Reviews roundup –  Jeff Jensen vs. Dirty Action vs. Rikard Sjöblom vs. LyAllen vs. Matt Woosey

51bpurlzz-l-_ss280JEFF JENSEN
Live: The River City Sessions
Swingsuit Records

Don’t come here if you’re looking for a recorded by the Rolling Stones Mobile, Unleashed In The Studio type extravaganza, because you won’t find it.  Indeed, this often sounds like an audience bootleg, so close up and intimate is it.

But, thankfully, Mr Jensen is a fine live performer, and if you were drawn in by his “Morose Elephant” album, as I was, then this may be worth investigating.  Along with his power trio of Bill Ruffino on bass and Robinson Bridgeforth on drums, this concert, recorded at Ardent Studios, in Memphis, this is an electric showcase of his talents.

And it’s the original material that really grabs you, although his take on ‘T-Bone Shuffle’ by, um, T-Bone Walker is an absolute delight.  I could have done without the closing ‘All Along The Watchtower’, but overall, this rough and ready release makes you yearn for a beered up club on a Saturday night.


dirtyactionDIRTY ACTION
Best Of – Vol 1: The Singles Collection
Red Stone Records

Well, you’ve got to admire the chutzpah of Dirty Action with “The Best Of – Vol 1: The Singles Collection”, bearing in mind that it’s neither a best of, nor a collection of singles.  Good work, fellas.

They’ve been together a couple of years since singer Tommy Karlson and three former members of the French band, Pink Rose – Fabrice Fourgeaud (guitars), Pierre Bremond (bass) and Thierry Gaulme (drums) – got together to play some original songs influenced by seventies glam rock and eighties hard rock.  Karlson has been in a variety of bands like Lyin’ Eyes, Miss Understood, and Broadway and has just the right type of voice for this retro fest.

It’s a fine mix of sleaze, glam metal and hard rock, with tunes like ‘Welcome To The Electric Circus’, ‘Bad Boys # 1’ and ‘Just A Rock’n’Roll Band’ hitting all the right notes in all the right places.  They’ve got the songs and the swagger, so look out yout bandana and your lippy, and let the good times rock.

The Unbendable Sleep

Rikard Sjöblom – well there’s a name I’ve never heard of.  Apart from the fact that I have heard of him, because he’s the front man and co-founder of Bearfish, as well as being an associate of Big Big Train.  So, prog, then.

Well, ish.  It’s less dense and more melodic than his day job, recalling the seventies work of Supertramp and the Moody Blues in places.  Which is nice.  Lyrically, it’s all deep and meaningful, ruminating on love, life and death.  So no p*** parties here.  There is a lot of excellent guitar work, which is worth a listen, and on songs like ‘Love And War Part One: I Am Who Are’ and ‘Love And War Part Two: Lucky Star’, it’s as good as, if not better, than anything I’ve heard him do before.

It still has its roots in the world of prog, but he’s aimed for something bigger here, and to a large extent, he’s pulled it off. Fans of his work will enjoy this, but there is even more for fans of melodic seventies prog.


Fractured Time

More prog now, this time from over in the Californian colonies, and I think it’s album number four from the duo of Todd Lyall and Ken Allen.  Now, this ended up at the bottom of the pile, because I mistook it for a  Lily Allen album, what with the font and imagery, but I’m glad to say it’s nothing of the sort.

Deep breath time – this is “an exploration into the view of childhood through the time dilation of adulthood, where dreams are broken and the world is reaching a turning point.”  So, now you know.  Of course, I say album, but it’s actually an EP / mini-album, which will make Pink Floyd fans feel right at home.

There is a hint of nineties indie jangle in places, but on tunes like ‘Broken Dreaming’ and ‘Ocean Was a Beach’, they find enough twists and turns of their own to keep fans of modern day prog very happy.


51we5xzuv1l-_ss280MATT WOOSEY
Robar Music Records

Time for some folk music now.  Well, folk music in the way that John Martyn was folk music.  Which to some, is not at all, but it’s a better peg to hang your hat on to, than singer / songwriter with a penchant for seventies styled rhythms.

So, he’s new to me, but turns out he’s been cranking albums out now for nigh on a decade, and he certainly knows how to write a song.  To be fair, if I hadn’t spent too much of my misspent youth going to Roy Harper concerts, I might not have had much truck with this, but songs like ‘Who Do You Love’, ‘Mystified’ and ‘Always Be the One’ are too good to let slip by.

They’re not all as good as that, and a few of them slip into Radio 2 territory, but if you’re looking for a good, lean collection of songs, this eight track album (plus demo bonus tracks) is definitely one to cock an ear to.