Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Pretty Things - Balboa Island (2007 )

Balboa Island is the legendary British Rock group The Pretty Things’ long awaited 11th studio album in a 43-year recording career. Their first CD release in over eight years, it is already regarded by many as on par with their very greatest 1960s and 70s recordings.

Phil May lead vocals
Dick Taylor lead guitar, banjo
Frank Holland acoustic & lead guitar, vocals
John Povey keyboards, harp, vocals
Wally Waller bass, vocals
Skip Alan, drums, percussion
Mark St John ancient Trixon drums, vocals

additional musicians:

Scarlett Wrench, lots of great vocals & a capella
James Cheetham, piano & organ on "Robert Johnson"
Rupert Cobb, trumpet
Duncan Taylor-Jones, extra vocals on "Dearly Beloved

A problem with bands that have been on the scene for over 40 years (count 'em) is that they can sometimes still write songs with titles like "The Beat Goes On" and "Buried Alive," as if those tropes hadn't lost their edge several decades ago. On the other hand, when a band has played together for four decades its members have often learned one of rock & roll's great lessons: how to create maximum groove with minimal ingredients. So when the Pretty Things lay down a song as thunderous as "Livin' in My Skin," they do so with the ponderous grace and inexorable momentum of an elephant walking to water. They've also been around long enough to have heard some of their source material at the source, which means that they can deliver an ancient Delta blues like "Feel Like Going Home" with a certain arch authority. (And if you want more cowbell, these guys can deliver that with authority as well — check out the raunchy period piece "Mimi.") On the downside, they sometimes abuse their elder-statesmen status to impose eight minutes of two-chord vamp on their hapless listeners ("[Blues For] Robert Johnson"), and the title track, which closes the album, does so with much more of a whimper than a bang. Not bad at all, but unless you're a die-hard fan you'll want to be a little selective.

1. The Beat Goes On

2. Livin' in My Skin

3. Buried Alive

4. (Blues for) Robert Johnson

5. Mim

6. Pretty Beat

7. The Ballad of Hollis Brown

8. In the Beginning

9. Feel Like Goin' Home

10. Freedom Song

11. Dearly Beloved

12. All Light Up

13. Balboa Island
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...