73).

Time has continued to burnish the bands reputation. Why their reach didn’t extend beyond the cultural conventions of seventies’ hard rock is a real puzzle. A puzzle re-emphasised by the release of these 3 expanded editions.

Two of the editions are 3 CD sets and the other a 2 CD set. As well as the original albums, presented in pristine, remastered finery, all three are jampacked with bonus and live track assortments. Peak Trapeze in a box, if you will (ok, three boxes).

Trapeze (originally released 1970)

The debut tends to get overlooked, mainly because of its proto hard rock nature. It was the sound of a band in its formative years, reluctantly casting off the pop psychedelia of the sixties, tentatively embracing the blazing, stomping hard rock of the seventies. Two particular song titles alone, ‘The Giant’s Dead, Hoorah’ and ‘Fairytale, Verily Verily’ Fairytale’ kind of give the game away.

That said, Hughes’ darkly confessional, ‘Am I’ and the classic rock ballad, ‘Send Me No More Flowers’ pointed the direction home.

That powerful ballad made an indelible mark on the face of seventies rock and is celebrated here, with both the US and the UK single versions appearing on Disc 2, plus a more conservative version plucked from the “BBC Sessions” archives, dating from the previous year.

Interestingly, 3 tracks from the band’s appearance on BBC2′s pioneering music magazine, “Colour Me Pop” (1969), also appear on Disc 2. The cover of Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ being the standout. Many Britrock bands appeared on this half hour show, which eventually reshaped itself into The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Medusa (originally released 1970)

Now a solid, minimalist trio, we hear the band grafting Hughes’ rubbery funk bass runs onto Galley’s crafted chordwork, most especially on ‘Black Cloud, ‘Your Love Is Alright’, and ‘Seafull’. What impacts you most is the fact that there’s a rigour to Trapeze’s music, a technical brilliance that’s hidden behind fluent, impressive playing, Hughes gets all the vocal plaudits, but Galley’s guitar, voice and writing helped lay the foundations of Classic Rock.

Disc 2 opens with two different edits of ‘Black Cloud’, later providing us with a live version, from a series of songs recorded on stage, “Live in Flushing, NY, 1971”. Followed by another 5 tracks from that same gig.

Another interesting inclusion, if only for its curiousity value, is a two track pick from TV’s “Pop Worshop” in 1970, ‘Makes You Wanna Cry’ and ‘Medusa’. In 1960s and early 1970s UK, popular music TV was based almost exclusively on Pop Chart placings. There was little opportunity for rock bands to break through.

The third CD comprises five tight, way back to the bone live versions of album tracks, recorded in 1971. Don’t know where these have been hiding.

You Are The Music… (originally released 1971)

Two albums under their belt, and the trio were really cookin’ now. This third album is full of stomping, stadium filling rock songs. Hughes hit a songwriting purple patch, contributing a significant amount of enduring material, including standout tracks, ‘Coast To Coast’, ‘Way Back To The Bone’ and ‘Will Our Love End’.

But it was to be their last album together. Soon After, Hughes took a free transfer to Deep Purple.

This hand picked collection is a particularly appropriate memorial to that famous line up. Apart from a remastered version of the original album, it centres on two seriously good live gigs, spread across Discs 2 and 3: “Radio One In Concert” (1973) and “Live in Houston” (1972). Live, they naturally pick up the better stuff from the first two albums – the rumbling sonic swagger of ‘Your Love Is Alright’ and ‘Black Cloud’ must have rocked anything that wasn’t nailed down – as well as performing “You Are…” in its entirety (almost).

These three expanded editions, single albums fleshed out to encompass the considerably awesome talent Trapeze possessed in spades, are perfectly tailored examples of how an astute compiler can take us on a thrilling journey though the best years of a band’s life. *****

Review by Brian McGowan


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: SOUTH OF SALEM – The Sinner Takes It All

SOUTH OF SALEM – The Sinner Takes It All

Indie [Release date 25.09.20]

South Of Salem hail from Bournemouth, consisting of vocalist Joey, guitarist Fish and Kodi, bassist Dee and drummer Pip. You can get some idea of the band’s music with the choice of producer Scott Atkins, who has previously worked with Cradle of Filth, Amon Amarth and Sylosis. South Of Salem like it dark, gothic and full of riffs.

