Album review: HUSTLER – Reloaded

HUSTLER - Reloaded

Black Cat Records [Release date 07.08.20]

Many won’t know the name Hustler, however back in the 70’s they released two albums on A&M, supported Queen on that band’s first headline tour and toured with Status Quo in Europe. The band split in 1976 and that was thought to be it as far as Hustler were concerned. Fast forward to 2016 when bassist Tigger Lyons and drummer Tony Beard (who since 1976 has played and toured with the likes of Mike Oldfield, Jeff Beck, Chris Rea, Go West and many more), they began to piece this album together.

Since Hustler quit in 1976 original guitarist Micky Llewellyn died in 2014 (there is a fitting tribute to him on the album, ‘Salute To Micky’) and vocalist Steve Haynes suffered a stroke which rendered him unable to sing. However, his vocals were taken from songs planned for an album in the 80’s, with original keyboards player Kenny Daughters involved, along with two new guitarists to the band – Tick Brown and Tony Miles.

This is one classy album, with a 70s feel coupled with a modern production. Shades of Bad Company on ‘Stay Close To Me’, then a little soul added to ‘Shotgun’ (surely one of the few songs to feature karate instructors on the outro!), whilst ‘Hard For You’ is a tasty blues number, aided by the harmonica of Pete Quensel.

‘That’s Love’ ups the pace, one for fans of Moody-Marsden era Whitesnake. Neat playing from the guitarists Brown and Miles on this one, with their other stand out being on ‘Into The Fire’, a real six-string treat.

A 20 page booklet accompanies the CD with information and articles about the unique way this album was compiled, together with personal stories, photos and song lyrics. All in all a well thought out package and the music is perfect for those who love the 70’s sounds of Bad Company, Ian Gillan (Steve Haynes does sound like him at times) and anyone who loves a little bit of soul with their serving of rock. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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