Lucas Campbell

Lucas Campbell

Musical Musings & Reflections

Cold Flame "One Man's Wood" CD Album Review

 

As 'the gate keeper of the time coast and arbiter of good things musically speaking' I feel compelled to write something to promote this band of modern day troubadours from Derbyshire namely ‘Cold Flame’ who are one of the most diverse and creative ensembles who have permeated the music scene since 1984. Indeed they are the minstrels in the gallery who are often overlooked perhaps because of their eclecticism as 'Cold Flame' encompass a number of diverse genres. This natural versatility should in no way overshadow or detract from their adept and accomplished musicianship which often converges in a pastiche of soundscapes and imagery that is quintessentially British and emerges as progressive folk rock at its best.

 

‘Cold Flame’ are well known for championing one of their main influences which is Jethro Tull and perform tribute shows featuring music by Ian Anderson and company which has in effect helped to perpetuate and embellish the legend of Jethro Tull and their classic albums and songs from the late 1960s into the 1970s. I can only admire and applaud them for celebrating and performing this music seldom heard these days, but I must hasten to add they are certainly not a tribute band in the conventional sense, it is simply their way of paying homage to previous masters of this inspired and sometimes less appreciated genre.

 

Their latest CD album release “One Man's Wood” which is more of an acoustic offering, finds the band tapping into its folk rock roots along with some instrumental semi orchestral works and some stylish blues tracks covering songs by John Martyn, Steve Winwood, Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee and a grandiose and exceptionally plaintive classical keyboard version of “Witches Promise” by Jethro Tull, plus there’s an excellent version of “Serenade To A Cuckoo” by Roland Kirk who was one of Ian Andersons early influences. “One Man’s Wood” is a Patrick Rowbottom composition from which the album takes its name and is a jaunty flute & whistle military marching song which wouldn’t be out of place in a ‘Sharpe’ movie soundtrack.

 

"Wishful Wakening" composed by the bands mainstay guitarist Rob Barnes is a pleasant and appealing song containing some complementary flute work by Chorley musician Mark Parkinson which almost takes the song into easy listening territory which can only broaden the appeal of Cold Flame who deserve to reach a wider listening audience with this stimulating album.

 

 

 “Wade In The Water” is an African/American traditional song whose chord pattern has often been used by different songwriters over the years with the song itself being more closely associated with the ‘Underground Railroad’ movement of the 19th century & also The Fiske Jubilee Singers. “Wade In The Water” is given the traditional treatment by ‘Cold Flame’ and once again garners further admiration from myself for their appreciation and revival of an important link in our musical heritage. One of my favourite tracks is “Highlander” another original song by ‘Cold Flame’ founder member Patrick Rowbottom which is an interesting Scottish tale in the folk rock style with some Jethro Tull overtones. “Jack Tars” holds my attention too as I was expecting a sea shanty, instead the song is a poignant and reflective bygone seafarer’s tale interspersed with some up tempo jig passages which adds a touch surrealism to the track and underscores how unusual this song really is. The main verse melody is truly captivating and makes me want to play this song again and again, just haunting!

 

‘Cold Flame’ have an undisputed ability to turn their musical hands to so many genres and formats and are shameless chameleons who always retain that element of surprise in their suit which makes them so entertaining. This album is demonstrable proof that they are masters of their art and hold dear to their hearts the desire that their music must reflect who they are, both as individuals, musicians and as a collective musical union. Long live the spirit of ‘Cold Flame’, they will always be the keepers of the light at the end of the tunnel!   

 

Lucas Campbell

The Rock of Ages Radio Show

http://rockintheblues.wix.com/lucas-campbell-music

Cold Flame website

http://www.cold-flame.co.uk/index.htm

The Senton Bombs "Mass Vendetta" CD Album Review

 

After the explosive ‘shock and awe’ of their last album ‘Chapter Zero’ which was going to be a ‘hard act to follow’ The Senton Bombs have delivered an equally dynamic and without doubt their heaviest rock album to date in the form of ‘Mass Vendetta’.

Most bands tend to live out their lives in the slipstream of one major album success that defines their sound but The Senton Bombs are out to prove that this will not be the case for them as they continue to build their success around high grade well crafted songs and recordings without compromising or diluting the essence of their music.