It is not all serious goth/horror as Joey explains “The album title is a play on ABBA’s 1980 hit ‘The Winner Takes It All’. Mixing the tongue in cheek puns along with such heavy subject matter gives everyone a chance to relate in their own way. On a personal note we chose the album title because all the band members have been to hell and back with our lives in recent years.”

The band don’t shy away from controversial topics, be it gaslighting on ‘Cold Day In Hell’, or mental health issues on ‘Demons Are Forever’. I assume ‘Another Nail In My Coffin’ they are being tongue in cheek with lines such as ‘All I wanna do is stop you breathing’. It is a damn fine tune, the melodic edge of the Wildhearts coupled with the punk of say the Damned.

‘Dead Hearts Don’t Break’ and ‘Made To Be Mine’ (“I dug you up and took you home” – indeed!) reminded me of Fearless Vampire Killers, another band who could come up with a strong melody and lyrics that have wider appeal outside of the band’s expected fan base. There are even Bon Jovi aprroved ‘wooahs’ on the latter.

South Of Salem may have seen their live plans curtailed for now, but they will be a force to be reckoned with once the live scene gets up and running fully. Something a bit different and all the better for it. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: AYREON – Transitus

AYREON - Transitus

Music Theories Recordings [Release date 25.09.20]

Ayreon’s latest album comes complete with the book and vinyl offerings accompanied by a 28 page graphic novel illustrated by Felix Vega. It’ll see Arjen Lucassen, Dutch songwriter, singer, musician and record producer, tackle a project that took 3 years to complete.

Lucassen: “When I started this I just had no idea that it was going to take me this long! It took about three years from start to finish, and it pushed me out of my comfort zone musically and creatively. But I always need that challenge. The harder it is, the more fun for me to work on it! This is without a doubt the most cinematic and outrageous album I’ve ever done.”

The project sees him joined by a host of guests including former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, Epica’s Simone Simons, Kamelot’s Tommy Karevik, guitarist Marty Friedman and more – with former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker narrating.

The record will focus on a new story, a gothic ghost and love story, partially set in the 19th century in Transitus, which is between Heaven and Hell, with the lead characters being Abby and Daniel.

Tom Baker’s very atmospheric introduction sets the scene and I immediately wanted to listen to this in the dark, perfect accompaniment for an autumn evening in… Light the candles, pass me a glass of velvety red wine and tell me a doomed love story, where fate plays it’s hand.

As Tom intones this is not for the faint hearted and you should proceed at your own risk, it is operatic, dramatic and awesome with occasional moments that are quite soothing.

The use of guest vocalists to add richness and depth to the characters is pure genius, with Dee Snider perfect as Daniel’s Father as Tom Baker explains “this particular Father is not a man to be messed with. I think it’s a pity he was ever born…” Daniel himself asks “How can you be so twisted? (Sister) in “Get out! Now!”

From the Angel of Death advising “you got this” to the Statue (Mike Mills), all the guest vocalists are acting parts in this drama, this is pure musical theatre to my ears.

This is like listening to a musical audio book, a highly theatrical production supported by a cast of highly skilled musicians and vocalists. I’m not usually much of a fan of musical theatre, but this converted me. It’s rich and entrapping, I really enjoyed this. Recommended for an atmospheric autumnal or winter evening. ****

Review by Karen Clayton


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: LOUISIANA’S LE ROUX – One Of Those Days

Louisiana Le Roux - One Of Those Days

Gulf Coast [Release date 24.07.20]

In keeping with the gumbo tradition of Louisiana cuisine, Louisiana Hall Of Fame inductees Le Roux’s brand new album ‘One Of Those Days’ is a musical hotch-potch of all that’s good about Louisiana roots music and southern rock in general.

It’s an album that updates the band’s long and varied career stretching back to 1978.

What they offer in 2020 is some timeless songcraft, stellar playing, glimpses of inspired jamming and an intuitive vocalist Jeff McCarty who really gets inside the songs.

If you include special guest and backing singers there are 17 people on this recording. But if attention to detail is everything, it’s never at the expense of spontaneity.

What’s missing perhaps is a defining step into the future, though the cool reworked funky arrangements of ‘Lifeline Redux’ does suggest an updated style, with echo laden guitar effects on a jangling track with a significant electronic feel.

For the rest, the band’s best moments come of a handful of Jim Odom and Tony Haselden songs which are rooted in Southern Rock, but open-ended enough to offer the enduring combo different musical avenues.

