Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Rating: RRR
Label: Provogue/Mascot 2018
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The future's so bright you gotta' wear Shades? Doyle Bramhall II's dramatic debut for the Provogue label, the eclectic mix of the seventies sounds and genres such as blues, soul, funk, and garage rock. I didn't expect the opening tracks to be quite as raw, rough, and at times even psychedelic. Then again. The man has been around the block a few times, picking up various inspiration, performing together with artists that includes Roger Waters, Elton John, Gregg Allman, Allen Toussaint and T-Bone Burnett, to name a few. More significantly, DBII had spent over a decade as Eric 'Slow Hand' Clapton's (ultra slow-motion nowadays?) musical right-hand man, collaborating closely with the legendary guitarist both in the studio and on stage

Starting up the album with some truly great, groovy, and nearly psychedelic tunes such as "Love and Pain" and "Hammer Ring". The first track was born out of inspiration, collaboration, and tragedy. It speak of the tragic shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. It reek of Jimi H and the reverse guitar thing merely add to the overall vibe of 1968, proper freedom fighters, and trippy hippies. The latter (Hammer King) having this really cool rhythm pattern and style that acts such as King's X explored and played around with in the past. Doyle sounding a lot like their singer on this track.

It's a great start. I fully expected the entire album to be more of the same. Eric Clapton appears on the R&B-tinged "Everything You Need" and it could just as easily have been released in the year of 1976. It's got that smooth sound going on at eleven and it's darn close to Yacht music or if you prefer soft-rock. This would fit nicely in with the Doobie Brothers and Clapton at the time. The duet with Norah Jones on "Searching For Love", the follow-up to the successful pairing on DBII's previous album. "Live Forever", back to the groovy late 60s, and to be perfectly honest, it reeks of CREAM. It's CREAM. Basically CREAM! So far, so good.

Unfortunately. The album, losing a bit of pace, life, and structure around track seven (Break Apart To Mend) and though it's never dull or boring, it's neither exciting. I must however say that "She'll Come Around" is a marvelous little ballad and worthy all the praise and awe. Overall, the first half of the album, perhaps just more interesting and eclectic than the second half. Do we really need another cover of "Going Going Gone"? Final verdict: ballads are plenty, could we ask for more fuzzbox on the next album?

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