This album captures the band in fine form with a heavy sonic sound format built around memorable guitar riffs, pounding drums and topped off with venomous sneering vocal deliveries, all essential components in The Senton Bombs arsenal. The band also display an unquenchable thirst to perform thought provoking hard hitting anti establishment songs which lays their marker firmly down proving that this isn’t simply ‘bop till you drop’ music, or worse still manufactured songs in pre programmed formats that we are subjected to every day in the mainstream media networks.

Surprisingly ‘Mass Vendetta’ is an album of contrasts too especially within the aptly named opening track itself “Trailblazer” a hard core rocker that has a much quieter laid back wanderlust mellow bridge section that accentuates the louder and heavier passages in the track.  ‘Mainstream’ has a ‘head banging’ riff sequence to die for whilst the carousing tale “Train Wreck” sees the band careering off at breakneck speed down a closed section of rail track crashing through ‘danger’ signs only to disappear at the end of the line, but reappear again with the glorious “Out West” an anthemic country rock style song which somehow reminds me of early Bryan Adams material with an infectious ‘sing along’ chorus. Then into bowels of “Mass Vendetta” which is an earth scorcher with one of the finest fiery vocal performances by Joey Class followed by “13 Days” a song in a similar vein with some slightly softer nuances. “Avalanche” is one of the standout tracks on the album a mid tempo semi psych rock track reminiscent in feel to The Yardbirds “Evil Hearted You/Still I’m Sad” a haunting song. “Pretty Tricky” is a full throttle ‘stick your head through the railings’ rocker with “Wedlock Horns” running high in the pecking order of memorable favourites to my ears with a defining and effective lead guitar line of exceptional tonal quality which punctuates the song. “Red Shield” borders on an epic as it tells the unfolding story of the banking system and its control over “this world they’ve bought and sold” A fascinating song and parable which is a testament to a unique song writing talent. “Apex” draws the album to its final conclusion in typical Senton Bomb ‘take no prisoners’ mode. There simply isn’t one second rate track on this album and your favourite song is always going to be the one you are listening to at that moment!

Angry young men really can make great Rock & Roll and it can rarely have sounded better than the recordings on this album. Messrs Class, Gibbons, Kage & Mason have every right to feel proud of this recording and all they have accomplished as The Senton Bombs with the band having been signed to top German label '7 Hard' for worldwide distribution of this album. In an ideal world I would like to see more rock acts being signed up by the big record companies instead of being locked into a continuous downward spiral of pop mediocrity which seems to be the order of the day. The Senton Bombs have the talent to buck the trend and have once again left their mark with “Mass Vendetta”stirring music played by real musicians determined to make a difference. “Long Live Rock”!!

 

Lucas Campbell

The Rock of Ages Radio Show

http://rockintheblues.wix.com/lucas-campbell-music 

Chris Bevington & Friends Better Start Cookin' Album Review

 

 

 

This second CD album by Chris Bevington & Friends has been well worth waiting for and has exceeded all expectations delivering a well balanced variety of finely honed songs created by exceptional musicians who are all masters of their calling.

 

There is a diverse array of original material and cover songs which stretches from Blues into Americana and every track weaves its magic upon the listener with inspired to just downright excellent performances captured for posterity by gifted music producer & songwriter Scott Ralph who embellishes the heart and soul of each song with perfect blending of vocals and instruments every time.

 

The opening track “61& 49” which would be a perfect fit for a movie soundtrack is a powerful mid tempo atmospheric ‘in your face’ Mississippi Delta blues stomper with some superb dobro slide guitar from Pete ‘Sarge’ Frampton which sets the scene for things to come. “Express Train” is a fine example of ‘laid back’ blue eyed soul, whilst “Better Start Cookin” is a Texas roadhouse swinger similar in style to The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Jim Kirkpatrick’s poignant rendition of The Allman Brothers “Old Friend” is one of the albums strongest performances.  Jim’s FM band mate Steve Overland pulls off a superb vocal on BB King’s “Everyday I Have The Blues” and there’s even an interesting re-working of the Jimi Hendrix song “Bold As Love”.

 

The stand out song and performance on the album is the soulful ballad “Change The World” which sweeps everything before it including the listener who drowns in the whirlpool of emotion created by the ‘up front and personal’ vocals of Robert Hart who nails this track to your heart with some country style tear stained vocal inflections, which leaves you wanting more, always a sign of a very special song!

 

Hats off to Chris Bevington the talisman and catalyst whose guiding light shines ever brighter through the darkness drawing quality musicians ‘like a moth to a flame’ to his inner circle of  like minded music creators and performers whose harmony and inner vibrations have been truly consummated in this album. Rest assured “Better Start Cookin” serves up some very tasty musical dishes!

