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Product Reviews

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  1.  Shaken And Stirred


    Marcus Bonfanti long awaited third album has finally arrived and I have to say that it is the most fulfilling album yet from a guy who is one of the most gifted musicians I know from his guitar playing to his extraordinary vocals that still amaze me to this day after seeing him live numerous times over the last four years. Speaking to Marcus recently he told me that he is immensely proud of this album as he put all of his heart and soul into it, I can tell you now music lovers that this is one of the must have releases of 2013.
    So what does Shake The Walls give us from Marcus that makes it so good and different from his last two albums? Well its the band sound I have been craving for with eleven original tracks most of which were tested out over the last twelve months on the road, either as band or solo gigs before being refined and finessed at The Grange Studio using the analogue taping format.
    His impressive song writing skills with his trusted collaborators, mainly Jake Field, give us an insight to the perils of drinking
    and women with some humorous lyrics as with the opening two tracks Alley Cat and Cheap Whiskey both very clever lyrically and musically great choruses for you to sing along with. The self-penned We All Do Bad Sometimes has an infectious melody I cannot get out of head, starting off with a gentle guitar hook it soon grows and grabs you again when the band kick in to set the groove and features some great guitar towards the end of the track.

    Marcus surrounds himself with trusted and very accomplished musicians with Scott Wiber on bass and the extremely underrated Alex Reeves on drums, these guys show how tight they are on the album and none more than Honest Boy with the vocalising set up differently this time, more great guitar and harp on one my favourite songs Jezebel again the melody just grabs you and takes you on the journey.
    I know that Jimmy Page is a big influence on Marcus and it shows on the intro to Stone Me Sober, this is another song that rocks along with lyrics about being chastised by a partner about drinking habits. Great friend Paddy Milner is the unofficial fourth band member on the album featuring his excellent Hammond playing on three tracks here all of differing styles, firstly on the raucous and very commercial Baby Dont Dance to me this song has HIT written all over it and should be on every commercial radio stations playlist, awesome vocal on this song.
    Blind Alley is the biggest surprise to me, a mainly acoustic country blues tune co written with the amazing Sharon Vaughn, a beautifully crafted song which I think has more than a tinge of Chris Isaak about it especially when the electric guitar kicks in, another track that would be suitable for much radio airplay.
    Paddy is more prominent on another killer track Honey this a slower brooding tempo which features some lovely interplay with Marcus guitar and primal vocals, the slide guitar is also in use to good effect on the rocking Bang Of A Gun featuring more great drumming from Alex.
    Finishing off the album and quite rightly so is the award winning The Bittersweet which is now finally publically released with a new version from previous gig only EP format.

    Shake The Walls is brilliantly produced by Dave Williams who has captured the intensity and subtlety of Marcus Bonfanti, this should catapult him into the mainstream consciousness of the music world with this album which shows his versatility in both lyric and musical content and would not be surprised if it features in music awards over the next eighteen months or so.

  2.  Busted, Broken, Blue & Brilliant


    Once in a while a gem passes your way, to say I have played this cd everyday is an understatement, I have sometimes played it 2 or 3 times.
    If you are willing to take a chance on very modern blues with a modern beat and tempo, then this is for you. Very danceable in places with the musicians getting every bit out their chosen instruments. While chatting to a couple of friends about this cd, we all came to the same conclusion that it reminded us of a concept as to the Fun Lovin' Criminals making a blues recording. That would be a selling point on its own to me.

    The songs in the main are on an upbeat with a couple taking it down a step or two to give you a well deserved breather.

    The disc opens up with 'Maxwell Street' the story of a musician walking down it and taking in the nostalgia and history of it , great references to Leadbelly, Little Willie and Big Bill Broonzy to name a few. Great start closely followed by the wonderful 'Never Saw The Devil' with its guitar and Hammond intro melody which grooves the whole track, taken over by a great bass line.

    'Waitin' At The Station' is my favourite on the cd, if I had to choose one. Briiliant hook with a guitar/harp wailing in the background while Justin sings the opening verse over the top, it then breaks into a groove you just cannot stop tapping your feet to Its as an infectious a song as you are going to hear all year,dominated in the main by the harp the song tells a story of a man losing hs woman and his desperation to find her.

    'In The Summertime' is a song that a couple of my friends adore, this is the closest to the aforementioned Fun Lovin Criminals as you will get in the blues.Brilliant hook and groove that I know has had one woman I know waking up with the tune in her head. Great guitar and harp in this song.

    Great Dobro on the next track 'Lowdown, Sweet And Dirty' which is about one night stands, the band really shine on this track, again very catchy. 'Livin My Life' has another fantastic hook/groove to keep you dancing and a chorus to singalong to , would go down a treat at any party, The harp again taking centre stage reminiscent of the wonderful Lee Brilleaux in his prime, the is driven by a great bass line, slide dobro soloing.

    'Mean What I Say' kicks along in a James Brown vibe again great playing by all concerned on this number. 'Still In Love With My Baby' slows the pace down with a superb slide intro, lyrics venturing into man loses woman territory, lovely keyboards on this track with a gentle slide just below in the mix. A classy song.

