Originally conceived as a songwriting project between former Wishbone Ash guitarist Muddy Manninen and songwriter and broadcaster Pete Feenstra, the former Motown signing star Marcus Malone (Malone Sibun) quickly came on board to add his unique vocal phrasing to a project that spans rock, blues, funk, gospel, Americana, and Latino. The band’s website is linked here.
Muddy Manninen- “I had just completed my River Flows” album, and then we had to lock down. I was talking to Pete about some song ideas, but I wanted someone else to sing them.”
Marcus Malone– “Pete contacted me about a songwriting project with Muddy for an EP. It was lockdown, we had time on our hands, I liked the songs, and we just dove in deep to see what we could come up with.”
Pete Feenstra- The idea was to tap into honest emotions and thematic narratives with an open-ended musical approach. It took us to places we hadn’t imagined.”
I do like doing the albums. When you review a single, it is more of a light bite, but the albums present a far more satisfying experience with the appetizers and then the main meal!
“Angel Town” 5.02
Let’s get the show on the road! This is a solid opener in Chris Rea territory. It’s dirty driving blues. The opener establishes this blues/rock guitar sound that remains through the album.
“Cheap Perfume” 4.09
I liked “Cheap Perfume.” It has this confident, smooth sound that you can sway to. I felt myself slipping into the sound and played it a second time, as I loved the melodic hooks. My foot was moving with it and it put the album into that “late night sound.”
“Delivery Man” 6.29
Pete Feenstra is one professional blues writer, with him at the helm you get this classy blues rock sound, but you also get for this album a radio friendly rock sound from the classic mold. “Delivery Man” showcases some great guitar (it has a very fine solo) and the vocal harmony is good, but it wasn’t one I would return to..
“Handmade Pearl.” 4.41
A bit of funk in the mix here! I was back on my feet for this one. If “Handmade Pearl” was part of the meal, then it is the Rum Baba cocktail!
(I am so going to deviate from the review here and share a recipe I love for this smoking hot sweet Rum Baba).
“Luxury Girl” 4.22
This is a rocky number, with some gritty vocals that really worked. It sounded like the band really enjoyed doing this one, it almost retains that jam feel in the studio, you can see them finding their way through it and having a blast.
“Mexican Romance” 4.41
I enjoyed the lyrics! It has this Latino late, late night radio feel, with a decent nod back to the seventies blues sound.
“Moment Of Regret” 4.58
The album is really hitting its stride now. I liked those background vocals and the rhythm of the piece. The vocals were also reminiscent of David Coverdale in some of his early Whitesnake days. A decent track, and the band says of this one: “Gospel blues from another Latino idea. A time, place, and decision to make, a lovely combination of Muddy’s wah-wah and Marcus gospel inspired vocals.”
“Natural Light” 4.33
A rocker! I thought it was a really solid album track, and it is one that I’d like to hear live as I am sure it would sound great with an audience.
“Price on Love” 5.33
My favourite, really liked this track from its first notes to its last. It has a slight mood change from the previous tracks, a slightly different feel vocally, and a Spanish touch. A big thumbs up from me for this, it is heading onto my personal playlist.
“She Knows Every Move” 5.15
Another solid album track. It is city blues, blues for the commuter struggling home in the late evening rain.
“With My Baby By My Side” 6.07
And now we close with the dessert. We finish on a slightly bitter dark chocolate. It ties things up nicely, and (again) I like the guitar work, some guitar straight from the blues textbook.
How do we view this overall? It will, for sure, storm the blues charts. But the blues alone is not what makes this a great musical journey. I sometimes found myself slipping into gospel at times and it has a depth of sound and songwriting that makes this a rewarding listening experience.
Release Date: April 22nd.
Label: Redline Music
Band Website link here
By Stevie Ritson