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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Johnfish Sparkle

Johnfish Sparkle

Review by Gary Hill

When you first put this disc in it’s easy to think it’s an alternative rock disc. I suppose to a degree it is. The truth is, though, it’s more retro rock (with several aspects of that genre demonstrated) than anything else. Whatever you call it, though, it rocks.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Freedom At Last
There is a noisy edge to the powerhouse rocking jam here. This has a great 1970s rock vibe to it. While this is rooted in the music of the past to a large degree, it also has more modern edge of something like Jane's Addiction. I love the busy bass work on this. The high energy jam later has some killer guitar work and takes into almost jam band territory.
Feelin' Down

Harder rocking and more bluesy, this feels like it could have come right out of 1976. There’s also a bit of Black Crowes vibe to this and some psychedelia thrown in for good measure.  We even get cool funk section, complete with “whacka whacka” guitar.

Hey Man

A killer vintage sounding riff leads this off. They launch out into something like retro rock meets the Chili Peppers. While I liked the two cuts that came before, this is even cooler. I hear some definite Zeppelin on this one, too.

We Never Know

This is a slower jam that’s got plenty of the Allman Brothers in the mix, but also a lot The Rolling Stones and the Black Crowes. It’s a tasty number and one of the highlights of the set. I can also pick up on some Lynyrd Skynyrd here.

Tale of the Lonely Man

Acoustic based, this is a bit bluesy and also quite psychedelic. It’s very retro and a bit like Led Zeppelin at times. It does get intricate and intense, but never grows beyond the acoustic.

How Many Miles?

This frantic retro funk sounding piece has a lot in common with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s got some killer riffing and they slow it way down for a Southern Rock styled bluesy section. There’s also a killer retro instrumental section.

Down in Mexico

The central riff on this is very Zeppelin-like and we get more Black Crowes groove here, too. It’s another killer retro sounding jam.  There’s a scorching guitar solo segment on this one.

Mr. Window

Led Zeppelin meets Mountain on this smoking jam as the Black Crowes make their presence known. The guitar solo section here is especially noteworthy.

Dance Into the Fire
This rocker starts with their take on a 12 bar blues. After the extended intro they give us a jam worthy of both ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
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