    The title track has The Stray Cats written all over it, not a bad band to base a sound on., great Brian Setzer style guitar as well, very uptempo and another foot stomper, merges into Joe Jackson as well in his jazz days.

    Another slower song 'Day Becomes Night' is your more conventional blues slow number, opening blues guitar solo with keys underneath, probably the best vocal track as well on the cd. I can see this track being covered by more established artists in the future, especially with the room to solo away forever. The guitar and Hammond solos are a joy on this.

    'Neckbones And Gumbo' finishes the cd off with a slice of New Orleans depicting the wonders of women. A grand finale to the cd.

    Overall this cd is one of the best you will hear this year, it has everything you need for a party, car drive or just plain old listening for pleasure. Having already seen this band live the songs transfer very well to the format. Great songs, great musicians and very good production that gives it a very cool live feel.

    Catch them live if they are near you , you won't regret it.

  3.  Fluke-tastic


    This cd title has many conotations attributed to it , but as to the musical content, this cd is indeed no Fluke it is in my opinion the rock cd everyone should have a copy of.
    A long while in the making it delivers on all counts, ticking every box . The songs have the trademark catchy lyric hooks and melodies,but also huge riffs that take you back to the classic rock feel I love.
    Opening with the familiar Luke growl of 'Create your world my Mother said when I was young' , the band launch into 'Take The Blame', which when first heard set the tone for the new Voodoo Six sound post First Hit For Free. Then follows the title track from the ep 'Something For You' keeping up the pace and quality, another terrific live song. 'Take Aim' is a work-around of the track that appeared also on the ep called 'Where You Want Me' which will give the crowds at gigs a good singalong, to my ears it carries a bigger sound on it. 'Like The Others Did' is a brilliant rocker , a fantastic guitar riff that hooks you from the start, Luke's vocal layered wonderfully in the track, a great band sound on this that will be a live favourite for years.

    The most interesting track on here for me is 'Killer' a sole Tony Newton composition that initally when I heard it a couple of years ago was to say the least not a song I cared for, but it has been reworked and polished up with accompanying movie vocal clips at start and end to give it more gravitas. It is now the ugly duckling thats turned into a swan and I eat copious amounts of humble pie for it.

    The centre piece and production number of the cd is the glorious 'Underneath My Skin' starting off slow with piano in the background, the song builds up like Mistaken/Saints & Sinners style, the Chris Jones - Deans and Matt Pearce - Gibson guitars play this track out wonderfully with Luke singing very soulfully, this song is extremely well produced with the bass and drums simmering underneath , a touch of orchestration at the end reallty give the track an epic feel to it. 'Body And Soul' has another great riff to it and it rocks along with a great groove, 'Live Again' bites into you with its choppy guitar intro, great lyrics as well
    ' You smash down all these walls now you can barely crawl, whereas upon my friend you're gonna live again'.

    'Mountain' is another new track to me and is fastly becoming my cd favourite and sounds very radio friendly to these ears. Starting with Tony's bass line it soon settles into a great groove with the twin guitars exchanging the riff, before Grav lays down the backbeat for Lukes gentle vocals, halfway through the song launches into another gear with the guitar break before settling back down into the aforementioned groove.
    'Long Way From Home' sends off the cd in grand style , this is a serious rocking track that is already a live favourite and shows everything that is good about Voodoo Six, thundering bass, skin-blistering drums, great vocals and superb twin lead guitars, and a chorus that mere mortals dream off writing.

    The songwriting credits are shared between Luke, Tony and Matt and I think the whole band can be proud of making a cd of outstanding quality in difficult circumstances, high quality musicianship from Luke Purdie, Dave 'Grav' Cavill, Matt Pearce, Chris Jones and Tony Newton. The engineering , production and mixing of this cd are also top notch.

    This cd is a must for any self respecting fan of c

  4.  Classcoast


    Touchstone's previous cd showed great promise. That promise has been more than realised now. Wintercoast is a truly superb cd. The band have developed their own sound and all the band members have pushed their playing to new highs. Every track on this CD is excellent, superb playing, catchy hooks and a variety of styles, a bit of gothic, prog and just good foot-tapping rock. If you are fans of any of those gendres then buy this CD you won't be disappointed. The song writing, playing, production and recording are of the highest quality. In particular, Kim Seviour has been given the space, and maybe gained the confidence, to put in a truly inspired vocal performance and seems to take on a greater role in vocal duties than before, she has a great voice .
    If Touchstone can keep up this standard they are destined for great things !
    Opening epic title track Wintercoast, Zinomorph & Line in the sand but there is not a filler in sight. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.