In years gone by at least two of these songs would have ended up on a best of Southern rock compilation album. As it is, this album will still have a strong niche appeal.

They sensibly diversify their material on the album as a whole, mixing some hard-edged funk and occasional second line rhythms with soulful ballads and even an unexpected instrumental which in the hands of another band would sound great, but given the high quality of this album it almost sounds like a filler.

At times ‘One Of Those Days’, sounds like a cross between The Doobie Brothers, the Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band, underpinned by the band’s own Louisiana roots.

Listen for example, to the arresting opening title track which sounds like a classic Doobie Brothers track we somehow must have missed.

It’s another Odom and Haselden composition given the perfect framework by veteran producer Jeff Glixxman to ensure that everything burns brightly with a pristine sonic quality.

Jim McCarty’s vocals are superb throughout, the guitars resonate and the afore mentioned percussion on the title track adds an extra dimension, as the guitars soar and take the song into the regions of the anthemic on a beautiful opener.

They follow that with a smart change of musical style on the gospel tinged ‘call and response’ cover of a Dustin Ransom song, ‘No Ones Gonna Love Me (Like The Way You Do’. They still manage to turn it into a southern rock track with lashing of guitar and harmonies.

In many respects this album doesn’t so much ask the question can the band still rock, as can they still be relevant?

And given the high standing of contemporary roots music and singer-songwriters out of Nashville and the recent upsurge in recycled southern rock, the answer is a resounding yes.

Another great Odom/Hasleden composition ‘Don’t Rescue Me’ is full of incisive guitars and cool harmonies and can favourably be set against anything the current Skynyrd band has produced.

And if ‘After All’ is somewhat out of step with the rest of the album’s thrust, they quickly redress the balance with the stop-time, gnawing riff rocker that is ‘Nothing Left To Lose’.

There’s shades of Free meeting Warren Haynes, while a Jim’s primal James Brown style screech ushers in another brief jam featuring Haselden on slide.

‘One Of Those Days’ works so well simply because everyone supports the whole to the best of their abilities. The sudden harmony guitar parts, the timeless aching vocals, the subtle bv’s, the locked down funk and contrasting melodic rock swells are the very elements that always catch the ear of the classic rock fan.

It’s all there on arguably the album’s finest track ‘The Song Goes On’. It sounds like the Allmans’ again on archetypal exposition of southern rock, full of chiming guitars, a weathered lead vocal, supporting harmonies and a lived in road narrative:  “I grew up on the road less travelled.”

Rockers of a certain age will stop in their tracks on hearing this Marshall Tucker style song with its subtle interwoven guitar parts.

For the rest, they wisely lean on their Louisiana roots for a second line Little Feat style ‘Lucy Anna’, which is big on harmonies and a booming hook as the band celebrate their culture, their state and their music.

‘Sauce Picquant’ is a funky instrumental, which would sound great in the hands of any other band, except that such is the standard here that you might expect more.

‘One Of Those Days’ sounds like a timeless southern rock album that a few generations ago would have offered the band a key to the kingdom. As it is, they are still making well honed southern rock within the context of their durable Louisiana roots-rock influences.

It’s well worth buying and though it may not offer them mass market appeal, there’s enough stellar tracks here to keep on chipping away at the top table of the heritage rock market. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: EDDIE & THE HOT RODS – New York Live

EDDIE & THE HOT RODS - New York Live

Angel Air Records [Release date 21.08.20]

This album is the last official live recording for the band with Barry Masters on vocals. Barry was a fixture in the Hot Rods from the beginning back in 1975 and until his death in 2019.

This is a warts and all live recording, demonstrating the “on fire” nature of Eddie & the Hot Rods live and their audience interaction – be prepared to be energised. This is blistering hot. How can anyone not love this release?

Opening with “Teenage Depression”, the tempo is unrelenting as the band take you with them, through every song you’d want to hear. When they do “Should Have Been There” I can only agree, I wish I had been – very envious of anyone who saw this live.