 

Available as a download on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chris-bevington-friends/id907518672

 

Lucas Campbell

 

The Rock of Ages Radio Show

http://rockintheblues.wix.com/lucas-campbell-music

The Senton Bombs Meet Guitar Designer Trev Wilkinson

                                 The Senton Bombs with Trev Wilkinson & Lucas Campbell

 

The doyens of Blackpool’s alternative rock music scene The Senton Bombs received a guided trip through the history of the electric guitar and its innovations when they met up with British master guitar designer and consultant Trev Wilkinson at his Southport Design Studio just recently.

 

Trev Wilkinson is a name synonymous with ‘Fret King’ Trev’s signature range, which embodies the knowledge of decades and ‘Vintage’ guitars. Both are successful and well established brands which carry quality ‘Wilkinson’ designed hardware and high grade pickups. These guitars have received acclaim from seasoned musicians and also younger players like Johnny Gibbons and Damien Kage of The Senton Bombs who have a cache of ‘Vintage’ guitar models that they used for the recording of their last two albums.

 

Chorley music promoter & radio presenter Lucas Campbell who arranged the meeting through mutual friend musician Karl Nadin said it was fascinating listening to Trev recall his experiences working with people like guitar inventor Leo Fender the founder of ‘Fender’ guitars in the United States. Trevor is also an inventor himself of some repute having invented the Wilkinson roller guitar nut also used on Fender Guitars.

The Senton Bombs will soon be official endorsees of Vintage Guitars courtesy of Trevor Wilkinson along with other rock luminary endorsees The Quireboys, Midge Ure and Martin Turners Wishbone Ash. The endorsement will be handled through Gavin Coulson at musical instrument distributors JHS who are also suppliers of the Fret King and Vintage ranges along with a whole host of other musical products.

 

Senton Bomb front man and bassist Joey Class said it was great to meet up with Trev and to become part of the ‘Vintage’ roster of endorsees, further adding “it means a lot to the band as a validation of our musicianship and choice of quality instruments especially when you consider our early beginnings as self-taught musicians”.

 

Following hard on the heels of a Classic Rock Magazine CD featured track inclusion The Senton Bombs who took their band name from a Mexican wrestling move are ready to deliver another knock out kick with the release their next single “Mainstream” on October 2nd through Holier Than Thou Records.

 

Angela Lewis Brown The Soulstress Of The North Country

Every so often and even more rarely ‘once in a blue moon’ an artist like Angela Lewis Brown emerges to come of age with a voice that has the ability to split the atom and melt the heart all in one breath. This album ‘Set Me Free’ is really a showcase for her impeccable soulful vocal talents which veer towards the blues/rock genre tinged with some elements of classic blues & soul. Above all else this album exudes that passion which all musicians prize so highly to fire their inspirations to make meaningful music that will reverberate within the human memory as timeless songs and performances. It is my belief that the gift of a supreme musical talent is granted only to a limited number vocalists & artists who have that rare ability to connect their soul and inner self to their creative genius. I think Angela Lewis Brown is one of the very few who fall into this category and are able to channel pure raw emotion at the drop of a hat and transfix the listener.

 

There are a number of outstanding vocal recordings on this album which include the haunting and ethereal “Summer Nights” and the angst driven “Ice Cold Tears” which is a total ‘chill factor ten’ on the Richter scale of pure emotion. “Hopeless” is another song which grabs the limelight for me with Angela almost duetting with herself on secondary and backing vocals, not forgetting “Better Man” which is a raw slice of bluesy bayou rock.

 

This is a voice that captivates, controls and lifts every song beyond its individual merits into a master class of how a really gifted vocalist can exalt themselves challenging the boundary of a song structure and moving the performance into the realms of true artistic expression and pathos.

 

If this album is a sampler of things to come please bring it on, more especially now with the exciting addition of new band members Kevin Banham on drums and the sensational Mark Thornley on guitar joining up with ex Shakatak man Steve Underwood on bass, just stand back and watch the blue touch paper self ignite. The future is looking so good now Angela Lewis Brown has ‘Set Me Free’.                          

 

Lucas Campbell

 

The Rock of Ages Radio Show                                                                                                                                                                                          

rockintheblues.wix.com/lucas-campbell-music

 

angelalewisbrown.com 

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