  5.  Its all part of my rock n roll fantasy


    This DVD features Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke, as Bad Company performing a one night only sold out show at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood Florida on August 8th 2008.
    This a different from the previous 'Merchants Of Cool' which did not feature Mick Ralphs, it is a surviving members dvd.
    The stage is set very sparse with drums and a piano in place there as well as Howard Leese on second guitar and Lynn Sorensen on bass guitar, you know that the music is going to be the focus, no gimmicks here.
    Low keyentrance on stage leads into the classic namesake song 'Bad Company', the crowd going crazy and singing along with every word.
    All the albums have tracks featured on here except the last one 'Rough Diamond', would have been great to hear the criminally underrated song 'Electricland' played on here.
    The song 'Gone, Gone, Gone' , Paul dedicates the song to the deceased ex member Boz Burrells wife in the crowd also it being Boz's own composition for the band.
    There are some songs aired here that on recent Paul Rodgers tours havent been played before, so was terrific to hear, 'Live For The Music', Simple Man', 'Honey Child' and 'Good Lovin' Gone Bad'.
    'Shooting Star' sees a backdrop of dearly departed musicians including the mighty Paul Kossoff on a slidescreen with the crowd cheering along to each new picture of an idol. The song itself is a memorial in itself and one of the greatest songs ever recorded.
    The dvd contains 16 songs from the first 5 Bad Company albums, the accompanying cd has one less track akthough on the website there is a free recording download available of 'Rock N Roll Fantasy'.
    The musicianship is of the highest quality and firmly recommend this purchase.

    Bad Company/Honey Child/Burnin'Sky/Gone,Gone,Gone/Run With The Pack/Live For The Music/Seagull/Feel Like Makin Love/Movin On/Simple Man/Rock Steady/Shooting Star/Cant Get Enough/Rock N Roll Fantasy/Ready For Love/Good Lovin Gone Bad

    Paul Rodgers: Vocals/Guitar/Piano
    Mick Ralphs: Guitar
    Simon Kirke: Drums

    Howard Leese: Guitar/Vocals
    Lynn Sorensen: Bass/Vocals

  6.  Greek Rock


    This is probably the most eagerly awaited JB cd in his recording history, mainly due to the enormous success of recent times with Sloe Gin, Ballad Of John Henry and the RAH concert and dvd release. Questions being thrown around about 'How the hell can he get near these musical highs?' Well people ...Joe & co have produced a musical masterpiece. I can confirm , in my humble opinion, that Joe has given us his best work since the 'You And Me' cd.
    Very Led Zep in feel , and the added bonus of the Greek influence which enhances the songs in the most positive way.
    Black Rock is a very complete statement , unlike its 2 predecessors that were very good but had the odd track you wanted to skip past, not here , every track is a killer in its own way.
    Excellantly produced by Kevin Shirley, he and Joe have a very good understanding now and it shows .
    The cd kicks off with 2 covers that set the rock groove in nicely, 'Steal Your Heart Away' and 'I Know A Place', before the first of Joe's own compositions 'When The Fire Hits The Sea' which I believe was written about the sunsets in Greece.
    The first taste of Greece in the music comes on 'Quarrymans Lament' which has a wonderful laid back rhythm courtesy of the local musicians Joe playing along over the top of them, culminating with a beautiful guitar solo. This will I presume take a few people by surprise, but I like it.
    Back to the rock on 'Spanish Boots' an old Beck/Stewart/Wood composition, that will sound great live. The bass , drums and keys are excellant on this track.
    Back to Greece on the Cohen cover of 'Bird On A Wire', very beautifully done by all concerned, it could have gone totally over the top here, but thankfully it was kept within boundaries to make a cover version to be immensly proud of.
    Back to more familiar Joe ground next on the great Otis Rush's 'Three Times A Fool' rolling blues/rock guitar riff with unlucky in love lyrics .
    Nightlife comes next , the duet with Joe's hero BB King. Both guys taking turns on vocals and guitar, great to hear 2 different styles of blues here.
    Joe hits us next with his own 'Wandering Earth' the song could have come from any of Led Zeps first 2 albums, I think even Robert Plant would enjoy singing along to this one . Another track that will sound awesome live.
    'Look Over Yonders Wall' is another familiar blues/rock groove that we all love to sing and dance along to. A great bassline laid down here by Carmine, with a great Joe solo.
    The last 3 tracks on the cd are 'Athens To Athens', 'Blue And Evil' and 'Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind', these 3 are probably my favourite tracks on this cd.
    The first 'Athens To Athens' is the cd's standout track , a brilliant old style acoustic blues playing/singing style that I love, with the Greek musicians playing around it. Very close to being the best song Joe has ever written in my very humble opinion.
    'Blue And Evil' just rocks and will be a live fave with an acoustic guitar/greek opening and ending, it quickly opens into a total rock riffing track again very Led Zep in structure, great singalong live song.
    'The final song 'Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind' is a song I really truely hope Joe plays live in the UK in May. One of the best cover choices he has ever made for his cd's. Written by Blind Boy Fuller , it captures the old mono style recordings style.
    This cd I believe will in years to come be regarded as the best cd Joe has released up to this point. Great production from Kevin Shirley, the musicians are quite excellant on here, the songs choices are impeccable, and finally the use of Greek musicians on some tracks is inspiring.
    Black Rock is a cd that any of the tracks here could be performed live, I hope he does them all. All