Mascot Label Group
CD: 13 Songs; 56:59 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Blues Rock, Hard Rock, Harmonica Blues
What do Christmas tree tinsel, clean hair, oil slicks, and the blues rock of the UK’s Bernie Marsden have in common? They’re all things that Shine in their own particular way. The “shimmer” of Marsden’s music reflects the rock aspect of blues rock almost completely. Listeners will be reminded of early Joe Walsh albums, as well as those of Marsden’s hard rock band Whitesnake, with a dash of the Alan Parsons Project (on “Who Do We Think We Are?”). Marsden and his crew form a powerhouse of musical wattage, with blazing electric guitar being first and foremost. It may be great, but it’s more than slightly overpowering. There is also very little traditional blues on this CD, with the public-domain opener of “Linin’ Track” being a prime example. This is 190-proof stadium blues rock – it would blow the roof off ordinary bars. Those who are hunting for a heart-pumping treasury of party songs will surely love the whole album, but fans who want capital-B Blues are better off listening to the three tracks below. These are out of thirteen: twelve originals and one cover.
Joining Bernie Marsden are keyboardists Simon Webb, Don Airey, Dave Baldwin, Dean Ross, and Bob Haddrell; bass guitarists John Gordon and Ian Jennings; drummers Jimmy Copley, Ian Paice of Deep Purple, and Damon Sawyer; Mark Feltham on harmonica; Rob Cass and Pearse MacIntyre on backing vocals; and special guests David Coverdale, Joe Bonamassa, and Cherry Lee Mewis.
Track 01: “Linin’ Track” – “What I hate about linin’ track: this old boss about to break my back, said, ‘Oh, boy, get your line on the track. Oh, boy, get the line on.’” This stunner starts with an acoustic and a cappella lament before turning into an electrified blues rock anthem. Marsden’s vocal chops are just as strong as his lead guitar, with harmonica player Mark Feltham underscoring both. Mark doesn’t try any overproduced tricks, but his pure, unpretentious harp rhythms taste like habanero pepper sauce.
Track 05: “Ladyfriend” – Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Not in the case of this narrator and his former gal pal: “Have you seen my old ladyfriend? She’s been making a fool of herself again – driving round the town in a black limousine, leaving a whole trail of mess wherever she’s been.” Pay close attention to the smooth interaction of the keyboards.
Track 12: “Hoxie Rollin’ Time” – Number twelve is a sassy blues shuffle with timeless themes and spectacular guitar. Our jilted hero is in a town that doesn’t hold a candle to his old girlfriend Georgia: “I pulled into Hoxie down on Highway 47. Take a look around me, man, it sure ain’t no heaven.” Marsden’s smoking guitar solo will make crowds hop up and dance, or at least stomp their feet along in their seats.
Joe Bonamassa adds his famous fretboard fireworks to the title track guaranteeing that Bernie Marsden certainly does Shine in blues rock!