The Listening Post: June 2009

Quickie reviews of what’s been rockin’ the Odd Pod this month.

  • Rory GallagherRory Gallagher. Early ’70s blues boogie from the Emerald Isle. Gallagher is a ferocious guitar player whose whiskey-soaked vocals on this, his first solo album after the breakup of the band Taste, provide an additional layer of grit. He’s not as mannered a guitarist as someone like Eric Clapton, preferring to play in a raw, warts-and-all style. There are also several acoustic songs on the album which add a great deal of depth to the overall sound. His slide guitar workouts like “Sinner Boy” sound like a gutter-born Duane Allman. The only problem here is that too many of the songs are merely okay. His second album, Deuce, is superior, but this is a fine listen for fans of raunchy blues guitar. Grade: B
  • Fire And WaterFree. Best known for including the classic rock standard, “All Right Now,” Free’s most well-known album is a surprisingly groove-oriented hard rock collection. Most of the seven songs on the album are slow, and there is little of the guitar freakouts expected on most albums of this nature, though the bass guitar gets a workout on “Mr. Big.” Lighter than Black Sabbath, slower than Led Zeppelin, more stripped down than Deep Purple, and more soulful than any of their hard rock contemporaries, Free gets by on the power of their songs and their lead vocalist, Paul Rodgers. The drawbacks are that there’s a certain sameness to some of the performances and the songs stretch the limits of how long they really need to be. Grade: B

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