Reviews roundup – Onkel Tom vs. Hungryheart vs. Dale Bandy vs. The Little Red Rooster Blues Band
Steamhammer / SPV
You know when you’re a youngster and there’s a general unspoken understanding that you don’t sit too close to “that” Uncle at family gatherings. Well, that’s Onkel Tom.
The solo project of Sodom vocalist / bassist Tom Angelripper, it’s another record chock full of songs about beer, beer, schnapps, beer and, um, beer. So prepare yourself for gung-ho metal with songs such as ‘I Stand At The Bar And I Have No Money’, ‘Beer, Beer, Beer Is The Soul Of The Piano’, ‘Drunkard’ and ‘Beer, Beer, Beer’. In German.
Of course, as it’s Onkel Tom and it’s German songs about drinking, there is a hint of schlager. And who doesn’t enjoy a good int of German schlager! Ha! See what I did there? No? Never mind. But it’s an album of two halves. See, it’s really a record called “Bier” and another one called “Ernst”. Spread over two CDs so you get all the drinking songs on one side and the non-drinky songs on the other.
So that’s tunes about metal, ‘I Only Love Metal’, assholes, ‘Of Assholes For Assholes’ and the polis, ‘Policeman’. Just to name three. It’s not party metal. Well, not all party metal, as Onkel Tom gets a wee bit serious. It’s more mainstream heavy metal than his day job but it’s still worth a listen. Even if it might sober you up a wee bit too quickly after what went before.
It’s been a few years since I reviewed “Dirty Italian Job”, the rather good AOR / melodic rock album from Italys finest. But now they’re back. Sort of.
Because this is their debut album, reissued to celebrate it’s tenth anniversary. Of course they’ve only managed to release two more albums since then, so it seems a wee bit cheeky. But it is awfy good.
There is (was) nothing new or fancy here. Just good old fashioned AOR / melodic rock, written, produced and performed with passion and grace. There are some outstanding songs here and the more I play it, the more I appreciate the reissue in the hope that more people will get to hear songs of the calibre of ‘Rock City’, ‘River Of Soul’ and ‘Hard Lovin’ Woman’, just three highlights from a record chock full of them.
They’ve chucked in a couple of bonus tracks to try and lure you in. That’s a 2018 revisit to ‘River Of Soul’ and an acoustic trip through ‘The Only One’. They’re alright but it’s the main course that should have fans of eighties styled AOR drooling in an unseemly manner.
Dale Bandy has been around the block. It would be rude of me to point out how long he’s been playing the blues but I’m fae Leith so rude is my middle name. Over 40 years. That’s how long.
Strange to say, then, that this is his debut solo album. He’s been in loads of bands over the years, toured here, there and everywhere. It wasn’t just blues, he had a dose of the funk as well, and this translates to the record which touches on blues, soul, pop and funk.
It’s split between originals and covers with the opening ‘My Bad Reputation’, the best of his own tunes and a definite crossover song. He’s got a strong voice and has put together a mighty fine combo to play on the record. Of the covers, his take on ‘Big Legged Woman’ by James Williams is a real treat as is his take on the Keb’ Mo’ song ‘I’m On Your Side’.
It’s been a long time coming and even if it’s not quite worth a forty year wait, it’s definitely worth hearing.
THE LITTLE RED ROOSTER BLUES BAND
Lock Up The Liquor
Pah! Johnny come latelies. Dale Bandy took forty years to release his album and here’s the Little Red Rooster Blues Band celebrating a mere thirty years since their debut.
They didn’t hang around either as the fifteen originals were cranked out in two days of recording. As it should be. There’s something far wrong if it takes you a year to make an album. Are you listening, chart botherers? Get a move one!
The band – Kevin McCann on guitar and vocals, Dave Holtzman on harmonica and vocals (two tracks) and the rhythm section of bassist Jeff Michael and drummer Bob Holden – are firing on all cylinders as they set about their chosen West Coast / Chicago style in fine fashion. Highlights are a-plnety eith the likes of ‘Pitchin’ Woo’, ‘Cotton Mouth (tribute to James Cotton)’, ‘Trouble In The Jungle’ and the as dodgy as it sounds ‘Thrift Shop Rubbers’ top of the list.
Aided and abetted on most of the tracks by legendary pianist Anthony Geraci from Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, this is a blues CD you really need to grab with both hands and party on down. Highly recommended.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton