Reviews roundup – Rory Gallagher ~ Mallory Chipman & The Mystics ~ Westbrük ~ Geoff Tyson ~ Paradox One
The Best Of
It’s certainly feast or famine time for fans of the late Irish blues rocker Rory Gallagher.
Last year saw the release of the self explanatory ‘Blues’, this year saw the arrival of ‘Check Shirt Wizard – Live in ’77’ and now there’s another best being released. Now, to be fair, you’d be hard pushed to find a copy of ‘Crest Of A Wave’ without selling you granny but you can still pick up a copy of ‘Big Guns’ for a bargain price. So why would you buy this?
Well it is being billed as a comprehensive collection running from Taste right through to his final studio album ‘Fresh Evidence’ and they have sneaked a previously unreleased recording to snag the fans. Although (whisper it) dedicated fans won’t be missing a “copy” of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, an outtake from the Jerry Lee Lewis 1973 ‘London Sessions’ with Gallagher singing and Lewis pumping the piano. Although you’ll only get that on the 2CD and digital versions. It’s also being released as a 7” vinyl single but, it’s not on the single CD version.
Musically, of course, it’s faultless. The 2CD version has 30 tracks and as an introduction to the sound of Mr Gallagher you really won’t do better than this. Granted, people like me will find fault with the running order but there really is no winning there. It’s not chronological so there are a couple of jarring moments as when a Taste track suddenly appears after a tune from ‘Top Priority’. But stick half a dozen Rory Gallagher fans in a room with 30 tracks and you’ll end up with 6 different running orders. The 2LP comes with 16 tracks across 4 sides and the single CD has 15. I’d be hard pushed to recommend either of those when you can pick up original LPs at reasonable prices and the single CD lineup misses for me. You’d be better with the aforementioned ‘Big Guns’.
But the double CD has some remarkable tunes and playing that show exactly why so many folk in the rock and blues world rate him so highly. I’d always have “Shadow Play”, “I Fall Apart”, “Out Of My Mind”, “Bad Penny”, “Moonchild” and half a dozen others on a personal best of so the compilers have done a good job. As with anything of this ilk there are a fw missing tunes that had me shaking my head wondering “how did you miss that” but if you’re new to Rory Gallagher the 2CD version wil lsort you out.
MALLORY CHIPMAN & THE MYSTICS
I believe the official word for this is “interesting”. Which is a good thing when it comes to art-rock which is basically what Ms Chipman and her Canadian cohorts are up to.
That’s because it’s not prog, it’s not psych and it’s not really of this world. This is another very good thing as they wander off into a world of freeform and jazzy licks underpinned by a callous disregard for rhythmic norms. Turns out Ms Chipman has released a couple of solo jazz records prior to this, which makes a lot of sound.
But now with her Mystics in tow she’s off into another world which has moments of rock, some splending old school sounding synth sounds, a space rock instrumental and some moments of beauty. The arrangements are certainly challenging in places but there is always a melody tucked away somewhere for you to attach your safety harness to. Vocally, she has quite a light sound, which works well with the synths. There are no lyrics so I’ve no idea what’s going on there but I’m guessing it’s the kind of thing that’s above the pay grade of poor white trash like me. Unless the songs are actually about wolf cubs, fruit, asteroids and a queen who has a sword. But I suspect not.
At times it actually sounds very playful as the swing rhythms try to interest your hips into some form of swaying but whatever groove you drop your needle into on ‘Aquarius’ you find something that is, at the least, interesting, and at best, compelling. A real good one.
The Bourbon Hours
Well I can certainly empathise with the opening track, “Hairy Loofa”. I’m a tad hirsute myself so when this Canadian pretendy TV come to life band riff out on a tale of the perils of bathing, I’m in.
They certainly know their way around a riff as there are plenty of sturdy ones on here. Apparently, when playing live, they’re a wee bit more jam band oriented but have done the sensible thing on disc and restrained themselves somewhat. A wise move on your debut as you don’t want to scare folk of with interminable noodling. But there’s none of that from vocalist/guitarist, Jim Cranston West, lead guitarist Vance Norgate, bass guitarist Gretta J. Brook and drummer Siglo V. At least that’s the names they’re using today as they seem to be a wee bit free and easy with their names and personal histories.
In between the riffy classic rock bits, there are some more modern alternative rock moments and even the odd ballad. However, I’m not a fan of the vocals, which are (to be charitable) limited. Oh, and if a Canadian band are going to record a song called “Ladies Man” then it had damn well better be a cover of the April Wine tune, not an ill advises step into funk rock with a drum solo. But there is a lot of musical talent on offer here and I do enjoy the somewhat sideways way they have of looking at life. “Chasing Sunsets” is my personal favourite with some Joe Meek styled guitar sounds. A record you’ll want to dip into for your own pick’n’mix.
Drinks With Infinity
Who? Really? Well there you go. A once upon a time Joe Satriani student whose worked his way through a plethora of bands and more than one major record label deal. That’s who.
The early nineties saw him with T-Ride who released an album on Hollywood Records before he guitared on the debut Snake River Conspiracy album on Reprise Records. He toured with Filter, Monster Magnet and Queens of the Stone Age then the 21st century saw a new band, Stimulator, who were signed to Universal Music and who went out on tour with Duran Duran and The Go-Go’s and played on the Vans Warped Tour. More exciting for me is that Stimulator covered a song from the film Xanadu on Ella Enchanted! Yes, really.
These days you’ll find him in the Czech Republic where he’s returned to his Satriani schooled roots and released an album of instrumental rock tunes. And if you want know how Satrianesque this is, then the answer is Very Satrianesque.
The opening “Six Weeks Of Tina” certainly grabs the attention. It’s a really strong rock tune with a great hook and, natch, some fantastic guitar playing. Personally I enjoyed things most when he rocked out. When he goes a bit psych and Pink Floydy on “Like Life Is Set In Stone” my attention did wander but when he got his groove back on numbers like “Bark” and “Monkey Love” then I was fully engaged. Having said that, though, “Asabara” is one of my favourites here which me makes an utter liar as it’s pure bliss.
People who like This Sort Of Thing will most definitey like this as he displays exemplary command of his instrument. The production sounds great with Tyson taking care of all the music bar some tasteful drumming from Eduard Štepánek who puts in a good shift. IT’s not shred although that is one of the many things he can do. Rather, it goes from rock to refined and all points inbetween. Definitely worth a listen.
The Mind Of A Futurist
Time for some experimental, electronic progressive music now.
Regular viewers of this programme may be aware that I have a passing, personal acquaintance with Mr P One but I wouldn’t be telling you about this if it wasn’t a bit good.
This is his lockdown album. He himself says it is “impressionistic, improvisational and imperfect”. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve never believed in perfection but what you’re getting yourself into is definitely worth hearing. If you have heard previous releases such as ‘Dimension Of Miracles’, ‘Reality Quake’ or the Sheckley release ‘Sunburst’ then it won’t come as a massive surprise. The jazz keyboards on “I Don’t Know Where This Came From” might but if you immerse yourself in the likes of “Deep In Space” Parts 1 and 2 then you’ll find the common ground with earlier albums.
That’s the centrepiece of the release with the combined parts stretching out for nigh on 20 minutes. But 20 minutes you won’t mind giving over to it. Even there you’ll find just as many pointers to the world of free jazz as you will prog rock but lovers of both will find plenty to immerse themselves in here. He’s looking for moments of sunlight and if you allow it, you’ll find some here.
Not entirely sure how you go about getting it but trying using the contact bit on Bandcamp.
No video but here’s an oldie;
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton