Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 101
ten - reasoning that bluesmen from Blind
Boy Fuller to Elmore James were singer/
songwriters. Besides the typical "my baby
left me" subject matter, there've been
examples of blues singers tackling social
and political issues, from Leadbelly to J.B.
Lenoir to Robert Cray. But even though
statistics vary from one in three to one in
six, MacLeod is perhaps the only bluesman
to address childhood sexual abuse, which
he openly talks about from his
own experience growing up.
That's the chain, too often
handed down generations,
he means to break in the title
song - which he co-wrote with his son,
Jesse, who joins him here.
Normally in one with his National Resophonic, MacLeod is tastefully accompanied
by Jimi Bott's drums, Denny Croy's bass,
and Oliver Brown's percussion. The eclectic
repertoire is far from "heavy," as the rocking' "Goin' Down To The Roadhouse"
amply illustrates. Recommended - higher
than highly! - Dan Forte
Michael Cooper/courtesy of ABKCO Records
Castro feels right
at home here as he
takes his band and some pretty special
guests through songs that, for the most part,
harken back to his days growing up in San
Jose, California. Soul, R&B, and rock and
roll all mix seamlessly, driven by Castro's
gravelly voice and biting guitar work.
There are great covers, including a
soulful take on Johnny Ace's "Blues All
Around Me," the classic "Soul Shake" with
a devastatingly good vocal from Castro
and guest Danielle Nicole, and a blistering
version of Buddy Miles' "Them Changes"
that features Los Lobos' David Hidalgo
trading vocals and guitar work with Castro.
Castro's originals strike a nice balance
with his funk influences, shining through
on "Love Is" and his soul side showing on
"My Old Neighborhood."
Charlie Musselwhite makes an appearance on the electrified country blues of
"Live Every Day" and Mike Zito shares
blistering guitar leads with Castro on
There's nothing earth-shatteringly new
here, but, as he almost always does, Castro
proves to be one of today's best purveyors
of R&B sounds for the 21st century. - JH
nce reviled as a
the Stones' Their Satanic
Majesties Request has
been reconsidered in
recent years and is now
regarded as a one-off
gem. Lodged between
their early R&B-fueled
hits and country-blues
revival later in the decade,
this LP is a snapshot of
1967 pop - it's messy,
and at times deliriously
fun. To commemorate its
50th anniversary, the set
is being reissued with
stereo and mono versions
of every song, in a variety
of formats, from vinyl to
hybrid SACD (which play
on standard CD players).
One aspect that makes
the album so unusual is
that it barely rocks, as
the Stones were both
rarely in the studio at the
same time. Certainly, it's
not the same bad-ass
quintet that exploded
two years earlier with "(I
Can't Get No) Satisfaction." One example, "Sing
This All Together (See
What Happens)," finds
Keith Richards trying to
get a groove going on his
six-string, but caught between hapless brass lines
and heavy percussion.
Conversely, "She's A
Rainbow" is a lilting pop
classic, aided by sideman
Nicky Hopkins' crisp piano
and Beatlesque acoustic
from Richards. Fellow
Stone Brian Jones plays
little guitar on the album,
making strong contributions on keyboards and
other instruments instead.
Brian makes his biggest
stringed-instrument impact on the madcap "Gomper," playing slide on a Vox
Bijou electric dulcimer.
"The Lantern" gives
us a glimpse of Richards'
fiery guitar licks, complemented by his trademark
"Keith strum" on acoustic
- indeed, the man's strumming technique is about
as singular as his electric
style. The majestic
"2000 Light Years
menacing fuzz bass
and Jones' thick Mellotron strings, sounding
more like a cut from the
Moody Blues or Syd
Barrett-era Pink Floyd.
The most Stones-like
rocker here is "Citadel,"
dominated by Richards'
cranked-up chords, laced
with heavy amp tremolo.
Its stripped-down, aggressive approach foreshadows the '80s underground
of R.E.M. or Husker Dü -
you might even argue that
New Wave and modernrock began right here.
Perhaps best of all
is "In Another Land," a
track sung and written
by bassist Bill Wyman.
It sports tremolo-laced
backing vocals from Steve
Marriott and Ronnie Lane
of the Small Faces, as
they were recording down
the hallway at Olympic
Studios (Marriott also
plays some 12-string
acoustic). It's quintessential Brit-pop from that year.
Majesties may be one of
the Stones' oddest outings, but it was a studio
experiment that, at last,
found the band outside its
comfort zone. If you like
acid-laced '60s psychedelia and don't have it
already, this reissue is a
good place to begin the
trip. - Pete Prown