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Non-Prog CD Reviews

West Side Joe & The Men Of Soul

Keep On Climbin'

Review by Gary Hill

This act out of Colorado really has crafted a sound that has its roots and textures set in old-school, classic, musical zones. Yet, they bring a freshness and vitality to it. As you might expect, there is a lot of soul in the mix here, but that is nowhere near the end of the equation. You get funk, blues, rock and roll and even some country in the mix. This is not incredibly unique, but it is exceptionally well done and compelling. I know I tend to be more of a progressive rock and heavy metal guy, but this set might make my list of best albums of 2021 by the time the year is over. It's that good, really.

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Track by Track Review
Easier Than You Think
I love the muddy bass line that starts this. The rhythm section serves as the only backing for the first vocals, creating a cool groove. Some piano enters after the first full vocal movement, creating some classy melody. Then some funky guitar joins. This is a really classy tune that works well.
Keep on Climbin'

Roots rock with a country edge brings this tune into being. The cut has a great vibe and energy. There is a soulful edge to it, too.

Vacate My Heart

Cool rock and roll screams out of the gate. This has a great energy and killer guitar sound. It's high energy and fun. There is a bit of Bob Dylan to this somehow, along with some Georgia Satellites.

Come Thru

A stripped back arrangement serves as the backdrop as this number works out. It's very retro and soulful. I love the multilayered vocal arrangement, and the slow groove is really augmented by the organ sound early. It gradually gets more rocking as they continue on the path forward.

Found You
An entertaining soulful groove drives this tune. It has such a classic sound to it. The horns are a nice touch, and the whole tune has a Motown vibe.
Man Down

The funky concept on this piece works so well. I dig the guitar work on the tune, and the backing vocals lend some real magic.

Raindrop Don't Care

The organ solo on this tasty soulful tune is so classy.

Give Love For Free
This is another solid soulful song.
Colorado Mama
Old school blues is on the menu here, completely with slide guitar and harmonica. They really nail it, too.
I Got A Letter
Gospel and old school blues meet on this number. There is more slide guitar, this time of the acoustic variety.
When You Get The Chance
Another bluesy grind, this has old school country and some jazz in the mix, too. This really feels like something that could have been recorded in the 1940s.
I Can't Lose
A bluesy rocker, this has some killer guitar work. The whole tune feels like something that would have been at home in the 1960s. This is one of my favorite songs here, making it a great choice for album closer.
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