Reviews roundup – Isaiah B Brunt vs. Eddie Turner & Trouble Twins vs. Bald Red Lady vs. Eric Gales vs. Atomic Love Reactor
ISAIAH B BRUNT
A Moment In Time
I was rather taken with ‘Just The Way That It Goes’, the last album from the Kiwi born, Australian raised bluesman who does his recording in New Orleans. I reckoned he was a fine writer as well as a good singer and guitarist and that’s carried on to this new release.
It sounds fantastic, but then when you’ve got a rhythm section of George Porter Jr, and Doug Belote, then it’s kind of hard to mess it up. The New Orleans vibe is completed by some great keyboard work from Mike Lemmler who leads his own New Orleans Jazz Revival Band. Add in a few top tunes like the horn enhanced “Singing The Blues”, the boogiefied “That Place On The Road” and the juke joint sound of “Party All Night”, and you’re left with s storming blues album.
The arrangements are really strong, especially when the horn section comes into play, and he can even mellow things down as he does on the the duet with Sarah Burke on “A Moment In Time”. Another really strong release from Mr Brunt, this should be near the top of the list of your blues buys.
EDDIE TURNER & TROUBLE TWINS
Naked…In Your Face
More blues now, this time from Eddie Turner, a blues veteran whos has served time with Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth as well as playing guitar for Otis Taylor alongside a steady solo career.
This is his first live album, and sees him in cahoots with the Trouble Twins, namely bassist/vocalist Anna Lisa Hughes and drummer/vocalist Kelly Kruse. And for a three piece they can whip up a storm. It’s mainly original material, with a couple of covers thrown in, namely Nick Gravenites’ “Buried Alive In The Blues” and the well worn “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. Musically, he has a tendency to wander off into almost jam band style riffing, but when he sticks to the riff on numbers like “So Many Roads” then it’s definitely worth having a listen.
Vocally, he errs on the side of rough, but some of the vocals are handled by bassist Anna Lisa Hughes and it makes for a nice contrast. There is no doubting its authenticity as a live album, as it lands warts and all, but it’s certainly fresh, vital and, yes, in your face.
BALD RED LADY
All The Earth
Wow. That’s a really shit name for a band. Even in the eighties, which is when Jeff Bridi, Nick Bohensky, and Dave Wilson, formed the band. Originally inspired by bands like Rush, The Police, and Yes, they took on some influences from King’s X, Voivod, King Crimson, and Prong, and headed off in a more heavy and experimental direction.
They released a few albums and shuffled lineups between then and 1998 when they decided to go all hippity-hop under the name of Body, before mutating into a metal band called To The Bone, then became a progressive improvisational band called the 16 Deadly Improvs. Still with me?
Well now, the original Bald Red Lady trio are back with a new prog album. Whew. And they’re quite good at it, as they take on board the likes of Riverhead and Porcupine Tree for a more modern prog sound. They’ve certainly got the chops for it, and there are some good songs here as well. Fans of modern prog will take easily to the likes of “Melting Stars”, “Second Nature Comes Alive” and “Twin Star Soldier”, which take all the required boxes in fine fashion.
They may have taken the scenic route, but they got there in the end.
A Night On The Sunset Strip
I had no ambitions to be a dentist, but once upon a time I interviewed Eric Gales and it was just like pulling teeth. His picture is next to monosyllabic in the dictionary. But no-one said you had to be chatty to be musician, so let’s just assume his fingers do his talking for him.
Because he is a remarkably good guitarist, as this new live CD / DVD combo illustrates. AS the name suggests, this record was recorded live in Hollywood show and sees him reaching into his back catalogue, as well as some tunes from his last studio album, ‘Good For Sumthin’ along with a cover of the Rolling Stones’ song “Miss You”.
It’s a power trio format with Cesar Oviedo on bass and Nicholas Hayes on drums backing up Gales who throws in every trick in the book as he rocks his way through the blues. He really builds up a storm through the show which is then, unfortunately, interrupted for a drum and bass solo. Time for a pee. He then has to rev things up again, but makes a fair fist of it through the closing numbers. To be fair, he’s never really written a classic song, but the power of the performance makes up for it live
The DVD is less essential, as the show is broken up with interview segments, but as a twofer, this should keep his fans happy.
ATOMIC LOVE REACTOR
Tall Whites Records
Lastly for today, and we’re off to Swedenfor some rawk! Which is what Sweden specialises in. Atomic Love Reactor not only have a great name, but they’re looking back to the seventies when the likes of Deep Purple and Atomic Rooster were putting out organ driven rawk to the masses.
ALR who are Fredrik Eriksson: vocals, guitars, Thomas Bellen Bergman: guitars, vocals, Anders Olsson: keyboards, vocals, Peter Samuelsson: bass, vocals and Johan Strende: drums, vocals seem to be veterans, if their picture is anything to go by, and they’re putting their experience to good use on this album.
Their mix of seventies meets eighties rock is invigorating, with melodies, riffs and pumping keyboards to the fore. From the opening “Kiss Of Life” through the Coverdale like “Keep Me Alive” to the Purplesque “The Piper”, this is a record chock full of memorable moments. For an indie release, it’s got a great sound, and the likes of Frontiers Records should be snapping them for a rapid follow-up. Good work.