The energy and entertainment is clear – this is a master class in live performance, thankfully someone pressed record to capture this for us all to share. “Stepping Stone” turns into ‘Bad Time Again” (unlikely!) and the band showcase their considerable talent – yes it’s raw in places but it’s pure rock n roll! Completing the main set with the classic “Do Anything You Wanna Do”, the encore is even more up tempo with ‘Get Out of Denver” and finishing with a blistering rendition of ‘Born To Be Wild”

What a fitting epitaph and a classic reminder of everything that is great live music – long live rock n roll! In these uncertain times where live music is in short supply, this is a welcome reminder of why we love seeing bands live, bringing that raw performance right into your living room. This is going to be a regular feature on my playlist, what a performance! I wish I had been there…****

Review by Karen Clayton


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: THE CHRIS BEVINGTON ORGANISATION – Sand & Stone

The Chris Bevington Organisation - Sand & Stone

Self release  [Release date 18.07.20]

The Chris Bevington Organisation’s fourth album ‘Sand & Stone’ is a booming, gospel tinged, big band blues-rock outing.  And while the songs are written by guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and vocalist /multi instrumentalist Scott Ralph, it’s left to the bass playing band leader Chris Bevington to forge the weighty 9 piece band ‘s own identity.

And what a band is. From the opening double lines of ‘It’s True’ which jump out the speakers, to the more sombre title track, it’s no exaggeration to say this is a Potteries super group who come together on a layered sound that leaves plenty of room for stretching out.

The album successfully utilises several bristling arrangements that aim for the kind of anthemic grandeur to be found on the blues ballad ‘Home Sweet Home’, which is only sadly robbed off its full potential by an all too soon fade.

The fact we want to hear more of that track speaks volumes about the impact the band makes over the course of 11 tracks that span rock, blues, funk and gospel.

‘Sand & Stone’ is a bluesy sideways step from guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick’s own solo career and the recently released album ‘Prodigal Son’.

And though there are some parallels, notably the guitar led bluster, this album aims for more of a cross over from the early 70’s Derek & The Dominos era to contemporary outfits such as the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

This is especially so especially so on ‘Home Sweet Home’, while ‘Heaven Above’ evokes the opening to Zeppelin’s  ‘When The Levy Breaks’.

They further explore the same early 70’s vibe on the gospel tinged arrangement of ‘Big River’, with an opening vocal line that could be The Allman Brothers Band. The track is surely destined to become a live favourite.

You could argue the album could have done with a little more variety, but they do temper their rock-blues imperative with the radio friendly funk of ‘Bad Bad Bad’ – with shades of Climax Blues Band – and the horn-led ‘I Got Time’ which features more significant bv’s.

They hit bullseye on ‘It Was Over’ with a Beatles style guitar line from ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ and Scott Ralph’s’s husky Paul Rodgers and Bad Company style vocal. It’s a perfectly layered track with interwoven sax and guitar all glued together by a cool Hammond.

Chris Bevington’s own presence is significant in the way he locks together the grooves and is a conceptual catalyst for one of the most significant big band blues outfits on the circuit.

He’s brought together a great set of players with a common aim to make things spark. And in horn player Chis Aldridge he’s found the perfect piece in the jigsaw, a team player who can effortlessly switch from a supportive to lead role.

The band hits its stride in the middle of the faux gospel ballad ‘Already Got The Blues’, which works hard to generate an emotional connection.

There’s some similar subject matter on ‘The Blues Is Everywhere’, a horn-led balledic showcase for vocalists Kate Robertson and Sarah Miller framed by a cool horn arrangement.

Musically speaking, the title track is a nod to the band’s blues and gospel influences, though geographically it’s about a ’40s’s mining disaster in their home town of Stoke on Trent.

The stripped-down arrangement comes with sinewy slide, percussion and bv’s. It leaves the kind of dynamic tension at the conclusion of the song that you might expect to be resolved.

The fact it isn’t means you have to go back the beginning in a circular musical journey that many will surely repeat. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: PAUL SABU – Heartbreak & Only Child

Rock Candy Records Remasters [Release date 07.08.20]

From the moment he burst onto the disco music scene in the late seventies, the legend that is Paul Sabu has been inundated with accolades… “best this…”, “best that…”, but he never truly turned the recognition of his peer group into fame and fortune. And, as is often the case, his talent as a writer and performer only gained genuine public awareness through his songwriting and production for other artists and in other musical forums.

It’s been good to see his work being remastered and reissued as we moved through the early years of the new millenium. And no one does it quite like Rock Candy. Never mind the bonus tracks, essays and colour pics, it’s the cutting edge remastering that does it.

The early eighties were a particularly fertile period for Sabu. His alter ego, Kidd Glove, showed he was just as capable of wrapping his versatile vocals around a few, sophisticated slices of AOR as he was hitting the high notes hard and fast. His foreceful, melodic timbre, a roughed up version of Sammy Hagar’s distinctive, born-to-rock’n'roll tenor, was perfect for delivering MTV formula rock songs.

