Well its once again that time of the week for my collection of the latest stuff I have been listening to for review.
Rory Gallagher: Crest of a Wave
This is a CD set—24 tracks of the Irish blues genius at his best—that is a pretty comprehensive best-of from the great guitarist that has influenced so many. And no, this Gallagher has nothing to do with the feuding brothers from Oasis. Instead he is one of the most respected bluesman of his generation. He might not have lived to a ripe old age, but he certainly left his mark. He was listed in Classic Rock’s top 100 guitarists of all time and the music on here makes it clear why.
Not only a brilliant guitarist, but like his fellow countryman Gary Moore, he has a soulful voice that just lends itself to the blues. Incidentally, the Rolling Stones asked him to replace Brian Jones after his untimely death. He managed in his solo career to work with some of the best of the best in the business including Albert King, Jerry Lee Lewis and he has recorded with the help of Roger Glover of Deep Purple.
The music speaks for itself and this collection shows just what a talented solo artist he was in the end. You will love it from start to finish… pure class.
Gregg Rolie Band: Rain Dance Live
Now normally I would not recommend that someone come into contact with an artist for the first time via a live CD. This release, however, is one of those exceptions. Gregg Rolie was a founding member of Santana and left that band with Neil Schon to form the stadium powerhouse that was Journey. This was recorded by his solo band doing material from his Santana days and from his solo album, Roots. If the guy was good enough for Carlos Santana, you know he had the chops.
Fans of original Santana will delight in hearing Rolie doing “Evil Ways,” the great track “Black Magic Woman” and the song originally by Tito Puente, “Oye Como Va.” If you are into Latin blues music you will just love this release. If you get the urge to dance every so often, don’t be surprised to find yourself dancing with your favorite partner to this. Sod the whole “Smooth” era of Santana; Rolie was there when they were a great musical powerhouse doing stuff many people had never heard.
And then there is the fact that Rolie and his uber-tight band really impress with their musicality. To make it even better, this release is in “limited edition.” Well worth seeking out for those who like their rock with a Latin tint.
Chuck Mosley & Vua: Will Rap Over Hard Rock
Now readers of this column will know that the rap rock/metal genre is one that I find loathsome, tiresome and downright bloody awful with very few exceptions. Once exception is Faith No More—whether it's with Mad Mike Patton on “Epic” or with original singer Chuck Mosley. I must admit to a certain sense of trepidation about this release.
Mosley has brought along a few friends for the ride, including the almost ubiquitous John 5 whose work with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and solo has garnered great praise. He has his former colleague from Faith No More, Roddy Bottom, along as well and a bloke out of Lynryd Skynrd, Michael Cartellone. Alas Jonathan Davies from Korn has to stick his oar in and remind us just what rap metal became.
There is a version of “We Care A Lot” on here and the rest of it is just alright. There is nothing wrong with this release; it just doesn’t really get my interest, nothing catchy or standout.
Janus: Red Right Return
I'd never heard of this lot to be honest, but that was not necessarily a bad thing. They are a bunch of young uns’ who have gotten all kinds of attention with their previous singles. This is their debut album though it certainly doesn’t show. The band comes across as a well-oiled machine that has been at the game for a long time. Its very much a solid, mature release that deliberately sets out to be catchy.
In a sense this release is modern album-oriented rock with a collection of songs any of which could be played on radio. There is a big sound on here thanks to their kitchen-sink approach to recording. Whatever sounds best is used, much like the approach of bands like Queen and others of their ilk. While it might be fairly modern sounding on songs like “Say It” there is a touch of a sound not unlike The Cure.
There is also a bit of a heavy, thrashy sound here on tracks like “Eyesore,” with its colossal hook. While this lot probably wouldn’t be the first choice of many an older rocker they certainly are palatable and even (secretly) enjoyable. Then again, considering the shite that calls itself “pop rock” these days, this release is quite the diamond in the rough.
Dream Theater: Black Clouds and Silver Lining
Its almost a futile endeavor to review a Dream Theater album these days as their fans like whatever they produce—however obtuse it might be to any possible new fans. At least that was the case with their last couple of releases.
That has changed a bit with this one. In fact, they have material which is accessible and, I would say, rivals “Pull Me Under” for potential to attract news fans. “Wither” is a great song with its soaring atmospherics, catchy lyrics and almost jovial nature. It's so catchy, in fact, that the chorus is something you might find yourself singing along to. “Shattered Fortress” has a tint of Metallica, circa the Black album. And on “The Best of Times” there is a clear and nagging Rush-vibe.
Then again, I have the “special edition” of the release which finds Dream Theater having some great fun whether its with a medley of Queen songs including “Lily of the Valley.” Next thing you know DT is doing a cracking cover of Iron Maiden’s “To Tame the Land.” Now when DT do a cover they make it their own and put it through the sieve, which is their “style” which makes it all the more fun. Some will whine that you only get 6 original tracks, but I am sure most won’t care.
I enjoy every DT album that I have ever heard, however this one is the most accessible and the least “work” for quite a long time. The band seems to be having a damn good time on these tracks. If you have forsworn Dream Theater for a while then this might be the album to bring you back. It’s a pleasure on its first listen and gets better every time.
I hope you enjoyed this run through my latest collection of review material. As always stay safe and keeping on rocking.Powered by Sidelines