Reviews roundup – Status Quo vs. International Blues Challenge vs. Tom Craig vs. The Molochs
The Party Ain’t Over Yet
The latest batch of Status Quo reissues includes this, ‘Under The Influence and ‘Don’t Stop’. Which means this is definitely the pick of the bunch.
When it came out in 2005 it helped push along the rejuvenation of the Quo from the nadir of the covers years. It got into the Top 20 album charts and had a couple of minor hits but the important thing was that it rekindled Quo fans belief in the band.
This reissue is out as a 2CD expanded digipak edition with the single mix of “The Party Ain’t Over Yet”, the single b-sides (including a live version of “Gerdundula”) and a 10 minute live medley of some of their greatest hits. Back on the main album there were some cracking tunes including “Gotta Get Up and Go” and “Belavista Man” either of which would have sat happily on a classic era album.
For sure there are still too many country shuffles but when they blast into the classic rock and roll of “Goodbye Baby” you knew the Quo were on the way back.
INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE #32
The Blues Foundation/Frank Roszak Promotions
The International Blues Challenge started back in 1984 and featured a handful of blues performers. Fast forward thirty two years and 257 performers entered. That’s the power of the blues today. No, you’ll never hear them on mainstream radio but the music is out there and it’s good.
This compilation has been put together by the Blues Foundation and award winning blues PR guru Frank Roszak and features nine of the top performers recorded live during the 2016 challenge.
It’s drawn from the solo / acoustic and band competitions and has cherry picked some of the top acts who took part. It’s got a wee bit of something for everyone from the opening Delta sounds of the Paul Deslauriers Band through the remarkable slide of Sonny Moorman, on into a classic Terry/McGhee harp and guitar duo in the shape of Trey Johnson and Jason Willmon all the way through to a fantastic acoustic cut from Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons.
This confirms what those in the know know. The blues is alive and well. Good work fellas.
Get Ready For Me
Once upon a time Tom Craig was a jazz vocal major in college. Not something that should exist but, on the plus side, he’s taken his classic crooner style and married up to the classic blues and soul sounds of the fifties and sixties.
And that’s led to this enjoyable release. Together with his band, Soul Patch, he’s put together a dozen original tunes that are well worth a listen. He’s been giggin for a long time so he’s learned his craft well. Add in a tight band a fine horn section and everything comes up roses.
He can jump it on the likes of “Louita”, swing it out on “I Can’t Help Myself,” and take on a slow, heartbreaking blues with equally fine results. He can also get a party vibe going as he does on “Ballroom Dancer” which gets you in the mood big time. It’s a fun, retro album with lot to offer blues fans.
America’s Velvet Glory
With a name like that you’d be expecting some brutal death metal. So it’s a surprisingly demonic name for a band of fey US indie rockers. I can only they’re fans of Allen Ginsberg rather than latent child sacrificers.
They released their debut album a few years back via Lucias Fitzsimons’ guitarist/organist and longtime bandmate Ryan Fosters own label and this new one follows on from their retro Velvet Underground worshipping sound.
So you’re getting a mixture of druggy sixties sounds, a hint of garage rock hither and thither, some nineties shoegaze and a hint of psychedelia. If that sounds like your bag, man, then songs like “No More Cryin”, “Ten Thousand” and the jangly “The One I Love” may very well float your particular boat.