Surprisingly, the Kidd Glove album failed to gain commercial traction, and so he moved straight into Heartbreak, released under the Sabu name the following year (1985), with virtually the same band. The critics loved its marriage of melody to hard rock. ‘Breakin Out’, ‘Hot Flash’ and ‘New Girl In Town’ are glorious tracks that still pack a considerable wallop today.  ***1/2

Three years later, recognising that fans wanted nothing more than to be swept up in the emotion of a vertiginous chorus, written in the image of a Desmond Child or a Jack Ponti, Sabu put together his magnum opus, Only Child.

Sabu had learned his lessons the hard way. Popular acclaim was the target. And that remastering job makes the gutsy urgency of of ‘Just Ask’ and ‘I Wanna Touch’ sound dynamic, clear and pin sharp, later mainlining us into the adrenaline rush of ‘I Believe In You’, and ‘Save A Place in Yourt Heart’, unwrapping both songs’ full potential. It was career highpoint that still resonates today.  ****

Each remaster carries a welcome weight of bonus tracks. Nine on “Heartbreak”… many of which had originally made their way onto movie soundtracks. And four on “Only Child”, doubling the number added to previous reissues.

Judged together, these two albums saw Sabu at a creative peak. His later material matched up, but never surpassed it.

Review by Brian McGowan


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 23 August 2020.

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 25 August 2020.


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

Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



Album review: BIG COUNTRY – Out Beyond The River, The Compulsion Years Anthology

BIG COUNTRY – Out Beyond The River

Cherry Red [Release date 25.09.20] The late great Stuart Adamson and his band, Big Country, made an indelible musical mark on UK popular culture. Their history is well documented. This anthology focuses on a very narrow, but hugely fertile period … Continue reading

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Book review: On track…MIKE OLDFIELD (Every album, every song) – Ryan Yard

On track…MIKE OLDFIELD (Every album, every song) – Ryan Yard

Sonicbond Publishing [Publication date 18.09.20] As Ryan Ward suggests in this survey of Mike Oldfield’s music, his calling card Tubular Bells – in 1973 – defined him and was never surpassed.  He was only 20.  Those of a certain age … Continue reading

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Album review: TRIPLE J TRIO – Better Days

Triple J Trio - Better Days

Self release [Release date 20.03.20] Triple J Trio is a powerhouse British rock-into-blues and boogie outfit, powered by the formidable rhythm section of Jeff Rich (Quo/Stretch/Climax Blues Band etc) and The Beat’s bassist Andy Pearson. They are joined by the … Continue reading

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EP review: GALLOWS CIRCUS – II

GALLOWS CIRCUS - EP II

Facebook [Release date 25.09.20] Kent based Gallows Circus are a relatively new band, having formed in 2016. The line-up consist of vocalist Ian Day, bassist Richard Tunbridge, guitarist Ben Attwood and drummer Steve Kitchener. Six songs on the EP, although … Continue reading

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Album review: FORNDOM – Fapir

FORNDOM – Fapir

Nordvis Produktion [Release date 03.04.20] A new genre has been created: Viking Chill-out and Forndom is the King. Skillfully mixing the best of Icelandic bands like Sigur Ros along with traditional Scandinavian folk, this Swedish artist brings a stunning world … Continue reading

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Album review: STONE FOUNDATION – Is Love Enough?

STONE FOUNDATION – Is Love Enough?

100 Percent Records [Release date 11.09.20] Ever since Stone Foundation’s 2005 bow ‘Small Town Soul’, the band’s ethos has been collaboration. With their new album ‘Is Love Enough?’ this approach spills over into the thematic content of the record too. … Continue reading

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Album review: IAN DURY – Hit Me! The Best Of

IAN DURY - Hit Me! The Best Of

BMG [Release date 16.10.20] 3-CD Reasons To Be Cheerful? Well we certainly need some of those and who better than to supply a cheery soundtrack to covid-crocked  times than the cheeky chappy from Harrow.  Ian Dury may have died in … Continue reading

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Album review: BILLY WALTON – Dark Hour

Billy Walton - Dark Hour

Harmonized Records [Release date 04.09.20] ‘Dark Hour’ is a ground-breaking album for the Billy Walton Band. It kicks like a mule but also searches for soulful subtly. ‘Dark Hour’ also finds a meaningful role for the band’s horn section, beyond … Continue reading

