Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2018

REVIEW: New albums from Steve Hackett, Bad Touch, REO Speedwagon, Tami, more


Steve Hackett
Broken Skies – Outspread Wings
(InsideOutMusic)
★★★★★

Maestro of the six and twelve string guitar, Steve Hackett has released a stunning compendium here of six CDs and 2 DVDs from his hefty mid-years solo career period.

The beautifully balanced songwriting and musicianship that permeates both newly remastered Guitar Noir and Darktown albums reveal a more piu scuro musical journey from this masterly former Genesis virtuoso. While the more questing and experimental albums To Watch The Storms and Wild Orchids showcase an artist on a musical adventure refusing to play safe.

A ladling of bonus tracks and DVD live rarities, including a full live set captured in Buenos Aires, a bumper book of rare photos and brand new Roger Dean artwork will have Hackett aficionados purring with pleasure.

Bad Touch
Shake A Leg
(Marshall Records)
★★★★

Norfolk’s Bad Touch has spent eight hard years rolling their rock show around the country perfecting their repertoire, and they play a blinder on this album spilling over with Southern Rock tinged tunes.

Stevie Westwood’s cavalier looks and foghorn vocals lead from the front as the band shake more than a leg on these 13 tracks of whack.

Lift Your Head opens this propulsive platter of top riffs and doesn’t let up until the final strain of hard-core closer Bury Me (When I’m Gone).

Bad Touch has the Midas touch on an album of pure gold winners.

Doyle Bramhall II
Shades
(Provogue/Mascot)
★★★★

Over a decade spent as Eric Clapton’s stalwart guitarist, Bramhall has also lent his six-string skills to an array of premier league performing artists including Roger Waters, Elton John and Greg Allman.

Nevertheless, Bramhall is no one trick sidekick as his latest solo offering discloses in spades.

On Shades, he corrals his cool gun for hire experiences into an album of explosive songs for bullets as on gritty anti-gun rocker Love and Pain. Clapton lends his slow-hand to R&B stonewall classic Everything I Need and classy ballad Searching For Love features a soulful cameo by Norah Jones.

Bramhall admits: “I’ve led a pretty charmed life, I’m thrilled and honoured to have these incredible people guest on my record.” Payback pays off big time on Shades.

REO Speedwagon
T
he Early Years
(Cherry Red)
★★★

With their 1980s radio hits seared into the memory of most astute AOR music fans (Keep On Loving You, Can’t Fight This Feeling’ etc.), this definitive early collection re-nails all their recordings from 71-77 firmly to their proud mast.

With driving, soft top down catchy rock riffs and melodies to the fore, this exhaustive collection with bonus tracks aplenty, and informative liner notes by legendary rock scribe Malcolm Dome, makes this an essential early listing for Santa.

Tami
Velvet & Steel
(Man In The Moon Records)
★★★★

Produced by Bobby Braddock of Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson and George Jones fame, Tami has created Nashville gold with Velvet & Steel. Possessing a timeless country cum Americana voice of grace and raw emotion, Tami delivers on a package of well-judged covers.

Moreover, she hits the sweet spot by mixing a classy spin on Joe Bonamassa’s Dust Bowl and Bridge To Better Days with cool and slinky takes on The Cure’s Lovesong and Beth Hart’s The Sugar Shack.

Tami’s life hardened yet serene vocal matches beautifully with her crack band of Memphis Soul/Nashville sound players. A class act.



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