Reviews roundup – Anastacia vs. JW-Jones vs. Headline Maniac
A4APP: The Live Album
Well that’s a really shite name for an album. It’s also a bit of an odd cove considering she’d already signed with her old record label for a new album in 2017. But as someone who thinks she’s the best singer of the last twenty years I’m not going to pass up the chance.
Turns out that during the tour to promote her last Greatest Hits album there was some kind of app which allowed fans to vote for a non-single to be performed at each date of tour. Which led to this collection recorded at an array of shows.
And it shows that she is still in great voice. It also show that her fans seem to be obsessed with dirgey ballads which don’t really grab your attention. There’s a reason they were left on the albums of yore and not even some outstanding vocals can save them. A couple are delights, with “Rearview” and “Time” coming out best.
If ever a release was “for fans only” then this is it.
Solid Blues Records
A well known face on the vibrant Canadian blues scene, he’s certainly made a name for himself over they years, what with three consecutive Maple Blues Award nominations and performing onstage with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, and Junior Watson.
He’s even had Kim Wilson and pianist Gene Taylor of The Fabulous Thunderbirds performing on his albums with the former even producing one of them which saw well known singer/guitarist Colin James guesting. And now he’s back with his latest excellent release.
Colin Linden is in the producers chair this time around and the album is in more of a roots rather than pure blues sound. THis is obvious from the get go with the opening “Price You Pay” and the following duet with country singer-songwriter Jaida Dreyer aiming for a wider audience.
But there is still oodles for blues fans to enjoy as his guitar is firmly in the blues idiom. It’s mainly originals with a couple of covers from the Moby Grape and Charlie Rich songbook showcasing his expanding and splendid sound.
Rod Hot Records
I did not know that. Turns out that Headline Maniac is a three piece band made up of three long time Eddie and The Hot Rods members in the shape of Ian ‘Dipster’ Dean (bass/lead vocals), Chris Taylor (guitar/vocals) and Simon Bowley (drums/vocals).
They first got together to open for the for the original Hot Rods line-upwhen they reunited for some 40th anniversary shows but stuck together when they realised what a righteous sound they made. And it’s a racket right enough, the sort of thing I heard a lot at drunken Wildhearts shows back in the day. So it’s a nineties power punk meets hard rock sound and a very good one.
Chunky classic rock riffs abound with sing along choruses and melodies galore greet you here as they crash through tunes like “Idiot Me”, “One More Chance” and “Someone Like You”. It’s a wham bam thank you ma’am record that revels in the three minute format. Of course this isn’t the nineties anymore but if they can reproduce this live then a successful club career awaits them.
A fun album from top to bottom.