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Album review: JACKIE MCAULEY– The Cherryvale Files

Jackie McAulay - The Cherryvale Files

Red Button Records [Release date 21.02.20] ‘The Cherryvale’ Files is Jackie McAuley’s first album for about 4 years and though it’s an introspective aggregation of songs rather than a full-blown album, it’s been worth the wait. The former Them, Belfast … Continue reading

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Album review: ERROL LINTON – No Entry

ERROL LINTON – No Entry

Bra$$dog Records [Release date 02.10.20] Normally our blues maestro Pete Feenstra would be waxing lyrical I am sure on this release, however I like a little traditional blues now and then, something Errol Linton is steeped in. Errol has releases … Continue reading

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Single reviews: CONSTANT FOLLOWER, ARCADIAN TEMPLE

CONSTANT FOLLOWER - Set Aside Some Time

CONSTANT FOLLOWER – Set Aside Some Time Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll stumble across a band that will truly make your heart swell and your life better. Constant Follower are one such band. Changing greys to multi coloured pastel … Continue reading

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Album review: SLADE – Come On Feel The Hitz: The Best Of Slade

SLADE - Come On Feel The Hitz

BMG [Release date 25.09.20] You have to love Slade – one of Britain’s finest hit makers during the 70s and were strongly associated with the glam rock and hard rock scenes. But with a unique frontman (and one of the … Continue reading

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Album review: KAT RIGGINS – Cry Out

Kat Riggins - Cry Out

Gulf Coast Records [Release date 14.08.20] ‘Cry Out’ is a high energy album full of heartfelt lyrics, stylistic diversity and booming arrangements that gives Kat Riggins the best possible context for her gritty and soulful vocals. The album’s arts work … Continue reading

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Album review: TRAPEZE – The Box Sets

TRAPEZE - Medusa

Cherry Red (Release date 18/09/20) The talented trio at the core of Trapeze, Mel Galley, Glenn Hughes and Dave Holland, progressively elevated the band’s unique brand of hard/funk rock, constantly overhauling their own template during that lineup’s short lifespan (1970-73). … Continue reading

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Album review: SOUTH OF SALEM – The Sinner Takes It All

SOUTH OF SALEM – The Sinner Takes It All

Indie [Release date 25.09.20] South Of Salem hail from Bournemouth, consisting of vocalist Joey, guitarist Fish and Kodi, bassist Dee and drummer Pip. You can get some idea of the band’s music with the choice of producer Scott Atkins, who … Continue reading

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Album review: AYREON – Transitus

AYREON - Transitus

Music Theories Recordings [Release date 25.09.20] Ayreon’s latest album comes complete with the book and vinyl offerings accompanied by a 28 page graphic novel illustrated by Felix Vega. It’ll see Arjen Lucassen, Dutch songwriter, singer, musician and record producer, tackle … Continue reading

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Album review: LOUISIANA’S LE ROUX – One Of Those Days

Louisiana Le Roux - One Of Those Days

Gulf Coast [Release date 24.07.20] In keeping with the gumbo tradition of Louisiana cuisine, Louisiana Hall Of Fame inductees Le Roux’s brand new album ‘One Of Those Days’ is a musical hotch-potch of all that’s good about Louisiana roots music and … Continue reading

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Album review: EDDIE & THE HOT RODS – New York Live

EDDIE & THE HOT RODS - New York Live

Angel Air Records [Release date 21.08.20] This album is the last official live recording for the band with Barry Masters on vocals. Barry was a fixture in the Hot Rods from the beginning back in 1975 and until his death … Continue reading

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Album review: THE CHRIS BEVINGTON ORGANISATION – Sand & Stone

The Chris Bevington Organisation - Sand & Stone

Self release  [Release date 18.07.20] The Chris Bevington Organisation’s fourth album ‘Sand & Stone’ is a booming, gospel tinged, big band blues-rock outing.  And while the songs are written by guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and vocalist /multi instrumentalist Scott Ralph, it’s … Continue reading

Email This Page

Album review: PAUL SABU – Heartbreak & Only Child

ONLY CHILD

Rock Candy Records Remasters [Release date 07.08.20] From the moment he burst onto the disco music scene in the late seventies, the legend that is Paul Sabu has been inundated with accolades… “best this…”, “best that…”, but he never truly … Continue reading

Email This Page