Mad Ears Productions – 2014
Fourteen Tracks with a total running time of 1:14:03
The first thing you notice about this recording is the CD cover which is quite dramatic with an ominous looking revolver, plenty of bullets for ammo all on top of numerous one hundred dollar bills. On the back we see (besides credits) a poker hand with a Royal Flush. Such a cover might lead one to believe there may be a sinister element lurking here and sure enough track one assures us there is “Trouble Brewing” which features booming guitar licks and a tight, driving rhythm section.
The album’s namesake, “Unfinished Business”, (track three) slows things down a bit. We get a hint here that Gary Moore may be a major influence for this artist. The jazzy piano and solid guitar leads wrapped around sad, sultry lyrics leaves the listener knowing we all have some “Unfinished Business” in our lives.
On “For the Love of You” (track 9) Simpson gets back to the basics with some twelve bar Blues that satisfies with clean guitar work and flawless rhythm drive. Simpson’s voice on this track makes one a believer with a range that many Blues people wish they had. From a whisper to a belting growl Simpson nails this track to the wall.
“Chicago Blues” (track 11) delivers more straight ahead Blues with some boogie piano thrown in. While some may argue that this may stray from the Chicago tradition of West Side guitar slingers such as Magic Sam, Otis Rush, etc. this song delivers more clean, standard Blues that showcase Simpson and his tight band.
“Traveling Man” (track 12) takes us back to the country with some tasty acoustic slide work on guitar. If one listens closely you can hear some subdued harmonica work in the background with what sounds like two drum sticks providing the time keeping duties. This track has a stripped down sound that makes us believe this guy knows what it’s like to travel a lonely path.
Track fourteen, “Drowning in My Tears” is an obvious nod (ode) to Gary Moore sounding almost identical to Moore’s “Still Got the Blues”. With a mournful refrain and clean guitar work this is a good closer to a good album. Simpson has put together an eclectic mix of big guitars, jazzy backgrounds, country Blues, and melodic music that would fit well in any Blues lover’s collection.
The musicians for this recording are Mick Simpson, (vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo) Andy Littlewood, (keyboards, backing vocals, bass) Alan Young, (drums, percussion) Dave Hunt, (harmonica on tracks 10 & 12) Michael John McElligott, (acoustic guitar on track 5) Gill Hunter, (electric piano on track 5) and Steve Gillies (bass on track 5) There are no covers on this CD and the songwriting credits for tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, & 14 go to Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood. Tracks 3, 7, 11, & 12 are written by Andy Littlewood and track 5 is written by M. J. McElligott and Andy Littlewood. A. Littlewood produced and engineered “Unfinished Business”.
Mick Simpson tours regularly across the pond and you can find the tour schedule on his web site.