Saturday, 23 January 2016

LESLIE WEST – Soundcheck (CD)

Leslie is one of my all-time favourite guitarists. Ever since I heard Mountain back in the 70s I was hooked! His solo albums, quite a few by now, has however never really been any 10/10s, but on the other hand he’s never released any bad albums either. It’s mostly been half killer stuff and the other half swaying between good and ok. On his last couple of albums it’s like he’s been rejuvenated in some way, because he’s actually better than ever! The guitar playing, vocals and overall attitude is rock hard and the songs are for the most part really good! Souncheck starts out with a hard hitting nut kicker in the form of Left By The Roadside To Die, one of the album’s few originals. I’m not an extreme fan of covers (says the person who has released three cover albums…), but when you record a cover don’t really like it when you do a carbon copy of the original. Leslie West has, ever since the old days of Mountain, Leslie West Band and West Bruce & Laing recorded covers, and made them his own. From StonesSatisfaction, Jack Bruce’s Theme For An Imaginary Western to the entire Dylan cover album Masters Of War. This album features several covers, and I really love it when he gives them the full frontal West treatment, such as You Are My Sunshine (featuring Peter Frampton) as a cool soft blues ballad in a minor key. Just as genius as when Ghost did The Beatles Here Comes The Sun in minor. You will also find Leslie’s (or actually bass player Rev Jones’) renditions of The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready (with Leslie’s lead guitar tone soaring like a bit proud eagle) and a really groovy, strutty cover of Don Nix Goin’ Down (featuring Brian May). The only one I don’t really like is Stand By Me (mainly because I don’t like the song from the beginning and also because the way it’s done didn’t really speak to me) and the quite badly recorded live-version of Spoonful, which I can fully understand he included because of nostalgia reasons after the loss of Jack Bruce, but it doesn’t really live up to the quality of the rest of the album soundwise. As for his original tunes, Here For The Party is an outstanding chunky, gritty and heavy blues rocker that hits you like a steamroller while A Stern Warning (dedicated to his friend Howard Stern) is an outstanding showcasing of Leslie’s acoustic guitar skills. All in all, this is a damn fine album, one of the best Leslie has released since the Mountain days!
Janne Stark
Country: USA
Year: 2015

Label: Mascot Records

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're welcome to comment, but I reserve the right to remove any comments without notice.