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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jeremy Spencer

Bend in the Road

Review by Gary Hill

Jeremy Spencer has definitely been a fixture of rock music since his rise to fame in the 1960s for his work in the early days of Fleetwood Mac. That band was well founded in the blues, and so is this album. That said, there is plenty of rock and roll, folk rock and pop rock on this set. However you slice it, though, it’s an entertaining disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Homesick
With some killer slide guitar, this is a great traditional blues romp that’s lots of fun.
Cry for Me Baby
This one has a bouncy kind of sound to it and fits closer into the old school rock and roll genre than it does pure blues. It’s another smoking hot tune on a disc that has no shortage of them.
Whispering Fields
Here we get something with a folk meets 1960s music meets bluegrass sound. It’s a mellow instrumental.
Walked a Mile
This one fits well into an old time country sound, but the vocals seem closer to something one of the Beatles might have done. The slide guitar is great.
Earthquake
With a lot more of a rock and roll turned pop, ala 1960s music, this is a nice change and a lot of fun.
Aphrodite
Another instrumental, this one is mellow and very much folk rock meets progressive rock in style.
Secret Sorrow
There’s a real gospel music feeling to this slow, retro sounding tune.
Stranger Blues
A killer bluesy romp, this thing is just plain cool. It’s got some great slide guitar built on a classic grind. The vocal deliver is among the best here and this cut has some great changes and does a great job of landing between 1960s rock and the blues.
Homework
Another blues rocker, this has a killer arrangement and some of the coolest guitar work of the whole disc.
Desired Haven
This instrumental seems to combine almost a surf music vibe with something akin to progressive rock and some folkier sounds along with the blues.
Come to Me
This cut has some symphonic elements and probably comes closest to a rockabilly meets folk prog sound than it does to anything else. This is a cool piece of music.
Merciful Sea
A pretty piano melody leads off here and holds the cut from there. Other instruments are heard later, but the piano retains control and dominance. There is a more concerted guitar presence later in the piece, but even then the piano seems to share the spotlight. This is a pretty and quite proggy instrumental
Refugees
A more melodic rocker, this is another cut that’s almost progressive rock oriented. It is the best song on the disc. It is also one of the most interesting and modern tunes on the album. This is awesome! It has some more killer slide guitar
Bend in the Road
A mellower cut, this combines folk music with a soft country based rock sound. It’s a good tune, and I can see it as providing a gentle landing point after the majesty that preceded it, but I wonder if that song might have made the stronger closer for the set. It does get cranked out into a more energized jam that works reasonably well to end things. I just think flipping the two in sequence might have been a great idea.
 
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