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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Solomon King & the Chosen

No. 5

Review by Gary Hill

Solomon King and his band have given us a set that pays tribute to a lot of classic music, while also updating it. The most frequent reference here is Lou Reed, both solo and with The Velvet Underground, but I hear Jim Morrison and the Doors a few places here, as well. It doesn't end with those references, though. I can make out things ranging from Motown to Hawkwind, Camper Van Beethoven and more on this set.

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Track by Track Review
Drinking This Whiskey
There is a real slow moving, down home roots music groove to this cut. It is a down and dirty acoustic blues piece with some hints of echoey modern music in the arrangement. Some of the bluegrass instrumentation later makes me think of both Hawkwind and Camper Van Beethoven for some reason.
Sunset & Mars
We get electrification here. This has plenty of blues rock in the mix, but there are definitely space rock edges to this, too. The cut is more decidedly modern and a killer slab of Americana.
Devil's Candy
Harmonica is a nice touch on this tune. The piece has some psychedelia in the mix, but it's tempered with blues rock, perhaps a bit like The Doors. Overall, though, this makes me think of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. It's a cool tune.
City of Angels
There are some touches of Latin music and specific nods to "La Bamba" in the mix here. Beyond that, the bluesy rocking concept here again calls to mind both The Doors and Lou Reed. It's another slab of pure class. The poetic element on this definitely makes me think of Jim Morrison. The lyrics actually echo Morrison's Oedipal fantasies of "The End" at one point.
Ashes & Dust

More of a straight-ahead, mainstream rocker, this is all class. It has some intriguing hints of funk built into it, too.

Queen of Diamonds
There is more folk music here. This has a classic vibe to it. It also contains plenty of blues angles. It's a potent tune.
Motor City
Folk rock mixes with some elements of Motown. Then again, with a song about Detroit, you have to expect some Motown music, right. This is a nice bit of variety and an effective song. The sax really wails tastefully on it, too.
If I Fall
A meaner, hard-rocking sound brings this into being. It's an up-tempo, driving cut. The guitar soloing is meaty. This is another that definitely makes me think of Lou Reed.
Xena's Blues
A jazzy, traditional blues sound is on display on this roots-styled cut. The retro guitar solo is a nice touch, and this works pretty well in closing position.
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