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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Todd Sharpville

Porchlight

Review by Gary Hill

This album is considered to be blues, and indeed, a lot of it is pure blues. To label it as simply blues, though, is an injustice. There’s old school rock and roll, jazz and southern rock mixed in along with some classic rock. Sure, it’s all got a basis in the blues and the blues does dominate a lot of the two CDs, but the album really stretches far beyond that label. There are some incredible performances here and, while the guitar frequently shines very brightly, it doesn’t steal the show. That’s a tribute to the overall quality of music on display.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
If Love Is A Crime

There’s a great retro groove this soulful blues number. There’s a smoking hot guitar solo here, but overall this track is more subdued.

Lousy Husband (But A Real Good Dad)
This is a bouncy retro blues number that leans to the jazz trio side of the blues. It’s got some tasty guitar work and some great hooks. The extended dueling guitar solo in the later portions of the track is really stellar.
Used
There’s more of a hard rock feeling to this blues number. It’s got some killer riffing built into it and still has some great retro sounds. This feels like it would have been all over rock radio in the 1970s. As with everything so far, this includes some scorching hot guitar soloing.
Why Does It Rain?
Horns and a slower, more balladic arrangement lend a definite jazz texture to this piece. It’s still got plenty of blues on board, but this is really a jazz track. Of course, you can have blues without any jazz, but you can’t have jazz without any blues, so that makes sense.
Can't Stand The Crook
Here’s a high energy, old school styled blues rocker that’s a lot of fun.
Everything Will Be Alright
Another retro styled tune, this one combines jazz and the blues in a killer soulful jam. It’s a lot of fun. There are some great horn sections on this piece, bringing a Dixieland texture to the table. There’s a killer little burst of pure jazz to close it.
Old Feeling
Here’s a retro tinged, soulful balladic number. It’s not as purely blues as a lot of the other music here, but it’s very potent.
Disc 2
When The World's Not Enough
There’s real blues here, but in many ways this is more like a cross between Southern rock and something from the Rolling Stones. It’s a killer tune that’s a lot of fun. The instrumental section is more purely blues and features both some scorching guitar work and some cool blues harp. Even there, though, they take it out more into a pure rock kind of sound.
When The Blues Come Calling
A slow blues grind, this is very tasty and quite retro in texture. This is one of the coolest pieces of the whole set. The dual guitar soloing later in the track is just plain sublime. What a song this is!
If That Ain't Love What Is?
The music is stripped down and bordering on ragtime and the lyrics are just plain mean. I’m not overly crazy about this one. There is some tasty guitar soloing on this, though.
Legacy Of Greed
Now, this is more like it. It’s another slow blues tune, but this is more acoustic driven and ballad-like. It’s got a great mood and tone.
Whole Lotta Lady
Here’s an old time rock and roll tune. It’s the type of 1950s rock and roll with a horn section. Sure, there is blues in the mix, but this is more of a sock hop kind of piece. It’s good fun.
Misery
This is a very slow blues jam that’s quite tasty. It is somewhat in the vein of B. B. King. It’s got some great instrumental work from all parties.
Busted
Another cut that features a horn section, this is a rock and roll tune that’s high energy and quite cool.
Porchlight
A piano based ballad, this has sort of an Elton John meets gospel and blues feeling to it. Other instrumentation is added to intensify the track as it continues, but it never really wanders from the basic roots of the piece. It’s a great number and one of the highlights of the set. It does shift out to an old school rock and roll jam later in the piece.
 
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