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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joey Stuckey

So Far

Review by Gary Hill

This is a compilation of recordings (a “best of” collection) from Joey Stuckey. Stuckey is a guitarist and vocalist whose music seems to work around a lot of musical territory. At times it is quite bluesy. At other times it’s closer to jazz. Then there’s the classic rock element. Add in some progressive rock and psychedelia and you are pretty close to the idea. For my money this music tends to get a bit samey towards the end of the set. I think that rearranging a few of the tracks – moving some of the earlier, more varied pieces into some contrasting slots later, would have gone a long way towards making this work better. Still, it’s a good disc with a lot of great music on it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Free

Coming in with hard edged psychedelic sounds, this shifts to a hard rocking version of the singer songwriter type of music. It’s a good tune with a great non-conformist lyrical message. It turns a bit punky later and even shifts towards prog rock for a short time.

So Blue
This is a retro tinged rocker that reminds me a lot of Elvis Costello.
Mr. Mooney
A mellow ballad early, this is sad and very emotional. It’s got energy in the arrangement, though. It turns to a hard rocking section later, though. Interestingly there is a rather Steve Howe-like guitar solo on the outro. 
The Light That Guides
A soulful bluesy number, this one really rocks out with a Motown kind of texture. There’s a James Brown kind of groove to a lot of this and yet there is also a progressive rock-like break later, too. Still further down the road there’s a jam that seems to alternate between Living Colour and hard-edged pure blues. 
My Sociology
Combining jazz with a Van Morrison type of texture, this is a tasty, sultry sort of cut. There’s a definite prog-like exploratory jam mid-track that even moves towards RIO. It twists to almost metal territory late, too. In fact, I swear that this latter part is a cover of Led Zeppelin – a little bit from the Presence album. 
Bad Dreams
Acoustic guitar starts this off and continues the Zep themes, but saxophone enters, taking it into a different direction. This is a jazzy sort of jam band like rocker. It’s definitely very much in a classic rock meets jazz texture. 
Funny
Take an almost Sade-like groove and add in some rockabilly and just plain cool classic rock sounds and you’ve got a good idea what this angry song is like. There’s also a killer hard-edged funky segment later that again makes me think of Living Colour. 
Banner
This is a pretty standard rocker. It’s melodic and tasty, just not a real standout. 
Not the End of the World
There’s a bit of a 1950’s vibe to this and the lyrics seem a little overdramatic. I’m not crazy about this one. 
Take a Walk in the Shadows
A hard rocker, there’s a lot of energy to this and a definite classic rock feeling. There’s some seriously funky bass work, too.
Narrow Minded
This rocker is cool, but a bit generic and not really anything to stand out. There is a bit of a jazz element to it, though and the guitar solo segment is tasty. 
Until
With a 1960’s pop rock groove to it, this is another that’s good, but not exceptional. 
Try
Strings add a different air to this and there’s more energy and bit of a punky vibe to it. We also get some funky bass. Otherwise, though, it’s a bit too much like the previous numbers. 
Hate You
More dramatic and powerful this has a proggy element to it, but is overall an alternative rock styled powered up ballad.
Still Me, Sane and Free
With a jazzy element to it, this is good, but the whole disc is starting to feel a bit “samey”.
Hold
A bit more edgy, this is a bluesy (yet fairly mellow) jam. It’s the vocal performance here that really steals the show and elevates this one.
 
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